Archive for May, 2009

Fire steels

May 29, 2009

I just bought some firesteels off the Internet.  I got them from  Firesteel.com.  If you don’t know what a firesteel is, it’s basically a piece of a metal rod that when scraped makes a shower of sparks.  You take the edge or back of your knife or a scraper of some sort and kind of scrape it hard along the side of the firesteel at an angle and you’ll get some sparks.  The more practice the easier it is for you.  With one of these you can always get a fire going.  You know that you want to have multiple ways to start a fire.   A firesteel can be another tool in your fire starting kit.

Another good thing about firesteels is that they work even when wet.

p1010010I bought a set of five for I think $15.  One will go in the Get Home Bag, one in the camping Rubbermaids and I sewed one to my knife sheath.  Check it out.

p1010012I had some cordura cloth that I sewed into a little pocket just large enough to hold the firesteel firmly and I attached it to the sheath.  Pretty slick, huh?  I hope I never need to, but if I do need to desperately start a fire, the firesteel will make it easier than a fire bow.  I have been successful using firesteels to start fires.  You really need to use a different type of tinder when using a firestell though.  Lint, the stuff from a dryer, milkweed fluff, steel wool, cotton balls or something else that is light and fluffy will usually do the trick.

Like most guys, I like to start fires.  There is something very satisfying about starting a fire without using matches or a lighter.

If you buy some firesteels, like everything else, you need to practice using them before you depend on them.  So get some firesteels, put me in your tackle box, tool box, hunting kit or GHB and practice.

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!! Some of the reasons this is my favorite time of year, the days are still getting longer, flowers a blooming and the air is heavy with the sweet scent of flowers. Do you recognize this plant?  Maybe you have mallow growing in your garden.

16These are nice pictures of a Musk Mallow.  The leaves are edible and nutritious.  Like okra the plant contains a mucus that can thicken soups.  Leaf and root teas are used for coughs, bronchitis and as an anti-inflammatory.    A poultice can be put on wounds.

17Have you bought your own field guides yet?  What are you waiting for?  I just picked up a new one that someone recommended; thank you M.D. Creekmore.

Border fence

May 26, 2009

The “Virtual Border Fence” is another example of corporate, Military-Industrial Complex welfare.  I virtual-border-fence-5am all for protecting our borders.  I think that we need to shut our borders down.

In announcing the resumption of a “virtual fence” on the U.S.-Mexican border yesterday, the Obama administration sent a powerful message of continuity with President George W. Bush..described a five-year, multibillion-dollar plan…

Originally as envisioned by Bush 43 the project was to cost $7,600,000,000 (Billion), but its been (ahem) cut to $6,700,000,000.  That kind of money seems like it would help a lot of homeowners, pay for healthcare and hire a ton of border agents.  These are HUGE numbers so we need to lend a little perspective here – so let’s say we want to pay border agents $100,000 a year including benefits, that means that $6.7 Billion would hire 67,000 border agents.   We could hire 67,000 border agents at $100 grand each!! Got that?  67,000 agents!!  Think that would help the economy?

This is corporate welfare of the worst kind at a time when our country can’t afford it.  Of course Boeing has its hand out.

V.1 of the border fence was a complete failure; “Between 1998 and 2005, the government spent $429 million on two border surveillance efforts that were so unreliable that only 1 percent of alarms led to arrests.”    Uncle Sugar not being one to allow military contractors to go away empty handed though is willing to spend another $6,700,000,000 on V.2.

Why is there always enough money for high-tech gadgetry, but not enough money for the simple things?  We blow hundreds of millions on Halliburton contracts, but can’t buy enough armored humvees.    Blow billions on high-tech unproven, unnecessary jet fighters, but can’t give our troops clean water and safe showers.A third U.S. service member has been determined to have been electrocuted in a shower in Iraq…

Our guys and gals in overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan shouldn’t have to equip themselves from a Brigade Quartermaster catalog or rely on the kindness of friends and family. If you know someone that has served, than you know that they all have a wish list of what they need from ceramic plates for their vest to knives and shoes and food.  My cousin had his stuff stolen and the government freaking billed him!!

