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Stress Part Two: Fight or Flight

Anyone involved in survival is probably familiar with the fight or flight response. This is our innate reaction to threats in which our body prepares for the possibility of fighting for our lives, or escaping. However, we usually think of it in its most pronounced form – that being just before the action. However, our Western lives have resulted in an unnatural degree of daily stress that keeps us in a minor stage of fight or flight. Understanding some of the impacts this effect has on us can be used as a tool to measure both stress and relaxation. For our purposes here, we are concerned about the limits of joint range-of-motion that occur when we are stressed. One of the ways we can measure this effect is with a passive range-of-motion assessment. Stand up. Place your hands on your thighs and bend forward as far as you can while sliding your hands down your legs. Take note of how far you are able to reach down your leg. There is no grade for this, just an observation of where you naturally stop. Now, stand up straight and place two fingers in the center of your chest and exhale, bringing your chin to your chest, and rounding your back to make a cave for your fingers. As you inhale stand up straight. Repeat three to five times. Now bend forward and reassess how far you can reach down your leg. On average nine out of ten people who perform this exercise are able to reach further. Why? We didn’t stretch out the legs? What we did is introduce a lot of movement (mechanoreception) to a part of the body most Americans do not move enough. The increased stimulus temporarily improved our neural map and our stress went down. When the stress went down, the fight or flight response eased, and your range-of-motion on the hips increased. So, I know this is a lot to process all at once. But you probably saw a measurable difference just by doing this one simple movement. Practice it over the next few weeks. If you want to start to really understand stress, sources of stress, and its impact – practice the forward bend assessment before and after driving, or before and after a chore. Refer to the picture. Imagine you had bent over and stopped at line B on your first assessment. If your range of motion decreases (line A), your body is experiencing more stress and the activity you did is negatively impacting your nervous system. Either what you are doing is stressful, or the way you are doing it is. If your range of motion stays the same (line B) the impact on the nervous system was neutral. If your range of motion increases (line C), the impact on your nervous system was positive. This is something you can do to decrease the overall stress on the body and improve chronic pain and performance. The forward bend is just one assessment. In workshops of 20 people, I may use six or more different assessments. So don’t be discouraged if this one was not for you. However, you may want to try the test on a friend or family member so you can see the effects. How often must you do it, and how long does it last? Initially, the effects of stimulus to the nervous system last just a short period after the experience, except in traumatic instances. The more the stimulus is practiced the longer the effects last until eventually the effect is constant without the need for more stimulus. It takes about two hours of stimulation to develop lasting effects. That means two hours of perfect practice. Unfortunately, you can’t do it all at once. Consider how quickly you get to two hours of bad posture slumped in front of a computer, versus learning something like shooting in which each shot takes only seconds.  How much brain power was involved in slumping in front of the computer (posture – not the task on the computer), practically none. But how much brain power goes into precision shooting? A lot. This is why focused corrections take longer. Your nervous system will get fatigued very quickly. So, you may only be able to do a few reps a few times a day. In upcoming articles we will look at other drills and how load them in ways to make our neural re-education happen quicker for rehabilitation or better skill performance. The post "Stress Part Two: Fight or Flight" appeared first on Brink of Freedom.  

ButchTrail

ButchTrail

Crab Apple Juice Project

A big part of becoming more frugal along our path to freedom is making things at home and building things ourselves instead of buying them elsewhere. Today’s project was making juice from a friend’s crop of crab apples. The lowly crab apple is often not even harvested these days. Most people have them simply for their ornamental qualities as a landscaping tree. My friend with the crab apple tree agrees with me about their value, but didn’t have time to juice them herself and offered them to me. So…homemade crab apple juice (destined for crab apple jelly) was produced at home.  One year, for my birthday, I received a wonderful tool for making quick work of producing fruit juices – a Stainless Steel Juice Extractor. Stainless Steel Juice Extractor It is great for extracting juice from fruits without all the normal mess. It has a stacking set of components: the bottom holds water; the middle collects the extracted juice; the top layer holds the fruit. Cleaned, halved crab apples  After cleaning the fruit and placing in the top section, you assemble the unit (filling the bottom component with water), heat it up and let the juicing begin. It takes about 45 minutes to get the juices flowing, a couple of hours to complete the task. Today the crab apples made the most beautiful juice.* Crab apple juice Lovely, pink crab apple juice!   *Crabapple juice tastes something like cranberry juice when prepared in this way. Since I added no sugar, it had a very tart, slightly bitter taste.

