Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dangerous dangers in the bush

Fear - For anyone faced with a wilderness emergency survival situation, fear is a normal reaction. Unless an emergency situation has been anticipated, fear is generally followed by panic then pain, cold, thirst, hunger, fatigue, boredom and loneliness. It is extremely important to calmly assess the situation and not allow these seven enemies to interfere with your survival.

Pain - Pain may often be ignored in a panic situation. Remember to deal with injuries immediately before they become even more serious.

Cold - Cold lowers the ability to think, numbing the body and reducing the will to survive. Never allow yourself to stop moving or to fall asleep unless adequately sheltered.

Thirst - Dehydration is a common enemy in an emergency situation and must not be ignored. It can dull your mind, causing you to overlook important survival information.

Hunger - Hunger is dangerous but seldom deadly. It may reduce your ability to think logically and increase your susceptibility to the effects of cold, pain and fear.

Fatigue - Fatigue is unavoidable in any situation so it is best to keep in mind that it can and will lower your mental ability. Remember that in an emergency situation this is often the bodies way of escaping a difficult situation.

Boredom & Loneliness - These enemies are quite often unanticipated and may lower the mind's ability to deal with the situation.

Stuff you need

Here is a bunch of stuff that you will be VERY likely to need in the bush (or on the Matai Islands)

A small shelter which is insulated from the bottom, protected from wind and snow and contains a fire is extremely important in wilderness survival. Before building your shelter be sure that the surrounding area provides the materials needed to build a good fire, a good water source and shelter from the wind.

Clothing must provide warmth and offer protection from the elements. Layers of light, natural fibers are best. Hats are a must, as they offer protection from both the heat and cold. Water proof outer layers are necessary.

Equipment must be easily manageable and promote survival in any situation. Items to carry in your pockets may include a fire starter, waterproof matches and/or lighter, a pocket knife, goggles, compass, small first-aid kit and some sort of trail food.

Survival Kit
Items for your survival kit should be packed in a waterproof container that can double as a cooking pot and water receptacle and be attached to your belt.

In addition to a survival kit, a good, comfortable backpack is mandatory. Loads of about 18 kg (40 lb.) are average. Items to include are; flashlight, extra jacket, socks and mittens, a pocket saw, gas camp stove, first aid kit, emergency food, and a tent and fly.


Useful items to include on your hike are:

. A map and compass.

2. A large, bright plastic bag will be useful as a shelter, signaling device or in lieu of raingear.

. A flashlight with extra batteries.

. Extra water and food.

. Extra clothing such as raingear, a toque and gloves, a sweater and pants.

. Sun protection such as sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat and long sleeved clothing.

. A sharp pocket knife.

. Waterproof matches, a lighter and/or a flint.

. Candles and fire starter.

. A first aid kit.

. A whistle, flares, a tarp.

How to build a fire in the bush

Here are some tips:
1. Waterproof, strike-anywhere matches are your best bet. Matches may be water-proofed by dipping them in nail polish. Store your matches in a waterproof container.

2. A cigarette lighter is also a good way to produce a spark, with or without fuel.

3. The flint and steel method is one of the oldest and most reliable methods in fire starting. Aim the sparks at a pile of dry tinder to produce a fire.

4. The electric spark produced from a battery will ignite a gasoline dampened rag.
5. Remove half of the powder from a bullet and pour it into the tinder. Next place a rag in the cartridge case of the gun and fire. The rag should ignite and then may be placed into the tinder.
6. Allow the suns rays to pass through a magnifying glass onto the tinder.
Dry grass, paper or cloth lint, gasoline-soaked rags and dry bark are all forms of tinder. Place your tinder in a small pile resembling a tepee with the driest pieces at the bottom. Use a fire starter or strip of pitch if it is available.

It is important to keep in mind that smaller pieces of kindling such as, twigs, bark, shavings and gasoline, are necessary when trying to ignite larger pieces of fuel. Gather fuel before attempting to start your fire. Obviously dry wood burns better and wet or pitchy wood will create more smoke. Dense, dry wood will burn slow and hot. A well ventilated fire will burn best.

Primitive survival in the bush

If you are living in the bush, then you will need to have methods to keep food cool, cook, build shelters and hunting equipment. How to make a wilderness shelter:
1. Natural shelters such as caves and overhanging cliffs. When exploring a possible shelter tie a piece of string to the outer mouth of the cave to ensure you will be able to find your way out. Keep in mind that these caves may already be occupied. If you do use a cave for shelter, build your fire near its mouth to prevent animals from entering.
2. Enlarge the natural pit under a fallen tree and line it with bark or tree boughs.

3. Near a rocky coastal area, build a rock shelter in the shape of a U, covering the roof with driftwood and a tarp or even seaweed for protection.

4. A lean-to made with poles or fallen trees and a covering of plastic, boughs, thick grasses or bark is effective to shelter you from wind, rain and snow.

5. A wigwam may be constructed using three long poles. Tie the tops of the poles together and upright them in an appropriate spot. Cover the sides with a tarp, boughs, raingear or other suitable materials. Build a fire in the center of the wigwam, making a draft channel in the wall and a small hole in the top to allow smoke to escape.

6. If you find yourself in open terrain, a snow cave will provide good shelter. Find a drift and burrow a tunnel into the side for about 60 cm (24 in) then build your chamber. The entrance of the tunnel should lead to the lowest level of you chamber where the cooking and storage of equipment will be. A minimum of two ventilating holes are necessary, preferably one in the roof and one in the door.

