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Rattlesnake Antivenom: How It’s Done

Hello, Rob Raskin of Las Vegas here again, and this week I’m going to share some info with you that is strictly for informational and entertainment purposes. In other words, don’t try this one at home, folks! Approximately 100,000 people worldwide die from snake bites each year, and antivenom is in dangerously short supply, especially in the developing countries where it is needed most. Although in hospitals there is no shortage of antivenom for the venomous snakes that are commonly found in the US, what would you do if you were in the wild and you needed it? If you happen not to be a professional herpetologist and you’ve ever wondered how this is done, here’s the run-down.


Your Risk in the US

Each year in the US, approximately 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes, and most of these are courtesy of the eastern and western diamondback rattlesnake. Luckily for 7,999 of these people, these bites will be non-fatal events. To put that in perspective, fewer than 1 in 37,500 people will be bitten by venomous snakes in the US annually, and only one in 50 million of these people will die, but your risk of being struck by lightning in this country is 1 in 960,000. In other words, you are four times more likely to be struck by lightning than you are to be bitten by a poisonous viper.


Snake Milking 101

Scientists who make antivenom first force a venomous snake to bite down on the lip of a jar that has been specially equipped to collect venom when it drips out of the viper’s fangs. After the deadly liquid is collected, it is injected into horses in small increments, with the dose gradually being increased over time. The horses also receive supervenom to increase the potency of the antibodies they’ll develop in their blood, which is drawn regularly throughout the horses’ lifetimes. Technologists then use sophisticated equipment to make antivenom using this blood.


What This Means to You

It is much easier to avoid snake bites in the first place than it is to milk snakes and inject horses! You can avoid poisonous snakes by wearing large, heavy boots when you are outdoors and by being aware of your surroundings. Learn which snakes are common to your area and how to identify them, paying special attention to where they are likely to live and to their habits. Have a back-up plan in place just in case you do receive a bite, but in the event that it happens, don’t panic: the odds are you’ll be fine. This is Rob Raskin, hoping you found this post entertaining and that you’ll check back again next time to read more.

Radio Communication for Survivalists

Hello again! This is Robert Raskin, and today I’d like to talk to you about communication. In a world where your average person is glued to their cell phone, many people feel like it’s the end of the world when their battery dies and they have to put the phone down for an hour to charge it. Now imagine these same people in a real TEOWAWKI situation. In the event the power and communication grids go down and there isn’t any electricity due to EMP or another catastrophic event, let alone cell phones or internet, how would you communicate with the outside world?


Communication is a Basic Necessity

It’s important to be able to keep up to date with information and to stay in contact with our loved ones, but never is it more so than during a time of crisis. Imagine if the worst should happen and you didn’t know if your children or even your grandchildren were okay, whether they needed help, or even whether they were alive. If you live far away from them when disaster strikes, there may be no way for you to contact them in the near future, or possibly ever again. To many, the ability to communicate is nearly as important as food, water, and shelter, so why is it so often overlooked?


It’s Easier than You Think

Many people don’t give radio communication a try because they think it will be too difficult. I know it can be intimidating at first because there are many different kinds of equipment you can buy, including options to do it yourself. You may be telling yourself that you don’t know where to begin, that you will do it later, or even that you don’t feel like communicating with anyone anyway, but even if you don’t want to make conversation, it’s best if you are at the very least able to hear the latest news in your area. In fact, being informed could mean the difference between life and death.


How to Choose the Best Survival Radio

There are many options for radios across a range of price points, with different pros and cons to each. There are a lot of really great articles out there about radios along with many message boards devoted to the subject. I recommend that you check them out to see what people are saying about different radios. This is a great starting point because when you read something that resonates with you, you can research it further. Don’t forget to check user reviews, because those are also a great source of information. This is Robert Raskin of Las Vegas, wishing you happy homesteading and hoping you’ll check back soon.

Don’t Forget: Check Your Expiration Dates!

Hello, Rob Raskin of Las Vegas here, and today I’d like to talk to you about expiration dates. When you are stockpiling supplies, it’s important to be aware of the shelf life of each product, because this can help you make important decisions about what you should buy, and how much of it you should have on-hand. Spending too much on something that is going to go bad before you have the chance to use it is not a wise investment, and that money can be devoted instead to other supplies that will last longer.


What Will Expire

You’d be surprised how many things you’d never expect to have expiration dates that actually do expire. For example, did you know Kevlar items expire? These gloves and vests may be able to withstand bullets, but they cannot withstand the passing of time. Aspirin is another important item that will expire, and your stash of potassium iodide will as well, as will gas masks, shortening, Neosporin, baking soda, and many other important items. Don’t forget to rotate your stock so you don’t waste anything or make unnecessary purchases.


