February 2015
Howle's Hints

Coffee Can Contents Can be a Lifesaver

  Items that can save you on a stranded night are: lighter, three emergency candles, hand warmers, knit stocking cap, emergency space blanket, food bars, water, duct tape and some extra cash.

"The Tea Party is simply a loose description of local activism driven by Americans who want smaller government and more self-reliance. That sounds like what the Founding Fathers had in mind, does it not?" Bill O’Reilly

The Founding Fathers were an odd sort. Here was a group of men willing to stand on basic, godly principles – even risking their lives if the fledgling nation of America failed to successfully break away from the British. Most of these men are also referred to as the "framers of the constitution." Each man faced hanging for treason if caught and tried.

John Hancock signed with a huge signature, and people of the time said he thought highly of himself. Hancock said he signed it large so King George III would not need spectacles to see his signature. He was one of the few patriots who had a direct bounty placed on his head by King George, and he was the man the British were looking for in Lexington in April 1775 when Paul Revere and friends rode through sounding the alarm.

After Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence that Thomas Jefferson had the biggest hand in writing, Hancock urged all the men to hang together or support each other. Ben Franklin answered with, "Yes, or we shall assuredly all hang separately." Ben Franklin not only signed the Declaration of Independence, he also invented bifocals, an innovative stove and the lightning rod that saved many homes from being destroyed by fire due to lightning strikes. He was also an avid writer known mostly for publishing "Poor Richard’s Almanac."

Thomas Jefferson had the British after him as well. Benedict Arnold led the British after Jefferson, but, before that, Jefferson had his slaves hide the silver on the property of his home at Monticello. Oddly, both Jefferson and John Adams died on the same day on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

Today’s press loves to demonize the Tea Party. Ironically, the Founding Fathers took special interest in maintaining a free and independent press that would hold the government accountable to its actions. The tenets of today’s Tea Party such as smaller government and individual self-reliance would have been considered the middle of the road in the country 30 years ago. Now, they are portrayed as radicals. But then again, I guess the Founding Fathers were considered radical by those who enjoyed living under total control of the British Throne.

This February, feel free to enjoy the freedoms fought so hard for by the Founding Fathers and troops. You might even appreciate that warm, Ben Franklin stove, or being able to read this magazine with some modern day bifocals.

Survival in a Coffee Can

A coffee can has many uses, but one of the most important may be in your vehicle. Even though we live in the Deep South, we’ve witnessed weather conditions cold enough to freeze folks to death. Remember the ice/snow storm of 1993? Even 2 years ago saw many people stranded on the sides of the interstate in the snow from Birmingham to Atlanta. Once a vehicle runs out of gas, the heater goes out as well. Having a coffee can full of survival supplies just might save your life.

The following are a few items that can help if you have to spend a cold night in your vehicle: Three candles, disposable Bic lighter, strike anywhere matches stored in a match safe, hand/body warmers, couple of food bars, couple of bottles of water, an emergency space blanket, duct tape wrapped around a pencil to save space, and first aid items such as band-aids, alcohol pads, pain reliever and gauze.

How are the Items in the Survival Can Used?

Starting in order, the three candles will be used for an all night heat source. Simply light one of the candles, tip it at an angle allowing wax to collect in the bottom of the can. Once the inside bottom of the can has hot wax in it, set the three candles in the base of the can into the hot wax. This will keep them upright while they burn. It is quite surprising how much heat can be generated with this simple trick.

The hand warmers are self-explanatory. Today, there are warmers with an adhesive back that can be stuck to clothing under coats or onto socks inside of boots.

Duct tape has many uses from stopping leaks in canoes and tents to attaching a lantern handle to a tree limb. The food bars are necessary to keep up energy levels, especially during extreme cold. If necessary, the can itself can be used to melt snow for drinking or boiling water to purify. The shiny bottom of the coffee can makes an ideal signaling device.

Cold Weather Coyotes

February is an ideal time to control the predator population on your farm. Deer season is over, and turkey season is a month away. While you are feeding the cows this winter, keep a rifle handy. Often the coyotes will come into the edges of fields offering a shot late in the evening. They will often come into fields looking for rats and field mice as well as cow manure for the folic acid it provides much like a tame dog will chew grass.

Farmers and ranchers have always displayed an independent spirit. This February, remember the founding fathers by being thankful for your independent spirit.

John Howle is a freelance writer from Heflin.