Checking in, herbs, potions, surplus, and more

Hello,

I’ve had a busy couple of weeks. I just returned from the Twin Cities a couple days ago.  Here’s a little update of what I’ve been up to:

Herbs are sprouting!

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Things are starting to really spring up and my goji berry plant has rooted and is standing tall and strong. I’m really relieved that it worked out. For the first couple days the poor plant had transplant trauma and was very wilty.  I gave it a few drinks of sugar water and it perked right up. Now it’s almost as tall as the bamboo stick!

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I stopped at a Herb shop and picked up a few ounces of adaptogen herbs for focus, energy, and virility.  Really decent prices. I spent under 10bucks.  Buying loose-leaf herbs is so cheap.
Ravn’s Virility Tonic
2 tsp Schizandra berry
2 tsp Horny Goat Weed
2 tsp Ginseng
Ravn’s Focus Potion
2 tsp Ginko
2 tsp Ginseng
2 tsp Schizandra berry
(For more of a focus kick use some green tea also)

Add more of each for a stronger potion. Pour the herbs into boiling water and turn off the heat. Let set for 5-10 minutes.

Or you can make this into a decoction. Put herbs into a boiling pot, turn heat down to a simmer, and let simmer for 30-45minutes.

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I made a stop in Fargo at Mills Fleet Farm because they have a really huge selection of military surplus gear.  Military Surplus is a great resource for prepper gear because it’s high quality and affordable.  I have been wanting a good durable bug-out bag that I can double use for camping and backpacking.  I got an “Italian San Marco Backpack” for around 20$.  I plan on saving up for an A.L.I.C.E Pack Frame to use as well.

Fitness Update

So a month or so ago I weighed in at 129lbs. Yesterday I weighed myself and landed at 141lbs! I am 3lbs away from my bulking goal.  Once I reach that goal I start on cutting.
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I’m looking forward to spring rolling around so I can put myself to the test on a long hike.

In the next couple months I will be moving back to my college town.  When I move I will start planning my garden.

That’s all for now,

Ravn

 

 

DIY Deodorant

Transitioning really opened my eyes to how powerful hormones are and how the body reacts to whatever chemical combination is put into  it or is exposed to.  Transpeople, however, aren’t the only ones who (if they choose to medically transition) are exposed to different hormones.  Everyday, people are unknowingly being exposed to endocrine disruptors that effect the hormone levels and cause a wide variety of health problems.

A few chemicals that are found in our everyday items include:

BPA

BPS

Phthytates

Parabens

and the list goes on.

Endocrine disruptors “mimic or partly mimic naturally occurring hormones in the body like estrogens (the female sex hormone), androgens (the male sex hormone), and thyroid hormones, potentially producing overstimulation.” source  This can lead to hormonal imbalances, obesity, reproductive problems, neurological and behavior problems, early puberty, and cancers.  Check out this entry in Wikipedia, skim through it and be sure to look at the bottom list of sources cited.

Endocrine disruptors can be found in cleaning products, plastics, cans, hygiene products and more.  While it’s difficult to completely eliminate these disruptors, you can limit your exposure to it.

One way of doing that is by making your own hygiene products.

Tonight I made my own deodorant using coconut oil, corn starch, baking soda, witch hazel, vitamin e oil, essential oils and some shea butter.  I followed a simple template at this website.

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I made a mixture of cedarwood, tea tree, patchouli, bergamont, lavender, sage, and rosemary essential oils to scent it.  It’s really fun to make your own signature scents.  I added witch hazel as a way to wick moisture away.

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I was really impressed with how it mixed!

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I recycled my recently emptied deodorant stick and it fit right in.  I tried it on and it felt kind of wet at first, but it surprisingly dried within a minute or two.

In the future I may experiment with more recipes.

Prepping for your body: Prepper Fitness

Taking care of the body is very important when it comes to prepping (and should always be important all around!).  When SHTF, being able to run, hike while carrying large amounts of weight, fight, lift, carry, work, etc a won’t do you much good if you’re out of shape.  You can get in shape at home or join a gym. Whichever works best for you!

Today I re-enrolled at my local Golds Gym. I’ve been weight training off and on for over 4 years. In college I had access to the fitness centers.  After I graduated I was enrolled at another gym for a few months until I lost my job.   It’s been about 4 months since I’ve been at the gym, however, I have kept up with exercising at home. Now that I have a stable income I decided it’s time to go back.

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This morning I got a complimentary fitness assessment and got a base reading of where I’m at currently.

