Archive for June, 2011

Is an American apocalypse about to occur over the skies of this great nation? Maybe, or maybe not, depending upon whom you ask the question to. The term apocalypse has become a much overused and sadly abused term in light of its definition, unfortunately. In large part this is because of the status assigned to the word by Hollywood moguls and writers that seem to think it portends a disaster beyond cataclysmic character. What does apocalypse really mean? Apocalypse simply means, in the Biblical sense of the word, it means a revelation, or a revealing. Hence the title of the last book of the Bible; the Revelation of John. Time and humankind has distorted the original meaning to have become a word describing a catastrophe or the end of the world events.

So can we expect an apocalyptic event in this nation in the near future? Of course we can, and if you are a true prepper you will be very busy preparing for just such an event. But what kinds of events would be considered apocalyptic in nature? These events fall into two categories, natural and manmade. There is little we can do to prevent the natural events, as we have absolutely no control over them. These events would be supersized hurricanes, abnormally large tornado swarms, and earthquakes of a very high magnitude, say 8.0 and above. We can prepare supplies and equipment to ride out the storm, but we cannot prevent them from occurring.

Manmade events would include mega wildfires, such as we see in our southwestern states even now, nuclear reactor catastrophes such as an explosion or complete failure of a reactor core and EMP threats. The last one is what today’s post is all about, EMP threats.

There is much mystery afoot in the world geopolitical scene today, and even more goings on in this country, and the general public doesn’t have a clue as to what we should be preparing for. However, by piecing together several bits of unrelated rumor, news reports, innuendo and imagination, we can in fact come up with one scenario that may well occur. Whether there is anything going on that we should be afraid of is up for grabs, but here is one scenario.

I have read that FEMA has put out a RFP, or ‘Request for Proposal’ to procure something like 160 to 480 million MREs for immediate delivery. If this is true, and these meals are delivered in 2011, we can create a viable timeline for the perceived threat that these meals were ordered in response to. MREs are generally labeled as having a five to seven year shelf life under proper storage conditions. These meals can be stored for longer periods under certain conditions, while in a harsh environment this shelf life could conceivably be substantially shorter. However, we will use the average expectancy here and suggest a five to seven year time frame for this apocalypse, if you will, to occur. That means we have a maximum of five to seven years for this event to occur, or a time frame of somewhere between 2012 and 2018. I’m going to guesstimate probably three to five years, or sometime between 2013 and 2015 for this event to occur.

What is the event? Most bloggers seem to believe it is because some experts suggest that the New Madrid fault line is set to do the rubber dance and remodel our Midwestern US scenery. I happen to believe something else will occur. for one, earthquakes are highly unpredictable, and not one person has been able to accurately predict the time of occurrence or the magnitude of a single earthquake. Ever. Manmade events have in fact been accurately predicted, as well as the magnitude of destruction. So if not an earthquake, what is the threat? The same logic holds out for hurricanes and tornados as well. Nature plans them, not humankind. But humankind can plan other kinds of events.

Take the ending of WWII, when a couple of atom bombs decimated Nagasaki and Hiroshima. That would certainly qualify as an apocalyptic event, would it not? Of course it would, so is this what the US government is expecting to occur? I think not, for several reasons. For one, a bomb of that size can only be delivered in one of two ways. One way if via an airplane, which we would spot and destroy long before reaching our heartland. The other way would be through an ICBM, or Inter Continental Ballistic Missile. Again, we have the technology top see and destroy something like that in plenty of time to avert a disaster, so it would take several ICBMs, perhaps dozens of them, to penetrate our nations borders and wreak their unholy devastation upon our soil. And besides, look at the cash outlay it would take to launch such an attack. The only two nations in the wprld that could pull off such a stunt would be China and Russia, and I do not believe that either nation has the wherewithal, or the drive to begin such a military action against us. The economic damage from such an attack would certainly result in the destruction of these nations economies, as well as ours.

More probably, some rogue nation or cartel would attack us with a nuclear device resulting in an EMP, or Electromagnetic Pulse, attack that could cripple the nation, while causing little damage or loss of life. This could be accomplished rather easily, and I have addressed this issue in previous posts. However, this will still require considerable cash outlay and planning. The generally accepted scenario would be that a terrorist group could utilize four to five fishing vessels that would simultaneously launch small missiles into our atmosphere while safely sailing in international waters. Detonated at an altitude of around 150 miles these warheads would cause regionalized EMP pulses that would cripple segments of the power grid, causing the entire national grid to become overloaded and fail. We would, of course recover, but the financial damage from the interruption of business and life as usual would place us in a precarious position, thus weakening our economy and position in world trade and world politics.