How about employing a low cost, low tech solution that works or onceAhh, but then there wouldn’t be so much money for the Boeings, Lorals and General Dynamics of the world now would there.

Have no doubt about it, this has more to do with corporate giveaways to the military-industrial complex than it does with border security.  The Naval War College performed a study, “Time to Put the Military on the Border.”  Some of the study’s conclusions are that “it is well documented that the U.S. Border Patrol is undermanned, under-equipped, and under-trained…”

So what do we do, do we hire more border agents, equip them better or train them more comprehensively?  Of course not, the leaders of both political parties, Democrats and Republicans, Corporatists both to be sure, figure out a way to pad military contractors like Boeing.

And since we’re on the subject of military contractors ripping off taxpayers with the assistance of government tools, that shower story above, the contractor was KBR.  How do you think KBR was punished?  They weren’t.  They were rewarded!!!  “Military contractor KBR Inc. was paid $83.4 million in bonuses for electrical work in Iraq — much of it after the military’s contract management agency recognized the contractor was doing shoddy electrical work…

Does that piss you off!?!?!? IT PISSES ME OFF TO NO END.

  • We have banks that screwed up, that rape borrowers with bogus fees and what should be illegal interest rates and the taxpayers have to bail them out.
  • We have car companies that screwed up, built cars no one wants to buy and the taxpayers end up giving them huge bailouts too.  I think the taxpayer spoke when we didn’t buy enough of their cars.
  • We have military contractors that can’t build a safe shower and they get bonuses.
  • We have more military contractors who coudn’t build an effective border fence so they get more taxpayer money.

It makes me feel like checking out of the system altogether.  We have to stop feeding that beast called government. I hate how my hard-earned money is being wasted by this beastly government.

Our goverment is out of control and unresponsive to the citizens that empower it to serve their interests!!

When in the course of human events….

Get outside everyday!!

12I hope that you have a garden.  You don’t need much space.  These are some of the radishes that I grew.  I also grew white radishes.   You can get twice this amount of radishes from a four foot square area (2 * 2).  You could even try to grow veggies in a container if you are so inclined.

Bore snakes

May 24, 2009

Away camping this weekend so short post.  Is it camping if you have a refrigerator, cable and a bathroom, but also have campfires, smores, cook over the fire and still kind of rough it?  Hope to go surfing later today.

I like bore snakes.  They make cleaning my firearms easier.  The problem is that you need a different size bore snake for each caliber you have.   I slide a wet patch through a couple of times, then a clean patch and then the bore snake. You can see from this nicely labeled picture that I found on the Internet…

Presentation1that is has a two floss areas, a brass bore brush built right in, a weight to help it slide through the barrel.  They fit good and snug too.  If you haven’t tried a bore snake, give it a go.  You should be able to pick one up for about 15 bucks.

Get Outside Everyday!!

P1010006This is Jack in the Pulpit.  Pretty distinctive, aye?

Water filter review

May 20, 2009

I bought a water filter called  the Pure Easy Camper’s Micro-Ceramic Filter.  The reason that I bought it was because of its diminutive size.    The filter only weighs three ounces and measures about 5 1/2″ * 1″ * 2 1/2″.  It will fit inside of a hardcase for sunglasses.  That’s pretty small. I wanted something that I could p6use when I want to travel really light.  I thought that a filter like this would be ideal for those one or two night solo camping trips.  When you don’t have a buddy to split the load with, you really need to pay attention to the weight of what you carry.

The other nice thing about this filter is that it filters down to .1 microns.  That’s about as an effective filter as I’ve seen.  The MSRs and Katadyns go down to maybe .2 microns.    I also thought it would be good in the Get Home or Bug Out Bag.   I paid $65.00 for it, which isn’t too bad for a filter.  It’s made from some sort of polymer.