Ravn’s Stats as of 2/7/2017

Weight:  129

Body Fat %: 18

I’m excited to see where I’ll be a month from now.  The trainer at the gym said that I’m what he calls a “hard gainer” and recommended I eat 6-8 meals a day.  I have a few meals prepped already.  Training really helps stimulate my appetite.  He also recommended that I cut down on cardio to maybe 2 times a week for 3o minutes.  I could be over-doing my cardio and burning off that hard earned muscle and setting myself back.  He advised I gain about 15lbs.  My goals are to gain that and then I’ll test myself with a weighted endurance hike in the spring.

A gym really works for me because it gets me out of the house and doing something constructive.  Going to the gym while being trans can be nerve-wracking though.  I pass as a man now, and so the locker room I use is the mens locker room.  I feel a bit of nervousness about it but so far I’ve not encountered anything.  Today I just used the entry way and changed my shoes. I show up already dressed for exercise.  I know you shouldn’t wear your binder when exercising, but I don’t have anything else to wear to hide my chest.  I really hope to get top surgery sometime in the near future.  I’d like to be able to shower right away after a hard work-out, but I’m still unsure if that would be safe there. I do believe there are private showers. I’ll have to feel it out some more and figure out what time of day is the least volume in terms of busyness.

For some folks a gym isn’t really their atmosphere, and that’s okay! There are plenty of different ways to get in shape! Whether it’s doing more outdoor activities or exercising at home, there’s something for everyone.

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When I work-out at home I use this doorway pull-up bar and resistance bands as well as some body weight exercises.  The pull-up bar was a great investment for me because not only can you use it to do pull-ups, but you can use it for sit-ups, push-ups, and dips.  Resistance bands are pretty inexpensive and there are numerous exercises you can do to really feel the burn.

On top of building your body you must fuel your body right too!  I have cut alcohol completely from my diet, and four years ago I quit smoking. I continue to eat clean, but I do treat myself now and then. In the past I had restricted myself too much to where it was unhealthy.

I wrote an article about fitness and nutrition that got published in FTM Magazine: Embodiment and Empowerment through Exercise and Nutrition that goes through some of the things I do and eat.  I also am an avid reader of this website: Muscle For Life.

Having a strong and healthy body is vital for living in the apocalypse or encountering any kind of emergency situation.  If you can think through scenarios but your body doesn’t follow through with the kind of strength, endurance, stamina, and energy it needs, then your chance of survival diminishes. You could really endanger yourself and that of your party.

Until Next Time,

Ravn Thor

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”  -Jim Rohn

 

DIY mini lantern

Good evening,

I’ve been tinkering around with some Do-It-Yourself projects.

Here’s a beverage can tea-light mini lantern!

All you need are 3 items: A can, pocket knife, and a candle.

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Make an incision somewhere in the middle.

 

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Very carefully cut down about 2 and a half to 3 inches (depending on size of can)

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Then cut two little incisions on the top and bottom.

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Open it like a door.

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Repeat on the other side.

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Put in your candle/tea light.

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Light it up!

 

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There you go! This took less than 10  minutes to do.

wp-1484615573099.jpg It’s not the brightest light but it’s better than nothing!

Until next time,

RT

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Beginner Survival Kit

Happy Sunday Prepper Friends,

Taking a brief break from my Reflections posts to write a bit of an update on my own personal prepping endeavors.

I decided to break down my prepping into small goals. The first goal I’m working on is to put together a 72-hour survival kit. Here is what I have so far!

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I got two 5 gallon water storage bladders from thereadystore.com for about $3.50 a piece.  I also got a stack of water bottles and an ammo can from Macs Hardware for storing my emergency survival gear.

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  • First Aid Kit
  • Neosporin
  • Hand Sanitizor
  • Hand/body warmers
  • Storm Proof Matches
  • 2400 calorie Emergency Food Ration Bar
  • Rain Poncho
  • Shower/body wipes
  • Aquatabs water purification tabs
  • Paracord
  • Magnesium striker
  • Compass
  • Emergency blanket
  • LED lamp
  • Steel cup
  • (Not pictured, multi-tool and pocket knife)

So that is what I have so far. If anything I can definitely use this gear for camping.  The next thing I need for my kit is a portable stove, emergency radio, life straw water filter and a bit more food stuffs.

After I reach the goal of completing my 72 hour kit I intend to work on my bug-out bag.

Until my next post,

RT

“The most violent element in society is ignorance.”