However, here is another thought, based upon recent events. A week ago today as I write this Iran has launched the 34 pound Rasad-1 satellite into orbit via a Safir booster rocket. And we all know that Iran is not exactly friendly towards the west, and the US in particular. The Safir booster rockets are builtupon an ICBM framework, but I do not believe that is their intent. The satellite is the key component here.

UPI reports that; In 2010, Iran unveiled plans for a four-engine, liquid-fuel Simorgh rocket to carry a 220-pound satellite into orbit at an altitude of 310 miles. That missile and payload capability is more than enough to carry a nuclear device of such magnitude that if detonated over the continental United States would create an EMP event of sufficient force to cause the worst of our fears to turn into real life nightmare. The electrical distribution capability of our grids, as well as most un-hardened solid state devices would become little more than scrap equipment.

Factories and transportation would be shut down immediately. Distribution networks would no longer function. Communications would cease to be the norm. No TV, no internet, no cell-phone service. Think of the damage such an attack would cause. The image to the right shows the extent of damage, and severity if such a device were detonated at an altitude of 250 miles. At three hundred miles, of which the Simorgh rocket is capable of achieving, the area would encompass the entirety of the US, southern Canada and northern Mexico.

And yet we want to be politically correct and be nice to these people. Have you laid in your store of food and supplies yet? On my Blogtalk show I had brought up the story of Pharaohs seven zombie cows from Genesis. You may want to listen to that episode, and I will be bringing it up again in a week or so. Seven is an important number in the Bible. I suggest you pay close attention to what we are not being told, and keep one eye peeled to the sky.


Kinds of Fire and Their Uses

One of the important things about camping is a campfire. There are two kinds of campfires, the “warming up” fire, and the “cooking” fire. Of course there are others, such as the “smudge” to drive away mosquitoes, and the “friendship”—the kind you just like to sit around and talk or silently watch the flames shape themselves into fantastic forms. The most useful since man discovered fire is the cooking fire—flames for the pot and coal for the pan.

Select a sheltered and safe place to build your cooking fire, where no wind can blow it out or into the surrounding dry brush, ascertain the direction of the wind, and then build your fire so that the smoke will not blow into your face when you are doing the cooking. Next in importance is the wood. Certain kinds of wood, such as hickory, oak, beech, birch, hard maple, ash, elm, locust, longleaf pine, and cherry, have fairly high heat values, and laboratory tests show that one cord of seasoned wood of these species is equal to one ton of good coal. Short leaf maple, hemlock, sycamore, cedar, poplar, Norway pine, cypress, basswood, spruce, and white pine, have a comparatively low heat value. These woods ignite readily and give out a quick hot flame, but one that soon dies down. The principal disadvantage of the resinous, pines is their oily black smoke.

The woodsmen of British Columbia have a wood-chopping trick that keeps nicks out of the axe blade. When chopping the wood, instead of laying it on a block or on the ground where you have a chance to miss and put a nice nick in your axe, just stand it on end, holding it with the left hand at a convenient angle and strike a glancing blow into it, turning the branch till you have gone all the way round. It will then break with a blow from the head of the axe and you have a nice feathery end to catch fire easily.

You can make make what are called “fuzz-sticks” or “firelighters,” by taking a dry, resinous stick about an inch thick and shaving it with a good sharp knife into thin slivers, which remain on the stick. Three or four of the “fuzz-sticks” will insure the starting of a fire.

Gather dry twigs and dead branches and plenty of birch tinder. When the wood has been gathered and prepared, you are ready to begin building the fire. Time is saved by having everything on hand and within reach. Haste always wastes time in making a cooking fire.