So of course I had to try it out at home before depending upon it for a camping trip.  It was easy to assemble.  Not much to it really, just snap the tubes on.  The tubes are smaller than all of the other water filters that I’ve used.  The tubes are pretty much the same size as aquarium tubing, so you can’t pump a lot of water through them.p4

Here’s a shot of the filter with the tubes attached.  I should have placed a ruler next to it for scale, but remember it’s about the size of a pair of sunglasses. The intake tube has a little screen pre-filter on it.  It’s that little green triangular thing in the bottom left of the picture and it also has a float that you can slide up and down the tube to keep the pre-filter off of the bottom of the source of water that you are filtering.  It’s that kind of charcoal colored thing in the right side of the picture.

My first crack at filtering didn’t work out so well.  No matter how I tried I couldn’t get it to develop any suction.  I disassembled it, applied some silicon sealant and tried to prime it.  All to no avail.

I ended up sending it back to the manufacturer – Middleboro Water, LLC.  These folks were very responsive.  They said that they never had a manufacturing failure before.  They replaced it free of charge and FedExed the new filter to me free of charge.  Middleboro Water is a great company with great service.  Like I said no hassles (other than having to pay for postage there), no questions and I had the replacement filter within days.

Lesson here though, like I always say – is to try everything out before you depend on it.  Whether it’s ammo, a sleeping bag, stove, flashlight, firearm or a water filter.  You can’t depend on something if you haven’t tried it.

I tried the replacement filter in some stream water.   The  stream really wasn’t that dirty and I would consider drinking it untreated if need be – either let it settle in a container or dig a hole next to the stream and let the water perc up.  It did an adequate job, but I didn’t think the water tasted as “sweet” as an MSR filter.  This may improve with usage and time.  It also took an enormous amount of effort to get a glass of water, probably three minutes of pumping.  The pre-filter also clogs up pretty easily.  Next time I use it I think that I would tie a bandana around the pre-filter to act as a pre-pre-filter.  Strange enough, the collar that screws down to hold the pump handle in place kept coming loose while I was pumping.  Also, with just a little bit of use I could tell that the ceramic element was starting to get clogged i.e. it became increasingly more difficult to pump.

As you might expect due to this filter’s small bore and stroke, you have to pump a lot for the amount of water you get.  Not good for a group of thirsty people.  You have to pump maybe 200 times (although I wasn’t counting) to fill up a one liter bottle.  You have to pump much more with this filter than with other larger filters.  p7I’m thinking of replacing the aquarium type tubing with some wider surgical tubing with the hope of getting a better flow rate.

The filter also came with a nice little storage bag with pull ties on it, a little bit of sandpaper to clean the ceramic element with, some special silicone sealant and simple, easy to follow directions.

p8

It does disassemble very easily.  You just unscrew the collars and can pull up the pump handle and the ceramic element.  You can see how dirty the element got with minimal usage.  This is crap that you don’t want to drink.

All in all, the filter was a bit of a disappointment.  It will  get the job done, but it’s small size isn’t a big enough benefit to make up for its shortcomings.  I think that you are better off sticking to a normal size filterI like the concept and the company seems like a good company, but I would wait for the second generation to come out.  There are still a few kinks that need ironing out.  The company, Middleboro Water, LLC, did back up their product 100% so I would not hesitate to buy another of their products. Their service was also great.  I just think this particular filter needs a few more design improvements.

However, if you need to travel fast, light and solo the Pur Easy Camper may be the ticket for you, but make sure that you have a back up means to clean water too.

In summary, it’s a good filter for specialized purposes, (light and fast solo on foot travel) otherwise carry a larger filter.

Get outside everyday!

P1010101This little tree is a survivor.  Look at it growing through a crack in this rock.

And this was just a cool looking root that was all worn down.  It reminded me of a topo map.

p1010103

My favorite field guides

May 17, 2009

You gotta have a bunch of field guides.  There are field guides available on just about every subject of nature that you can imagine.  I have ones on: bats, animals, rocks and gems, birds, edible plants, medicinal plants, forests, different regions, plants and flowers and wildflowers. The Internet is also a huge resource.  I don’t know how we got by before The Googles were born.

When I walk in the fields and woods I’m always looking around, looking up and down.  If I see something that looks interesting to me and I don’t know what it is I’ll break off a branch or some leaves and bring it home to identify it.  If you do this too then you know that you need to have at least three or four field guides in order to be sure that you identified your subject correctly.

Some field guides will only show a plant when it’s flowering and many plants only flower for a week or two so if you want to identify it the other 50 weeks a year you may be out of luck.  Different field guides have different pictures or drawing and different descriptions.  That’s why it’s good to have a bunch of field guides, so you can cross reference.

One of my readers, (Yeah, I do have a few.) I thank each and everyone of you,  readership is the greatest form of flattery and I don’t ask you to buy my crap either.   Someone asked me to tell you what field guides I use so here it comes…

204670104Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants is by Wildman Steve Brill.  Mr. Brill is the guy that forages and gives classes how to forage Central Park, NYC.    Amazing how much wild food there is growing free and wild in Central Park.  There aren’t any color pictures in this book.  Heck, there aren’t any pictures at all, BUT there are good drawings.  This might not be a good first field guide to get, but it is large and the descriptions and uses of plants are great.  This guide is organized by season.  Mr. Brill is very straightforward he will tell you if a wild plant isn’t worth harvesting.  I particularly like some of the history of the plants that he tells the reader about.  There is even a section with recipes.  It’s 317 pages long and a big book maybe 8 1/2 * 11.

Angier Field GuideAngiers Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants doesn’t have any pcitures either, but the drawings are in color.  This guide is organized alphabetically, which isn’t a lot of help in identifying things, but that’s why you have have to familiarize yourself with all of your field guides, because then when you are walking you will see something that you recognize.  There are good descriptions in this book.  It is 255 pages long and small enough to put in a pack.

Eastern EdiblesGuide to Northeastern Wild Edibles by Kavasch has great color photos.  I think it’s out of print, but you can get used copies off of the Internet.  It is organized by season.  It has a handy feature, a ruler markings inside the back cover, not a big deal, but still a great addition.  It’s really a good guide.  This book is 64 pages and small enough to carry in a pack.

Audubon Eastern ForestsThis isn’t so much a field guide on edible plants as it is a general guide to different types of forests in the Eastern US of A, like Boreal, Transition, Deciduous, Oak-Hickory, etc.  It’s by the Audubon Society so it’s well written and the many, many color pictures are great.  For example, in the tree section there are color pictures of the trees and also drawings of the entire tree outline and the critter section has color pictures and maps to show where the critters reside to help ID them.  It’s 635 pages long and kind of big to carry backpacking for a distance.  Great for a day pack though because you can really have fun with it because all of the bases are covered: trees, birds, mammals, snakes, insects and spiders, mushrooms, wildflowers, butterflies and moths and amphibians.

New EnglandField Guide to New  England is another Audubon book.   This is a more specialized field guide as it is only for New England.  Although, I’m certain that many of the plants also grow near you too.  You can really learn alot about your natural surroundings from this book.  This book at 447 pages is small enough to pack with you.  Not a whole lot of info on edible stuff, but it’s a great all purpose field guide.  The pictures are great and there are multiple pictures on every page.  it’s broken up by: geology, habitats, conservation and ecology, weather (IDing clouds is pretty cool), the night sky (once again pretty cool), flora, invertebrates, vertebrates, park and preserves of the region.

The two coming up are probably the most useful to me.

Peterson EdiblePeterson field guides are good stuff.   In this one of Edible Wild Plants there is only a small section with color pictures, but there are a ton of very good black and white drawings.   If you don’t know what it is you’re looking at and you are trying to ID it the Peterson books make it easiest.  This one on edible plants is organized by: flowering plants, woody plants, miscellaneous plants, finding plants where and when they occur and food uses. The flower section is broken up by flower color and the woody plant section by type of leaf.  It also obviously tells you what parts of each plant is edible and how to prepare it.  If you need to forage this is definitely one book that you want to have. Each description also has symbols which makes it easy to tell a plant’s uses at a glance.  It’s 300 pages and small enough to pack.

Peterson MedicinalThe Peterson Field Guide of Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs has multiple color pictures on every page.  This Medicinal Plant field guide is organized by flower color, shrubs, trees, vines, ferns and grasses.   The good pictures make it easy to ID the plants.   Like the previous Peterson guide this one also uses symbols next to the descriptions to make it easy to see the uses.  The best part of this guide is the index to medical topics at the back of the book.  So if you have an ailment you can look it up and find a plant that may ease your symptoms.  The index by medical topic lists things like: abrasion, analgesic, anemia, anticancer, bites, dog, bleeding, blood purifier, carbuncles, cirrhosis, colds and you get the idea.  This book is another MUST HAVE.  It is 411 pages long and small enough to pack.

Get Outside Everyday and put your books into use.  I think the following two pictures are two types of wintergreen.  If you know for sure please let me know.

This I’m pretty sure is Wintergreen.  The next time I see it I’ll have to smell it.  It may be Pipsissiwa too.

P1010004

I looked this one up and I came up with Chickweed Wintergreen, but I’m not convinced.  It looked like Star of Bethlehem, but I know that’s not right.

P1010001

Why our country is sucking…

May 15, 2009

That useless walking pile of skin, bones and hair Nancy Pelosi (Moron – CA) said “The CIA gave me inaccurate information” about waterboarding, and she added that the CIA “misled the Congress.

She went on to say that the CIA misleads Congress all of the time. Pelosi said, “They mislead us all the time…”  You get that, the esteemed speaker of the house said that the CIA misleads, err lies, to Congress all of the time?

What did Bush Chimp use to say, There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” —President George W. Bush, Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002

So Pelosi is damn fool.  She claims that the CIA lies to her all of the time and yet she falls for it all of the time.  With folks like her in Congress is it any wonder that our futures are spinning down the drain like a teenage boy’s love?

It makes me want to puke.  Really, it makes me ill.  Shouldn’t she be exercising some oversight, rather than allowing herself to be lied to and used as a pawn.  It’s called the balance of power.  Maybe she should look it up. Hey, Madam Speaker pay a bit more attention to the people’s business and a little bit less attention to your hubbie’s land deals.  Useless.

Then John Boehner (Moron – OH), said that he can’t imagine that the CIA would ever mislead a member of Congress.  “It’s hard for me to imagine that anyone in our intelligence area would ever mislead a member of Congress. They come to the [Capitol] Hill to brief us because they’re required to, under the law,” Boehner said. “I don’t know what motivation they would have to mislead anyone. And I don’t believe — and don’t feel — that in the briefings that I’ve had that I’ve been misled at any one point in time.

Boehner is also a moron.  He is either lying or dull as a teaspoon.  Who in their right mind can’t imagine the CIA lying to Congress? Of course the CIA lies.  If they didn’t they wouldn’t be doing their job.  They lie, cheat, overthrow elected heads of state, make exploding cigars, foment unrest, specialize in false flag attacks and so on.

So not only did Boehner receive $3 Million in campaign contributions from the Robber Barons and Banks that he voted to bail out, he is also a dullard to boot.

We need to wrestle our country back from these people that we elected.  They are looting our Treasury, encumbering our futures and wagering our lives at the track.

With leadership like this is it any wonder why our country is sucking?

240px-TREEBEARD

Short post today.  I’m not home so no Getting Outside Pics for this post, but still GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY, commune with the ENTS.

Back to survival stuff tomorrow.  In the coming days I’m going to do posts on: a water filter I bought, bore snakes and field guides.

Meet the new boss Same as the old boss

May 14, 2009

Well, well, well.  Lookie, lookie, lookie Obama hasn’t brought a whole lot of change so far.  Most of the purported change has been smoke n’ mirrors.

He serves the same master – Moneyed Interests.  He promised middle-class tax cuts and we got $10 a week while the banks got hundreds of billions.

He promised transparency, but is now fighting the release of information related to the US torturing prisoners.

He promised to get us out of Iraq, but will still leave 50,000 troops there while also increasing our presence in Afghanistan by tens of thousands.

May 15th edit WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Obama is planning on Friday to resume the Bush administration’s controversial military commission system for some Guantanamo detainees — which he suspended in his first week in office — according to three administration officials.

If you voted for Obama do you feel taken?

The budget is broke.  The country is bankrupt.  The collapse will continue.  Continue preparing by learning new skills, getting informed, buying extra food, storing extra clothing and non-perishables, buy imported goods now while the US$ still has some value and GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!!

p1010098A little waterfall near my house.  Wehn we walk here we say that we are visiting the Waterfall Goddess.  The picture doesn’t do it justice.  It’s probably 15+ feet tall.

p1010021You can see that my strawberries are looking good.  I only have a 1/4 acre lot, living in suburbia.  Less than 1/2 is arable because of the house, the patio, the driveway and steep hill.  Still I have a small garden, a ton of herbs, bunches of wild things like lambs quarters, jerusalem artichokes and purslane.  Strawberries don’t take up much space.  If you live in the suburbs you have foundation plants.  Plant strawberries as a living mulch around your foundation plants or in that little patch where grass can’t grow.  You can grow a lot of food on a little scratch patch of land.

Don’t be lulled

May 12, 2009

Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security.  The way I figure, although it may feel like the eye of the storm, is that we haven’t even made it through the first half of the mutation and eventual evolution of our economic system.  Someone much smarter than me once wrote something like, ‘evolution depends on multiple spontaneous mutations’ – debt restructuring, currency devaluation, hyper-inflation, continued deflation, mass job loss, public protests, government takeover of private business, scarcity of goods, rationing, foreclosures, tax protests to name just a few.   I think that is what we are likely to see over the coming years.  What we are lucky, or unlucky depending upon how you look at it, to be living through is the total evolution of our economy.

The market has been doing very well the past couple of months, but as far as I am concerned the fundamentals still suck.  A leap frogging in technology is the only thing I think that has the most remote possibility of rescuing us from the economic mess.  I just don’t see it on the horizon, but hey I’m just a regular guy trying to keep my head above water.   Twenty years ago who thought that we’d all have a computer.  That’s the only type of thing that I think can reverse our destiny.  You all can argue how severe the deflation will be and then how severe the subsequent inflation will be.

The President, the Media, the MSNBCers and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men won’t be able to put it back together again.  Everything is going to change.  What we do for a living is going to change.  How we get around.  How we grow and get food is going to change.  What we expect of our government.   How we live together.  The things that we’ve grown to value over the past 30 years – play stations, flat screens, SUVs, McMansions, huge vacation homes, easy airfare, tropical fruit in the winter – are going to lose importance.

This is a temporary uptick.  We are facing another leg down.

So take this temporary calm time to TCB.  Maybe there is dental work that you’ve been putting off.  You’ve seen the lists.  You know what to do.

Start with Getting Outside Everyday.

Went up to the Pine Tree State this past weekend and saw a bunch of birds.  You see those specks in the field?  Those are wild turkeys.  I’ve never had it, but I heard it’s real gamey.  So much so that you need to hang it outside for a few days to season it.  Wouldn’ mind giving  it  a try sometime with some bacon.  Bacon makes everything better.  Bacon and turkey are a natural combination, where the total is better than the sum of the parts.

p10And here’s another shot of these beautiful birds.  You need to click on these pictures so you can see the birds’ colors.

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My life

May 7, 2009

Okay, kinda limited stuff going on so just a day in the life of Abraham.  It was a crappy day the other day so I went to the gun club.  I like crappy days because there aren’t a whole lot of people there so I’m able to do my own thing.  When there are lots of people at the club you have to wait for everyone to get synced before you can do your thing.  You know everyone sets their targets at the same time, walks back to the table at the same time, shoot, make safe, gun on table, back to targets.  It’s way too robotic for me and I don’t do well with rules or structure.

So there I was at the 25 yard pistol range.p1010003I wanted to use up some old 38+P that has been banging around in my pockets for a while and in my Model 60.  I also wanted to try out some Corbon 38+P before carrying it everyday.  I’ve heard that the Corbon is a good self-defense load.  It should be, I think I paid like 20 or 25 bucks for 25 rounds!!     DO NOT EVER LOAD YOUR EVERYDAY CARRY WEAPON WITH AMMO THAT YOU HAVE NOT TRIED OUT!! What’s nice about being there when no one else is, is that I can get up close to the target and shoot from three yards, five yards, seven yards and the table too.  I can shoot at different angles also.   I also wanted to try out a couple kinds of .22 subsonic ammo that I had to see if it made little enough noise to shoot in my neighborhood or along the powerlines.  It’s still noisy, but more of a pop than a crack.

g039Next I went over to the 50 yard range and used the Saiga with the reddot and with the iron sights.  It’s tough to shoot at 50 yards without optics.  I can see the target, but I’m basically aiming at the top, bottom, middle or corners of the target.  My eyes are only so good.  Always fun to use the Saiga.  Living in Massachusetts I’m limited to ten round mags, but that’s ok by me.  If I’m ever in the situation where I need a 30 round mag, my first instinct will be to go the other way.  I can’t say enough good things about the Saiga.  It’s not a tackdriver, but it is rugged, rugged, rugged and battle proven.  You can bury it in mud and it will shoot the mud right out of the barrel and out of the ejection port.  It also has very little recoil and shoots a very popular cartridge.  No problem hitting the paper every time at 50 yards. Stop your laughing!

Like most people, one of my first jay-oh-bees was as a dishwasher/busboy.  Everyone should spend some time working in a restaurant or as a housekeeper (I did that too.).  It gives you an appreciation of things and how to treat everyone as equals no matter their station in life.  Anyways, I’m a 13 year old kid, riding my bike to work, working until 11 or 12 at night and riding my bike home.  Hahahaha, imagine kids today doing that!?!?!?!  So on my first day of work, my boss says to me, ‘I don’t care if you come in late.  I don’t care if you leave early.  I don’t care if you are mean to customers. But always, always, always make sure that there is a frosted mug for me.’  This restaurant has been open for more than 30 years.  That’s a long time for a restaurant.  I drove by the other day.

p10100021Yeah, that’s the greenshoots of maybe a new business opening, NOT!  And to quote that genius Freddie Mercury, “And another, and another, and another one bites the dust.”

Get outside everyday!! This is a great time of year because there is so much coming to life.

Here is a mushroom called Hen of the Woods.  I don’t eat mushrooms except in hot n’ sour soup.

p1010050They like to grow on old stumps and trees.  It’s edible, but don’t take my word for it.  Get your own field guides and do the research for yourself.

Here is some more wild edible called fiddleheads.  You ever eat these?  I’m not a big fan of these either, but I guess that just means that I wasn’t hungry enough, aya.

p1010002You can see there are probably 100 of them in this single picture.  They’re baby ferns.  You scrape the fuzz off of them and prepare them like asparagus, but don’t take my word for it.  Get your own field guides and do the research for yourself.

Here is some burdock.  Burdock is one of the most medicinal plants going.  It’s a biennial.  Eat the root or the young leaves.

p10100012You can even see one of the old seedpods laying there.  When you or your dog comes home with these things stuck to you or it, you know there is something edible nearby.  Get a fieldguide and read up on burdock.

Then we have some real yummies coming up too.  I hope you know what these are.

p10100051These are some wild strawberries.    I will remember where these are and try to beat the wildlife to them, but don’t take my word for it.  Get your own field guides and do the research for yourself.

I also saw some wild morels.  This is a pic from Google Images, but this is what they looked like.  I didn’t have my camera with me at the time.  This is a beautiful picture though.   Morels are so distinctive that when you seem them you know it.

morels300pxI went back two days later with my camera to take a picture and some other SOB got to them before me so they were gone.  Morels are some of the most prized wild food going, but don’t take my word for it.  Get your own field guides and do the research for yourself.

So the big lesson today –

  • Practice what you preach. Don’t count on anything that you haven’t used or practiced with.  Once again, it’s great to plan what you may carry, but have you actually tired it?  Crap is heavy.
  • Get a bunch of field guides, at least three or four.  Read them, peruse them and study them. You will be amazed at what you begin to recognize when You Get Outside Everyday. Seriously, you’ll look at a book and be like, ‘wow, I know I’ve seen that’ and next time out you’ll be saying to yourself, ‘hey there it is acorns, pine needles, blackberry or burdock.’