What Won’t Expire

If you want to buy products that won’t expire, then some excellent choices are sugar, white rice, honey, bouillon cubes, soy sauce, dried lentils and beans, molasses, Jell-O mix, and even hard liquor. Some non-food items to consider are water filters, charcoal, and cast iron cookware. Another thing that doesn’t have an expiration date, per se, is livestock. Sure, the animal will eventually die, but if the conditions are right they could also live long enough to be an incredible source of eggs, milk, meat, or to breed.


Best Before Dates

One area in which there is a lot of confusion is the “best by” or “best before” date. Many people confuse this with an expiration date, but it is actually a term that describes freshness so you can assured the product will still have the best quality and flavor. While we all love for our food to taste its best, in a SHTF situation, what’s really important is if the food is safe to eat. Many items are safe for consumption after the best before date has passed, so know the difference between the best by and expiration dates of anything before you eat it. This is Rob Raskin, wishing you happy homesteading and prepping, and I hope you check back next time because I’ve got more helpful tips to post soon.


Survival Myths That Can Kill You

Do you think you have what it takes to survive off-grid, in the wild, or in a TEOTWAWKI situation? You may think you do, but if you believe any of the following dangerous survival myths you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. This is Robert Raskin of Las Vegas, warning you that just because someone tried something in an action movie and survived nearly insurmountable odds, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Read and and learn more about what is actually useful and what could get you killed.


Animal Myths

We’ve all heard the one about getting bitten by a shark and punching it in the nose to get it to release its jaws, but honestly, who has ever tried this and lived to tell about it? Cartoons tell us to play dead if a bear attacks, and the Woody Allen movie Bananas features a hilarious scene about the need to suck the poison out of a snake bite, but unfortunately none of these strategies will produce any kind of outcome that will be favorable for you. If a snake bites you, get to a hospital, and if a bear attacks you, slowly back away. If a shark bites you, you can try punching it, and if you live send us a message and tell us your story!


Sustenance Myths

While it is technically true cactus contains water you can drink in the case of an emergency, the crucial bit of information that is left out of this myth is that it is only one kind of cactus that provides safe drinking water, and that is one type of barrel cactus. Drinking the fluid from other cacti can cause you to vomit, which is the opposite of fighting dehydration. It is also not safe to eat something just because an animal ate it and didn’t get dick. Some berries and mushrooms are edible, while others contain deadly toxins. Unless you are 100% positive you can identify any catci, berry, or mushroom you come across, steer clear!


Myths About the Elements

If the weather is pleasant and you have even a rudimentary shelter, you are in luck, but unfortunately this will not always be the case when you are in the wild. A lean-to is one easy-to-construct style of shelter, but did you know that it will not protect you from the elements unless you also have a layer of protection between you and the ground? If you are lost, don’t follow the moss on the trees if you need to go north, because the truth is moss can grow on every side of a tree. Also, if you or another person are the victim of frostbite, don’t get directly into a hot tub. Instead, warm up gradually with a blanket or by placing warm water bottles under the arms or you’ll risk further tissue damage.


This is Robert Raskin, and I hope you’ll come back next time to see what valuable and potentially life-saving advice I might post next!

How to Go Off-Grid

Hello everyone! Rob Raskin here again, and today I want to talk about going off the grid. As the saying goes, if you free your mind, the rest will follow, unless, that is, you are dependent on the government for basic necessities like water and electricity. We hear so much about going off-grid these days, but do you understand exactly what it means? Living off the grid is simply having a self-sufficient lifestyle in which you are not dependent on or connected to any utility companies or services. This is typically associated with survivalists or preppers, but this is changing and today environmentally conscious people are choosing to live off the grid with the ultimate goal of living a healthier lifestyle and leaving a smaller environmental footprint.


Do You Have What it Takes?

Living off the beaten path means giving up many comforts and conveniences that you may take for granted, and some that you may not realize are conveniences at all. Not being able to flip on a light when you need one without generating the power yourself is a huge lifestyle change, and if you are like many of us then you take for granted the fact that you always have clean, fresh water to drink, trash service, and a phone line. For those who plan to go deep off the grid, you will also most likely need to get used to living without plumbing, and that includes a toilet.


Where to Begin

The first thing you’ll need to do is determine your location. There are approximately 180,000 people supplying their own power in the US today, and the government does not necessarily like this. More urban areas are cracking down on off-grid living every day, so you’ll want to make sure it is legal for you to live without utilities on a property before you commit to buying it. You may want to consider factors such as how close you will be to emergency services, whether or not you will have access to the internet, and the local zoning laws before you settle on a particular piece of land.