The simplest and handiest all-round cooking fire is that made of two green logs laid parallel on the ground. Level off the top with an axe. Place them a few inches apart, so that a frying pan or coffee pot can rest upon both. Between the logs scrape a trench about six inches deep. In placing the wood in the trench, pile it in such a way that allows plenty of air space. Place several “fuzz-sticks” first, then dry twigs, and keep adding heavier wood as the fire progresses. When it is blazing well, start your water boiling. For broiling, or frying, or baking, scrape the hot ashes and live coals evenly, and you will have a wonderful fire for such purposes. Never add more fuel just before putting on your stuff to cook. Avoid too big a fire. Remember that you do not cook with flames, but with hot coals, which give a greater heat and one that is steady. Never use soft wood if you can get hard wood. Soft wood is smoky, covers the food with flaky soot, and produces a ruffled temper. A windbreak or fender will add to the convenience during chilly or windy weather.

A simple camp-fire crane that may be used in connection with any kind of an open fire can be made by cutting a sapling of hard wood about three inches in thickness. Drive sapling firmly into ground.

A common method of building a cooking fire is to take flat stones and put them together in a sort of fireplace. Grates may also be purchased for outdoor cooking. Toasted bread just reaches the right spot. A useful toaster can be made from flexible withes bent and tied in the shape similar to that of a miniature Wikiup. Bread will toast better when placed before glowing embers. Turn the bread frequently.

Making Fire Without Matches

There are three distinct ways of building a fire without matches. The simplest, but most difficult, is by the rubbing of two sticks or hand drills together; the second, by use of a bow drill, which is an improvement over the first, in that it gives a more rapid movement and increases the friction; and, third, by the use of flint and steel. Every good camper should be able to accomplish all three, and by all odds the last two.

Fig. 8 is a good illustration of the simplest sort of fire drill, one used by the Indians of Washington and the Northwest. Following is a description of the set, quoted by special permission from the Smithsonian Report, “Firemaking Apparatus in the United States National Museum,” by Dr. Walter Hough:

“It consists of a hearth, two drills, and a slow match. The hearth is a rounded piece of cedar wood; opposite the fire-holes, it is dressed flat, so as to rest firmly on the ground. There are three fire-holes with wide notches. The drills taper to each end, that is, are larger in the middle (Fig. 8). The powder, a fine brown dust, collects at the junction of the slot and fire-hole, where they form a lip, and there readily ignites. This side of the hearth is semi-decayed. No doubt the slots were cut in that side for the purpose of utilizing this quality. The drills are bulged toward the middle, thereby rendering it possible to give great pressure and at the same time rapid rotation without allowing the hands to slip down too rapidly, a fault in many fire drills. The slow-match is of frayed cedar bark, about a yard long, folded squarely together, and used section by section. Mr. Willoughby says:

“The stick with three cavities was placed upon the ground, the Indian kneeling and placing a knee upon each end. He placed one end of the smaller stick in one of the cavities, and, holding the other end between the palms of his hands, kept up a rapid, half-rotary motion, causing an amount of friction sufficient to produce fire. With this he lighted the end of the braided slowmatch of cedar bark. This was often carried for weeks thus ignited and held carefully beneath the blanket to protect it from wind and rain.’

“Fire is easily produced with this set. It takes but a slight effort to cause a wreath of aromatic smoke to curl up, and the friction easily grinds off a dark powder, which collects between the edges of the slot. When this ignites it drops down the slot in a little pellet, and falls upon the tinder placed below to receive it. Both drill and hearth are eighteen inches long.”

Fig. 9 shows a second set, reproduced from the same book, and shows the method the Indians used to keep the precious hearth dry. The entire length is carefully wrapped with a strip of taut buckskin.

Fig. 10, also from “Firemaking Apparatus in the United States National Museum,” and shows an interesting feature. The handle by which the hearth is fastened to the Indian’s belt also shows the spliced drill, the hardwood point spliced into a favorite or especially desirable handle.

Probably when the simple hand drill was used, the grinding of the powder was facilitated by adding a small pinch of fine sand to the bowl of the hearth.

The next method is that of intensifying the friction by means of using the bow drill. This is the more common method, and is found in general use, from the Indians of Alaska—who use bone instruments, except the hearth, which is usually white pine—to the Indians of South America. The principal law, however, is the same in all; only the material used changes with the locality. See Fig. 11.

Ernest Thompson Seton, the master of woodcraft, declares that the best results are obtainable by having the hearth and the drill of the same material. But others are not so agreed. There is one thing certain, however: the wood used must not be too hard nor too soft, but hard enough to make very fine brown grindings, and soft enough to make a sufficient quantity to hold the spark. The tinder and carefully prepared pile of slivers should be ready before the drill is set going.

