I’m Sure That Everything Will Turn Out OK


Liberty Activists And ISIS Will Soon Be Treated As Identical Threats

Many of us saw it coming a long time ago — increasing confrontation between liberty proponents and the corrupt federal establishment leading to increasing calls by political elites and bureaucrats to apply to American citizens the terrorism countermeasures designed for foreign combatants. It was only a matter of time and timing.

My stance has always been that the elites would wait until there was ample social and political distraction; a fog of fear allowing them to move more aggressively against anti-globalists. We are not quite there yet, but the ground is clearly being prepared.

Economic uncertainty looms large over our fiscal structure today, more so even than in 2008. Global instability is rampant, with Europe at the forefront as mass migrations of “refugees” invade wholesale. At best, most of them intend to leach off of the EU’s already failing socialist welfare structure while refusing to integrate or respect western social principles. At worst, a percentage of these migrants are members of ISIS with the goals of infiltration, disruption and coordinated destruction.

With similar immigration and transplantation measures being applied to the U.S. on a smaller scale (for now) the ISIS plague will inevitably hit our shores in a manner that will undoubtedly strike panic in the masses. I believe 2016 will be dubbed the “year of the terrorist,” and ISIS will not be the only “terrorists” in the spotlight.

While scanning the pages of mainstream propaganda machines like Reuters, I came across this little gem of an article, which outlines plans by the U.S. Justice Department to apply existing enemy combatant laws used against ISIS terrorists and their supporters to “domestic extremists,” specifically mentioning the Bundy takeover of the federal refuge in Burns, Oregon as an example.

“Extremist groups motivated by a range of U.S.-born philosophies present a “clear and present danger,” John Carlin, the Justice Department’s chief of national security, told Reuters in an interview. “Based on recent reports and the cases we are seeing, it seems like we’re in a heightened environment.”

“Clear and present danger” is a vital phrase implemented in this statement from Carlin and he used it quite deliberately. It refers to something called the “clear and present danger doctrine or test,” a doctrine rarely used except during times of mass panic, such as during WWI and WWII. The doctrine applies specifically to the removal of 1st Amendment rights of free speech during moments of “distress.”

What does this mean, exactly? “Clear and present danger” is a legal mechanism by which the government claims the right not only to prosecute or destroy enemies of the state, but also anyone who publicly supports those same enemies through speech or writing.

Recently, the prospect of allowing the Federal Communications Commission to target and shut down websites related to ISIS has been fielded by congressional representatives. Many people have warned against this as setting a dangerous precedent by which the government could be given free license to censor and silence ANY websites they deem “harmful” to the public good, even those not tied to ISIS in any way.

Of course, overt hatred of Islamic extremism amongst conservatives is at Defcon 1 right now, and with good reason. Unfortunately, this may lead constitutional conservatives, the most stalwart proponents of free speech, to mistakenly set the stage for the erasure of free speech rights all in the name of stopping ISIS activity. The greatest proponents of constitutional liberties could very well become the greatest enemies of constitutional liberties if they fall for the ploy set up by the establishment.

The Reuters article outlines the future implications quite plainly:

The U.S. State Department designates international terrorist organizations to which it is illegal to provide “material support.” No domestic groups have that designation, helping to create a disparity in charges faced by international extremist suspects compared to domestic ones.

It has been applied in 58 of the government’s 79 Islamic State cases since 2014 against defendants who engaged in a wide range of activity, from traveling to Syria to fight alongside Islamic State to raising money for a friend who wished to do so.

Prosecutors can bring “material support” terrorism charges against defendants who aren’t linked to groups on the State Department’s list, but they have only done so twice against non-jihadist suspects since the law was enacted in 1994. The law, which prohibits supporting people who have been deemed to be terrorists by their actions, carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.”

The Justice Department goes on to explain that they are “exploring” options to make “material support” charges more applicable to “domestic extremists.”

So what constitutes “material support?” Well, as mentioned earlier, John Carlin just told us. His use of the phrase “clear and present danger” denotes that 1st Amendment speech will be restricted, ostensibly because some speech will be labeled “material support” of terrorist organizations. The liberty movement, likely in the near future, is about to be outwardly defined by the establishment as a terrorist movement, and those who support it through speech will be designated as material supporters of said terrorism.

To be utterly clear, this could apply to any and everyone who promotes anti-government sentiments online, and will likely be aimed more prominently at liberty analysts and journalists. The argument for this move is rather humorous in my view — bureaucrats and others complain that it is “not fair” that Islamic terrorists are being treated more harshly than “white rural domestic extremists” and that material support laws should be enforced against everyone equally.