Some Things to Consider

There are many reasons people just like you choose to live off-grid every day, and if you’re considering doing the same, then you’ll want to make sure you have all of your basics covered. If you are going to grow crops or keep livestock, you’ll need to make sure you have access to fresh water and the soil is suitable for the type of plants you’ll need. The weather is also another important factor. Will it be too cold, or too hot, for you to survive off-grid? You will also need to decide how close—or how far away from—civilization you want to be if there were to be a major catastrophe.


How Far Will You Go?

Whether you plan to go partially off-grid by ditching one or two of your utilities while still retaining others to stay as closely as possible to your usual lifestyle, or you plan to go completely off-grid and move far away from civilization so you can create an entirely new way of living for yourself, it will take a good amount of planning and preparation, but it can be done. This can be a tough life, but the rewards can be tremendous. If you get everything in place and do your research then you’ll have nothing to lose, except your electric bill.


Do you have any tips for going off the grid? Share them with me, Rob Raskin, in the comments!

Three Tips to Start Your Homestead

Hello, Robert Raskin of Las Vegas here, and today I’d like to share some tips with you about getting your homestead started. Homesteading and survivalism can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but life can get complicated, and I understand that not everyone is ready to pack it all up and head to the woods just yet. However, just because you aren’t in a position to live off-grid right now doesn’t mean you can’t begin taking simple steps to prepare yourself for when the time is right. We never know what’s around the corner, after all, and you may end up homesteading sooner than you think.


Get Started Now – Wherever You Are

You don’t have to buy a plot of land in the middle of nowhere to start homesteading right away. There are many little steps you can take to begin preparing for off-grid living, even if you live in an apartment in the city. Many areas allow chickens, so you can start small with just a couple of birds, and even the smallest yards have room for a garden. If you don’t have any yard at all, you can even look into container gardening, which is an alternative that is growing in popularity across urban areas.


Do Your Research

One thing any experienced homesteader will tell you is this is a learning process, and you will pick up new skills every day. There are a lot of resources you can use to prepare yourself even if you aren’t ready to move off the grid just yet. You could begin taking first aid classes, you can learn about the wildlife that is in the area you plan to live in, you can take a firearms safety class, learn how to can food, and now is a good time to check out the library.


Talk to Other Homesteaders

Other homesteaders who have already embarked upon this journey will be one of your most valuable resources. Even if you don’t know any homesteaders or survivalists personally, there are many message boards and other websites where you can meet people, network, and ask questions. Chances are, the people you encounter have the answers you are looking for, and they can offer creative solutions to problems as well. This is Robert Raskin, wishing you happy homesteading and hoping you’ll visit the site soon, because I’m posting new blogs regularly.

Eating Off the Grid

One thing that modern homesteaders, campers, and survivalists share in common is we’ve all got to eat. Whether you have had years to get your homestead together and you have a kitchen and a garden or you find yourself hungry while you are huddled under a tarp in the mountains, you can prepare a meal if you’ve taken the time to get a few basics together ahead of time. You don’t need a kitchen or even power to eat well, but one thing you may need is patience, because cooking in the great outdoors is often time-consuming, with extra steps and lower cooking temperatures involved.


Basic Staples You’ll Need

When it comes to basic foods everyone should have on-hand, the most important factor to keep in mind is that it’ll need to be easy to store, and the longer the shelf-life, the better. Think jarred, freeze-dried, canned, and dehydrated foods, pasta, ramen noodles, and bouillon is always a simple but effective way to add flavor to your soup and vegetable dishes. If you are able, it’s worth the time and effort to learn how to freeze-dry and jar foods yourself and to set up a root cellar, which is a fantastic low-maintenance and easy-to-use way to keep your food.


Easy Off-Grid Recipes

You can cook pasta over just about any heat source, and jarred and canned sauces make flavor and variety simple.  Powdered baking mix can be mixed with water and a few other easy-to-keep ingredients like butter, eggs, and oil to make pancakes, biscuits, and even shortcakes. You can create a delicious soup using dehydrated vegetables, seasonings, and canned meat. If you are lucky enough to have fruit trees, you can always whip up a fruit salad using nothing but a knife, and if you are on the go, consider bringing canned meat, freeze-dried veggies, bouillon cubes, and ramen noodles along.


Cooking Without Power

When you live off-grid, you never know when you may suddenly find yourself without power, so it’s important to know a few basic recipes that do not require it. One popular option is a Dutch oven over an open fire, but if you are hiding and you can’t risk producing smoke that will make you visible, sun cooking is a popular option. In your solar oven, you’ll be able to make everything from ribs to chili to sun smores. You can order a commercial solar oven or build your own, and they are perfect for hot days when you don’t want to heat up the house.