No matter how carefully the process is described, you will never be able to make a fire without practice and personal experimentation. Study the cuts here reproduced, then adapt what you have to the principle. You are sure to succeed if persistent.

Third method, building fire with a flint and steel. Note carefully the implements in Fig. 12. To be successful you will need a select piece of absolutely dry punk wood, the longer the fibers the better, a piece of hard steel fashioned so as to get a good striking surface without injury to the hand (a large, stout jackknife can be made to work well), a selected piece of flint—it will take much experimenting to find just the right piece, but when found you have a prize. A small tin can may be used for a tinder horn, but the tip end of a cow’s horn is better and safer. Prepare the tinder, place it in the horn, then dash the sparks into it. When a tiny bit of smoke rises, blow carefully into a flame and apply the burning tinder to the twigs previously arranged for the fire. Anyone can become expert in this little trick with persistent effort. If not successful, ask some neighboring old-timer to come in and aid you until you see how it is done.

Things to Remember:

The sportsman in the field or mountains without matches can start his campfire by the aid of his shotgun. It has been successfully experimented upon and is both simple and feasible. First, make preparations to start your fire from the flame by building up your wood ready to light, standing kindlings up on end against the larger sticks wigwam fashion, leaving an opening at the bottom for the tinder, shredded bark, dry pine slivers or any dry splinter pounded between two rocks, any of which make good tinder. After removing the shot from the cartridge, sprinkle the most of the powder on the tinder, leaving only a few grains in the shell.

Then tear a bit of dry cotton cloth with fluffy edges (a bit of lining from your clothes if nothing else is available), fill this loosely into your emptied cartridge. Put the shell into your gun and fire straight into the air. The cloth will drop close to you and either be aflame, or at least smouldering, so that you can easily blow it into a blaze. Drop this quickly into your tinder and your fire is made.

The Scout Camp Fire

By L. B. Robbies

THE Innocent person who carelessly drops a smoldering match in the woods as he passes along is often the cause of one of the destructive forest fires which rage each dry season and burn thousands, yes, millions, of cords of wood. Yet, give that same person a half-dozen matches and a wheelbarrow load of firewood and the chances are he will have to beg for more matches before he can start a fire outdoors in proper fashion. The chances are his “fire” will start with a quick blaze, flicker and die out in a choking smudge.

Building a campfire means a great deal more than grabbing up a handful of dead leaves and a few twigs, piling them up in a scraggly heap and setting fire to them.

Instead, it means constructing a fire for its intended purpose, building it properly, and tending to it after it has once started. It takes only a glance at a camper’s fire to determine the kind of a woodsman he is.

Scouts are supposed to be versed in the art of woodcraft and many of them indeed are well schooled in its essentials with the exception of the campfire! That is usually the stumbling block. It is not simply a fair weather proposition. It means building a serviceable fire in summer, or winter, spring or fall, blow high, blow low, in rain, sleet, snow or hail. Without matches; perhaps with no “dry tinder or kindlings he must have a fire to warm himself or cook his food.

I have taken the liberty of consulting the works of both George R. Sears, better known as “Nessmuck,” and that lover of the woods, Horace Kephart, for a great deal of the following data.

While one kind of a fire can accomplish both things it is well to know at the start that there are really two kinds of fires: the campfire to furnish light and heat and the cooking fire to prepare our food.

Kephart divides the campfire into three kinds: The Hunter’s fire, the Trapper’s fire and the Indian’s fire.

The Hunter’s fire affords quick heat and a good all-night fire when the weather is not too severe. Two green logs about six feet long should be laid side by side about fifteen inches apart at one end and half the distance at the other.

Lay rows of small sticks across the middle of these logs and lay the tinder on them. Lay a heavier green stick at each end of the tinder and place dry sticks on them parallel to the logs. Build this up cob-house style of short dry wood. When lighted, the upper wood will soon burn through and will drop to the ground between the logs and set the inner sides to blazing. Before retiring, pile on plenty of fresh wood and in the morning there will be a nice bed of hot coals to start the breakfast fire going.