Emma Goldman

Why I feel so strongly about prepping: Part 1, Protection

Good morning,

This is a reflection post that will be going over my thoughts, feelings, and concerns that validate my vigilance about prepping.  There’s many a reason why this queer canary in the coal mine is sounding the alarm.  I’m not Chicken Little squawking that the sky is falling. I’m more like a Raven articulating the very real threat we must prepare for. These are not just  “what-if” scenarios.  These are things that are happening right now in the present and some that have a high chance of happening in the future.

First and foremost, what I mentioned in my introduction post about being transgender.

I need to make clear of the very real facts about the danger Trans people face.

Fact: The majority of the victims of hate
violence homicides (72%) in 2013 were
transgender women.

FACT: Transgender people were more likely
to experience police violence and physical
violence from law enforcement.

FACT: Transgender people of color were more
likely(6 times more likely) to experience police violence.

FACT: Transgender women were more
likely to experience sexual violence

IN 2015, AT LEAST 21 TRANSGENDER PEOPLE HAVE BEEN VICTIMS OF FATAL VIOLENCE IN THE UNITED STATES, MORE KILLINGS OF TRANSGENDER PEOPLE THAN ANY OTHER YEAR ON RECORD

Rates of suicide for transgender youth and adults is astronomically high.

It’s extraordinarily dangerous being who you are as a LGBTQ person in America:

According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), current data suggests that 20-25% of lesbian and gay people experience hate crimes within their lifetimes.

Most attacks on LGBT people are from strangers

LGBT people are more likely to be attacked by people they don’t know. 56.78% of respondents to the NCAVP survey said that the violence they’d experienced came from an unknown offender.

Police don’t respond to anti-LGBT violence properly

Police response to anti-LGBT violence is extremely uneven, with a majority of respondents saying that law enforcement was “hostile” or “indifferent” to their claims of violence. That’s why nearly half of victims didn’t even bother to report their attacks to police in the first place. And even when they did, only a tiny sliver classified the reported attack as one of bias.

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Sir Isaac Newton: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Since there have been more visibility for trans people and more acceptance, there has been a surge in backlash and violence against us.

Nearly a fifth of the 5,462 so-called single-bias hate crimes reported to the F.B.I. in 2014 were because of the target’s sexual orientation, or, in some cases, their perceived orientation.

Ironically, part of the reason for violence against L.G.B.T. people might have to do with a more accepting attitude toward gays and lesbians in recent decades, say people who study hate crimes.

As the majority of society becomes more tolerant of L.G.B.T. people, some of those who are opposed to them become more radical, said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Since the election there have been:

1,094 Bias-Related Incidents

I saw a FB post a few days after the election from a progressive friend who snarkily made the comment of how they better go out and buy a gun.  They weren’t being serious and were I think poking fun at how many conservatives ran out and spent boatloads of money on firearms because of the 2008, and 2012 election.  This person is not trans, person of color, poor, or queer, or disabled.

Just this morning, I read about  Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, a Transgender 2 spirit woman, who was an active community member for the group Sioux Falls Two-Spirit and Allies, was murdered.  She is the first known transgender homicide in South Dakota, and the 2nd transwoman to be murdered in 2017.

It suddenly dawned on me how much privilege is in the gun debate. People like that progressive friend above, do not have to worry about the kind of violence I have to worry about, and they are able to trust the police.

I’m all for peace, love, and nonviolence. But I think it’s foolish and frankly an act of violence to not protect yourself in any way that you can. Like, what are we expected to do? Ask nicely not to be killed? No. That’s not reality.  We need to protect ourselves. We need to learn how to shoot, how to handle guns and various weapons, we need to be able to protect ourselves 24/7.   The fact that over half of the violence that happens to LGBT people are from strangers should cause alarm. I don’t want to just be minding my own business going about my day only to be murdered by a complete stranger—my life stolen before my time. Not without a fight.

As the data shows, we cannot rely on the police, we cannot rely on the government, and solely on allies. We have to depend on ourselves and each other.

As a transgender person, it is an act of self love that I  give myself a Testosterone shot in my leg every week.  I also firmly believe that it is an act of self love to learn how to protect myself to ensure  self-preservation.

On my journey to self-reliance and being a prepper I am going to take up arms and learn how to shoot. I plan on saving up for an air-soft gun to practice with for awhile first. I will also learn how to use other weapons as well as my body as it’s own weapon.

I understand that this is a pretty loaded (no pun intended) post and some may not agree with my stance or politics. I hope we can find the common ground of wanting to live and survive.