LVS Chant

LVS Chant

Remembering Hope

“I want to turn this place into a homestead.”  That is the statement that changed my life more than I ever thought possible. There has been the good, the bad, and the ugly.  So many tears. So much joy. So many heartaches and losses.  So many victories and celebrations. So many sleepless nights. So many long days. So many rewards.  Add all of those up and you don’t even come close to the lessons learned. Today is no different. The day started just like any other day.  Coffee at the kitchen table.  Watch the weather report on the news. Get hubby off to work.  Feed the dogs. Make a list of what I want to get done for the day.  Load up my pockets with all the normal stuff.  You know knife, screws, drill bits, bandana, bandaid, pencils, tape measure, screwdriver, lighter, small note pad, a bit of cash and change, sometimes a side arm.  I put on my boots, grab my gloves, turn to the pups and say “Come along. Time to go to work.” It’s a race to the barn.  Abby wants to do her morning rat check while Mowgli starts his rounds picking up feathers.  No rats this morning. Off Abby goes to check the chicken house for rats and maybe sneak an egg for second breakfast.  Mowgli is hot on her tail as he loves the left over egg shells.  I do a quick head count on the pigs, throw them some alfalfa, and give everyone a quick belly rub and butt scratch. The little piglets are so funny jumping into the feed dish.  I feed and water the alpacas and fill the pig wallows. I can hear the baby turkeys in the hay barn chirping and flying all over.  They know I am coming.  Normally we don’t keep the turkeys in the hay barn.  Animals go in there only for medical care or for an emergency.  This time was no different. Five days ago when we went out to the pasture to check on Hope (turkey hen) and her 6 little ones we found her over the fence and not moving much.  We thought she was a goner at that point.  No she was still alive and full of energy.  We had no idea what had happened to her. Was it the heat? Was it a predator? Did the neighbors’ goat or donkey kick her? The only thing we could do was get her to the house quickly to evaluate her.                     Being caught once again without an emergency crate or medical pen we put her in a dog crate. I stayed with her to give her some meds while hubby and son (who was here visiting) went down to try and catch the 6 little ones. No easy thing to do as those babies know how to fly. There is no way to get a baby turkey down out of a huge Doug Fir tree.  All you can do is wait. When they hide, they squat down and freeze making them all but invisible. With a bit of luck, a fishing net, a sheet and a couple of long sticks, they managed to catch 3 of the 6.  We gave them a box, food and water set up in the hay barn. The other 3 would have to wait until the next day since it was just about sun down and they would go roost somewhere. We really didn’t think Hope would make it through the night, but she did.  She was not moving that much but seemed like she could possibly get better. We figured putting her in the barn with her 3 babies would be best for now. They were so excited to see their mom. They ran to her in spite of us standing there. She was softly calling to them.  It really warmed our worried hearts. What could be better than that.  Now if we could just catch the rest of them. The next morning armed with my turkey herding sticks and the fishing net we set out to the lower pasture. We could hear their chirping sounds they make when they are in trouble or looking for their flock. That made it much easier to track them. It wasn’t long and we found 2 traveling together. That pretty much told us we had lost at least one. We were able to catch the 2 fairly quickly this time. Again the reunion was heart warming. Those little ones climbed under mama’s wing and hunkered down. The family was together again. This morning, as usual, I fed Hope first so I could check her over. Overnight she had taken a turn for the worse. Back to the house to get some supplies for a deeper inspection and more medical treatment. She was so weak. Then I found it. Gangrene. My heart sank as I knew what would have to be done. It hit me hubby won’t be home for hours.  