The Trapper’s fire is intended for a fixed fire in more severe weather and is built to shed its heat into a lean-to or shanty tent. Either find a boulder or rocky ledge or build a wall of rocks about six feet in front of the shelter. Slant the wall backwards. If no rocks can be found drive two stakes in the ground and lean three or four green logs against them and set two short logs on the ground in front of them to serve as andirons. Plaster mud or clay between the logs and around the andirons; in fact, any part of the structure that is liable to be attacked by fire.

The fire proper is built in the usual manner upon the andirons. Such a fire reflects the heat forward and carries the smoke upwards. It also serves as a windbreak to the camp. This fire is not good for cooking purposes but is intended solely for warmth.

The Indian’s Fire is for “one night stands” or where the camper has few cutting tools to prepare firewood.

Cut several hardwood saplings and lay three or four of them on the ground, butts together radiating them like the spokes of a wheel. Build a small, hot fire on and around this center and place the butts of other saplings on this. As fast as the wood burns away, shove the sticks in towards the center, keeping them close together. The fire continues to burn as long as the fuel lasts. A windbreak helps to throw the heat back and if the camper lies down between it and the fire he soon knows what solid comfort means.

Upon the Cooking fire depends a good portion of the pleasure of the campers. Nothing is so disconcerting as to eat smoky food or rations half done due to poorly constructed cooking apparatus. The Indian’s fire can be used in an emergency but an outdoor range is the proper thing for a fixed camp. It is made similar to the Hunter’s fire.

Cut two green logs about six feet long and eight inches thick and lay them side by side; about three inches apart at one end and eight to ten inches apart at the other. Flatten the top and inside faces with the ax. Drive a forked stake in the ground, near Teach end of the logs, and about four feet high. Lay a cross stick in the forks to suspend the kettle hooks from. Kettle hooks are made by cutting several green forks, driving a nail in one of the small ends and inverting the crotches over the cross stick. Pots and kettles can then be hung from the nails. When the fire dies down, different sized dishes can be set along the logs to simmer. Build a small hot fire of bark and hard sticks from end to end of the range. A shallow trench will serve the purpose of the logs where timber is scarce. Leave one end shallower to allow for draught.

Notwithstanding the fact that the scout may be well supplied with portable grates, ovens, etc., he may get caught out sometime without these utensils and then comes the time when he will want to know how to get along with the materials Mother Nature offers. In a fixed camp an oven is practically a necessity and in lieu of a patent one the following will be found to bake with the “best on ’em.”

Select a steep knoll or clay bank nearby and cut the front down vertically. About four feet back from the front drive down a large stake about five or six inches in diameter to a level representing the bottom level of the oven. Then draw the stake out carefully leaving a hole for the flue. When this is done, start at the vertical face and dig back into the bank until you reach the flue. Keep the entrance small but enlarge as you dig back thus forming a sort of arch. Smooth out well and then wet the whole interior and build a small fire which will gradually ‘dry and bake it into shape. Find a flat rock with which you can cover up the entrance as needed to reduce the draught.

When you wish to bake in this oven build a good fire in it of hardwood split sticks letting it burn hard for an hour or two. Rake out the embers; lay the dough on green leaves or on the bare floor and close the door with the stone.

In a case where you can find no knoll, build a frame of green sticks like a lot of croquet wickets placed close together and weave other sticks across them like a thatched roof. Set up a round stick at the rear for a chimney form. Then plaster wet clay or mud over the entire structure except the door and let dry in the sun a couple of days. Then build a small fire and let simmer along slowly until the entire oven is hardened sufficiently. Fill up all cracks and openings which have formed; plaster over again thinly and give a final firing.

Now a word regarding fires in general.

First comes the tinder. This is the foundation of any fire and should be selected with care. Dry toadstools, dead wood found in trees and stumps, dry moss and willow catkins and dry puff-balls are good natural tinder. Perfectly dry grass can be used also as well as dried dung and leaves. These things will not burn with much of a flame but serve to hold fire until the more inflammable kindling’s can be fired from them.

Kindlings can be found in dead wood, dry bark, pine knots, shavings, wood chips, dry laurel twigs, or cloths soaked in grease.

Practically every kind of wood will burn but some with much more life than others. Therefore, it is well for the scout to know that soft woods furnish the kindling while hard woods give body to the fire and furnish heat. Many pages might be written on hard and soft woods but that is hardly necessary in this article as every troop is confined to a small area and the members are probably familiar with the woods in their immediate region.

