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Buck Conner
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Buck Conner

Male Number of posts : 3490
Age : 79
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Registration date : 2015-10-20

Common Sense Empty
PostSubject: Common Sense   Common Sense Empty2018-06-17, 15:04

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Common Sense

You may enjoy what the weather brought to our forefathers living in St. Louis and surrounding area at the time of the Fur Trade.

"Suddenly the weather turns bad! Thundershowers, lighting, the sun is blotted out! And there is nothing we can do to warn or prevent this act of mother nature." These headlines appeared in the St. Louis Messenger on July 27,1837.

Then the article goes on about, "the terrible heat wave and drought of 1833-1834 and how the earth was parched, creeks turned into dry rock beds and crops burned in the fields. During the drought the temperature hovered near 100-degrees for the entire growing season and questioned how some families made it with available food supplies! "

This was of coarse, extreme weather seldom seen in the Illinois country, but the threat of changes like this and an earlier period in 1816 had people talking of building food supplies like natures animals do every year. The start of storing grain and other field products was born.

Lets get back to the 1816 weather change, reported in Harper’s Magazine, of that following year, " Both January and February of 1816 were warm and spring like, so much so that settlers let their fireplaces die. The cold started in March, with each day windy and blustery. Despite the weather, spring crops were planted, with vegetation well under way by April when unusual cold moved in. Snow or sleet fell for 17 different days in May, killing the fruit trees. June saw frost and snow for all but 3 days, it lasted through July. August was worse, with ice coating the fields, vegetation was gone, wildlife had moved to distant lands and panic felled upon the people." This strange change in the weather was caused by a volcano thousands of miles away, that sent so much ash into the heavens it changed lives around the world and was not found out until a few years later.

(Several others have written of this unusual condition in North America in later years, Sunshine and Life magazines did several articles in the early 1900’s.)

The old-timers had several weather signs they used, "when cows lie down in the pasture - expect rain", "spider webs on the morning grass with dew - expect rain", "if birds build their nests close to the trunk - expect a rainy summer - if nests are built low - expect high winds" or "frogs croaking in early spring - expect rain".

Ben Franklin had several similar sayings, as did Thomas Jefferson both interested in growing edibles. These pioneers, as others that followed had weather saying for each cloud formation, wind from different compass points or anything of unusual conditions.
In 1839 the Messenger reported, " We’re predicting the weather more accurately than in the past, but its not harnessed and earthquakes, hurricanes and tornado could happen at anytime."

Dwelling on such predictions, was considered in bad taste, it could raise our blood level far too high!

With the changes in the weather, in the same area in the last few years, things haven’t improved that much with some of the experts reportings!

Here are some reminders that we all know from our youth in Scouts, etc., but seem to let slide from time to time when out and about.


In trekking, by foot, horse or water vessels, one should keep in mind of the additional strength and fluids one needs, in a more active environment. we all seem to forget this, being in our minds younger and better shape, than our bodies are aware of.

Here are some tips that should be considered:
In trekking, by foot, horse or water vessels, one should keep in mind of the additional strength and fluids one needs, in a more active environment. we all seem to forget this, being in our minds younger and better shape, than our bodies are aware of.

Here are some tips that should be considered:

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Before your trek, eat a good meal, but not stuffed.

Eat carbohydrate type snacks, this fuels muscles and helps to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Protein is OK, but for stamina, think carbohydrates.

If carrying whole fruit and dried fruit, use the heavier, more bulky items first. This will cut down on weight and size of your pack as you wear down from exercises.

Before your trek, learn about availability and quality of drinking water along your trip. You’ll need two or three quarts per person a day on an average and more in warmer weather. Stay away from streams and rivers, unless you’ve boiled the water.

Drink small amounts, every 20 to 30 minutes, while you’re active, even if not thirsty. Watch the color of your urine, if clear you’re drinking enough, if dark/concentrated, up your water intake.

Eat before hungry and drink before you’re thirsty.

We use garlic when cooking and take commercially made garlic pills for a month before leaving on a canoe trek in warm weather. The "Corps of Discovery" used garlic to help with biting insects, we tried it and it really helps, even the locals you come in contact with, stay away.


Period crackers or Johnny Cakes
Dried fruit that would be available for your area.
Tortillas, period breads or biscuits.

Local available nuts (never found mention to, "trail mix" in our research over the years).
Cheese (waxed covered, looks good and stays good for a time).