I can’t let her suffer. She was so weak.  She didn’t even flinch when I picked her up.  My head starts racing.  What do I do?  How do I do it?  22?  Don’t want to blow her head off.  Hatchet?  What if I miss.  Tail pipe of the car and a plastic bag? I knew it was only a matter of time and a moment like this would come about.  I had rehearsed in my mind over and over how I would handle it.  Now that dreaded moment was here.  I had to make that call.  Let her lay there and suffer all day until hubby gets home or handle it.  No I will not let my fear and my ignorance be the reason this animal has to suffer.  She has suffered enough we should have done this 5 days ago. A quick phone call to hubby to fill him in and get some last minute coaching.  I had never been the one to take the kill shot.  I have shot targets and gone rabbit hunting. I have stood by hubby’s side. I have been a spectator. This is different. This time I have to pull the trigger. I have spent time caring for her, giving her meds, rotating her.  With a heavy heart and a refusal to shed one tear I swallowed my fear and went back to get my gun.  Locked the dogs in the house, set the gun on the stump.  Then made that long walk back to the barn.  I told her her pain would end soon.  I told her I was so sorry I could not help her more. That this was the only thing I could do.  Then the thought of would she rather be in pain and spend more time with her little ones? My heart sank.  Am I being selfish to not want to watch her suffer?  No it’s time to do what needs doing. This is the ugly of it all.  I can not and will not only put this on hubby’s shoulders. Gently I laid her on the ground, thanked her for all she has taught us.  Carefully put the barrel to her head  trying to remember everything I was taught.  Swallowed hard and said “I am so very, very sorry, Hope, I love you” and pulled the trigger.  I felt numb. I felt sad.  I felt disbelief.  Ya know it’s weird but I also felt pride. Not happy for what I had to do but that I was able to do what needed doing. I did it. Right after, I called hubby back so he would know I was ok. All I could say was “it’s done.” I buried her. Put everything away.  Went back to the barn and stood there looking at the little ones.  Oh the tears.  I watched those little ones just sobbing.  The heartache.  This little turkey flies over my head lands on a bail of hay and just looks at me.  I reached my hand out with some food and she ate out of my hand.  I smiled.  Life goes on. It may seem crazy to get so upset about a turkey.  It happens.  You become attached sometimes.  Those babies that are so cute and fluffy now will someday end up on the table.  Until that day, they will play, grow and live like a turkey or a pig or a chicken or a rabbit. They will live like the animal they are.   Enjoying fresh air and sunshine. Fresh blackberries off the vine and apples from the trees. We will care for them and then thank them for feeding us. We will learn lessons from each and every single one of them.  We will laugh at their antics and have stories to tell.  We will also feel sadness when it’s their time, yet we will feel pride that we were able to put food on the table. I will feel good knowing that these birds had it much better than those that are raised in a factory farm.  They didn’t suffer a miserable existence like the others. After all, that is why I am doing this.  One less animal has to be raised in a factory farm because we will raise our own.  We will endure the good, the bad, and the ugly, too.  Thank you Hope for your little ones.  Thank you for all you have taught me. Thank you for the strength you have given me.  Most of all thank you for the freedom you have given us.  I will always keep Hope in my heart.