Yes, that’s right, the 1st Amendment is under threat because the Justice Department does not want to appear “racist.” At least, that is their public excuse…

I’m not sure whether it is depressing or hilariously ironic that the U.S. government (along with many other governments) is preparing the groundwork for prosecution of liberty activists for material support of terrorism when it is the government that has been proven time and again to be by far the most generous material supporter of terrorist organizations.

Will this all take place in a vacuum? Of course not. Something terrible is brewing. Another Oklahoma City-stye bombing, perhaps. Or a standoff gone horribly awry. The standoff in Oregon continues without Ammon Bundy and is about to get worse in the next week according to my information (you will see what I mean). The point is, the narrative is being finalized in preparation for whatever trigger events may be in store, and that narrative closely associates ISIS with liberty activists as being in the same category.

“As law enforcement experts confront domestic militia groups, “sovereign citizens” who do not recognize government authority, and other anti-government extremists, they also face a heightened threat from Islamic extremists like the couple who carried out the Dec. 2 shootings in San Bernardino, California.”

This is why I have consistently argued against giving any extra-judicial powers to our already bloated federal system. I am a staunch opponent of Islamic immigration and terrorism, but some people are so desperate to fight one monster that they are willing to give unlimited powers to another monster thinking it will give their minds ease. These people are fools, and they are putting the rest of us at risk.

If you want to fight ISIS, then fight them yourself. Do not give the same government that helpedcreate ISIS and then deliberately transplanted them to Europe and the U.S. even more legal authority over our lives to supposedly “stop” ISIS. This would be absurd.

In the meantime, I would point out that regardless of how the federal government wishes to label us, the liberty movement could not be more different from the Islamic State:

1) We don’t enjoy covert funding and training from the government at large as ISIS does. (Though according to leftists, we all take our marching orders from the Koch Brothers).

2) Most of us were born in this country and are rather attached to it.

3) ISIS fights to dismantle traditional Western values. We fight to restore traditional Western values, and we will not only fight ISIS but also cultural Marxists and collectivists who share the same disdain for liberty.

4) Many of us are far better trained than ISIS goons, so if anything, we are a more severe threat to the enemies of free society. (We actually look down our sights when we shoot rather than hiding behind cars with the rifle over our head and squatting like a constipated dog. We can also operate their AK-47s better than they can).

5) We are as opposed to Sharia Law as we are to martial law. In fact, we see them as essentially the same unacceptable circumstance.

6) We don’t cannibalize our enemies. (Who would want to take a bite out of Henry Kissinger’s spleen?)

7) We might look down on the insane ramblings of today’s feminists, but at least we would not stone them, enforce female circumcision, then rape them, then throw acid in their faces, then slap a hijab on them and take away their driver’s licenses. So maybe, just maybe, we toxic masculine conservative barbarians aren’t as bad as they seem to think we are.

8) We understand that black pajamas are not the best camouflage, but ISIS may have better fashion sense than we do.

9) Our beards are all-American. Their beards are just plain creepy.

10) They fight to be martyred. We fight to win.

When all is said and done, who is the greater threat to you and your freedoms? A psychotic theocrat that has taken his religion so far into the forbidden zone that any evil, no matter how heinous, is justified through the circular logic of zealotry? The criminal government that funded that psycho, trained him, slapped a rocket launcher in his hands and then gave him a free plane ride to your favorite shopping mall? Or, some weirdo that stores lots of food and gas masks in his basement and every once in a while talks to you about 9/11? Come on, think about it

Inexpensive and Simple Mono- or Multi-Band HF Ham Radio Antennas

, by PrepperDoc

One of the distinguishing features of traditional Ham radio, particularly shortwave (high frequency or “HF”) Ham radio, was that you generally had to literally make your own antenna. You could purchase transmitters, receivers, transceivers, microphones, and even Morse code keys, but you likely had fabricated at least one wire antenna. In the event of a national disaster, many people may wish to have effective HF communications for medium- or long-range communications, and they may be faced with the need to construct an antenna. Other forward-thinking preppers may wish to gain Ham radio licenses and experience in HF communications and need to put up such an antenna right now. This article will explain two simple antennas.

Resonant half-wave dipole

The easiest antenna to make at home is a resonant half-wave center-fed dipole.[1, 2]This antenna’s length is selected to work well on one Ham radio band, with an acceptable standing wave ratio (SWR) over about a total bandwidth of about 3% of its center frequency, which is usually enough. It may also work acceptably on the 3rd harmonic frequency. Hence a 7MHz dipole (40 meters) may function acceptably on 21MHz (15 meter Ham band).