A good general rule for building a fire is:

First lay two green sticks on the ground as a foundation. This allows air to circulate underneath and is of prime importance. Across these two sticks lay a course of dry kindlings. Then lay your tinder on these. Put two other cross sticks over the tinder and then build up a “cob-house” of wood, increasing the size of the sticks as you build up. The same rule applies in building all fires: a space for air underneath, then tinder, kindling and lastly the layers of firewood.

In wet or windy weather build a windbreak to shelter the fire.

If out of matches and fire making materials you may be able to strike sparks from flint or quartz by striking them with the knife or other steel implement. Use the rays of the sun through your camera lens, field-glass or telescope lens. Tinder may be ignited by using a watch crystal half filled with water in place of a better lens.

Last but not least. When leaving a fire be sure and trench it and see that it is entirely out. Don’t neglect that. It may save thousands of feet of valuable timber from being destroyed. That is a scout’s duty.

Modern day conveniences provide us with a plethora of goods, all made with high tech materials, and yes, in many ways today’s products are far superior than yesterdays. But not everything is superior, especially when the crap hits the fan and you cannot find a place to repair that fiberglass canoe that you damaged while duck hunting. Natural materials are far superior in these instances, and you can actually repair a hole in your fiberglass canoe temporarily by melting pitch, and covering the hole with a small sheet of thin birch bark. It is temporary, but it will get you home in an emergency.

Birch bark canoes were the Chevy of the woodland waterways over a hundred years ago and have since largely fallen by the wayside, along with the skills it takes to build one. I came across this letter to the editor of the defunct Forest and Stream magazine from the November 3, 1906 issue that describes the basic steps in building a birch bark canoe. It may be a fun project to learn how to build one of your own, and it may even turn into a second source of income to help you get through the coming times. Things are only going to get worse, financially, and there seems to be a growing cadre of re-enactors and survivalists that want only the original product when it comes to going back in time.

Building a Birch Bark Canoe

I am sending to you by this mail photographs of Micmac Indians building canoes on the Wild Cat Reservation in Queens county, Nova Scotia. I believe that only a small proportion of persons who have used birch canoes have a fair general idea of how they are made.

The builder first secures his bark, and this itself requires experience and good judgment or all the work will be in vain, as it is not every big birch tree with smooth bark that will yield the desired article. Next, the gunwales are dressed and the ends fastened together, and crossbars put in place. Then come the ribs; they are fashioned from fir splits and whittled into proper shape with a crooked knife. Taking one for the exact midships of the canoe, the two ends are drawn nearly together, near enough to leave them the width of the canoe in the widest part, and tied there. Into this bowed-rib, another is bent and fitted, and another and so on till the end is reached. Another midrib is prepared in the same way and filled in like manner as the first. These are well soaked before being bent and they are left to dry, when they will retain the shape as they were bent.

Meantime a slightly dishing place is prepared on the ground, and upon it is laid lengthwise the gunwales and cross bars tightly fastened together. All around this frame stout stakes are driven deep in the earth, about one foot apart, and left to stand above ground about two feet. The gunwale frame is then removed; and the bark, now all in one piece, sewed with spruce roots, is snugly stowed away into the space surrounded by the stakes, and there arranged nearly as possible into the required shape, fitted tightly against the dishing ground to give it the proper upward curve of the extremities on the bottom. The frame is then replaced with the edge of the bark on the outside of it next the stakes. The ends of the gunwales, already securely lashed together, are made fast to two stakes, one on each side at the proper height from the ground, and on the middle crossbar is hung a stone of sufficient weight to sag the frame into a graceful curve. The edges of the bark are then tacked to the gunwale, and a thin wooden ribbon is nailed the entire length to the gunwale, and on the top of them both another thin ribbon is nailed. Once they were all sewed with roots, for nails and metal tools were not to be had for love or money.

