What-if, the worrisome words, arrive in the conscious spinning topics from safety and financial security to loved ones and pet health. Asking, “What can I do?” leads to a proactive decision to invest time in the ultimate insurance policy – valuable life skills comprising security, shelter, food, water and medical care! In any emergency, from extreme weather to a personal disaster, you have the power to take charge of your fate by making plans and taking action!
You may recall a television program in the mid-1980s called “MacGyver,” played by Richard Dean Anderson. In resolving situations, he was a Sherlock Holmes in the modern-day, applying engineering skills, military training, physics and everyday items. Watchers often wondered, “Where did he come up with matches, a paperclip, an adequate length of rope or duct tape on the fly?” Television offers viewers a Deus-ex-machina resolve by allowing the hero to live another day by design. In real-world scenarios, MacGyver’s quick thinking and practical applications can save you, too!
Multiple ways to use everyday items:
1. Paracord: Replace your shoelaces to ensure you are never without at least two lengthy lifesaving ropes. Having trouble losing a nut, wrap paracord around the wrench and give it a firm yank! Paracord can be used as a tourniquet, emergency knife and supply the strings on a bow drill or bola.
2. Sardines: Much more than food to lure a predator, the tin can serve as a camp stove, shelter smoker or signal mirror.
3. Glass Jars or Bottles: Consider assembling an oil lamp using an absorbent cotton or linen cord, olive oil as a fuel.
4. Versatile Vodka: Fill a sandwich Ziploc bag with two cups of water and one cup of vodka to create a reusable ice pack. It can also be used as a first-aid topical to heal blisters, bug bites and cold sores; combined with lavender buds, apply as a liniment for muscle pain and stiffness.
5. Duct Tape: From catching insects to repairing cracks, making cords to reinforcing knots, duct tape has the tensile strength to hold, if using one loop, 700 pounds of weight. (For more ways, consider reading “What-If Presents” in the Forsyth Family January 2022 issue.)
6. Space Blanket: As a reflective, light-weight, compact, Mylar blanket, it accomplishes more than just keeping a body warm; it also can be worn as a poncho, used as a rain catcher, tent, rope, water catcher, sling, bandage and signal! (December 2021 issue)
7. Tinfoil: In need of water? Line a hole in the ground with foil, and fill it with water. Use tongs to transfer rocks from a campfire. Within a short time, the water will boil. Without the availability of bait, try wrapping your lure to attract fish. Foil can sharpen knives, clean a grill, create a makeshift funnel and supply power to a flashlight if a battery is unavailable. Lastly, securing strips around your vegetables can increase plant vigor, retain soil moisture and help cool the soil. (Make sure aluminum foil does not contain food remnants; it will attract unwanted pests and predators.)
8. A Beer Can: It’s the perfect aluminum can to boil water (next to the fire), create a candle lantern and char cloth. (Cut the top off the can, packing the interior with fibrous tree bark or cotton cloth. Next, fold the can to create a closure and, after minutes in the fire, will produce a usable char cloth.)
9. A Rubber Band: Combine a pair of stretchy rubber bands with duct tape to create a sling. Out of tape? Then, cut a rubber band to affix a bandage in place. Additionally, use it to secure bundles over your shoulder for easy carrying or securing gear to a backpack.
Despite living in a minimalist world, we are collectors by nature with grandparents who transferred the life skill of being resourceful and savvy. From aluminum foil and space blankets to glass jars and sardine tins, paracord and rubber bands to duct tape and medicinal Vodka, each is a multi-functional survival item to save the day in any situation, just like MacGyver!
Next Month: Foraging for Edible Berries, Plants and Mushrooms