Unfortunately, a bit of trial and error is needed to make a resonant half-wave dipole. There are just too many things that can affect the actual resonant frequency for any length formula to be guaranteed. You will need an SWR meter (or alternatively, an antenna analyzer, which is a much more expensive instrument) and considerable patience.[3] The first trial length to use is: total length in feet = 468/(frequency in MHz). For example, an antenna made for 7.2 MHz would have a total length of 65 feet. Add a few inches for loops to connect to both center and end insulators for mechanical support. Cut your wire in half (each end is now 234/frequency), and insert a center insulator in the middle. Insulators can be fancy commercial glass or plastic ones, or simple pieces of suitably heavy PVC, plastic, or even paraffin-soaked wood, about 3″ long and 1″ wide with a hole drilled or punched a half-inch from each end. They just have to be reasonably strong, and non-conductive! Run a wire end through the hole and wrap or tie it back onto the wire. You don’t have to solder the wrap on the end-insulators. You do have to connect your transmission feed line’s two conductors, one to each half of your antenna, at the center insulator. Most people use coaxial cable transmission line to feed this sort of antenna, usually 50-ohm RG-58A/U or similar. (This is because the antenna will have a center characteristic impedance near 50 ohms, and the transmitter output impedance is usually 50 ohms also, so power flows smoothly if the coax has the same characteristic impedance. This impedance is simply the ratio of the voltage to current of energy flowing through the lines.) Solder the shield to the wire on one end of the center insulator and the center conductor of the coax to the other. Be careful not to melt the coax insulation and short it out. (Using pliers to create a heat block is helpful). If you can’t solder, you could try crimping the connection. If you need this antenna to work for quite a while, dab dielectric grease or some other non-conductive water repellant on the exposed portions of the coax at the center conductor.

Pull the antenna up to your desired height using suitable ropes. Do not use the coax to pull the antenna up; you’ll rip the dainty coax conductors. It really isn’t important whether the antenna is sloping or even V-shaped (either up or down) within some reasonable limits. If the antenna is more than half a wavelength high above ground, it will send more energy toward the horizon (favoring longer distance contacts). If the antenna is lower, at 0.1-0.2 wavelengths height, it will tend to send more energy nearly straight up (favoring contacts a few hundred miles away).

Now the fun begins. Chances are good that your SWR will not be a beautiful 1:1, or even an acceptable 2:1, at your desired frequency range. One can use trial and error, cutting or lengthening the antenna until success is achieved. (Reasonable lengths can be added to each end by simply twist-connecting them at the end and allowing several inches to simply drop downwards. It works!) A more calculating approach is to move to the lowest legal frequency (on the desired band) and measure the SWR, then to the highest frequency (on that band) and remeasure the SWR. Depending on which is better, you now have a clue as to whether you are too long (better SWR at lower end) or too short (better SWR at higher end). I can, well, remember tediously measuring an antenna to the nearest 1/16″ and then finding it was feet off of resonance! When you are way way off, the SWR is terrible at both ends of the band, and the best thing to do is to add or subtract 2-3% of your length and try again.

Additional half wave antennas can be connected “in parallel” at the center insulator; use creative supports so that the wires don’t tangle and achieve two feet or more separation at the end of the shorter antenna. Google this for more information.

Non-resonant antenna/tuner

A slightly more complicated but ultimately more versatile antenna, which can be constructed in perilous times without any commercial supplies other than a SWR meter, is a non-resonant horizontal dipole antenna with a very simple L-network antenna tuner. Commercially sold antenna tuners are usually fancier, using Pi- or T- networks. (The letter designation is to indicate roughly the configuration of inductors and capacitors when drawn in a schematic.) These tuners are generally able to match just about any random piece of wire acceptably. If you have a commercial antenna tuner, or can get one, they will work very well. If you can’t, a homemade L-network is not as versatile, but it is easy to build! An accompanying schematic shows that the L-network has only two components: a variably-tapped inductor and a variable capacitor.[4]

Schematic of L-network

The Antenna

The antenna is a horizontal (or sloping, if need be) dipole just as above, with one proviso: its length must be longer than a half-wave dipole would be for the lowest frequency desired. Avoid trying to run a short antenna. This is because shorter antennas have lower radiation resistance and one can end up with very inefficient results where huge currents are flowing in lousy transmission wires and wasting a considerable amount of the available transmitter power before ever reaching the antenna. It doesn’t even have to be a dipole with equal halves. In a pinch, you can use just a single long wire, longer than half wavelength, and use a grounded wire as the other half of your antenna.