Danelle Downer

Danelle Downer

The 12 Hour Sale-How to Kill your Own Customers

My mother always told me that if I did not have something nice to say about somebody to say nothing at all. Sage advice! The words that you will read below are not meant to indict anybody in particular but to simply point out facts. These are general statements that may offend many, however, no disrespect is meant. Sometimes we MUST talk about things that are not pleasant yet true. The truth must be told even if people’s feeling get hurt in the process. So, with that disclaimer, let’s get into the crux of the story. I live in Montana, a state that is supposed to be fairly healthy compared with the Southeast where we moved from. Of course we find obese people in all states but the Southeast tends to lead the pack. Frankly, I’ve been surprised how many Montanans are obese. With the wealth of outdoor activities more people should get outside and exercise. The sad truth is at least 50% of the folks I see here are obese or not far from it. These people come from all walks of life, however most are mid 30’s-mid 50’s and these people are dead standing. I don’t see any hope for them. They can be seen just about everywhere in town but once every quarter you will see them in HUGE numbers at The 12 Hour Sale. Our local grocery is a small chain of approximately 15 stores in western Montana, eastern WA and eastern Idaho. I will not mention the name. Once per quarter they host a 12-hour sale outside that is filled with 99% GMO junk, absolute crap, garbage….not food….this is stuff not fit for animal feed, in my opinion, yet it comprises the bulk of the diet for these dead standing souls. You can hardly get into the store during this 12 hour bonanza – replete with cheap processed, GMO food. The place is mobbed, shopping carts stuffed to the brim with these “bargains”. The procession of zombies waddling in and out of the store looks like a scene from Night of The Living Dead. People so fat and sick, with the worst skin problems, huge fat rolls, dry stringy hair, and the most miserable dispositions you can imagine. Their days are certainly numbered. These zombies have carts filled with food from the 12 hour sale. The struggle to get these dietary staples out of the store and into the car seems monumental. Lumbering across the parking lots, these sad people seem unaware that they just spent their hard-earned money on food that is slowly but surely killing them. This packaged garbage is robbing them of their right to happiness and health and causing them thousands in medical bills and daily misery. I would bet that 99% of this boxed trash has one common ingredient….wheat. More on that in my next article. I am always baffled that these dead standing people cannot realize that their carts are filled with certain death. If you can barely manage to walk, how can you readily consume soda, Doritos, frozen pizza, canned soup, junk crackers, cereal with colorants, and marshmallows in it? After seeing this for a few months now, I can think of only one motivational and inspirational directive; “Eat Some Damn Vegetables” I uttered this the other day on my podcast and it’s caused quite a stir. My fans and listeners worldwide think I should make t-shirts and bumper stickers with this bit of wisdom, “EAT SOME DAMN VEGETABLES” I might take their advice. I am from New Jersey. I can’t say I am overly proud of that. The late Tony Soprano, James Gandolfini, even went to my high school. I grew up around these spaghetti and red sauce eating citizens who have short tempers, foul mouths, and quick wit. Admittedly, I am one of them. Yet I have managed to squelch the annoying accent and become more moderate in my approach during the last few decades. Only recently, I am having trouble controlling my inner wise guy……Forgetaboutit! More and more the “New Jersey” in me rears it’s ugly head…think Bill Bixby…”you dont want to see me angry”. Usually it surfaces in traffic yet more often than not, while observing the happenings of my local SUPERmarket.  When I see a management team who does such a bang up job slowly killing their customers I get annoyed. Do they realize they are poisoning their customers with their 12-Hour Sale crap ? Do they care? Who directs them to do this? Their upper management I bet. With a country in such decline, we must be assertive and address shortcomings of bosses, managers, and political leaders who fail us. Here is an example; not long ago I was in another supermarket in Missoula, Montana. The drive to this store is about 30 minutes, so when we arrive we usually need a bathroom break. After several visits there witnessing the utter disgust in the bathroom I finally went “Tony Soprano” on the manager, it went something like this….. “Sir, are you the manager?..oh good….I see that you’re sitting down in your office smiling and chatting right now….but the bathrooms that my family just had to use are nothing short of an utter disgrace!…..pregnant pause…his mouth was wide open…… There is toilet paper all over the floor, an inch of hair from somebody who just shaved in the sink, black stink all over the floor, filthy toilet bowls, no paper towels, trash bins overflowing, bags of trash sitting outside the door, dirt all over the walls and doors and it stinks. Absolutely disgraceful, a mockery of biblical proportions….all happening while you sit there in your chair chatting away. Additionally, your deli workers who are making sandwiches for the public right now, just left that unsanitary pit you call a public restroom….here are your options…are you paying attention?….see to it that the PUBLIC bathroom is cleaned and stays clean. If I come back and I find it like this again I will be calling headquarters and reporting this health hazard and I will be sure to let them know how you were sitting so nonchalantly while your PUBLIC bathrooms are worse than a college dorm. Are we clear?” After that verbal tongue lashing (notice I used no profanity though..) he agree and tried to shake my hand…I refused and told him he does not want to shake my hand as I just used his nasty bathroom. You see folks, sometimes you cannot sit idly by and let the shortcomings of people in charge affect others. Remember, our dear supreme leader Obama said last year on video that he is setting a “REDLINE” on Syria…if they use chemical weapons they will cross that line. Then the other day our dear leader said on video that he did not set a red line….it was somebody else…lies, lies, lies…..but the lazy, miscreant slobs we call mainstream media just accepted those pack of lies and did not even question the dear leader….only if I was there….FORGETABOUTIT! Some of your libertarian minded readers ( I consider myself a budding libertarian) might be thinking that the zombies at my store can choose to NOT buy the cheap 12-hour sale garbage….true….and that the store staff is doing nothing wrong, simply practicing free-market capitalism. In some ways you’re spot on…but that does not make it right. When somebody does not have the willpower, knowledge, or fortitude to STOP behavior that is killing them, others must step in to lend a helping hand. In this case the store needs to STOP offering this trash for a steep discount. Encourage the zombies to “EAT SOME DAMN VEGETABLES”. Why can’t they discount healthy fresh living foods once in a while? Why do they need to strip every stinking penny they can from the public by selling food that is nothing short of poison? I’m not advocating they try to compete with Whole Foods but at least address the problem. What about cooking classes or nutrition information sheets? If I were in charge the headline on the nutrition sheets would start with “Eat Some Damn Vegetables”. Things need to change….we libertarian-minded people need to step up and confront those in charge who are perpetuating this death spiral to try and save our fellow citizens. Just like we need to stand up for our gun rights, constitution, and other basic rights. Ok, enough said, I am going to have a bowl of gluten-free pasta with red sauce….alright paisan?

