Sunday, August 12, 2012

The stars align and the Bushclass Odyssey Begins: Lessons 1, 2, 3 & 12

It's been a trying couple of years for me.  My back is in and then it isn't and then it hurts and then it works again...  The wife and kids are a constant but not unwelcome burden in terms of free time (I do love them so but getting away with two kids under 10 is just a challenge of epic proportion)... it makes it tough to get out and do things.  Finally though...  FINALLY... things are coming back together.  I am pretty stoked.

In recent months I have been forced to take a hard look at my gear.  There was too much of it and nothing was really just spot on to what I wanted in terms of function.  There was lots of 90% stuff but nothing I just knew was superb for my needs.  As a result, I have sold a bunch of it and started the hunt for the things and will be what I want and need and will work the best.  In one case in particular, that meant selling nearly every knife I owned and starting again. ( and pocketing some $.  I spent to much...  :) ) I was lucky enough to discover that Bark River has started to make some of the Bravo-1's without the ramp.  This knife is superb and right on what I hoped it would be.

My New Bravo-1 (The green in the handle is the tree behind me reflecting...)
  I've also been forced, through a lack of mobility and endless hours of sitting and watching kiddos and so on to come face to face with what I really wanted to do with the time I do have available.  In the end, the same principle applied.  I have spent a year, amassing days off to get out to squirrel hunt in the fall and I missed a few months of outdoor time...  I think that will have to change.   There needs to be a more regular dose of the outdoors or I think I will be missing too much.

To that end, I decided I should find something to go and do.  I wanted a reason to get outdoors that was fun and could help put things back into persective for me.  I turned back to hunting and oranizing that was fun.  I have quite a rig field tested and ready to ride in 3 weeks.  That worked until I realized I really didn't want to kill anything any more.  I know how to if I need to and I'll go shoot a few this year and probably fry them up or something but beyond that, I am just not into it that much anymore.  I would way well rather use a camera.  This left me in an interesting spot.  You know, I soured on the whole bushcraft thing a while ago... it just got tough to deal with all the semi-stupid macho guru crap I saw going on everywhere and I couldn't let it go.  I just had to walk away and for a few months I did... but it slowly crept back into my life.  I found that I had to make peace with the idea that the only person who really needed to know what I was thinking was me and actions were what things were all about... not gurus and assholes.  Losing site of the Internet as a resource and trying to make it into a community that could substitute for friends was a mistake for me.  Once I was able to put it in perspective it got easy, quickly...  :)  This, in turn, leads us to bushclass on bushcraftusa.com.

I like to learn things and I like challenges.  It's foolish to think that any knowledge is wasted and the guys who set up that online class have the knowledge and are sharing it.  It was a big tick on the learning curve for me to learn to split the lesson and from the people in the class.  Said another way and in more general terms... If you want to know a thing and you have to stand with some guys you like and some you can't stand so that you can learn that thing, what would you do?  I know what I decided.  So, I reupped the supporter thing to be allowed dump my excess gear and started the lessons... and so far, they are fun as is the lack of piles of extra MOLLE pockets and knives.  ;)  I have space again.

So, to the first outing and the lessons... 1, 2, 3, & 12 all sort of rolled together for me because it's the sort of thing I do every time I am out... although I have never made this many shavings before lighting the fire...  :)

Lesson 1 - Make a hat full of shavings


The barkie handled it, no sweat.

Lesson 2 - Light 5 man made tinders.

It's a hornedous pic but they are all burning... more or less.  :)

Lesson 3 - The twig fire;  Make enough prep for 2 fires and use a brace and platform.
 
Shavings from #1 and tinder from #2...

 
and the fire in full tilt burn with the remaining prep...
  Lastly, Lesson 12 - Bannock

I'm afraid I over did the baking powder... it popped off the lid.
And the finished product.  Not perfect but with Maple Syrup, all things are possible.

There're quite a few more lessons and I am continuing to work on them  With any luck, I'll have this polished off by Thanksgiving.  Of course there are more to do beyond the basic cert but one step at a time....  :) 

And if you find yourself looking for something to learn but feel like you really don't want to deal with the drama / BS / ignorance that sometimes rears it's head in a forum envrionment...  Try to notice the guys who are doing and not talking and follow them.. and if they offer to teach things, learn them.  Then go play with your real friends and thank the online guys for their time.  It's what they do.  :)