Transmission Line

Coax is expensive and will likely have high losses or even develop destructive arcs at various matching situations when used with a non-resonant antenna. I don’t recommend it for use with a non-resonant antenna. Simple “ladder-line” transmission line consisting of two wires held a couple of inches apart (like railroad rails) can be used to very efficiently get your transmitter’s power up to the antenna. (You can even use 300-ohm TV ribbon transmission line with good outcome at lower powers, say up to 100 watts.) Try using wire of at least 16 gauge and preferably 14 gauge. Insulated wire is a bit preferable. Use a spacing of two to three inches, maintaining your chosen spacing by using “railroad ties” made of non-conductive 1/2″ PVC short stubs with two holes drilled and the transmission line threaded through them. It ends up looking just like a ladder or a railroad line. The PVC pipes should be spaced about every 6-12 inches, and can be secured either by relatively tight holes, or a bit of insulating black electrical tape, or even a string tying the wire to the PVC. While it looks inexpensive, this sort of transmission line has virtually zero loss, and unless your wires lose all their spacing, is unlikely to ever have a flashover arc!

Homemade ladder-line transmission line

Here’s some nerdy stuff for the more electrically-minded reader; this sort of air-insulated ladder line will have a characteristic impedance of a few hundred ohms and will be horribly mismatched to the antenna, but because the conductors are hefty and the insulator (air) has virtually zero loss, as long as you can get a “match” with your matching network, virtually all of your transmitter power is going to end up getting radiated!

Constructing the L-network Tuner

First, make a variable-tapped inductor. Wind about 40-60 turns of 14-gauge solid wire around a 1 1/2 inch PVC pipe or wooden (not metallic) cylindrical support. Bare wire would be best, but space the wire out a bit so the adjacent turns don’t short out and so you can grasp individual wires with a small alligator clip. You can use co-wound string to set the spacing and then remove it, and you can maintain the spacing with some epoxy glue drizzled along the bottom. Connect a flexible wire to one end of your homemade inductor, and use an alligator clip to allow the ability to short out (and hence electrically remove) any desired portion of the inductor. If you used insulated wire, cut off the insulation along the top edge of your coil so you have a place to connect the alligator clip.

Homemade L-network

The Variable Capacitor

If you can find a variable air-gap capacitor of roughly 250 or so picofarads, that will do for the capacitor; connect it as in the accompanying schematic. You want an air gap of at least 0.01 inches (the thickness of three sheets of paper), or you may have flashover arcs at times. A gap of .02 inches is better. If you don’t have such a capacitor, you can actually make a suitable capacitor by taping about 8×10″ of aluminum foil to one side of dry cardstock or thin cardboard, taping a wire to it, and affixing another 8×10″ of aluminum foil to a fixed piece of heavier cardboard, and a wire connected with tape. With the cardstock kept between the two and sliding the top foil variably over the bottom, you have a fine variable capacitor! I did this as a teenager, and it worked well. Arrange for the wires to be 12 inches or less for acceptably low wiring inductance in the HF bands. An accompanying photo shows a homemade aluminum foil sliding variable capacitor that adjusts from about 40 pF to 500 pF.

Homemade sliding capacitor with cardboard as insulator

Adjusting your homemade L network will require some patience. Keep notes once you find settings that work. Start with your transmitter set for a lower power, so that it can remain on for 5-10 seconds of time without damaging the final amplifier. First set your variable capacitor about 20% overlapped, and successively try shorting out variable portions of your inductor from none to all, seeking the setting where the reflected power on your SWR meter is minimized. (Remember the forward power is probably also changing.) Once you find a possible reflected power null, try adjusting your variable capacitor for a better (lower) SWR. Then jockey the inductance a bit and re-vary the capacitance. Avoid touching bare metal on either the alligator clip or the variable capacitor; otherwise, you may get a shocking or burning surprise! If you get the SWR below 2:1, you’re in good shape!

It is always possible that your combination of antenna length and L network will simply not allow a successful low SWR on one certain frequency, and you find it impossible to get an SWR below 3:1. In my experience, this is rare. However, simply remove or add a few feet from one or both ends of your antenna, and it will likely start to work! (In some instances, you may end up connecting the variable capacitor on the input side rather than the output side.)

Once you find a solution that works, you can cautiously raise your transmitter power, looking for any sign of arcing on your variable capacitor. If you’re unlucky and you have an arc, simply reduce your power below where it happened. Using a slightly different tap on your inductor may also help.

After your have found adjustments that work on each of your desired bands, mark them or even solder in fixed “taps” on your inductor to make it easier to quickly connect to them. To move from one of a particular band to the other may take a small adjustment in your variable capacitor or even a turn or two adjustment in your inductor tap.

Your friends will be amazed that you could make a working multi-band antenna with little more than wire, PVC pipe, a bit of tape, and aluminum foil!


[1]ARRL, Single Band Dipoles.