Thanks for reading,

Ravn Thor

“I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance.”  bell hooks

Strategizing and Planning

Greetings,

If you were to log onto the internet and look up “Prepper” and “Prepping,” you’d be completely swamped with endless links to blogs, website stores, and beyond.  It can get a little overwhelming, and I’m certainly overwhelmed.  One thing I noticed at many of these blogs is that the preppers would say that you need to prep for what you need specifically.  Prepping in Utah would look different than say prepping in Alaska.  Different geographical locations have different climates and therefore different needs to prepare for.  And also when looking at this through an intersectional lens, different identities and bodies have very specific needs on top of the basic necessities (which to people like us are basic necessities too).

After spending a couple weeks skimming and scouring the many tubes of the interwebs I decided to go to my local bookstore and see if I could find a form of tangible media.  I picked up a copy of Backwoods Home magazine because it had the perfect article for someone in my situation:  a very concise guide of beginning prepping and prepping on a budget.

In the article, Prioritizing Preparedness when Money is Tight, Patrice Lewis points out that there is so much more to being prepared than storing away a few 5 gallon buckets of beans.  The writer breaks it down to their analogy of a three-legged stool: Supplies, Skills/knowledge, and community.  Each leg of the stool is equally important—with out one the whole stool will fall apart!  This really spoke to me and reminded me of the Feminist Ethics of Care which involve the 3 C’s: Community, Communication, and Collaboration.

In a previous issue of (#133 Backwoods Home), Lewis wrote about what they call:

The Core Area’s of Preparedness

  • Food
  • Water
  • Heat/Shelter
  • Lighting
  • Medical
  • Sanitation
  • Protection

There are more to it than that but this is a nice template to work from.  This list is the kind of template to look at when it comes to the supplies side of the prepping stool.  Lewis also warns about focusing too much on supplies because then that could neglect the other legs of the stool:

“Beginning preppers, faced with a plethora of competing information can quickly reach circuit overload. They freak and conclude the only way to solve the problem is to go out and buy stuff,”(Lewis 15).  Oh man, did this speak to me! This is exactly where I was sitting at the other day.  Lewis gives the reader two ‘secret weapons’ to combat this kind of overload: A Wish List and a Master Plan.

 

I’ve been putting together a wish list on a private list on Amazon.com.  The sky is the limit when it comes to the wish list. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming.

I’m making a wishlist full of supplies needed and also a wishlist for skills/knowledge I wish to learn.

When it comes to having a Master Plan I realized that I need to have more than one plan.

  • Prepping for present needs
  • Prepping for natural disasters (72hr prep)
  • Prepping for future
  • Bug Out Bag
  • Get Out Of Dodge Bag

Skills I want to learn

  • Medicinal Herbs
  • Hunting
  • Gardening in cold climates/hydroponics
  • Food preservation/fermenting/canning/dehydrating
  • Carpentry
  • Masonry
  • Foraging
  • Falconry
  • Fishing
  • Shooting
  • Archery
  • Knife Throwing
  • Martial Arts/Self-defense
  • Map reading/drawing
  • Star navigation
  • Rough Shelter building
  • Basic First Aid
  • Tracking

This list will continue to grow.

I was feeling discouraged earlier because I don’t have all the financial means to prep the way I want. However, after reading that Backwoods Home article, I feel more empowered. There are so many ways of preparing. I’m smart and capable of figuring things out. Just because I don’t have the means to buy the biggest gun, best water filtration system, or off the grid underground bunker, doesn’t mean that I can’t survive just as good, if not better. Learning self-reliant skills are vital in the times we are living in now. I have all the information I need at my fingertips thanks to the internet and an incredible resource at the community library.  I definitely plan on learning more basic HandyMan skills.  Job insecurity due to where I live, discrimination, and also my health issues make it extremely difficult to work a ‘normal’ person job.  For the last couple years I’ve been making up for that by doing odd-jobs for friends/family and other folks in the community.  I’ve painted fences, mowed lawns, fixed shingles, and this winter I’m shoveling snow.  I’d like to learn more fix-it skills so that I can be the go-to guy around here, and that means more money for groceries and prepping.

I was thinking that what I really want to get out of all of this is to be fully self-sufficient and reliant.  I want my backyard to be my grocery store and pharmacy. I want to be able to grow and make things myself, not so much as depend on going out and buying everything. I want to craft it. If I know how to do it then I will never run out of what I need because I will always find a way.

I will go more in depth in a later post about my planning and strategies.

Until then!

Ravn Thor

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou