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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.

Three Things You Need to Know Before You Buy a Safe

Hello everyone, Rob Raskin of Las Vegas here again. If you are thinking about buying a safe, read this first. Even if you do not have children in the house, it is to your benefit to own a gun safe. Controlling access to your firearms is a fundamental part of gun safety, and in fact gun accidents are being used against gun owners in an attempt to take away their Second Amendment rights. By owning a gun safe that can prevent tragedies from occurring, you can do your part to help maintain our access to the firearms that are our constitutional right.

 

What Size Do You Need?

Many people aren’t sure what size they need, but safes can be costly, so when you are making an investment like this it’s best to get the biggest one that is within your budget. Many people regret not going larger later on when their needs change and they have to go through the hassle of selling their existing safe and buying a new one. Gun safes can easily weigh hundreds of pounds, and if you can avoid the trouble of arranging to transport one later on by simply buying a larger one to begin with, it is well worth any extra costs involved.

 

What Are Security Ratings?

Safe security ratings are subjective, and imported safes may not be accurately labeled to reflect their true rating, so it’s always best to check with a knowledgeable professional before you choose the rating that is best for your needs. Essentially the ratings are as follows: a safe with an RSC rating is for holding up to $5K in content value because it has passed a five-minute attack test, a B-Rated safe would be for up to $10K in content value, a C-Rated safe would be up to $30K, and there are higher ratings that are intended to hold up to $1M, which can withstand a 30-minute torch or tool attack on all sides.

 

Do You Need a Fireproof Safe?

In 2014 there were 1,298,000 accidental fires in the US, and that number was actually down 23% from the previous year. While there are many steps you can take to prevent fires, the truth is sometimes accidents happen, and that is why fire ratings should be one of your top considerations when choosing a gun safe. It is recommended that you purchase a safe that has a 1 hour fire rating, because a rating lower than this will not be sufficient to protect your firearms and other valuables in the even the worst should happen. Like the security rating, when it comes to the fireproof rating, it is always best to go with the highest rating that you can afford.

 

What safe do you like best and why? Let me, Rob Raskin, know in the comments.

Your Well-Stocked Survivalist Medicine Cabinet

Hello, Rob Raskin here, and this week I’d like to talk about medications any prepper needs in their disaster kit. If the SHTF or in an TEOTWAWKI situation, you are going to end up getting sick. There’s just no way around it, especially when sanitation becomes an issue. If you want to stay safe and protect your family, it’s crucial that you have a well-stocked medicine chest. Be aware of information like expiration dates and how things should be stored, and if there is any specific medication you or a family member requires, keep plenty of it on-hand.

 

Colloidal Silver

This l natural antibiotic has many uses, as it is also antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial. No known disease-causing organism can live when it is exposed to colloidal silver, even in trace amounts. You may have heard bad things about it because the FDA has not approved it, but it is a powerful addition that should be in any prepper’s medicine cabinet, as it can be used to soothe burns, to treat boils and ringworm, to get rid of warts, to minimize scarring, and to help heal a number of other ailments of the skin, and when you don’t have any other antibiotics available you can also turn to this substance.

 

Aspirin

Americans tend not to be used to dealing with much pain because we have this powerful painkiller and many others available over the counter, and we hardly think twice before we use it. Pain is an unavoidable fact of life, however, and if the worst should happen and there is no store around where you can buy aspirin, you will quickly come to realize how much you relied on it! One thing many people don’t know about aspirin is you can use it topically. You can rub it directly on bug bites or bee stings for quick relief.

 

Activated Charcoal Tablets

Activated charcoal tablets are not the same as barbecue charcoal, so don’t think you can buy a bag of Kingsford to use in a medical emergency! This comes in capsule form, and it is incredibly versatile due to its high absorption properties. You can use this to treat gas, for emergency toxin removal, to reduce your cholesterol, and even to whiten your teeth. When disaster strikes and you are still able to look great because your smile is nice and white, tell them to thank Rob Raskin! I am kidding, of course, but survival is no joke, so make sure your first aid kit is well stocked!

How to Identify Venomous Snakes

Hello, Robert Raskin here, and today I’d like to talk to you about the importance of being able to identify potential threats in your surroundings. Approximately 100,000 people die from snake bites each year worldwide. There are 20 different species of venomous snakes in the US, and these include the ultra-deadly cottonmouth, rattlers, coral snakes, and copperheads. If you are thinking about homesteading, you’ll need to buy a pair of big boots and a guide to identifying wildlife in your area, paying particularly close attention to the presence of any venomous snakes in your region. Remember, when you are far away from the nearest hospital, it is much easier to know which snakes to avoid than it is to find antivenom!

 

Rattlers

We all know the easiest way to spot a rattlesnake is to hear it. If you’ve spent any significant amount of time outdoors in many parts of the US, then you have probably heard the sound of a rattle yourself. Even if you can’t see or hear the rattle, there are other ways to identify this common and venomous snake. They have triangular heads, and their eyes are elliptical, and there are many different varieties so their colors and patterns can vary significantly. The rattler is a pit viper, which means it has two well-defined pits located under its nostrils. These allow the snake to sense heat and to hunt in the dark.

 

Cottonmouths

This snake has many look-alikes, so you’ll want to familiarize yourself with its characteristics if you want to spare yourself from worry when you are homesteading or camping in the Southeast US. Cottonmouths can grow up to three feet long, making them one of the larger species. Their bodies are thicker than many other snakes, and it tapers at the neck, so you may notice that the head is much wider.  These are also pit vipers, meaning they have heat-sensing pits between their eyes and nostrils similar to the rattlesnake. Younger cottonmouths are lighter brown than older snakes are, and they have distinctive bands around their bodies.

 

Coral Snakes

When it comes to identifying venomous snakes, forget the rules you just learned, because the coral snake has a unique appearance that sets it apart from the rest. Their heads are not triangular, and you also won’t find heat sensors or elliptical pupils if you are close enough to look for them. Luckily for you, this snake’s distinctive stripes are easy to spot, so maybe you won’t have to! You may come across a snake that looks similar to this one, but don’t panic until you repeat any of the following mnemonic devices:

Red next to yellow is a dangerous fellow; Red on black, safe from attack.

Red touch yellow, kills a fellow; Red touch black, venom lack.

Yellow touches red, soon you’ll be dead; Red touches black, friend of Jack.

I’m sure you are starting to get the idea by now!

 

This is Rob Raskin, wishing you happy homesteading. Check back again for more survivalist, homesteading, and community action tips.