Jerusalem artichokes

May 2, 2009

Jerusalem artichokes are a great plant.   Each plant can grow 7 or 8 feet tall.  They have yellow flowers like a sunflower, but rather than having only one flower like most sunfowers, 450px-sunroot_top1a single Jerusalem Artichoke plant can have 10 flower buds on it.  It’s not the flowers that we are interested in though, although they are nice to look at.  It is the root, or tuber of the plant that we want.

I live in USDA zone 5-6.  Of course even on my own small slice of land I have microclimates.   Jerusalem artichoke grows great around here.

So this is one of my favorite times of the year, because all the plants are waking up from their winter slumber. The apple and peach trees are blooming.  We’ve had a run of unseasonably warm weather so everything is blooming very early.  It’s actually kind of dangerous because our true frost free day is between the middle and end of May, so if we get a frost after the fruit trees bloom then a lot of next fall’s fruit could be lost.

p10100011So I saw some Jerusalem artichokes coming up on a patch of land out front.  You  can see what they look like.  Kind of pointy, lance like leaves covered in hair.  If I remember right, the stems are also kind of hairy.  Over the course of the summer these little green plants will grow 7 or 8 feet tall.

Jerusalem artichokes don’t make a bunch of seeds like sunflowers.  Jerusalem artichokes spread underground through rhizomes.    The rhizome is what we eat.    Jerusalem artichokes can become quite invasive if they like their environment and are left to spread.

I had maybe a ten square foot area out front that p1010005had these little puppies coming up from last season.  Yup, they can stay in the ground right through cold New England winters.  Dig em up when you want to harvest them, as long as the ground ain’t frozen.  So I wanted to dig some up to replant in different areas and also have with dinner.  Go ahead and click Gon the picture to expand it.

You can see that from a small plot, that I don’t do anything to, you can get a fair harvest.   Each of the roots looks kind of like knobby gingerJerusalem artichokes like poor, sandy, dry soil and full sun.

p1010009Here I cut one in half so you could see the nice white inside.  See they look like knobby ginger.  You can use Jerusalem artichokes just like you would use potatoes.  The thing is Jerusalem artichokes don’t contain starch like potatoes.  They have inulin (whatever that is).  But it’s good for diabetics because the inulin isn’t converted into sugar like starch is.

I peel them first, then I slice them and use them like water chestnuts or steam them with salt and butter.  They taste pretty good, kind of like a potato, but sweeter.

I wanted to dig them up to replant some of them in a couple other spots on my property.  I’ve heard that the Indians, errr Native Americans, used to plant them all over the place so as they traveled from hunting ground to hunting ground there would be Jerusalem artichokes already there growing for them and supplying a ready food source.  So I decided to plant them around some of the places that I walk.  So I’ve doing some guerrilla planting.  I’ve been planting them along the edges of fields, powerlines and anyplace else that looks dry, sandy and sunny.   This summer and summers going forwards they will continue to spread.  I’ll remember where they are and I can dig them up whenever I please.  Kind of like the original prepper Johnny AppleseedDo you got that!?!?! If you are able to start planting food crops in your neighborhood in the woods, roadsides, parks, ponds and lakes. Just like diversification is good with your financial portfolio, you should also diversify your garden.  Spread it out.  You do have to be careful though not to plant any food where the real owner may spray chemmies on your food.  You can find Jerusalem artichoke tubers for sale on the Internet. Buy a few now and you will have them forever.

Get outside everyday!!

And while I was ambling and rambling I saw some of blueberry bushes blooming.  If we don’t get some cold weather it’s going to be an early season for everything.

p1010010Years ago I used to pick wild mountain blueberries and make homemade wine.  It was actually pretty good.  Just goes to show put enough sugar in anything and it will be palatable.  You do have a lot of sugar squirrelled away don’t ya? I still have a bunch of waterseals laying around.