Sunday, March 28, 2010

And... we're behind.... again...

Wow! Time just flies by anymore. I got the first round back from HT this weekend and decided to finish up the knife I did up for the BCUSA skills thing first off. Check it out here...

The A2 in this thing just finishes fantastically. The Oak works with it so well. I am really pleased with this one.
I just need to get it on the stone and finalize the sharp and it's done. Let's hope whoever gets it is happy.

Gotta roll. Two more to finish, two more to grind and... at least one more set to send off.... Later.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bush Craft by Mors Kochanski

This book is a must read for most all bushcrafters out there in the world. I can't lie, it's not an easy read. It is packed (PACKED) with information and pretty well requires you to take action every other page. It's that full of stuff to know. I am on read #2 and still making notes. On the flip side of this, it is 100% business. If you're looking for a good story of the woods experience, this isn't your book. Still, it's packed with illustrations and info. So, to it then:

  • Readability - 4 of 5 - It's well written and about as easy to read as a text book on a subject you want to learn.
  • Editing - 5 of 5 - superb work editing this book. Flow is very well done.
  • Subject Matter - 5 of 5 - Seriously, a must read for anyone looking to spend time out of doors in that dirt-timey sort of way.
  • Did I like it - 4 of 5 - I liked it a lot. It's a dry read but I find that I can use most all of it.

I'll say it again, a must read for any wood-be outdoorsman / bushcrafter / survivalist / etc. This book is a wealth of knowledge. Worth every dime in my opinion.

The Reality of Rain

Spring is great... except for the weekend rain. I had the best time planned out in my mind for today but it is not going to happen. The simple truth is, I like to hunt in the rain but hunting and making fire and shelter and all of the stuff I do in the off season is not much fun when it's cold and wet. When it warms up I'll get out and practice it once or twice but today... I guess it's back to the shop... Knives to finish, Customers to silence, etc. Maybe another day....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Base Gear

I have to admit I haven't been approaching dirt time the way I am now for very long. The cool part of what I am doing now though, is that for gear, I pretty much just adapt what I carry hunting and augment it a bit and I am set.

Here's my full day out rig. The medium ALICE pack is a fantastic platform to build on. I chose no frame and I like the floppy flexibility and the capacity. The flipside of that is that sometimes I may pack too much... ;)

Here's the kind of back-on view. Big up to Rick Marchand for showing me how that shovel fits behind that pocket. Fricking sweet.

Here's my standard gear all unpacked. Left to right, front to back it goes like this...
shovel thing, 3 nalgene bottles (widemounth), Gerber Saw, couple of Moras, emergency blanket / tarp thing, my small axe, (2nd row sort of... bag by the shovel) the black bag is my cord and rags, my tea kettle set (very cool), My walmart poncho, (Back left again) my camera case, handi wipes, my toggle and tarp rope up bag, the fubar bag, my ALICE pack, (back left) the little red bag is my fire set up, the gray bag has my knife gear in it, and last and on top is my tarp.

Here's a better look at the fubar bag. Medicine, Petzel light, compass, silver nitrate sponges, etc. If it's needed when it goes bad, it's in here.

So, the idea I had, that seems to work so far, about a tarp rigging kit gets attributed almost entirely to BushBum over on He ties up his tarps with sticks across the grommets which make sense. It distributes the load well and keeps things from ripping out so easily. I just got tired of looking for sticks over one trip last winter... so I went to home depot and cut my own... Add 10 8 foot lines with loops already in place and you have my kit. Seems to work well.

While I am all about learning the more primitive fire ways and natural tinder and all of that stuff... I am also all about being warm. This is my 'gotta start it' kit. Vaseline and cotton pads, steel wool, and a firesteel with a striker... Generally enough stuff to make it burn, assuming there is something that will.

This is my knife stuff bag. Typically, you'll find a bit of oil and some polishing compound in here too but today only my convex sharpening kit in the tin and my stone and straup for everyone else. I like it. (Excellent convex sharpening vids here and here ...)

Finally, we have my bag of other stuff... In here you'll find my extra paracord, rags, bandannas, etc. Even the occasionally hat. Mostly I just keep the odd soft stuff in there. Works out well.

So that's the general gist of the base gear I use. Depending on location and duration and weather I'll add or remove and clothing always varies depending on this as well. Typically for food, I am packing a couple of MRE's and some tea. Nothing like a real KISS to make it easy on your mind to relax. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Thoughts on going bushy

I learned to hunt, for real, when I was about 19 years old. Before that, the woods, the brush, the space beyond the pavement, was a decoration for the place where life happened.

Life changed a bit and I spent a lot of time looking at the bush and what seemed like the wild places. Then I met someone who knew what I wanted even when I didn't and showed me how to hunt squirrels as a way to begin to know the outdoors. I carried that with me for almost 20 years. When February came, I went into my own version of seasonal affective disorder and basically hated everything until September came back and squirrel was back in season.

About a year ago I started to make knives. As a result of this I ran into something that about half the guys in England seems to be talking about... bush knives. From there I began to know this loosely defined group of ideas everyone throws out as bushcraft.

Now, for lots of folks, the line between survival prep and bushcraft is nonexistent. For others, bushcraft is about carving spoons and making fires and hanging with friends. It's a pretty diverse thing, this bushcraft stuff. So what I think, and what I am headlong down the road to doing, is learning how to get along in the world that isn't man-made. There's a bunch to learn and a bunch more to do and in the end, it seems to all be about self reliance and knowledge. I like that.

So let's begin then. Thursday, Mrs Joel said get out so I got out. I made myself a little vid of my adventures and figured we'd open up the new blog with one of my new favorite things - making and managing a fire well enough to stay warm and make some tea. It was a good day.