Archive for the ‘exercise’ Category

Get out at night

March 3, 2010

Just got back from taking Green Eyed Dog for an evening stroll up the mountain.  I had two flashlights with me, but I didn’t switch them on.  If you don’t get out at night and go exploring you are missing out on another world.   Don’t complain about the darkness.  There really is nothing to fear in the dark or of the dark.  Little kids are afraid of the dark and want their nightlights left on.

If you think you are going to bug out you may want to consider bugging out at night.  You’re less visible at night and there are less folks out who can be a witness to your actions.  It’s easier to remain concealed at night.  During hot times of the year you can save your water by only moving when it’s dark out.  You may be laughing at me, but you only get better at stuff by doing it.  You should get used to walking around under darkness, navigating under darkness and being comfortable outside alone at night.   Ever go camping by yourself?

Chances are that there are no animals, two or four legged, stalking you.  Relax. Then again you never know.  Actually I saw this Must Read article in Outside Magazine – Canis SoupIt’s the story of the Eastern Coyote, how aggressive it is due to interbreading and how adaptable a beast it is.  Two coyotes set upon this beautiful young woman DURING THE DAY and killed her.  It’s a good article click the link.  If you are out in the woods you should read it to learn how the coyote thinks.

Anyways, what may be familiar to you during the day may look strange at night.   The sounds of the night are different too.  The hum of the day is gone.  If you open your ears to hearing you can absorb much more at night than during the day.  Listen to the flowing water, the frogs, crickets, families fighting, what other folks are watching on tv or the siren in the distance.  Allow your other senses to take over.  Smell the air.  Close you eyes and listen. There is an entirely different world of wildlife during the night then during the day too.

And please do not use flashlight or headlight, you probably do not need one.   Light reflects off of just about everything: rocks, clouds, snow, river, fields, streams and lakes.   The ambient light alone on a normal evening is normally bright enough for me to find my way down paths through the woods at night.   Even on moonless nights there is generally enough natural ambient light go out walking.  Granted, I live in a fairly urban area so even in the woods there is light from shopping malls, houses and streetlights.  And if you saw my light pollution entry you know that light travels a very far distance.  Your eyes also have a natural mechanism to adjust to the darkness.   If you do get out at night just give yourself a few minutes for your eyes to adjust.   Sometimes it seems like it can take up to ten minutes for my eyes to totally adjust to the dark.    Usually the only times that I’ll have to switch on a torch is if I’m heading down a particularly steep or rocky area.   Like any muscle, your mind or brain the more you rely on your natural night vision the stronger it will get.  If you use a flashlight as a crutch you will never be able to get along without one.  So go exploring at night.   Get to know your way around the neighborhood and wild areas around you at night.

So whether it’s day or night, night or day – GET OUTSIDE EVERY NIGHT

This picture was taken maybe 150 yards from the top of the mountain looking east at dusk.  This is a pretty heavily populated area but you wouldn’t know it by looking at this picture.

And here’s a nice picture of raindrops.

If you look real close and maybe click on the picture you can see Green Eyed Dog up ahead.  He’s willing me, His Master, to move faster.  Green Eyed Dog lives in the moment.  He has no use for digital cameras or photos.

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Knife sheath

February 15, 2010

Natog over at TEOTWAWKIAIFF had a post a couple of months ago about a guy that makes aftermarket knife sheaths.  I have a Knives of Alaska Bush Camp knife.

Here’s the knife with the original sheath.  Nice knife and nice sheath.  It’s a good knife.  It has a nice thick D2 tool blade and a full tang.  It’s always done what I ask of it, but it came with a leather sheath.

Don’t get me wrong it’s a nice leather sheath. but leather cracks.  So I wanted to get something more durable.  On/Scene Tactical is the place for aftermarket sheaths.   He didn’t have a sheath for my knife so I had to send him the knife and he custom made a sheath for me.

I never bought a separate sheath for a knife before.   It cost $35.00, which is a lot of money for just a sheath.  Most of my knives cost less than $35.00.  The company is located in Canada so you need to fill out a special form at the Post Office.  It also took about two months for my new sheath to arrive.   This is the sheath I received from On/Scene Tactical.  It came with a belt clip that I attached to the sheath and an extra belt loop.

You change the belt clip/loop with the two phillips screws you see.  I like clips because I’m more likely to take the knife or gun with me if it’s sheath/holster has a clip.  If it’s easy to take, it will usually get taken.  I plan on attaching a  piece of cordura to the sheath to hold a firesteel.   You can see how I did it with my Rat3 here https://hotdogjam.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/fire-steels/.

This seems like a much more rugged set up to me now.  It’s a great fit.  The knife will stay in the sheath upside down.  I knew that the knife would outlive me.  Now I have a sheath that should also outlast me.  On/Scene Tactical I have good stuff to say about them.

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!!!

Some Asian Bittersweet choking some bush on a bluebird day.  Look how blue that sky is.  Could anything be any bluer ever? And a nice trail. Aye?

This is pretty tough skiing.  So get off of your fat ass and walk around.   Get some exercise, some fresh air, blow the stink off of ya and get that old heart beating.

Terrorism and privacy

January 26, 2010

Took me a while to get around to this, but it’s been percolating through the dark recesses of my troubled mind for some time now.  You have all heard of the Christmas Day Panty Bomber.

I don’t get it.  Since 9/11 there can be no doubt that the government is snoopy snooping to a greater degree in each of our lives.  If we fly we need to take off our shoes and belts.  I couldn’t even carry a little Swiss Army knife into my state capital.  You know the gubmint is capturing, tracking and analyzing all of our banking, phone, credit card and Internet activity.    Anyways, I feel as though the government is imposing itself into private aspects of my life since 9/11.

So the father of the Christmas Day Panty Bomber actually called up the authorities to alert them.  U.S. government officials tell The Associated Press that the Nigerian man charged with trying to destroy a jetliner came to the attention of U.S. intelligence in November when his father went to the U.S. embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, to express his concerns about his son.”

I just don’t get how if the government is collecting all of this information, our privacy is being diminished, we’re being watched and taped more often and more inconvenienced rather than less, how they let this guy get on board a plane.  I mean why the hell do we put up with Big Brother getting bigger every day, week and year if there if there is no benefit in it for us.   I want to know what the hell they are doing with all of this information that they are collecting if they can’t even use it for its intended purpose.   I know the government has infiltrated meetings of peace activists.  Maybe the information is being used to track political enemies or for commercial gain.  One thing for sure though, it doesn’t seem like it’s making us any safer.  When one is looking for a needle in a haystack I never got the point of making the haystack insurmountably large.  Privacy, with the ease and speed that information is transmitted,  is too easy to destroy.

Why do we stand for Government trespasses?

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. B. Franklin, 1759

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!!!

It’s that time of year.  It was a beautiful weekend.  Saturday was cold, dry and sunny so there was maybe an inch or two of fresh snow on hard pack.  Sunday was 40 or so so the snow was all soft like mashed potaters.    I like skiing abandoned ski areas.  I like skiing through trees.  I like to walk up and ski down.   This is a picture of the trail where the t-bar used to run.  You can see the big rusty old pole with the wheel at the top that the cable used to run along.   The trail is a bit overgrown.  This trail is maybe five feet wide and, trust me, it is much steeper than it looks.  In fact if you don’t ski you may not even be able to see a trail running straight down the hill.  This truly was first tracks, not even footprints.

And here is another nice trail.  I am always literally dumbfounded that I hardly ever run into anyone else when I am recreating in the out of doors.  If you ski you gotta appreciate how nice this trail is.    If you look at the horizon you can see massive office buildings and neighborhoods of houses.  Amazing to find hidden little jewels like this in the center of suburbia.  There were some footprints, but I was the first person to carve some turns.

And there is not a less crowded , better or cheaper ski trail in all of New England.  So for your own mental and physical health GET OUTSIDE EVERY DAY!!!


Healthcare and the big senate race

January 20, 2010

Well by the time you read this we’ll know who won the Massachusetts special election to fill the late Ted Kennedy’s seat.

I don’t get it.  Healthcare is broke.  Maybe not healthcare, but the way it is administered and paid for.  Personally, I believe that at a minimum we should have a public option.  I would really like to see universal coverage.  I think it would save money.  Imagine if all the the capital being drained out of the system by for-profit providers was instead funneled into patient care.

I hate insurance companies.  Do you think that a for-profit insurance company’s interests and your interests are congruent? I’d propose that they are not.  I’d like to see the profits used for care.  That’s just me though, evidently, as every time the Democrats try to address the issue, the other side, Republicans, are able to put the scare of change into American voters and derail change.

So I saw that Massachusetts State Senator Scott Brown may pull out an upset victory for Ted Kennedy’s old seat over his rival  Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.  I don’t like either one of them.  I don’t think he is bright enough to be one of 100 in charge of such things as the tax code, making law and treaties and judicial appointments.  I think he is way over his head and not ready for prime time.  I also don’t like his stance on pot.  Brown thinks it should remain a Class D.  I think it should be legalized.  He is against gay marriage.  I couldn’t care less who gets married.  He doesn’t believe in providing basic human rights to those detained by the US Government.  I don’t like the precedent it sets and think everyone should have the right to confrontation, putting the burden on the state and  against cruel and unusual punishment.  As for Coakley I also see her as a lightweight, plus I didn’t like her involvement with a notorious Massachusetts court case that may have imprisoned an innocent man and sent a family through hell.

If Coakley, the Dem, wins the Dems retain control of the senate and Obama’s platform rolls on, for what that is worth.  If the Repub Brown wins than the Dems lose their filibuster proof majority and Obama’s healthcare plan has a tougher row to hoe.  Because this is an election with national implications, and I live in Massachusetts, I have received no fewer than 30 phone calls in the past few days.  Now I know how folks in Iowa and New Hampshire must feel.

So anyways, they expect the Republican to win.  Guess how the stock of health insurers reacted.  They went up.

Rising health care stocks led the market higher as the prospect of a logjam in Washington eased concerns that profits at companies like insurers and drug makers would suffer. Among health stocks, insurers Aetna Inc. rose $1.30, or 4.2 percent, to $32.66 and UnitedHealth Group Inc. rose $1.38, or 4.1 percent, to $35.13. Pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. advanced $1.15, or 2.9 percent, to $40.62 and was the biggest advancer among the 30 stocks that make up the Dow industrials.

So if I was writing copy, which I do no longer, I think I’d write something like: A vote for Republicans is a vote for Humana or Don’t let Cigna down vote for Brown . Do you like?  Can someone tell me what the Republican healthcare plan is?

Don’t be a tool for the health insurers.  They are middle men standing between providers of services and consumers of services.  Think for yourself.

And most of all GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!! I don’t care who you are, you have 15 minutes to spare to take a walk outside or sit under a tree and watch the clouds move across the sky.

Another abandoned ski area not too far from my house.  Massachusetts has hundreds of abandoned ski areas.  This one was called Cat Rock.  We already had a coating of snow and the other night we received an additional few inches.  A fresh coating means fresh tracks so I had to get out for an hour or two.  I grabbed my 30 year old Kniessel Red Stars and headed out.  To paraphrase Bob Marley, ‘my feet are my only chairlift.’  Yup, hike up, ski down, hike up, ski down, hike up, ski down.  Like chopping your own wood, hiking to make your own turns seems to feel better.  At least to me.

This is the main trail looking up.  I’d guess it’s maybe a few hundred yards long with a couple hundred feet of vertical.  It’s actually fairly steep.  Like I always say, much steeper than it looks.  You can see I got first tracks.  And uhh no it’s never groomed – rocks, grass, shrubs grow where they may.

This is the same trail looking down.  At least here it looks a little steeper.  Not ideal conditions because we did get some rain and than it froze. The snow was crusty.  Still I was able to carve huge beautiful arcing turns.  Great fun.  A couple of snowboarders did show up after a while.  There’s a little trail on the side of the main trail where the rope tow used to be.  If you don’t know what a rope tow is it is a loop of rope that runs up the hill.  These things used to run over car wheels hung from trees and were powered by old tractors or Chevrolets.  You grab onto the rope snaking up the hill at 15mph and it yanks your arm out of your socket and pulls you up the hill.  Due to liability issues, you don’t see rope tows any longer.   It used to be the ride up could be more fun than the ski down.  This trail where the rope tow was is maybe five feet wide.  That is a good ski down!!  If there ain’t trees and ice it ain’t New England.    New England skiing the way it was meant to be!!

Backpacking

April 27, 2009

Went backpacking this past weekend.  We headed to Mount Greylock State Park.  At just about 3,500 feet Mt. Greylock is the highest point in Massachusetts and it’s part of the Appalachian Trail.  So we donned our 45 pound packs and hit the woods.  Unlike car camping when you can bring anything and everything that you may ever want to use, backpacking is way different because when you backpack you carry everything with you – food, tent, stove, sleeping bags, water.

The weather was especially nice for this time of year, but because it was well into the 80’s we had to drink copious amounts of water.  It was impossible to drink enough water.  The trees didn’t have any leaves on them yet so there was hardly any shade even in the woods.  We ended up hiking 12 miles the first day and just two miles the second day.  A twelve mile hike with 4,000 foot change in elevation is pretty tough.

Backpacking is a great way to figure out whether or not you are able to bug out big time if the need arose.  When you backpack you think about the weight of every single thing you carry. This is the trailhead where we headed up from.

p10100031That peak in the distance is the destination.

I see a lot of stuff on the Internet about folks thinking they’re going to bug out with their molle bdus and what nots.  I see some folks write about carrying a full battle load of ammo, something like 12 or 15 30 round mags.  Hahahahahahaha!!!!! You gonna carry your eight pound AR15 too?  Hahahahahaha!!!!!  HAVE YOU EVER TRIED IT!?!?!?!  Ammo is freaking heavy.  Guns are heavy.  Magazines are heavy.  I had a S&W model 60 and 20 rounds of 357 and that was heavy.  When you are lugging stuff on your back every ounce makes a difference.

You may be carrying 15 full 30 round mags, but then you won’t be carrying enough food, water or gear.  It’s gonna be one or the other.  You will have to make decisions about what can fit and what you can carry and what will need to be left behind.  Me?  I’d rather have a change of clothes, some raingear, a tent/tarp, stove, food, maybe even a saw or camp axe then my binky gun.  I think I’d use my camping gear a lot more then my binky gun.

This is the lean to we stayed at.

p1010006We set the tent up on 1/2 of the lean to.  My other buddy slept outside in his bivy sack under the stars.  It was a great spot.  The elevation of the lean to was about 2,200 feet.  The view from the lean to.

p1010007There was a roaring stream, Pecks Brook, about 50 feet from the lean to, so we had the pleasure of listening to rushing water the whole time we were there.  In the lower left hand corner of the picture is snow, more to follow about that later.

Although we could have probably drank the water right out of the streams because there was plenty of melting snow and ice, we filtered it just to be safe.

p10100091It was an MSR Sweetwater filter.  I haven’t used this brand/model before, but it was easy to set up, easy to pump and easy to store.  The water also tasted great.

This was a very difficult hike.  Mt. Greylock is a steep mountain.  Not only is it steep, but the top 1/3 of it was still covered in snow and ice and due to the big ice storm from the beginning of the winter the trails were covered in brush and the tops of trees that snapped off under the weight of ice.

Right near the summit was a cool stone.

p10100132So because there was still so much snow and ice on the trails it was real slippery.  I was with two friends and each of us fell at least once.  I bashed my arm pretty well.  One buddy fell and slid maybe five or eight feet and bashed his side pretty good.  I’m still applying triple antibiotic to my rock rash.

p10100161At the top is a war memorial to veterans.  This picture is a view from the top of the stone memorial.  That road you see there is for people to drive to the top.   The DCR ranger that we spoke with said they were getting money from FEMA to clean up after the huge ice storm.

There was also a little pond near the top with hundreds of frogs in it, doing their reproductive thing.  The music they made was beautiful.

p10100171Do you see all of the froggies floating?  The ripples at the top of the picture is from two frogs dancing.  After we got to the summit we decided to hike the ridgeline, so we went across the ridge over three other smaller peaks and then down into the canyon and back to our campsite.

A view on the way down looking at the top.

p1010019To the right of the radio tower you can make out the veterans memorial.

p10100202I like these little paths that folks make.  You can see a little snow still in the woods.

I’m telling you the hiking was extremely treacherous.  The mountain is steep anyways which makes it tough, but near the top that old snow and ice made it almost impossible to get any traction.  It would have been very easy to break an arm or leg or crack your skull.  Then like I wrote above, because of the ice storm the trails were covered in brush and debris.   To go 10 feet forwards on the trail we would have to go off trail bushwhack and then try to hook up with the trail up ahead.  It would have been very easy to get lost.  It took much longer than we expected and we had to walk further and harder than we expected due to all the trails being obstructed every five feet.

What happens is you are walking on the trail and it’s blocked off with the tops of some trees that snapped under the load of ice so you try to parallel the trail.  The problem is you think you go back on trail, but you are actually following a dry stream bed or animal trail, before you know it you are far off the trail and good luck to ya.

p1010029This is one of the waterfalls right by our campsite.  We got to listen to this the whole time and we didn’t have to go too far to get fresh, cold water!!  Added bonus one of my buddies brought a few oil cans of Heineken.  He tossed the beer in the stream earlier and when we got back it was like 45 degree.  That was one of the best beers that I’ve ever had.

And a pretty stream near the bottom.

p1010032So what lessons can be applied to survival situations:

  • Carry water, carry lots of water, carry different ways to purify/filter water, carry containers that can be filled with water.
  • Bring a compass and map and GPS.  Stop frequently to mark your route so you always know where you are.  It is very easy to get lost in the woods even on trails.  The trail you think you are following may not be a trail at all.
  • Use walking sticks hiking or ski poles.  Using these things helps you keep your footing and takes a lot of stress off of your knees.
  • If carrying long arms and gobs of ammo is part of your plan when you GOOD then you better try it out first.  Go ahead, load yourself up and start walking.  When you carry your load upon your hips and shoulders every ounce makes a difference.  Leave the 200 rounds of ammo behind and only bring what you need.  I’d rather carry a filter, cookware and a mess kit,  a fixed blade, a camp axe or saw, a stove, a sleeping bag, tent and first aid kit than a bunch of bullets.  Ammo weighs a lot!!
  • Have a few different ways to start fire.
  • Carry more food and water than you think you need.
  • The terrain and obstacles can change drastically.  It was 85 degrees and perfectly sunny outside and we were battling snow and ice underfoot.  Be prepared for the unexpected.
  • If you go with others, it’s a bad idea to let any one person carry all of any single thing i.e. every one in the group should carry some water, some food, some way to start a fire and so on.  Things get lost and people get separated from each other.    If someone carrying all the food was to fall into a stream their pack would be dumped like a lead weight so they could swim to shore.  Say bye bye to your food in that case.  Split everything up.
  • Just because it’s a warm day doesn’t mean that you won’t hit snow and ice at higher elevations.  Prepare for it.
  • You could look at a map of the terrain, but still not know what to expect.  You could have walked your path of escape 100 times and still be surprised by damage that last year’s ice storm cause.  Point being it took us three times as long as we expected it do because of all the branches and trees obstructing the trail.  Nature isn’t static.  It’s forever changing.  You have to expect everything to take longer than it should.  If you expect it to take you 1/2 a day to hike home or to your bug out location, plan on it taking a whole day or two and pack enough food/water/clothes to be out on the road for a day or two, not the 1/2 day expected under perfect circumstances.
  • Forgot about this one – if you have bad knees or elbows you should wear a brace of some sort.  I like an elastic one on my right knee.  It helps a lot.  You may also want to think about leaving a brace, if you use one, in your BOB, backpack or GOOD kit.

So more than eight good hours on the dusty and we’re back at camp eating, telling stories and watching the fire.  Happy trails to you – may you not have stones in your shoes, know thirst or the buzzing of flies.

p1010023

Other schtuff

March 26, 2009

Mike Morgan had an interesting post on his bog a few days ago Geithner’s Gift to Hedge Funds.  I strongly advise reading Mr. Morgan on a regular basis.

Market Update – The market is up 6% as I write this . . . and moving higher. We are short the markets and losing quite a bit of money today. Do we bail out? I think not. I think reality will set in. And if it doesn’t, money will not matter. We are just steps away from a complete break down in government. It may take weeks or months, but I still firmly believe the people will rise up in revolt before the end of this summer. Our financial system was all but eviscerated today when T3C decided to turn our fate over to the boys and girls that created the mess we are in. And I close with this . . . not even King Henry was prepared to pull this obscene maneuver. He knew it would end far worse than the 1930’s or Japan’s lost 20 years. T3C was out of bullets and desperate to make friends with someone.

If the plan holds up, our country will collapse. That might take a year or two, but it is inevitable. That is inevitable, as we are throwing our money at the men that created this disaster. If the plan is pulled, the markets will move lower and I would hope our government allows free markets to work, even if that means painful times. Because the pain we will suffer under the latest plan, is pain we cannot recover from withou grave social unrest.

Government needs to address the problems, not create more. Government needs to go after the Wall Street Crooks, not reward them. Government needs to claw back what they stole, put many of them in jail, regulate the conduct of business and to dish out consequences to those that created the mess . . . instead of the people that are at the wrong end of this social and economic disaster.

Get outside everyday!

When the world is collapsing around you, you can always find peace and serenity in nature and take comfort in the fact that each of our physical existences is but a temporary insignificant blip.  Went for a walk the other day.  You can see how nice a day it was.  Living in Mass. not too far from the ocean decided to take a walk along the shore.  Looks like the last of the snow is melting, huh?  That’s not snow though.

p1010002We have farms around here too.  We even have silos.  The guy that owns this land has a clam business.  His biggest problem is what to do with the shells.  So he uses them as pavement.  Imagine having so many clams that you can pave miles of road with the shells.  Thats a whole lot of shell!

p10100081That white stuff on the path is not snow.  It’s clam shells.  This is a good deer hunting area.  There was even a tree stand still in a tree left behind from the fall.

p10100101Here we walked down to a river.  This is a tidal river.  We’re just a few hundred yards from the Atlantic.

p10100071He has a bunch of clam shuckers working for him.

p1010016These are piles of clam shells.  The largest of them is maybe four feet tall.


Food and misc.

March 19, 2009

Looking at the pantry got me to thinking why not do a post on the food I have and why I choose what I did.  Some folks like to store buckets of wheat.  Me?  Not so much.   I don’t think that I’ve ever bought a bucket of wheat in my life and I hope that I never have to either.

My stores mostly are based on canned foods.  Granted by having a large portion of your food preps based on canned goods that you are giving up the ability to pack it and move fast if need be.  Face it canned food weighs a lot.   Do you have a bunch of GOOD can openers?   Did you see my excellent and the best entry ever ever ever on can openers?

My plan though is to stay in my house.  Only if my town became unsafe because of environmental or security reasons would I decide to bug out.  Other than that though my house holds all my stuff so I’d rather stay put if possible.   It would have to get really, really bad for me to blow off the jobs and hightail it out.  The other downside is that prepared canned foods have a ton of salt in them.

I’ve been buying extra food for about 18 months now.   You obviously want to eat your oldest stuff first and you need a system to ensure that that happens.  I have a Sharpie pen. You should buy one too.  Anytime I get back from the market I write the month and the year on the can, box, package or bag.   That way you can be sure to be on a FIFO system. You also need have the discipline so when you use something you write it down so you remember to replace it.

One of something is none of something.  Now you got two of somethings and you can start to talk.

Now just checking out my food let’s try to tell you what I generally have so you don’t forget anything.  I don’t mean to rag on the buckets of wheat folks, but buckets of wheat?  I don’t even like whole grain bread.

Breakdown of food stores:

  • I have some prepared foods like chili, soups, ravioli, beef stew, corned beef hash, chicken ala king, sloppy joe mix and those sort of things.
  • A good pile of canned tomatoes – the big 32 oz. cans and an assortment of smaller cans of sauce, paste, stewed, chunks, cans with chilies or basil.  Also, have spaghetti sauce in jars and you know what the spaghetti sauce that comes in cans is great.  It’s real tomatoie.  The canned spaghetti sauce is cheaper than the glass jarred sauce too.
  • Then you need veggies like green beans, french cut beans, carrots, spinach, asparagus and corn.  I like Chinese food so I also have cans of water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, chow mein mix and bean sprouts.  If I can’t buy my number 5 with fried, eggroll and chicken fingers than I’ll make it myself.  Don’t forget jars of salsa.  I also like Goya salsa verde, salsa roja and Mexican salsa.  They come in little cans, but it’s good stuff.
  • Then there are the canned potatoes, both whole and sliced.
  • You gotta have your fruits so have a variety of fruits in cans and the little plastic tubs.  Stuff like mandarin oranges, pears, fruit cocktail, pineapple,peaches, tropical mix with mangoes (!), applesauce and a good assortment of canned fruit juice, coconut juice and coconut milk.
  • Get a shelf with proteins on it like canned roast beef, canned chicken, some small canned hams, tuna, also that real tasty Italian tuna in olive oil, Spam, potted ham and Vienna sausage.  Get some cryovacced sausage that can be stored at room temp.  Can’t forget about the anchovies, sardines, canned crab, oysters and smoked trout.  Seafood is high in fatty acids that are good for you.
  • You know you need a good pile of spaghetti, pasta, egg noodles, rice, Chinese and Japanese noodles.
  • Boxed stuff like ramen noodle and macaroni and cheese.  The ramen noodles are incredible.  They are so small and so cheap and I don’t think they ever go bad.  I like them.  They can be spiced up by adding spices, proteins or veggies to them.  Add a can of tuna to mac n’ cheese and all is good.  Also in here would be the hamburger helper, boxed scalloped and au gratin taters along with stove top stuffing.   Don’t forget about bags of soup mix.  These things are great too.  A package of soup mix, 8 cups of water, a can of this or that and you can feed 10 people if you had to.  Charity, helping and assistance are a good thing.
  • Canned beans of all sorts.  My favorites are small red beans and garbanzo beans.  Cans of baked beans are good too.  You can make a nice spread from mashing garbanzo beans.
  • Also have some dried beans.
  • Some snacks like crackers, granola bars, poptarts, bags of chips, pretzels, and cans of pretzels, chips and tater sticks.   Can’t forget to get chocolate pudding and chocolate bars.  Some old fashioned popcorn is a great snack too.  It pops fast in a little hot oil.
  • Then there are the drinks.  I like juice so I have canned juice concentrates.  I water them way down because corn syrup is death.  Also need tubs of Tang, ice tea, funky red stuff, lemonaide and whatever you may like.  Tea is great because it tastes good.  Plus you  can teas for specific ailments or if you can’t sleep or have a cold.  Don’t forget powdered milk if you like milk.  Coffee and teas and non-dairy creamer. Hot chocolate.
  • You need your spices: garlic and onion powders, lots of black pepper corns.  Don’t ever buy pepper that is already ground.  You don’t have to know why, just don’t do it. Get peppercorns and smash them yourself, with a hammer if you need to.  Walgreens sells already filled salt and pepper grinders for a buck a piece.  So you hhotsaucecatalog_2046_7327548ave chili powder, dried herbs like: oregano,  Italian, rosemary, basil, thyme, dill, crushed red pepper and so on.  Any special rubs you may like.  I like Jamaican jerk and Paul Prudhomme redfish magic.  If you like grated cheese on your pasta you better buy a bunch and store it.  The dry kind in a jar can last a long time.
  • You also need your sauces and condiments like bbq sauce, ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, hot sauces, terriyaki.  I like things spicy so I have Tabasco, Franks, Buffalo, Siricha (that is Sriracha to the right.) It’s from Vietnam and it’s spicy and flavorful.  Don’t forget relish, pickles, jalapenos, pepperoncini and other hot peppers.
  • Sweeteners – I like that natural brown sugar for my coffee.  You need maple syrup and honey.   I don’t think honey ever goes bad.  Also try to get a good pile of sugars both brown and refined.    I like molasses so we got some molasses.  Might as well put jams and jellies here too.
  • Don’t forget gravies.  A gravy will make anything more palatable.  You can buy cans, jars and packages of gravy that you just need to add a cup of water to and heat.  A can of roast beef, a pack of gravy, a cup of water and some egg noodles or rice and you got a good dinner.
  • Salt gets its own bullet point. You need lots of salt.  Salt will last forever as long as you don’t let it get washed away.  Salt can be used to pickle things and cure things.  You need lots of salt.  Near the ocean you can at least make some salt through evaporation.  Inland I don’t know.  Get a variety of salts: pickling, kosher and iodized.  You should also get some one pound containers because that size would be good for bartering if it ever gets that bad.  You should make sure that you have salt and pepper in your bug out bag.  Store pounds and pounds of salt.  I’d say you need to think in the tens of pound range for storing salt.
  • Vinegar also gets its own category. Vinegar can be used to cure and pickle things.  Vinegar is also a great all natural cleaner.  Get cider vinegar, red wine, distilled and balsamic.  You can get most of them in gallon containers for small money and vinegar lasts a very long time.  I’d say you need to think of vinegar in gallons.
  • Baking stuff like flours and packaged goods like pancake mix, corn bread mix, Bisquick, bags of pizza mix and yeast.  The bags of pizza dough mix are great, under a buck on sale.  Might as well throw in the corn meal, oatmeal, corn starch, evaporated milk and such other things in this category.
  • Fats – I like olive oil a lot so I buy it by the gallon when it goes on sale.  Olive oil can last a long time if it is kept cool and in a dark spot.  You also need to get lots of corn or vegetable oil.  By it by the gallon and keep it in a cool dark spot.  You need fats in your diet and it makes clean up easier which may save you water.  Some folks like canned butter.  I don’t have any, but I’d like to try it.
  • I’d also give bouillon it’s own category.   There are all kinds: chicken, beef, fish and pork.  You can add bouillon to rice or make your own soups from scratch.  A few cubes, a box of elbows, cans of corn, beans and tomatoes and you got some minestrone soup.

Get outside everyday.  Got a day off midweek last week so went skiing with a friend.  It was my first and only time downhill skiing this year that I didn’t hike up in order to ski down.  The tickets were $62 each!!! But, but, but, but they got six inches of snow the day before and this day promised to be sunny, warm and not too much wind.  it was a great day.

sk17The ski area we went to was Mount Sunapee.  That’s Lake Sunapee there that you are looking at.  You probably can’t make it out, but there are still ice fishing huts on the ice and snow mobile tracks criss crossing the lake.

When we pay that much, which we never do, we make sure to get as much out of the day as possible so of course we got there well before the lifts opened.  The lifts generally open at 9, but we were lucky to be riding up at 8:55.  We skied until 1:30 or there abouts, ate lunch outside on a picnic table and back on the lifts by two.  The lifts close at 4 and we managed to still be riding the lift after 4.

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We were the third persons on in the morning when the place opened and the third from the last in the afternoon when the place closed.  I bet we skied over 35,000 vertical feet.  We’ve both been skiing a long time.  It’s good when you go with someone that skis like you do becuase you can ski the same trails without holding eachother up.

Getting out

March 16, 2009

Don’t think that you can buy a bunch of new equipment and let it sit around in your basement unopened until you need it.  You might think that you are all set because you have purchased sleeping bags, a camping stove, a tent, maybe some sleeping pads and a lantern or propane heater.

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You need to learn how to use your equipment.  Firing it up once to see that it works is the bare minimum.  You need to get out and use it.  Setting up a tent that you haven’t set up before can be a difficult thing.  And it seems like the tent always needs to be set up after dark or at dusk while in a hurry.   Stoves and lanterns are all different and you have to learn how to use them, how to fill them and how to start them up.

If something doesn’t work right, or is broken, you don’t want to learn about the failure when you are depending upon that piece of gear to work right.  You need to get everything out once in a while and make sure it works right.  Do any maintenance that the equipment may need.

If you camp you are already ahead of the game.  If you haven’t camped in five or ten years or even longer then you better make sure everything still works.  Check to ensure that the tent isn’t dead due to mold or moths.  Did you leave Coleman fuel in your stove or lantern a decade ago?  Well you better empty it out, fill it with some fresh fuel and make sure you can still get it started.  You don’t want to wait till your lights go out before you find out whether or not works.

If you’ve never camped then that gear in your closet is useless until you try it out and can be 100% certain that you can use any of it in the dark.  Yup, you need to be able to set up your tent, get your stove and lanterns going in the dark.  You need to be able to set up or break camp in the dark.

In addition to learning how to use your gear and making sure that your stuff still works the other advantage of using your gear is that it should get you out into the field.  While you are in your home or car you control everything.  Out in the woods there is no such thing as control.  You have to learn to take what is given to you and make do. Enjoying your equipment in the field is different than using it in your backyard.  Each is good, but you’ll get more out of using your gear afield.

“Those who get the most out of a given situation are those who make the most out of the situation that they are given.”

So getting out and about will toughen you up a bit.  Spend enough time outside and it won’t matter what the weather is.  The weather won’t bother you ever again.  Rain, snow, sleet, wind, heat, humidity, none of it will bother you.  You’ll learn how to dress for different weather.

So what to do?  Plan a walk about on a nice day.p1010005

Today was a nice sunny day.  It was kind of windy, but it was around 45 and this time of year 45 is warm as May.  In the fall 45 feels cold.  We took a nice walk in the woods with friends of ours.  I got to go someplace new.

The first trail went along the base of a small hill and on the other side was a slow shallow river.  We walked in maybe a mile or two to an old stone lock.  Believe it or not up until the 1840’s crops and other commercial goods used to be moved up and down this river.

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So the whole point was to get outside, get some exercise and make a nice little lunch.  Over there is the lock that they used to raise and lower the water level.

We brought a stove with us and made up some grilled sandwiches, a spicy Italian sausage and a duck breast.  It was a win win day.  Got outside on a great, sunny day.  Got some exercise.  Got to cook some stuff outside and develop skills in the process.  After a while cooking outside is the same as cooking at home.  I can’t think of anything that I’d make at home that I wouldn’t try to cook outside.

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Here is Cookie doing what he does best, cooking.  That’s why he is called Cookie.  Any of you old enough to remember watching the old westerns?  Remember Cookie was the cook on the chuckwagon?  Anyways, that’s Cookie leaning over the stove.  He is a great guy to bring on camping trips.  In fact he usually plans all the meals.  Imagine planning 3 meals a day for 15 guys along with snacks, drinks and so forth.  He does it all then tells us that’ll be $20 each.   Not only that but Cookie cooks everything too.  You’ll wake up in the morning and there is a pot of coffee already going and 30 egg sandwiches made and waiting for the eating.  The strange thing is that a lot of times Cookie is also one of the last to go to bed.

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Here is a picture of a duck breast on the left and a hot Ital sausage on the right.  Nothing like the smell of food being cooked outside.  The fresh air makes everything taste better.  All that duck fat had Cookie and me wishing that we had a potato to throw in there.

So you need to Get Out Everyday, try out your gear, get some exercise and make some tasty grub.

Misc.

March 11, 2009

We got some snow last week so I went back to that abandoned ski area that is not too far away from my house.  I hiked up and skied down eight times.  I was beat.  One trail is through this awe inspiring birch forest.

sk2This place is like magic.  If I was to die here and be buried amongst these trees that would be ok.

It was most likely the last day it was possible to go out skiing for me so I wanted to be sure to take advantage of it.  Here is the trail through the birch.

skYou can see the huge office buildings in the background.  This a heavily populated area a couple of minutes off of a major highway. You wanna know what I don’t get?  I was hiking/skiing for maybe two hours and I didn’t see another soul.  It was a beautiful, sunny day, the first warm day since November and I didn’t see another person enjoying the out of doors.  People – you need to GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!

Here’s another trail I was skiing down.  I’m telling you that I was pushing it by squeezing out one more day skiing.

sk3You can see my tracks on the right hand side of the trail looking up.  If you aren’t familiar with snow you can see that you really don’t need very much in order to slide stuff (skis, sleds and goods) over it.  And sliding stuff is much better than carrying stuff.  You can see it was another beautiful day spent outside doing stuff and getting exercise.  You figure that exercise is a form of prepping?

The pussy willows are blooming.  sk7And I saw so many deer rubbings.

sk4How many deer rubbings do can you count in each of these pictures?

sk5Then not too far from my house is a local farm where they grow their own grass fed beef.  I don’t know about any of you, but grass fed beef in New England isn’t too common a sight.  This beef is so good.  It’s some of the best that I’ve ever had. Plus I’m able to shop locally.  You need to shop locally whenever it makes sense and you can.  Get to know the farm stands in your area. Believe me you don’t want the Super Walmart to be the only source of food in you area.  You need to give the little guy the business.  Join the local chapter of the organic farmer’s association in your area.

The beef is a bit more money, but it goes right into the hands of a family that lives near me and it is a great product.  These guys taste great.  Thank you cows.

sk11I get to see my food and watch it eat.  I like that.  No ugly feed lots or slaughter yards.  Doesn’t my food look content?  Thank you guys.  I really appreciate your sacrifice.  The family also sells maple syrup that they boil themselves.  I can’t stand fake maple syrup like Mrs. Butterworth’s.  That’s not maple syrup.   It’s corn syrup.    Don’t be a rube spring for the good stuff.  It lasts forever.

Things are breaking down in Russia.  I saw an article in Newsweek about it.

“Now serious unrest seems imminent despite those autocratic moves. “We are expecting mass unemployment and mass riots,” says Gennady Gudkov, a former KGB colonel and current chairman of the Duma’s Security Committee. “There will be not enough police to stop people’s protests by force.”  The Kremlin evidently sees worse trouble ahead. In December it shelved plans to retire 280,000 Army officers (part of a sweeping military reform). A long-expected reduction in the number of Interior Ministry troops was also abruptly canceled. At the same time, the Interior Ministry set up a special command center in Moscow, packed with surveillance equipment designed to deal with street unrest. The Duma, on Kremlin instructions, added seven new articles to the criminal code. One expands the definition of high treason and espionage to include advisory “and other” assistance to foreign and international organizations; another makes “participating in mass disorders” such as the one in Vladivostok a “crime against the state.” More sinister still, defendants accused of the new crimes can only be tried by a special court of three judges, not by a jury—a system reminiscent of the Stalin-era troika courts that sent millions to the Gulag.

And like the bailouts in the US that favor wealth holders more than wage earners, “major beneficiaries of both handouts include oligarchs like MMK’s owner, Victor Rashnikov, and Russia’s current No. 1 billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, owner of the AvtoVaz auto plant.”

The PTB better realize that using the poor and bail out the insanely wealthy is a recipe for social collapse.

School bus

March 5, 2009

It seems like whenever I drive in the morning or the afternoon I get stuck behind a school bus.  You know that feeling when you’re in a hurry and you get stuck behind the bus for what seems like three miles and 20 stops?  Why don’t kids have to walk to school anymore?  When I was in elementary school I walked 1.25 miles each way to school.  I was 6 or 7 years old and I was walking both ways to school.  Even in the winter.  When is the last time one of your lazy ass kids walked a mile?  I remember we used to try and take an unauthorized shortcut.  Even back then I hated the System and still do to this day.   It even made no sense to a six year old kid to have to take the long way. If Katie the Crossing Guard caught us taking the shorter unauthorized way there was Hell to pay.

These days you never see kids walking to school, except kids in the city.  Now it seems like every kid gets to take the bus, has a car or get his parents to chauffeur him.  What’s the problem with young Americans?  No wonder kids are so fat these days.  Walking to school is good for kids.  Kids don’t get nearly enough fresh air either today.  And not only does each kid get to take the bus, but the bus stops at the end of every kid’s driveway too.  In middle school I got to take the bus.  I hated it the whole time.  We even had to walk to the bus stop.

Which reminds me, you don’t see kids playing outside anymore either.    Sure you may see kids if they’re playing some organized sport like baseball or soccer, but I never see kids playing street hockey or capture the flag.  This isn’t good either.  My parents couldn’t drag us in from outside.

We have lost our pioneer spirit.  What lazy ass, fat, dumb American now has the guts to head out on a trip like Lewis & Clark? I read we knew more about the moon prior to Armstrong setting foot on it than Lewis & Clark knew about there destination.

We deserve what we reap.

I don’t like the whole school choice thing either.  Stop wasting money on shuttling every kid from one end of town to the other and spend the money on teachers, books and technology.   All cities and towns are poor enough, end school choice.  Even beyond the transportation issue though I don’t like school choice.  Kids should go to schools in their neighborhood.  If the local school sucks than fix it.

Stop driving your kids and make them walk or ride their bikes.    In the long run you’ll be doing your spoiled little darlings a favor.

So Bernanke comes out a week or so ago and says that the economy should turn around later this year then the Fed releases a report saying that the economy is worsening and the recession is deepening. Bernanke obviously has no idea what he is doing.  He isn’t even cognizant of what his own team is doing.  Is he tripping?

The weekly unemployment claims figure just came out – initial claims are still over 600,000 and continued claims are still over 5,000,000.  We’re supposed to be happy because they both dropped by a little bit.  Santelli had an interesting comment that although claims are the highest since 1981 (or something like that) that the workforce is much larger now than it was then.  I feel like asking him is the way we calculate unemployment the same?  No it isn’t.  The government massages the numbers down.  The good folks at Shadow Stats calculate an unemployment rate of near 18%.

My wife works with maybe eight other women.  Over the past year the husband or boyfriend of every single one of them has lost his job at some point.  Ask your own friends, family and neighbors and than let me know if you believe the BS government pablum about unemployment being at 7%.

If you’ve been paying any attention at all, which mean more attention than our Fed chairman, you know things are bad and getting worse.  Act appropriately:

  • Cut your expenses where you can
  • Diversify your income
  • Buy extra non-perishables every week – food, water, candles, razors, shaving cream, toothpaste, TP, etc.
  • Stock up a bit on imported things that you buy (which means just about everything) – nothing wrong with having an extra pair or two of jeans, sneakers, boots, BVDs and jackets.
  • Get a firearm and learn how to use it
  • Learn some new skills
  • Get some camping equipment – stove, sleeping bags, tent, cookware, lantern, knives, axe, sleeping pads
  • Have an escape plan – local, state and out of state – make sure your family is in on it and knows what to do.
  • Have battery powered radio/tv/walkie talkies/flashlights and a bunch of batteries
  • Do some Internet research on Get Home Bags and Bug Out Bags.
  • Buy some extra propane or charcoal if that’s what your grill uses.
  • Get Outside Everyday!

Get out everyday!  This is the good and the ugly.

m1Here is the good.  Beautiful sunny, blue sky day.  I was skiing down this trail.  It looks steep, but it is twice as steep as it looks.  I took a good face plant.  Oh well, no falls no balls.  Believe me it was a trudge skiing to the top of the hill.  Although it was maybe 28 degrees out because the high March sun was shining the snow was sticking to the bottom of my skis.  The trail going down is on the northside so it was still fast.

This is the ugly.

m4Had to go into the city yesterday and I saw this smokestack spewing death.  The plume was blowing towards a residential area where poorer people live.  There are many three families and small apartment buildings right downwind of this balck crap.  If you want to talk about survival and you live near where something like this spews poison on you 24/7 move, at least move someplace upwind.  Forget about your survival kit and move someplace safer.

Kali

March 4, 2009

A bunch of years ago I studied this martial art called Kali.  It was strange stuff so I figured I’d write an entry about it.  Martial arts are good ways to stay in shape and learn useful skills.  Some of the more traditional martial arts even have healing systems included in them.  Big problem with all of them is if you have to pay someone to teach you.   Anyways, this Kali system is from the Philipines.  I only took it fora year or so and if you ever studied any of the martial arts you know you could do it for two lifetimes and still be a beginner.

Kali is basically stick fighting.  There are also empty hands and edge weapons training included.  You work with a partner and you do flowing drills where you try to flow seamlessly from one move into the next.  Having only done it for a year I was always one step out of time like trying to do the electric slide at a wedding.  There are single stick and double stick drills.  Each stick is made from rattan and is about two feet long.  The butt of the stick can be used to grab limbs and the tip of the stick when swung can carry good force.  One drill you may stand across from your partner who also has two sticks.  Your partner swings at you and you block the swing with you own stick and maybe strike with the stick in your other hand.  Then they block and strike.  There is a lot of footwork in Kali.  There are no single moves.  Everything is a strike, block, trap, strike.  Then you can put the sticks down and do basically the same thing with empty hands.  Because of the flowing from one move into the next it translates into a good system for self-defense.  After a while it’s almost like a dance.  The sticks click clacking against each other also have a rhythm.   So the different drills become more natural.  Ever wonder why we sing our ABCs, because it’s natural.  I also find that when I’m doing something natural instead of mechanical it’s much easier to put weight and momentum into strikes.  I still keep my sticks in the trunk of my car.  Once in a while when I’m walking away from the public’s prying eyes I’ll practice as I’m walking or work out on a tree for a bit.

Hey all martial arts are good.  We can debate about this or that, but they all have strengths and weaknesses.   Although I studied Okinawan karate with an amazing teacher, I’m not a big fan of the real traditional arts.  If you want to learn how to fight in a phone booth and make the most of hip rotation Okinawan is the way to go.  The traditional arts just seem to move too slowly for me.  Like every other aspect of my life I focus on what works and discard the rest.  If you do Brazilian Ju Jitsu don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s the end all and be all.  Ditto for MMA.  They all have rules and if you practice fighting by rules then you’ll fight for real the same way.  You have to be careful when training because muscle has memory too.  If you train to never strike to the eyes, throat or balls, if you train to not bite a chunk out of your opponent, not fishhook or not pull hair, strike to the back of the head or spine or stomp a hand then when the fighting is for real you won’t be prepared to fishhook, bite, pull hair, grab nuts and twist or strike to the eyes, nose or throat.  Do you practice finger locks and breaks?  The way you practice is the way you’ll react.

You can’t really explain Kali though so I figured I’d just post a video from YouTube.  If you watch the video try and follow the footwork, the hip rotation to get strength into strikes and the flowing from one move to the next.

Did you check out the video? Pretty cool looking stuff, huh?  I also studied Systema which is a Russian marital art taught to the Russian special forces.  This stuff was really weird.  They could use the harmonic distortion of your body to actually rub you down to the ground.  You know harmonic distortion and how vibrations get larger and larger?  Well you throw a punch and these guys that study Systema take that motion and somehow multiply it and actually rub you right down to the ground.  It’s crazy stuff.    I really enjoyed studying Kali.  It was fun.  Because you don’t fight alone, working with a partner for most drills is a good way to do things.  So get out there and practice.  Practice makes perfect.  Buy a video or two and find a partner to practice with.

Here’s a good one.  I was Getting Out Everyday and I come down this path and you see that nice old stonewall and that nice old juniper right in the center of the picture?  Well there was a herd of deer standing there staring at us.  I’d say there were probably 5-6.  I think someone spooked them and they were moving and we inadvertently headed them off at the pass.  In my experience cows are curious.  I think deer are the same way.  The deer seemed to all be looking us over.   So I’m getting my camera out and of course Green Eyed Dog can’t control himself and splits.  He chases one deer one way and the other deer go the other way.

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You can see Green Eyed Dog taking off to the left like a banshee after the deer.  If you click on the picture to expand it or look real close at the oak tree farthest to the left you can see the deer running for it’s life.  You can see it’s head and it’s hind leg.  It’s body is hidden behind the tree.  I took some other pictures, but my camera has a delay so I missed all the other deer.  The air was thick with the smell of the deer.  Have you ever been in the woods and smelled wildlife?  I’m telling you the air was thick with the scent of deer. Man, we have so many deer around here that they’re like pests.  Not a lot of people hunt here and WTSHTF I think that our game will be more plentiful in the suburbs than in the more rural areas where everything large and small will be killed, cleaned and cooked in a week.

survival fantasy

February 26, 2009

So as is the case, I Get Outside Everyday.  I was out walking the woods the other day and one of the places I go to regularly to Get Outside Everyday is a little mountain not too far from my house.  If you’ve been following my blog then you know that this place is more or less my temple/church/sacred place.  This isn’t meant to disparage your holy, special place, this is just my special space.  I have a special connection to it.  It may sound odd to you but the spirits that came before us still inhabit the place. Please don’t listen to others and kill, inhibit, depress, keep down or deny all of your animal instincts.  Learn to listen to your instincts, nurture them and allow them to grow and get stronger.  The difference between a new cop and an old cop is experience, instinct and knowing enough to listen to instinct.

Survival isn’t something that is kept in the closet till TSHTF.  If you are prepping and waiting for that one big event so you can run into your magic survivalist phone booth and emerge as Super Survival Dude with your BDUs, molle gear, battle vest, main battle rifle and 30 30 round magazines strapped to yourself well you’re missing out.

My brand of Suburban Survival is something that is thought about every second of everyday. Walking in parking garages, being out late at night, walking the woods, paying bills, food shopping, doing repairs around the house, getting the garden in, caring for animals/livestock, cooking, camping and so on.  Survival isn’t something that you wait to do or look forward to doing in the future.  Survival is everyday and every aspect of your life, or it should be.  It is for the creatures of the woods and the dog laying at your feet or the cat in your lap.  What does Forest Gump say, “survival is as survival does.”

Anyways, at the top of this mountain is a fire tower.  There is usually a hole cut into the fence so people can crawl through the hole and climb the tower to take in the view, but the government workers wired all the holes shut.  In order to gain entrance I had to crawl, shimmy under the fence.  Here’s the hole I wriggled through.  It’s less than two feet tall I’d guess.

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You can see the mark that I made crawling under it.  No I don’t advocate trespassing, but the way I figure the companies and government that put up this tower and fenced it in are akin to the companies and governments that took over the land of the Native Americans.  Fencing me out won’t work.  This land is my land no matter what the Deed says on it.   Don’t fence me in. I will not be denied.  Which reminds me do you have wire cutters and bolt cutters as part of your preps? If push comes to shove the ability to get in or get out could save your life.

So it got me to thinking, how many of you are prepared to wriggle through a hole in a fence or crawl through the snow? Stop and think about that.  When is the last time you did it? My point is, that it’s fine to write/blog/talk about survival and guns and shooting zombies, but if you ain’t ready, willing or ABLE to hit the snowy ground and wriggle under a fence then you are delusional.  You will become a victim or fodder.   It’s fine to have fantasies though.  And if you are too fat to crawl over or under a barb wire fence then you got other issues that need to be addressed.  Remember what happened to Ned Beaty in Deliverance.  Don’t delude yourself into thinking about being Survivor Man if you get winded going up one flight of stairs. You ain’t gonna make it.  When’s the last time you carried 20 or 30 pounds on your back, walked a few miles or even got muddy?   Face reality and recognize that you’d be better off learning a valuable skill so that others want to keep you around.  Nursing, medicine, first aid, cooking, sewing, fixing, building, growing, crafting or smithie will all make you more valuable.  Survival and survivalism isn’t blogging or surfing the Internet.  It’s tough, hard dirty work.  Having cold feet for hours on end is physically and mentally draining.  When is the last time your feet have been cold for a whole entire day? Prepare yourself for that.  Just for kicks try not to use your cell phone, television, computer, car or electricity for one single stinking day and see how you like that.

That’s all I’m saying, survival isn’t about preparing for the balloon to go up.  It’s about taking care of yourself and being able to run a mile if you have to.  It’s about having some extra stuff in storage.  It’s about being able to garden, cook, hunt, fish or defend you or yours if need be.  It’s about growing your situational awareness and animal instincts and listening to both

So I wriggle under the hole in the fence and climb up the fire tower.  It was a really nice, but very windy day.  The steps were icy and the tower was a swaying.  And because it was near sunset I was blessed with a beautiful view.

a12Because this mountain is the highest point around all of the companies have put up antennas to allow us to use our electronics.  You can see that the summit now looks like an electronic porcupine.  It was a great day and a great sunset.

So Get Outside Everyday and get muddy, crawl through the leaves, smell the woods, learn to walk with pebbles in your boots, fall down and bounce up,  skip a meal once in a while, allow yourself to get thirsty, develop some callouses.  Prepare and you will be rewarded.  Although I’m a big fan of buying stuff, preparing is more than the sum of what you can purchase.  Toughen up.

Also, saw a story in the news about  a Break-in suspect held at gunpoint by neighbor.  I like stories like this.  Mind you if the conscientious armed citizen was not there the scumbag burglar would have gotten away with it.  Get armed, learn how to use the weapons and prepare yourself to use deadly force if necessary.

There are sheep, wolves and shepherds.  Choose your own fate or have someone hand fate to you.

And here’s a blog that covers armed citizens savings lives and saving property – http://www.claytoncramer.com/gundefenseblog/blogger.html.

Unemployment

February 19, 2009

Okay, let’s say the Boss came into your office or asks you to come into hers and she says, ‘Well, times have been real bad.  We’ve all had to make cutbacks.’   BTW if the Boss ever shows up with someone from Human Resources don’t even wait for them to speak.  Just start packing up.

What do you do next?

I’ve been laid off a number of times.  I hate to say you get used to it.  You don’t.  It’s never easy, but there is something to be said for not being too vested in your job.   There’s also something to be said to burning bridges sometimes.  I mean who would want the bastard to have a way to get over to you.  Some bridges are best burned.  That’s just me though.  And I know it’s bad advice.

I can really feel for people, getting laid off is as shocking to a family as a death or divorce.   If you’ve been working the same job for 15, 20 or 30 years what else do you know.  You’d be like a prisoner who spent his entire adult life in prison and then upon his release steals a pack of gum to get sent back.  If you’ve been somewhere for 15+ years what else do you know?  Then if you have kids and get laid off…

Well what do you do now that you’re driving home and wondering how to tell your husband, wife, parents, girlfriend, boyfriend or roommates? Well in no particular order: collect unemployment, stay positive, assess the situation, network, budget/debt management, look for jobsdevelop a cash business, keep a schedule and exercise.

1. Collect unemployment – first things first.  Get in touch with your state’s department of employment assistance or transitional assistance or whatever government name they have for it and open a file.  if you can do it on-line then do it on-line.  If you need to do it by phone then make sure that your portable phone is fully charged before you call.  Use a speakerphone so that you can do other stuff while you wait on hold for an hour.  If they call, return their phone calls.   If you need to fill out a form or take a class then do it as fast as possible.  Keep track of who you speak with and what was said. You have time now.  If you need to keep a log of your job search then do it.   You’ll need to update your claim every week.  Make sure that you do it.  Otherwise your claim will be closed and you’ll have to start from scratch again.   Don’t ever lie to the unemployment people.  It’s a serious offense and even with everything they got going on now they like nothing better than to screw with you.  Don’t lie to them.  They have secret Government ways of finding out.  So treat collecting unemployment as a job.  You’re lucky to be getting it so make sure you do what they ask of you.  Check out what option you have for health insurance.  Maybe it’s COBRA or some state policy.

2. Stay positive – Tough to do when you’re worrying about your next meal, paying the rent or getting necessary medicine, but you have to do your best.  Maybe it’s going to church, temple or the mosque.  For me it’s walking my dog and spending time outside.  I’ve found over my short life that some people, places, events and things are energy vacuums.  You need to avoid energy vacuums.  If you know a particular person is going to give you hard time about something then avoid them.  If your mother or your ex always dumps on you then don’t give them the opportunity.  You don’t want to be sitting around all day with other unemployed people who are negative.  If they are positive and doing and going and making things happy or happening then that’s another story.  Avoid the energy sucks in your life.  You know who or what they are.

3. Assess the situation – Spend some time just figuring out where you are at and how you got there.    Where did you think you would be at this point in your life and where you are at.  What’s changed and what hasn’t.  Should you consider moving someplace different to increase your chance of finding work?  Go to school?  The state may pay.  Get some retraining or learn a new skill maybe.  Maybe you need to change your living arrangements or sell the boat and jet skis.  Don’t become an unwitting observer of your own life.

4. Network – Now is time to get out there.  Have any favors that people owe you or friends in position to hire you?  You need to speak with everyone you meet.  You never know where one simple hello may lead.  The more you do the more people you meet, so do more.  Just because you are unemployed it doesn’t mean that you should sit at home.  Volunteer at the town kennel or the senior center.  The Internet, Facebook and Myspace are great to network.    If you belong to any organizations or associations like the VFW, AmVets, Italian American Club, Masons or Order of the Arrow than work it.  Check on your fraternity brothers or sorority sisters.  Now isn’t the time to be hiding out in your mountain top bunker by yourself.

5. Budget/debt management – You have to try and get your finances in as best shape as possible.  If you have the where with all to write out a budget then do it.  Get an understanding of how much income you are taking in every month and what your monthly expenses are.  If you need to, for a week keep track of every cent you spend and write it down in a little notebook.  Set priorities for your bills and debts.  Make sure you put unsecured creditors last.  That’d be like credit card companies.  Try and figure out where you can cut back.  Forget about the coffee out everyday.   It’s bad for the environment anyways.  Forget about the lottery or going out to eat.  Only you know where you can cut back. Don’t ever go shopping without a listUse coupons if you have the patience.  Make shopping lists.  Sell your junk that is in your shed or closet.    Have a yard sale or post crap on E-Bay.

6. Look for jobs – Personally, I never like job fairs.  It’s like ants at a picnic.  Use the Internet and sites like Craigslist.org.  If you went to college check with the alumni folks at your alma mater.  Check USAjobs.gov.  Most states and municipalities are hurting, but they’re still hiring who they need.  Consider part-time work or a few part-time jobs.  I like the idea of having a number of part-time jobs, diversification of your income is good.    Looking for a job is a job.    You really should try and spend an two or three hours at least five days a week looking for a job.  It takes a lot of time and it sucks.

7. Develop cash business – If you’ve always wanted to “follow your heart” or try something different and never had the balls to actually do it, now may be the time.   I believe just about anyone can accomplish just about anything they set their mind to.  You can too.  If you’ve always wanted to write a book, become a taxidermist or whatever else it is, then think about turning it into a business.  Turn your hobbies into a business.  In our New Economy v.2 having an independent income stream will be a very good thing indeed.   Don’t get all crazy though and start spending a bunch of money you don’t have to make money.  If you plan on “investing” in tools, equipment or such for a new business, don’t do it without first developing a detailed business plan.  That said though, look around your house, you already have the tools for your hobbies, sports and recreational activities.  Teach people to tie flies.  Put in vegetable gardens for people.   Fix bicycles.  Tutor someone’s kids.   Babysit or take care of someone’s elderly parents.  Maybe run errands or clean houses.  Fix cars for folks.  Cook meals for working people so when they get home from work dinner is already made.  Specialize in small engine repair.  Catch fish and sell em to your neighbors.  Set up your own little farm stand or sell bouquets of flowers.  Maybe learn how to homebrew beer and wine.  Mow lawns or trim hedges.  Your imagination and other people’s doubts are your only limitations.  If you’ve had a desk job your whole adult life you’ll be pleasantly surprised how nice it is to do something different and maybe move around for a change.

8. Keep a schedule – You can’t be sleeping all day.  You may not have a paying job, but you can still be useful and contribute.  Try to wake up and go to bed the same times each day.  Don’t stay up all night playing video games.  Make Mondays be a drag and look forward to Fridays.  Clean the house.  Cook meals.  Go to the library.  Get out.    Keep busy and make your unemployment be like a job.  Make a schedule so you get out of the house everyday to get the newspaper, look for jobs or walk the neighborhood.  Make a list of things that need to be done around your home – filing, painting, cleaning, snaking the drains.   Have meals at regular times.  Set your alarm clock, wake up, shower and shave.  You too ladies.  You can’t start living like a pirate now, no matter how nice it sounds.  Unless of course it’s a pirate you want to be then be the best damn pirate you can, be the captain of other pirates and be a pirate’s pirate.  Anyways…

9. Exercise – This is a biggie.  You have to get some exercise everyday.  You have the time now so there is no excuse.  Exercise will relieve stress, help you sleep better and keep you healthy.  Ideally, You Get Outside Every Day so you get some fresh air and sunshine.  Walking is great exercise.  Explore trails near your house.  Do stuff around your yard.  If you are lying awake in bed at night worrying you aren’t exercising enough.

If you are not laid off yet: don’t get your personal identity from your job, arrive early, don’t surf the Net at work.  Start saving a little cash every pay period.  Pay down your secured debt as much as possible.  Whatever your job is, keep current on new trends or breakthroughs.  Take classes.  Start buying some extra food and other non-perishables like toilet paper, toothpaste, laundry detergent and so on to store.  If you are working and having a tough time meeting your bills then make some changes while you still have steady income.  I’m not telling you what to do, but if you are still contributing to a 401k or 403b really think about what you are doing.  Especially if you are like me and don’t know what you are doing.  The days of buying and holding are behind us.

Get outside everyday!

I was out skiing.  There really isn’t much snow left but I know the last places that melt.

v3

Look how blue that sky is and the way the blue changes from kind of white near the horizon to bright blue of the heavens.  Crazy.  Anyways, this big field is actually sort of a bowl.  It doesn’t look very steep, but I guarantee if you aren’t a good cross country skier you will fall.  So when I ski this area I kind of follow the tree line on the left down to the bottom of the little slope.  At the bottom of this little hill is a good size pond.  It’s out of the picture to the right.  Then I ski back up and ski down again a bunch of times.

So at the bottom of the hill lo n’ behold what do I see………………but a………………

v5Chicken of the Woods! I don’t eat the stuff, but it is a good find nonetheless.  Believe me, what I eat is directly related to my level of hunger.  No offense, but I would eat you too if I was hungry enough.  And I would expect no less from you.  Anyways, Chicken of the Woods is pretty unique looking as far as wild edible mushrooms go.  I’m not one to collect mushrooms, but there really isn’t anything else that looks like this that is poisonous.   They grow on trees, even dead trees.  They’re orange and yellow.  They don’t have gills.  They’re best to eat when young.  You can cut the edges off of them.  That’s where the best taste is.  I read that you should avoid the ones that grow on conifers.  As with all wild edibles, test them first before eating in quantities.

YOU GOTTA DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH though until you are comfortable with what you know.  Don’t Eff around with mushrooms.  You have to put in the research time or you could die, and then what good will all those high capacity magazines do for you? Just kidding.  You  can keep them ………..for now.

v7Here’s another picture.  You’ve seen these haven’t you?  Google Chicken of the Woods and then commit it to memory.

Work available

February 3, 2009

Ok, lots of people are looking for more work.  The US Census is taking place real soon.  The Census Bureau is hiring gobs of people.  Check out this website.

Many jobs are available.  I heard that they pay well, upwards of $15 an hour.  Part-time and full-time are both available.  You can also try out to be a supervisor or recruiter.  Most of them are temporary jobs.

The field reps go to specific houses in your own neighborhood and interview the occupants.  This is in your own neighborhood so you may not even need a car.  Plus, even better it’s a great way to meet your neighbors.

The first step in applying is to go to that website and find out the phone number for your regional office.  Then you call the regional office and schedule to take an assessment/test.  The test lasts for 30 minutes.  It has 28 questions on it.  It was harder than I was expecting, but nothing to get worked up about.  You don’t get paid to take the test, but if you get hired you do get paid to take the training.

You can fill out a PDF application and I-9 on-line and print them out to bring with you to the assessment.

Good Gubmint job at good Gubmint wages.  Don’t delay and good luck.

ws32This is a buddy taking the fall line down.  I love this picture because of the snow flying up behind him.  It really gives you a sense of speed.  Whoosh.  BTW, that’s Green Eyed Dog.  He feels the need to get in every picture.

ws33Sharp curve to the right at the bottom of the hill.  If you haven’t tried skiing, you gotta.  To me it feels like flying.

Went skiing

January 23, 2009

Foot of powder! Got finished early today so I went to an old abandoned ski area this afternoon.  It was my first time downhill skiing this year.  abandoned41These are my old skis.  It’s funny when I go to a commercial ski area people are always marveling at my skis.  They say, “wow is Kneissl making Red Stars again.  Those are retro.”  No, they’re just old.  Goes to show if you hold on to anything long enough it’ll come back into style.

Anyways, I thought it would be neat to post some pictures from my afternoon.  This ski areaabandoned21 was first opened during the 40’s and shut down in the 80’s since then the trails have all become overgrown.  It’s maybe a half hour from my house.  The picture to the left is the view of the front looking up.

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The picture underneath is the view from the top.

It’s only about 300 vertical feet, but I walked up and skied down five times.  Pretty tiring.  You can see in the background of this picture that it is a major metropolitan area.  Check out the houses on the hill across the way.

abandoned5

This is one of the old lift shacks.

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This is one of the trails down.  As you can see it runs through a gorgeous birch forest.  The nice thing about skiing this way is that I didn’t run into another soul while I was there.  I was surprised because it was a beautiful day and it’s pretty close to a couple of colleges.  What’s wrong with college kids these days.  On a nice Friday afternoon I would have definitely been out playing and not studying.

abandoned81

This is looking up one of the trails from halfway down.  abandoned17

If you ski you understand how nice this is, especially when you consider that the only charge is the effort to walk uphill.

Another trail down with a foot of almost totally undisturbed powder.  Starting tonight thousands of people will be headed north to sit in their car for three hours to drive to ski areas.  Then Saturday and Sunday they’ll be paying $70 or more each for a lift ticket at some big, crowded, noisy commercial ski area.  And I promise you that there won’t be a foot of powder either.  Folks, take advantage of recreational areas in your neck of the woods.

And of course while I was there I spotted some edible plants.  This is burdock thistle.

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You must have seen these seeds.  It’s like they’re made out of velcro and stick to your pants and your dog’s fur.  I think people eat the roots of Burdock before they go to seed like this plant obviously has.  I think it has a lot of medicinal properties too.  Do you have a edible or medicinal plant book?  I’ll remember where this plant is so that I can harvest it in the spring if I want to.

abandoned16

And of course you know that these are the seed pods from Staghorn Sumac, right?  These seeds are used a lot in middle eastern cooking like kebas and pilaf.  They also make up a nice cooling lemonade type drink.

By now you know the refrain, “Get outside everyday.”

I didn’t plan this….

January 16, 2009

but here I am.  I actually had another really great post, but watching the Market yesterday compelled me to write this. Market manipulation.

I don’t believe it.  I just don’t.   I believe that the markets in their current Bush/Bernanke/Paulson incarnation (incantation) are rigged beyond our wildest dreams (nightmares).was4

…..pour a shortie of Mr. Jameson’s.

So yesterday before the market open I’m paying attention to the Rah Rah Boys on CNBC and watching the Dow futures (down).  At 8:30 another horrible employment number came out and the market reacted.  It continued the same down trend that began around the New Year.  By high noon the market slides maybe 200 points and even goes below 8,000 for the first time since November.  Seems like strong downward pressure to my layman’s eye.

Then magically around 12:30 pm an uptick develops.  I know we’ve had a bunch of losing sessions so something had to turn at some point, but I don’t believe it.  Not this fast or this strong.

The story was that the senate was going to vote on an additional release of $350,000,000,000.  This is old news.  If the market is so forward looking it already should have adjusted for the rest of the TARP $.   That there is additional taxpayer money in the trough for the slopping isn’t a surprise to anybody.   Maybe my tinfoil hat is too tight, but it seems like the work of little green men or the President’s Working Group. Not sure which though.  I’m no expert, but this seems like manipulation to me.

What new information came out between the market open and 12:30 that caused a 250 point uptick?  I for the life of me can’t figure out what would cause a 250 point positive swing in the course of three hours.  Nothing.   If the church up the road ran a bingo like this they would be shut down.  Government manipulation of the markets.

What happened mid-session to cause this huge change in momentum?  Tell me if you know.

Don’t be fooled.  As near as I can tell the trend is down for the short and medium term.  Long term?  I don’t know where we end up.  I wouldn’t be surprised if eventually something has to give with our currency.  I don’t know what’s right for you, but I don’t have any money in stocks that I don’t consider gambling money.  The news is all bad: earnings, consumer confidence, housing values, foreclosures, loan defaults, unemployment, retail, the federal budget deficit, the economic health of the states, our manufacturing base, the quagmires overseas, the money supply, the jobs outlook, availability of credit, GDP.  Make no mistake we have a ways to go still before we turn the corner on this one.

And why is taxpayer money being used to pump up the stock price of banks?  Why are public funds being used to bail out stock holders?

I still haven’t received a satisfactory answer.

SCREW THE BANKS! Not a one ever cut me the least slack.

q3This is halfway down one trail looking up.  You can see my tracks.  Yum.  Conditions have been so perfect.  Four inches of ice covered by three inches of dry powder like they see in Steamboat.   In Steamboat they call it champagne powder.  Here we we just thank our lucky star and take advantage of it

q12This is the other half down.  Trust me it’s steeper than it looks.  Sometimes you have to put your hands and poles into the boxing guard position to protect your face and kinda crunch through the smaller branches.

Failure

January 7, 2009

Failure?  Really, what’s failure, but an unintended change of plans.

Nothing good comes easy.  I was out skiing the other day, and as is often the case when I’m in the woods, I got to thinking.  You come to a path with a fork, the easy way or the hard way.  It’s always easier to maintain the status quo – to keep doing what you are currently doing.  Keep the same job, stay in the same apartment, keep the same dirty habits and not sign up for that class that you always have thought of taking.

How many times did you fall from the horse when you were learning to ride?  How many times do you think an Olympic gymnast falls from the balance beam or smacks her chest into the uneven bars on her way to winning a medal?

Failure and struggle are the flames that harden our resolve.  I always thought that it is better to try and fail than never to have tried at all.  We need to be strong and sure enough to press on even in the face of adversity and failure. Once we set our compass we can’t allow anything to prevent us from reaching our goal.  Every path is filled with pitfalls.  Every shoe is filled with pebbles.  Even our friends and families sometimes try and dissuade us.  Really, sometimes those closest to us are negative influences towards positive change, but that’s another post.

Change and learning new things is tough.  It’s easy to sit home every night with your butt on the couch.  Changing takes time, effort, discipline and resolve.  Personally, I would rather fail ten times at something new than never to have tried to achieve in the first place.

Set your goals, develop a plan, harden your resolve, press on and achieve.  The decision is yours, you can be the log or you can be the wedge.

I like to say that, “You can’t make cookies without breaking some eggs.

And my father would say, “It’s only a failure if you don’t learn from it.”

If you are afraid of falling you’ll never ski.

Running Bear downhill

This is Running Bear skiing downhill.  Don’t try this at home kids.  Classic old fashioned NON-RESORT New England skiing.  The trail is greater than a 30 degree grade.  Notice the close placement of the trees.

p1010115Here Running Bear is close to the point of Operator Failure (“OF”).  Green Eyed Dog is a little concerned.

p1010116Here we see Running Bear has reached the terminal point of OF.  (It is funny when your friends fall, but only because I know he’ll bounce right back up.) Do you think that Running Bear is done?  Please don’t insult him.  No, Running Bear will get up, brush himself off and we will go on our way for more uphills, downhills and falls.

My point is that you can’t be afraid to fail and when you inevitably do, you need to pick yourself up, brush yourself off and move on.  NEXT!

Remington 870 barrels

December 23, 2008

I know that everyone loves to look at pictures of firearms so here’s a blog entry on changing a barrel for the venerable Remington 870.  Anyone can do it.  The 870 has been in production for a very long time.  It is a pump operated five shot 12 gauge shotgun.  The thing is as nearly trouble-free as a firearm can be.  There are all sorts of aftermarket accessories available for the 870 too from different barrels, chokes, magazine extensions, lights, lasers and different stocks.  It can be adapted for just about any use.  There is also a huge array of ammo available for it.

The 870 with a 26″ barrel.  I’d call this a sporting barrel.  You can screw different choke tubes onto it –

sg1Notice the relatively long length of the barrel.

First you need to make sure that the gun is safe.

sgSafety on.  Then work the slide and you can see that nothing is in the chute.  Although it looks like nothing is in the chamber I always stick my finger in there just to be sure that my eyes aren’t fooling me.  Check twice, save a life.  You have to do this every time you pick up a firearm, put a firearm down,  pass it to someone else or get handed one from someone else.  I don’t give a crap if you just watched the guy at the range that is handing you a weapon  make it safe himself.  You have to make it safe yourselfEvery time.  Every time you pick a weapon up or put it down make it safe.  Make it habit.

sg2Next, you work the fore-end slide back halfway, or more, towards the receiver.

sg3Then you unscrew the magazine cap.  You can see the cap attached to the shoulder strap.

p1010064Here I’m getting ready to slide the new barrel in.

p1010065Here the new barrel is being slid into the receiver and over the magazine tube.  You have to make sure that the ring on the barrel goes over the magazine.  It really slides right in.  If it doesn’t you’re doing something wrong and just start over again.

Screw the magazine cap back on and you are almost done.

p1010067Notice the shorter 18″ defense barrel.  This is a cylinder bore barrel with a bead sight.  It’s much better for defensive purposes than the longer sporting barrel.  It’s easier to swing around and get on target, particularly in the small confines of a house.  Being short (me) the shotgun feels better balanced with a shorter barrel.

Before you store the firearm, check again to make sure it is still unloaded and the safety is still on.  Trigger lock it and place it in your safe.

Getting out pics-

xc1Beautiful snow covered field on a beautiful day.

xc5Heaven.  This is the ceiling of my cathedral.  Beautiful old white pines.  They’re probably 100’+.

xcSki buddy.  SMACK that branch with yo’ pole.

One of the best days of the year!!

December 20, 2008

We got our first significant snowfall.  I went out skiing before the snow stopped falling.  One of my ski buddies, Running Bear, called me last night around 6 and said, “pick you up at 8?”

If you live in an area that gets snow and you haven’t tried cross country skiing (Nordic skiing) then something must be wrong with you.  What’s your malfunction, boy!?! You can get a full set up, boots, poles skis and bindings for probably around 150 bucks.  I beat the hell out of mine and they still last ten years.  For the type of snows we get around here skis beat the heck out of snowshoes.  The big advantage of skis is the glide, plus you get to ski down hills.  I can’t think of a more efficient human powered mode of travel in the snow then Nordic skis.  On a good year I can ski over 100 days.  That’s pretty good.  So this year, although I’m not working as much as I’d like, now that we have snow I’ll be skiing a ton and getting in fighting shape.

Mmmm snow.  Beautiful, delicious, delectable snow.  There’s that list running around, 100 skills every man person should know.  Nordic skiing should be on that list.  If you live in the North and don’t know how, make it your New Year’s resolution. It’s easy on the knees too.

Ski at night!

Ski at night!

Tough to see, but here are some beautiful white pine trees covered in snowy vanilla frosting.  This was the height of the storm.  We were getting an inch or more an hour, 23 degrees and the winds were 20mph+.  It was fun.The first ski is one of my favorite days of the entire year. Nordic skiing is the best exercise I can think of.  You swing your arms and skate your legs.  I used to winter camp and ski.  That’s tough carrying a 50 pound pack on skis.  Once you start leaning a little to one side the pack will pull you right over.  Who cares, when you fall you land in THE SNOW!!  Haha.  It’s fun!

Ski at night!!

Ski at night!

My ski buddy Running Bear with Green Eyed Dog in the background. You can see Green Eyed Dog’s eyes glowing and his white vest to the side of Running Bear’s left leg.  If you ski a lot the position Running Bear is in is a common position.  You stick your poles into your armpits and lean on your poles to catch a break.

We’re powder poachers and I’m proud of it.  Where we went last night there is new “management” and the new “management” implemented new rules and regulations.  What is it with some people?  You give them a little power (flashlight, keys and radio) and all of a sudden they think that they are Master of the Universe.  One of the new rules is that they don’t like us there at night.  SCREW THEM!!

Those are MY WOODSMINE! I don’t care what the name on the deed says.  I’ve been there thousands of times, literally thousands, through all the seasons and all kinds of weather over a period of 30+ years.  Think about that, thousands of times means once, twice or three times a week for 20 years.  Then some new folks come in and try to tell me when I can and can’t go there and what I can and can’t do.  It’s plain rude.  Those woods are my temple.  Really,  that’s the way I look at it.  And the “management” thinks they can keep me from my woody church because they have some official labeling on their trucks and patches on their shoulders.  SCREW THEM!! I’m pretty confident saying that no one in this area currently alive knows these woods better than me.  Sure, maybe 300 years ago the settlers and local Indian tribes may have, but not now.

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Ski at night!

So how do we get around the new “management’s” lack of hospitality? We park across the street from the woods, run across the street and bushwhack through the woods to the trails.  This is not advised for others to do at night in heavy wind driven snows unless you are intimately knowledgeable of the terrain.   Then we ski till we get near the top of the mountain.  At that point it’s too rocky and steep so we remove our skis and hike the rest of the way using one ski in each hand as a walking stick.  Once we get to the top we put our skis back on and then the fun begins, ski to the bottom.  Why snowshoe when you don’t get the benefit of the skate and glide?  Don’t fight gravity.  Use it.

Ski at night!

Ski at night!

If you engage in aerobic activities in the winter you know that you need to dress appropriately.  You have to dress for how hot you may get when your heart is doing 150 beats a minute.  I was overdressed.  Although it was 23 degrees out I had my jacket totally unzipped and I was still sweating.  You have to be careful not to sweat too much.  You also want to wear underwear that wicks your sweat away from your body.  No cotton, because “Cotton is death.” Got polypro and Goretex?

Abraham’s rule of the day: You can’t complain about the snow or cold if you stay inside.   Keep your sitting inside on the couch watching TV mouth shut.  Just get outside.

Ice storm

December 16, 2008

We got a rainstorm the other night, 3+ inches of rain.  Folks a few miles away got an inch or more of ice.  My house was drying out today.  Folks a few miles away were chilling out.  Literally, no power, no heat.  Are you prepared to stay warm?  Are you prepared to vanquish the darkness?

One of the places that I go walking is a little hill.  The summit is maybe 700 feet or so.  The base is around 300 feet, so the gain is 400.

At the base of this hill it was drying out from last night’s rainstorm.  At the top it was covered in ice.

ice

ice

It’s amazing what a small change in elevation can do.  You have to keep that in mind when you are getting dressed or packing.

p1010061What you see on the ground isn’t snow.  It’s ice that’s falling from the trees as the day warms.  If you look closely at the ground you can see all the branches that have snapped off the trees from the weight of the ice.  Ice weighs a lot.

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Some tree covered in ice.  It’s like a winter wonderland.  As if each branch was dipped into glass.

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I like the way the sun is shining through the ice on the tree.

p10100441This is a good picture that really shows the weight of the ice and how it bends trees and branches to the point of snapping.  You should take a look around your property and make sure there aren’t any branches or trees that may come down during a storm and knock out your wires.  If you haven’t laid awake listening to trees and branches snapping during an ice storm it is something else.

p1010055You can see next year’s buds being kept on ice for the spring solstice and Greenman to arrive.

p1010054I call this construction, “White Pine Amidst Ice.”  Just kidding, but it is pretty.

p1010047Nice trail.

So what was I reminded of today?

You gotta get outadoors everyday.

I have to check around my house to make sure nothing will come down on wires, roof or sheds if there’s a storm.

Weather can change dramatically and rapidly.

If your power goes out do you have another way to stay warm?  And another one after that? If my electric goes out I can’t use my furnace, but I have a woodstove.  If that doesn’t work I have a propane heater.  If that doesn’t work I have a little camping heater.   Can you cook without electricity?  Do you have a backup plan to that one?  Do you have the cast iron to cook over a fire if need be?  Do you even have a spare propane tank or extra bag of charcoal for your grill?

Generators, batteries, solar chargers, Coleman fuel, propane, blankets, sleeping bags, flashlights, lanterns, candles, propane heater, charcoal, firewood, saws, mauls, light sticks, fleece, long underwear, head lamps, cast iron cookware, handwarmers, hats, gloves, Dutch oven, grills, axes, matches and lighters, portable TVs, wind up lights and radios.

Lastly, you need to know how to shut off the utilities to your house.  Learn how to shut off the water main and drain the heating system, shut off your natural gas, turn off the furnace and pull the main breaker to your house.  The time to figure out how to do it isn’t when you need to.

BTW our power went out today.  It didn’t take me long to pull out a couple of battery lanterns, the b attery TV set and a radio.  We weren’t affected in the least.  I did find out that the batteries died in the radio.  No problem, we have lots of extra batteries.  It feels good to be prepared.  Are you?