[2] Healy JW. Antenna Here is a Dipole.

[3]PrepperDoc, Understanding the Radio Shack SWR & Power Meter.

[4] An example of a really high-power L network: KC5LDO, L-Network Tuner.

Dirt-Cheap Ham Radio Antenna Tuner

By PrepperDoc

ham tunerIn the midst of a ham-radio 2-day “bootcamp” license exam course, I wanted to help the group recognize just how easily and cheaply they could make much of their own ham radio station.  People today are so used to BUYING everything, that they have lost touch with their ability to MAKE small pieces of equipment for their own use.   Licensed ham radio operators are unique in that they are specifically authorized to construct their own radio equipment.  I decided to make a simple antenna tuner mostly out of homemade components – literally making the components, not just the circuitry.

While a resonant half-wavelength dipole (468/F(Mhz) = ½ wave dipole in feet) fed with RG-58 50-ohm coaxial cable is probably one of the simplest and most common antennas, many experienced ham radio operators want an antenna that can be tuned to any frequency on any band, and will still present pretty close to a 50-ohm impedance to their precious transmitter’s output stage.   A dipole antenna, or even a single random length wire (with “ground” as the other conductor), as long as it is longer than a small fraction of a wavelength, can be made to work by using an appropriate matching system (“antenna tuner”).   (When the total length of the antenna gets down to 0.1 wavelength or so, there are likely to be inefficiencies because of the low radiation resistance, but that is complicated).  In practice, most people can throw up a 30-100 foot dipole, a dozen or more feet off the ground.  The insulators for the ends & center can be made from commercial insulators, or even segments of PVC pipe with holes drilled.  Electrical pvc conduit is sunlight-resistant.    Instead of using expensive coaxial cable (which can have very high losses (and even arc-over) when used with a non-resonant dipole like this) it is simpler to purchase or even make “ladder line” open (air insulated) parallel wire transmission line.   One way to do this is to cut sunlight-resistant electrical conduit PVC pipe into 5-inch segments, drill a hole just inside each end, and pass two regular old insulated 14-gauge household wires (either stranded or solid) one through each of the holes.  Spacing the PVC pipe spreaders every 12-18 inches or so should keep the two wires nicely separated and bingo, you have made a “ladder-line” transmission line that will have extremely low loss, no matter what is the SWR on the line.   What you care about is not the SWR on the ladder-line, but instead what is presented to the transmitter.  (I’ve written about this before, suggesting a simple L network that can also be homemade if need be. [1] )   If you choose to purchase transmission line, you can use inexpensive 300-ohm “TV ribbon line” for perhaps several dozen watts, or 450-ohm line just as well.

ham tuner diagramThe real education for the group was building the homemade T network.  The T network is an extremely versatile matching system that can generally match almost anything your antenna can do, and make it look just like a resistive 50 ohm load to your transmitter.    The ARRL has a nice write-up that will explain a lot more about it. [2]   In my case, I found some 2” water pipe PVC, drilled a start hole at one end and an end hole at another, and had one of the energetic teens wrap about 60 turns of insulated 14 gauge house wire, tightly wrapped, from the start hole to the end hole, passed the wires through them so it wouldn’t unravel.  (This created 55 microhenries or so of inductance.)    I then use a kitchen knife to cut off the surface insulation across many of the wires, and soldered in “taps” every ½” or so – or about every 3-4 turns.  An alligator clip on a wire from one end of the inductor allows you to short out a variable amount of this inductor.   While a nice roller inductor would give infinite variability, I was trying to show how cheaply you could do things.  If you want maximum variability, at one end put taps every single turn for 5 turns or so and use a second alligator clip from a wire connected to that end of the inductor to allow “fine tuning”.

We had one nice high-voltage air tuning capacitor with 1/16” gaps between the plates, probably 200 pF or more, but I decided to simply MAKE the other one.   Taking a large manilla envelope, I taped aluminum foil to the outside of one side, and then taped aluminum foil to a throw-away advertising magazine that would slide nicely in and out of the envelope.   These two aluminum surfaces, separated by one thickness of the manilla envelope, make a variable capacitor.  Alligator clip leads connected to the aluminum foil.   I attached an “ear” of duct tape so I could slide the inner magazine in and out without having to touch the foil.   It turned out that the capacitance was more than I needed, and I ended up cutting away half the envelope, leaving a surface of about 60 square inches.  I measured the maximum capacitance of about 260 pF.    The breakdown voltage of paper is about 16kV/mm [3], so a .003” thick paper has a breakdown voltage > 1000 volts.      Both variable capacitors could easily have been made by this same technique and then all three components could have been homemade.