* Check the area leaving from and going to, for what game meat was there. Made into jerky or cooked well and packed in lard, stored in containers has been around for centuries. We did this on a 1260 mile canoe trek and still ate some of the meat after 28 days with no problems.

A little research and a few trail runs will improve the quality of the next outing.

Hiking or trekking

Before making that trek, mentally walk through it as you hope it will go. What equipage, supplies and skills will you need, make a list and discuss it with the other members going along, try not to duplicate items used by all members going.

The brothers may need to give some thought as we grow older in body, for some reason our minds are thinking years younger. Assemble an age-appropriate haversack or backpack, each member of your party will vary a little. Give it some serious thought as to your personal needs, medicine, likes for trail food, etc. You may be surprised how each member’s taste are different, as well as personal care items.

Be sure to have a good map of the area you will be traveling. Don’t forget to leave a copy of the map with family or friends at home, in case of a problem, they’ll have an idea where to start looking for you. I can’t believe how many times we have forgotten this simple little thing.

What will Mother Nature provide in the way of drinking water, shelter, etc. and make adjustments as needed.


Learn how to recognize the signs of an oncoming thunderstorm. Watch the clouds, darkening skies, distant rumbles and flashes of lighting. Don’t wait for lighting to strike nearby before taking cover and keep that rifle down low.

We’ve seen a few guys duck into a tent and think they’re save or get out of a canoe and duck down in ankle deep water thinking they’re safe, boys your not thinking with what God gave you.

Stay away from tall, isolated trees or water or railroad tracks, (anything metal). Get into the woods and find shelter in a low area, just as you would if on the plains. If possible get under a thick growth of small trees.

If in a level field and the hair feels like its standing on end, lighting is about to strike. Kneel or squat, hands on your knees, not the ground. This safer is than lying down according to the National Safety Council, because: 1) you keep low to the ground and, 2) only a small part of your body is in contact with the ground. With a party of people, spread out.

As mentioned before go to a low place, a ravine or valley. If in a canoe your probably better off under it than laying down in it, I’d would rather get to shore and take cover.

Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac

These plants can cause an allergic reaction in a large number of us, only a small minority have significant swelling and blistering.

One does not have to touch the plant to have problems. You can pick up oily resin of these plants from your clothes, a pet’s fur or a fellow trekker, even the smoke from burning the plant will give you problems.

Symptoms are: itching, redness, swelling and/or blisters. The itching and rash may not begin for several hours or even a day later.

If known, you touched a poisonous plant, wash with soap and water to clean the area and chance or wash your clothing. Many carry baking soda in camp supplies, this works when mixed. (1 tsp. of water with 3 tsp. of baking soda). This makes a paste and can be applied until you return home and then use modern items and a possible treatment from your Doctor, if required.

While in camp if the itching continues, immerse the area in hot water, (water should redden, not burn), do not use soap. The heat will release the histamine in the skin’s cells that cause the itching. Even though you feel itchy during the process, it should give you up to eight hours of relief.

Infected Wounds & Blood Poisoning

Blood poisoning is a serious condition where there is a bacterial infection in the bloodstream.

In normal wound healing, the body pours out a yellow and/or clear serum into the wound area, later it becomes a scab.( Often this serum is mistaken for pus. Actually, pus is thick, cheesy and smelly, and not seen in the first day or so.) In normal wound healing, the edges of a wound are pink or red. The wound area may be warm and swollen (this is normal).

An infected wound usually festers beneath the surface of the skin, which leads to pain and swelling. If the festering wound bursts open, pus will drain out. This is good, and the wound will usually heal well.

Bacterial infection requires at least a day, usually two or three days to develop.
Always keep wound and wound area clean, leave wound open to the air, unless its unsightly, oozes blood or serum or gets dirty easily. (If so, put a clean dressing on it daily and whenever bandage gets wet.) For short periods, soak and gently clean the wound with warm water, three or four times a day. This will remove debris and keep the scab soft.

If your wound fails to heal within a reasonable time, you will need to contact a doctor. He will need to examine the wound and regional lymph nodes. Your temperature may be taken (fever is an indication of infection). It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor on any wound that is taking longer than usual to heal.

This should jog the old gray matter and bring back some of our teachings in the Boy Scouts, military and Red Cross classes we had many years ago about general first aid.
We can still be period with our reenactment of the Fur Trade, but use a little common sense, so we’re around for another adventure. You don’t have to be a hero, when physically uncomfortable or hurt, take care of the problem first.

Use your head and get back in one piece or as close to that as possible.

Common Sense Camp

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