Chef Keith Snow

Chef Keith Snow

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    • Thank you for your service and your fighting spirit! I'm an army brat and know what it's like to have a father in Croatia doing what he needs to do to keep his troops and his family safe.
    • I didn't find the OP as negative. Shared/mutual feelings definitely! I was on a great path and able to GSD in lots of areas. Prepping was never a new idea to me. My family had always done it and we just didn't have a name for it. Having stores of supplies, rotating stock, and long term thinking were just the way to do things. The MAG was my family - uncles, cousins, and neighbors. However, the loss of my grandfather saw that come to an end through some internal disagreements, and errant children (my generation). I've been trying to put those pieces back together for the last several years as one of the "older" kids that saw and really experienced what we used to be. One or two were coming back to the fold and then off to AFG I went.       Simple things that I was on task with went out the window - ground prep for my current bugout and future home property, maintaining ever increasing stores of food, teaching and experiencing things with my kids as they grow up, etc. I was REALLY off track at first. I had a radical change in location (from NM to DC to AFG)) and total loss of access to my previous resources. As I slowly get back to that state (puns abound), I have worked on other areas - I learned a new language (1+ in Dari), I'm still practicing my gardening (underneath my bunk here in AFG) and teaching those skills to my Afghan counterparts. Scrounging around the base looking for items to build a garden plot has been interesting, Teaching (very trying in a new language) has been reinforcing my own understanding of topics and I keep adding to the plans and outlining what I need to get done. Although most of it is on paper, I am regaining focus and the plan continues to solidify. The greatest frustration is the loss of time with the ground prep - it COULD have been building more resilient soil and base infrastructure if I had only two more months before I left (in 2015) and I would be returning to a somewhat thriving base. Although, I don't feel overly angry about it because I was pushing the envelope then and know it wasn't because I was BSing and just didn't get it done.      It is tough to keep the frustration from getting in the way, but groups like this here and Jack's podcast have been invaluable to keeping the focus. It did help to hear that I'm not the only one. It does help to hear that others are getting through it and the ways we are all doing so. Fortunately, living a better way "if things get tough or even if they don't" resonates deeply with me. Understanding that things can be executed incrementally has taken the greater stress off of not getting something done as long as I can keep chipping away at the overall plan. The greater my self reliance becomes, the greater I feel. It's also a driving factor in working with others to get them to experience the same personal relief when you have "x" level of preps. An extra pack of batteries, week of food, proper tools in the car, skill set to do something themselves, etc has shown the light for lots of friends and served as building blocks for their lives as well. Josiah's (and many others) efforts (and sacrifices) aren't going unnoticed. I greatly appreciate those efforts and look forward to contributing to group.
    • I am finding myself slacking with my preps trying to get ThriveThrough going so that others can find each other, build MAG's, and advance their preps. Hopefully, this will pay off and many more people will be prepared. Then I can get back to advancing my preps further than I currently am. 
    • I'm going to do this with 1 or 2 x 6 this year. Had to do a lot of diging to find em last year. Check out my club for more pictures!
    • Thank you, ProtectorCdn! I can imagine the work put in on those beds. I'm jealous about the beach 😀 All the best in health and possibilities.  
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