I wired the commercial variable capacitor as my input capacitor, the inductor to ground, and the homemade paper capacitor as the output capacitor in the traditional T-network format. (See accompanying schematic).    If you are going to use up to 100 watts of RF, I would suggest using 16 gauge or better wiring (lamp wire works).   IMPORTANT:  My quick-built example has the components spread way out and very long wires between them:  it works on 80 meters, but you should make the wiring much shorter than my quickie-built example, and the components closer together, if you want to have this work well on 7MHz or above.

Such a simple T network should be able to easily drive an end-fed random length dipole, with the ground wire of the T network sent to an earth ground.   Commercially built T networks use a balun (“balance to unbalanced”) toroidial transformer to provide two completely symmetrical connections to a ladder line transmission line.   I have such a commercially built system (ancient, and procured through Ebay) but I also found that I could skip the balun transformer and simply wire the ladder line to the two outputs of my homemade T network and it works!   Use standard coax wiring from your HF transmitter to your SWR meter, and then from the SWR meter on to the input of this T network.

It takes trial and error to find the best adjustment points for each band for your T network.   The first time can be a bit frustrating, so write down or mark the approximate positions after you find them for each ham band.   The ARRL article [1] provides a strategy that is likely to more quickly reach an optimum solution – there are actually an infinite number of combinations that work with a reasonable SWR presented to your transmitter, but you prefer to arrive at one that causes the least circulating currents through that homemade inductor, so that you have the lowest heating effects and losses.  Typically, this occurs with maximum output capacitance.


The Miracle of Lavender Oil: 25 Amazing Uses for Survival

When it comes to essential oils, you will find that everyone has their favorites.  There are so many to choose from that deciding which ones to use on a regular basis can be rather daunting.  The ultimate selection is further complicated by the fact that many different essential oils have the very same qualities when it comes to healing and other uses.

For me, the deciding factor has been multifold.  Therapeutic benefit, healing ability, fragrance and cost have played a role in determining what to include in my own collection of essential oils.  You already know about two of my favorites, tea tree oil (melaleuca) and clove oil.  Today I would like to introduce you to a third favorite, namely lavender oil.


Lavender in my front yard

Lavender was the very first essential oil I purchased when I first became familiar with essential oils in the late 1980s.  As someone who is always getting cuts and scrapes as well as burns from careless cooking techniques, lavender used topically has always been my first aid treatment of choice.  As a natural antibiotic, and antiseptic, it has promoted healing and I truly believe that it has prevented scaring.  It also seemed to calm the frequent migraine headaches that thankfully, I have now outgrown.


So what is lavender?  First and foremost, it is a lovely green plant with fragrant purple flowers. It is native to the mountainous zones of the Mediterranean where it grows in sunny, stony habitats. Today, it flourishes throughout southern Europe, Australia, and the United States.  The oil in lavender’s small, blue violet flowers gives the herb its fragrant scent. The flowers are arranged in spirals of 6 – 10 blossoms, forming interrupted spikes above the foliage.

It’s name comes from the Latin lavare, which means “to wash.  It is believed that lit was first used as a bath additive to help purify the body and spirit in ancient Persia, Greece, and Rome.

Historically, lavender has been used as an antiseptic and as a remedy for anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, depression, headache, upset stomach, and hair loss.  It is a key component in aromatherapy, where the scent is used for both healing and relaxation purposes.


From a prepper’s point of view, lavender has three primary uses, as an antiseptic, a topical anesthetic, and as a sedative.

Antiseptic.  Used alone or in combination with carrier oils, lotions or creams, lavender is used on the skin to treat abrasions, cuts, burns, and inflammatory skin conditions.  Lavender helps promote healing and is one of the few essential oils that can can be safely applied to the skin in it undiluted form.

Topical anesthetic.  As a topical anesthetic and pain reliever, lavender oil can dramatically reduce the sensation of pain from burns and insect bites.

Sedative.  Lavender promotes a sense of calm and relaxation and can assist in combating sleeplessness and insomnia.

Beyond these broad uses, there are also many practical applications of lavender essential oil.  Each of the 25 uses below will foster self-sufficiency not only now, but in a survival situation.  They are presented in no particular order.


1.  First Aid.  Use on burns and scalds to avoid the formation of blisters and decrease the pain.  Also use on minor scrapes to prevent scarring.

2.  Stress and anxiety.  Soothe anxiety and stress with the calming effects of lavender oil.

3.  Sleep aid.  Get some sleep by rubbing some lavender on the bottoms of your feet before going to bed.

4.  Menstrual cramps.  Relieve menstrual cramps by rubbing lavender oil over the cramping area of your abdomen

5.  Headaches.  Rub oil on the temples and forehead.  Also try a combination of peppermint and lavender oil for even greater relief.