The next step is to line the whole inside with thin strips of fir that have been dressed smooth with the knife. They are to be held firmly in place by the ribs with which a beginning is made by placing the ends of the middle rib under the gunwale and against the bark, and then forcing by hand the lower part as tightly as possible into place; but even then it will remain slanting. The next rib is placed in like position; and so on with them all till both ends are reached. By the use of a bit of wood and a hammer the ribs are, by slightly tapping them one after another, driven into a perpendicular position, and thus the bark is stretched tightly over them and takes the desired shape. If at any place the bark is unyielding, and the rib is prevented from going into proper place, this portion is treated with the application of a warm stone to the rebellious spot, when the desired result is soon secured. This is done, as a matter of course, after the canoe is taken from the stakes when it must be made water tight by the application of pitch on the seams over which narrow strips of cotton are placed. At each end are fitted heads of thin boards beyond the last pair of ribs, and behind them the space is stuffed tightly with dry shavings to prevent the bark from shrinking inwards. If there is a suspicious place that looks like a crack, it is tested by placing the mouth over it and sucking; if air comes through, a little pitch will be the remedy.

This in brief is the manner of making the birch canoe. There are great differences among the builders; some of them are born mechanics and have an eye for a good model, and have a painstaking desire to make a “thing of beauty.” that if not a “joy forever” will at least gladden some owners while she lasts. To have seen one made before tools of metal were in the hands of red men would have been an interesting performance.

R. R. Mcleod.

Brookfield, N. S.

As Atlantic Hurricane Season Begins, FEMA Urges All Americans to be Prepared

Individuals, Families, Small Businesses Can Visit to Get Ready for Hurricanes and other Disasters

WASHINGTON — Today, June 1, marks the official start of the 2011 North Atlantic hurricane season, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been working closely with its federal, state, local and tribal partners, the private sector, voluntary organizations and the entire emergency management team to ensure we are ready for the upcoming season. As part of those efforts, today, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, along with other partners, will brief President Obama on the federal government’s preparations for the upcoming season.

“Recent events including the deadly tornadoes in the central U.S. and southeast, flooding along the Mississippi and other emergencies serve as a reminded that we should be prepared to address all hazards, including hurricanes,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “Everyone needs to be prepared, not just those in hurricane prone states, but also areas well inland. This means having an emergency plan, storing an emergency kit and staying informed of alerts or messages from local emergency officials.”

In the past few months, FEMA has been coordinating with all of the coastal states as they prepare for the season. All of this planning and coordination has been built around the agency’s approach that we are just one part of the nation’s emergency management team, and we have to work with the entire team to plan for the needs of the entire community when disasters strike. This larger team includes our federal partners, state, local and tribal leaders, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, faith based and community organizations, and most importantly the general public. It will take every member of the team working together for us to be fully prepared for this hurricane season.

To help demonstrate how the team can work together to prepare for and respond to hurricanes, President Obama invited other members of the team to join Napolitano and Fugate for today’s briefing, including North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue and members of her emergency management team, American Red Cross President Gail McGovern, National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) Chair Mickey Caison, and Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead.

To see a video message from Administrator Fugate about this hurricane season, visit TBP.

Background on Preparing for Hurricanes

When preparing for hurricane season and potential emergencies, the needs of all members of a household should be considered. If a household includes a young child, senior citizen or a person with a disability or severe illness, special steps to assist them may be necessary and should be incorporated into all emergency planning. Pets require special handling. Pet owners should research pet boarding facilities now within a certain radius of where they may evacuate, since animals may not be welcome in all shelters or hotels.

Equally important, businesses should be prepared with emergency plans in place to stay afloat. Putting a disaster plan in motion will improve the likelihood that your company may recovery from a disaster. Ready Business ( outlines measures business owners and managers can take now to start getting ready.

The start of hurricane season is also the time to consider flood insurance coverage – most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. Not only are homes and businesses in hurricane-prone states at risk for flooding, but inland flooding is common in nearby states. To assess flood risk for a home or find a local agent selling national flood insurance, visit or call toll-free at 1-888-379-9531.

As the season kicks off, knowing the four terms that meteorologists use when forecasting tropical weather may also help you navigate to safety.

  • A hurricane watch is an announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible within the specified coastal area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.
  • A hurricane warning is an announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified coastal area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.
  • A tropical storm watch is an announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified coastal area within 48 hours.
  • A tropical storm warning is an announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected somewhere within the specified coastal area within 36 hours.

With the ongoing recovery efforts from the tornadoes and response to areas with flooding, we are reminded that everyone should be prepared to address all hazards, including hurricanes, tornadoes and inland flooding.

For more preparedness information, please visit and

For the latest information on weather,

Follow FEMA online at,,, and Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate’s activities at and the Ready Campaign at