I will post some more tips soon :-)

Thursday, May 21, 2009


On the Wikipedia page: "Supply and demand", it states that "Supply and demand is an economic model based on price, utility and quantity in a model. It predicts that in a competitive market, price will function to equalize the quantity demanded by consumers, and the quantity supplied by producers, resulting in an economic equilibrium of price and quantity. The model incorporates other factors changing equilibrium as a shift of demand and/or supply".
Pretty heavy stuff, but the basic stuff is:
If the demand for the product increases, then the manufacturer would increase the price of the product.

If a new type of game came out, the price would not e decided by the manufacturer, nor the consumer, but the market forces, or the equilibrium point.

The equilibrium point is where the price (p) meets the quantity (q) at the dotted lines.
For example: The price of shoes would go up if the demand for them also went up, but the price wouldn't go up if nobody was buying them.

That's about all I'll write for now, though I haven't covered a lot of it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Native woods on our island

On our island we have the following trees:
  • Kahikatea (also known by the misleading name "white pine")
  • Matai (also known by the misleading name "black pine")
  • Rimu (also known by the misleading name "red pine")
  • Kauri (one of the most ancient species of trees in NZ)
  • And possibly a few other types of trees, and also undergrowth.

On the scale of how threatened a species is, all of the above trees are "least concern", except for the kauri tree. The kauri is classified "conservation dependant" and often grows to at least 600 years old, though many seem to have reached the 1000 mark.


[Kauri] In the past the size and strength of kauri timber made it a popular wood for construction and ship building, particularly for masts of sailing ships due to the absence of branches extending for much of its height. Kauri is also a great timber for building the hulls and decks of boats because of its resistance to rot. Kauri stump wood was much appreciated for its beauty, and was wanted for ornamental wood panelling and fancy furniture.

[Rimu] Historically, rimu and other native trees such as kauri and totara were the main sources of wood for New Zealand, including house construction. But, many of New Zealand's original stands of rimu have been destroyed, and new laws forbid the cutting down of rimu in public forests, though allowing limited logging on private land. There is also limited recovery of stump and root wood, for use in making bowls and other wood turned objects. The inner bark can also be used to treat burns and cuts.

[Kahikatea] Since the wood does not impart an odour, and is clean and lightweight, Kahikatea was used to make boxes for the exporting of butter when the refrigerated export got better between Australia and New Zealand in the 1880s. For Māori, the kahikatea had many uses. The fleshy aril or koroi was an important food resource, and was served at feasts in great amounts. The wood was also favoured for making bird spears. Soot obtained from burning the heartwood supplied a pigment for traditional tattooing. Kahikatea, along with other trees in privately owned forests, can only be harvested under a permit system and if sustainable harvesting techniques are used.

[Matai] The timber of this tree was used extensively in New Zealand for flooring during the mid-20th century. Mataī is not threatened, although as a forest-type it has been greatly reduced through widespread logging. Very few intact examples of Matai-dominated forest remain.

To read more about them, visit the following websites:

Dacrydium cupressinum (Rimu)

Agathis australis (Kauri)

Dacrycarpus dacrydiodes (Kahikatea)

Prumnopitys taxifolia (Matai)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wharf pictures

Here are the pictures from the Google Sketchup model of the wharf:

I'm an architect

My primary job on the island is architect. I share this occupation with Sprint Gas Racing, and so far business is booming. Because we are starting from scratch on the island, we are needed a lot. The plans for the wharf are complete, the eco-housing design is finished except for the furnishings, and the blueprints for the community centre/town hall are still in the first stage.
On my other blog (no pun intended), I have done a post about architecture throughout the ages. To see it, click here.
Soon I will upload some pictures of the Google Sketchup model of our wharf, and hopefully the finished versions of our other buildings.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Things an eco-house needs

1) An energy-saving design.
2) To be constructed with environmentally friendly materials (such as the EcoFaeBrick or homemade concrete).
3) It could use the natural features of the land to it's advantage (for cooling and heat and the like).
4) A way of powering the electrical neccesities of life (like a few small wind turbines or a tiny dam over a nearby stream).
5) The eco-house could have a water tank to store the rain-water off the roof.
6) A stone/concrete floor to trap the heat from the day and releases it in the night.
7) To look fabulously awesome.
8) A revolutionary way of not producing lots of carbon.
9) Lots of plants and vegetation.
An eco-house is an environmentally sustainable building that uses all of the above to help save our planet, etc...

Sustainable house

Here is a sustainable eco-house with solar panels and efficient heating.
It's specifications:
Construction: Timber frame walls; floor is 100mm slab with 50mm screed and 50mm polystyrene (with embedded water pipes for heating via solar hot water / wet back system); timber truss roof with corrugated steel cladding.
Windows: PVC framed double glazed.
Thermal mass: Concrete floor and stones surrounding wood burner.
Insulation: During building used the thickest batts possible along with 50mm of polystyrene.
Materials: Untreated timber used in the house.
Passive design: North facing windows and blinds.
Water heating: 6 flat solar panles.
Energy saving features: Heating system using solar combined with wetback to heat underfloor of house as well as hot water for showering etc.

1st contender for the Eco Building Material

This is likely to be one of the building materials used in the building of our civilisation on the Matai islands:
Under the brand of EcoFaeBrick, we are providing a breakthrough wall material to you. We offer you a brick that 20% lighter compared to the clay brick but 20% stronger in terms of compressive strength. By using EcoFaeBrick, you will get benefit not only in the higher quality of bricks but also in the lower structural cost. Please do not worry that such high quality of bricks will cost you extra, as we sell EcoFaeBrick at the same price as you pay for ordinary clay brick.We use 75% of processed cattle waste as our material. EcoFaeBrick is a safe product in terms of technical as well as health concern. Laboratory tests for the product have been conducted.
This was sourced from ecofaebrick.com