6.  Bleeding.  A few drops of  lavender will help stop bleeding on small cuts and wounds.

7.  Chest congestion.  Relieve chest congestion the next time you have a cold or the flu by adding4-6 drops of lavender oil to a bowl of hot water. Place a towel over your head, and inhale the vapor slowly and deeply.  Just be careful that the water is not too hot or you will burn yourself.

8.  Muscle pain, sprains.  Add lavender oil with a carrier oil (such as coconut oil or other vegetable oil) and rub on sprains and muscle pains for soothing relief.  This is a great thing to do at bedtime.

9.  Nocturnal foot and leg cramps.  Before bed, rub lavender oil onto the ball of your foot and on to your big toe.  If you wake up with a cramp or charley horse, rub additional lavender oil on the affected area until the pain is gone.  (I have been doing this for about three weeks now and it is working!)

10.  Insect bites. A drop of lavender oil on insect bites helps relieve the itch and help them to heal more quickly.

11.  Insect repellent.  Add lavender to a carrier oil and rub on to your arms and legs for a great insect repellent.

12.  Remove splinters.  Apply a few drops  of lavender to a splinter.  Wait for it to swell and the pesky splinter will be easy to remove.

13.  Fatigue.  Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your bath water to relieve fatigue.

14.  Fevers.  Add some drops of lavender oil to a cool washcloth and rub gently on forehead, neck, and trunk are to cool down the body. Alternatively, you can also use lavender in a steam vaporizer to bring the comforting warmth to a chilled body.

15.  Exfoliating hand cleaner and scrub.   Make your own bath scrubs. Use sugar, olive oil, and lavender to create a wonderful exfoliating scrub for rough skin.

16. Ingredient in DIY cleaning products.  Add lavender to Dirt Cheap Soft Soap, your homemade spray cleaner, laundry soap and other DIY cleaning products.  (See Prepper Checklist: DIY Cleaning Supplies.)

17.  Calming children.  Put some oil into a diffuser and place it in a child’s room to help them sleep. Or add oil to a carrier oil and rub on the bottom of their feet anytime you want to calm down your child.

18.  Acne. To reduce the swelling and inflammation of acne and to reduce the risk of an infection that could lead to scarring, add 5 drops lavender oil to 1 teaspoon warm water and stir. Dip a clean cotton ball into the mixture, and hold to the head of the pimple. Repeat as often as desired.

19.  Sunburn.  Treat sunburn by making a soothing skin toner of 2 drops lavender oil with 1/2 cup witch hazel, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon rosewater. Apply after cleansing.

20.  Footbath.  Footbaths can be a powerful remedy for headaches. The hot water draws blood to your feet, easing the pressure on the blood vessels in your head. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a footbath to provides soothing relief for a headache.

21.  Itchy scalp.  Mix lavender oil with water and massage into the scalp. You can also add a few drops to your favorite conditioner after shampooing your hair.

22. Moths.  To repel moths in the closet, make a little sachet of cotton balls doused in lavender oil.  Or if you are lucky enough to grow lavender in your yard, make up a little bundle of dried lavender leaves and flowers to to keep the moths away.

23.  Solvent.  Lavender oil can be used as an organic solvent that will rapidly help remove grease, glues and paint from various surfaces – and all the while with a much more pleasant odor than other chemical solvents.

24.  Air Freshener. Add 5 to 6 drops lavender is a small mason jar.  Add some baking soda then punch holes in the lid. Place in smelly areas (near the garbage can and laundry hamper, for example) and shake the jar often.

25.  Scented candles. Add lavender oil to your homemade emergency candles for a nice calming scent when you need it most.


Essential oils have been a part of my life for close to 25 years. I use them neat (topically applied directly to the skin), as a lotion or cream mixed with coconut oil or other carrier, as a scrub in my hand and foot cleaner and as a component to my DIY cleaning products.  In addition to lavender, I regularly use peppermint, rosemary, tea tree, clove and varying types of citrus with my current favorite being orange.  I also have an abundant supply of both lavender and rosemary in my yard and enjoy their fragrance as I walk up the front stairs to my home.

Shopping for essential oils can be expensive.  Without hesitation I recommend that if you only afford one, make it lavender!

22½ Uses for Emergency Mylar Space Blankets

Editor’s Note:  While many people are tempted by the one dollar price tag at the local discount store, don’t skimp when purchasing Mylar blankets. The cheap ones will rip easily and be virtually useless in many scenarios. Remember, these are items you are purchasing to help you survive, so shop accordingly. These blankets are very high quality and are the original “space blanket” developed by NASA.

by Lizzie Bennett

Originally Published at Underground Medic

Before going into the huge number of uses for mylar blankets lets look at their primary use.

Most people have a mylar blanket in their kit, the question is, do you know how to use it? That sounds like a stupid question, but bear with me.

Using a space blanket when you are really cold is not the best idea. It will take an age to warm you up and could even make you colder in certain circumstances.

The reason these blankets are shiny is to reflect heat, and if you are already very cold there is no heat to reflect and any ambient heat will be reflected away from you because of the shiny surface.

The optimum time to get out the mylar blanket and wrap yourself in it is  when you start to feel a little chilled but before you get truly cold. That way the body heat you have left will be trapped between you and the blanket and will prevent further cooling.

These emergency blankets are notoriously flimsy and will flap around in the slightest breeze. For optimum warming, take off your jacket, wrap the mylar poncho style around you, including over your head and then put on your jacket and hood or hat. If you get too hot, undo your jacket zip to let some of the heat out or uncover your head for a few minutes.

Remember the mylar does not possess breathability properties so beware of moisture building up from sweat. The optimum is to be warm and dry not warm and wet, or even damp.

Mylar is waterproof so if you have a jacket zip failure wrapping the blanket around you will keep the rain out, again if it’s at all windy put it under your jacket.

Okay, onto the other uses for a space blanket. The highly reflective properties of mylar, or polyethylene terephthalate to give it it’s real name, make it suitable for many things, and not just in emergency situations out of doors.

Carrying two or more of these lightweight, cheap blankets is always better than carrying one, and having a dozen of these cheap but amazingly adaptable items is better still, you’ll see why as we move down the list.

1. Position the blanket behind a campfire so that the heat is reflected back towards you rather than lost. Mylar melts at 254°C so there is no fire danger. If you have a second blanket, position it behind you. This will ‘bounce’ the heat around and will make that little area positively toasty compared to the area outside of the blankets.

2. Cut up the blanket to line boots and gloves. Fingers and toes are areas that are far more sensitive to both frost nip and frost bite.

3. Mylar is waterproof and using it on top of a groundsheet, or even as a groundsheet will prevent damp and also retain heat where you need it.

4. It’s reflective properties make it an excellent sunshade. It will be many degrees cooler underneath the shade than in full sun.

5. They are great for catching rain to give you a top up water supply. Either a natural depression in the ground or one you make yourself will suffice.

6. Building a soil or rock ‘casing’ and lining it with the blanket can make an okay solar oven. Position facing the noonday sun an cut the food into small pieces. Slivers of meat rather than chunks will cook more quickly and thoroughly.

7. It’s reflective properties make it an excellent signal that acts like a giant signal mirror. If you are moving on place soil or rocks on top leaving the shape of an arrow uncovered which points to your direction of travel.

8. Small strips of mylar make great fishing lures, fish are attracted to shiny surfaces.

9. These blankets are quite strong and can easily be fashioned into a sling in an emergency. Cut a wide strip place around the broken arm and tie at the back of the casualties neck.

10. A thin strip can be used as a makeshift tourniquet.

11. Put on the inside of blacked out windows will prevent heat loss through the glass.

12. Positioned behind a wood stove or similar will through out heat into the room rather than letting the wall behind it absorb the heat.

13. Positioned behind candles or lanterns the light will be reflected back into the room. You will be surprised how much extra light you get from this.

14. Birds hate mylar, the changing reflections and constant movement keeps them off the fruit bushes and away from the veggies.

15. Placed inside a duvet cover they will prevent heat loss during the coldest part of the night. The crinkling noise is a bit irritating, but it’s better than freezing if there is no heat source through the night.

16. Placing them over the windscreen of your car whilst the car is still warm from your trip prevents ice build up on the glass. Just trap the ends of the blanket in the doors.

17. As they are so light putting them over the veggie beds during the hottest parts of the day stops the plants shrivelling. It also cuts down on moisture loss due to evaporation.

18. Cut into strips and plaited they make extremely strong emergency cordage. I wouldn’t trust a mylar rope for rappelling etc as the texture of the fabric allows it to slip a little.

19. Left folded but out of its plastic wrapper it can be used as a reflective firestarter. I haven’t tried this one, but I am assured by a Boy Scout it works.

20. Thin card covered in  mylar on one side can be slipped behind a radiator substantially increasing the heat output into the room.

21. They are invaluable under picnic blankets to prevent damp coming through, and also good for turning kids into aliens and robots when they can’t get outside to play.

22. The Boy Scout tells me that once your laundry has stopped dripping, placing it on a mylar blanket in the sun dries it double quick.

22¹/₂ Many people use these blankets to build a simple shelter but I haven’t put it on the list for several reasons.