Posts Tagged ‘getting out’

Getting out some more…

November 3, 2008

There’s a lot of places I can walk to for some R&R right near my house.  There some power lines.  There was some Juniper growing.  Check out the berries.  They’re good with venison or lamb or even a roast beef.  They also use them to flavor Gin.

Juniper berries

Juniper berries

Just a little further up along the power lines I saw some bittersweet.    Being red and orange once the fruits split this stuff is tough to miss.  It has a lot of medicinal properties, but the fruit can be toxic.

Bittersweet

Bittersweet

Just a little further along we saw some deer tracks. It rained pretty heavy a couple of days ago, so these tracks are new. I usually see tracks up there.  If you don’t know what ruminant tracks look like, they look kind of like a narrow heart.

Deer tracks

Deer tracks

Animals are like people. Actually the better way to think of it is that people are animals. Wildlife likes to take shortcuts when possible, just like us. If it’s a choice between heavy brush and power lines, the deer are gonna take the power lines. They’d rather take a bridge of some sort then get all wet. They get funneled into areas the same way we do, by fallen trees, stone walls, the neighbor’s fence and ponds. And more tracks…

more deer

more deer

And more…does this one look a little deeper to you?  Maybe she was larger?

Deer grande

Deer grande

We then ventured over to the pond.  On the way over there I saw some reddish/purple canes.  That’d be where I get some blackberries during the summer.  When you see this stuff you have to file it away and remember to come back to pick that sweet, sweet summer fruit.  Easy to spot because the canes have that purplish tint.

Blackberry canes in winter

Blackberry canes in winter

You have to keep your eyes open. Look up into the tree tops and look down at the ground. Walk slower if you need to. Stop and listen. What do you hear? If you see something interesting: a leaf, branch, rock, berry or bone bend down and pick it up. Bring it home and look it up in one the Peterson’s Guide Books that you have. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw_0_10?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=peterson%27s+field+guide&sprefix=peterson%27s

You need to have one of these a bunch of these guidebooks to cross reference stuff.

You need to get out into the woods and walk around.

Advertisements

Getting out

November 2, 2008

Do you have smoke and CO detectors and a fire extinguisher or two? If not that needs to be your next prep.

You need to get out every day. It gets you exercise. You get to see nature change day to day. You get to learn where the grapes, berries, nuts and edible plants are. In the spring when I see flowers blooming I mark the spot in my mind so I know where the berries will be later in the season. After a while you are able to spot the trails that wildlife uses. You get to learn the animal tracks. You learn how to spot where water is, or is likely to be. You learn the plants that live in wet areas and just by spotting the plant you know that water will be there. You can sense that animals are watching you. You need to listen to all six of your senses. I go out walking, riding and skiing in all kinds of weather. I’ll ski at night. I’ll go out in a blizzard or the pouring rain. You just dress appropriately. I may be sitting at home, looking out the window, thinking how cruddy, cold, gray and wet it looks outside, then I get dressed correctly for the weather and head out. The day and the weather always improve once you get out. The sun is always brighter from the outside looking in then the inside looking out.

Wild berries

Wild berries

Even in after a couple of heavy frosts you can still find a tasty berry or two.  More importantly, mark the lcoatuion of these canes in your head so next summer you can get the big pick.

I go to a big woddsie type area just about every day.  Near the trailhead of one of the places I regularly go to is an old, abandoned homestead.  It dates back to the 1730’s.  Here’s a couple pictures of the old stone foundation.  It looks like it’s just a stonewall, but it’s actually 5 feet deep.

Cellar Hole

Cellar Hole

Cellar Hole 2
Cellar Hole 2

Just maybe 15 feet away is another stone lined hole.   I think that it may have been their root cellar.  You can see a tree growing up through what used to be the floor.  Seeing how it’s 250+ years old, I’d venture to guess that it used to be 10 feet deeper.

Root Cellar

Root Cellar

This place that I walk is a little mountain.  Here’s a view from near the top.  Hiking up a steep hill is a great way to get the heart pumping. If you look closely, real closely, you can see the city in the distance.  That’s probably 20 miles away.

Da View

Da View

We saw a deer. I think it was a rather large buck for this part of the country. I’d say maybe 150-170 pounds. Although 170 is probably optimistic. All I really got to see was its right flank and white tailed bum as it ran from me. it always feels like a blessing when you see something like a deer running.  It was maybe 25 feet away, but real heavy brush. I think that I literally scared the pooh out of it.

Deer Pooh

Deer Pooh

The pooh was warm to my touch. Don’t be afraid of touching stuff when you are out in the woods. Touch that pooh. Pick it up. Crush it in your fingers. Is it warm or cold? Soft or hard? Wet or dry? All of these things will tell you how old it is. What’s it made of berries and seeds or is there fur in it?

Deer Pooh 2

Deer Pooh 2

If you look closely you can see some deer crap on the branch and a trail of crap leading away.  It was crapping as it was running from my dog and me.  My dog is usually really good, about coming back after he chases a deer.  Not yesterday.  I had to call for him for 15 minutes.  I went back to the car and there he was waiting for me.  He was like, “where ya been?”

Just get out.  Everything seems better after you get out.

Skills

October 31, 2008

Today’s post is about skills.  I have two posts in the works.  One will be on knives and the other on getting out.

Just got back from the range.  I tried out some subsonic Remington .22 rounds.  Quiet, but they still make too much noise to shoot stuff in my suburban neighborhood.  I was hoping for a pfft rather than a crack.    Also shot the 7.62 * 39 Saiga.  That is fun.  What an easy gun to shoot.  Also, fired off a few .357 rounds from my S&W model 60.  Getting better.  Practice makes you better.  My goal for a rifle is to be able to shoot a paper plate from 100 yards with iron sights.  For my handguns it’s to shoot a small plate from five yards.  Of course I try to shoot from all different ranges, positions and angles.  I don’t want to try using a scope until I have the iron sights nailed down.

Onto today’s post on skills-

Napoleon Dynamite: No, but who would? I don’t even have any good skills.
Pedro: What do you mean?
Napoleon Dynamite: You know, like nunchuku skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills… Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.
Pedro: Aren’t you pretty good at drawing, like animals and warriors and stuff?

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

What skills do you have? This is my list of skills that I think are important to have. Of course it’s not all inclusive. There are many things that I can’t do that I wish I could.  Let me know what I’m missing.

Start a fire. If you don’t know how to start a fire, the main thing to keep in mind is that it is like painting, you need to get all your prep work done first. Before you touch the flame to the kindling you need to have everything ready. Start with tinder, then kindling then larger logs. You want to have all your gathering done before you start the fire.  You fire kit should contain matches, a steel and lighters.

Sharpen a knife. I like diamond stones. I’m going to have a separate post just for knives once I get the camera back from the wife. There’s a Halloween party where she works so she wanted to take pictures of all of her clients in the costumes.

Understand a variety of firearms. How to make safe, load, unload, field strip and clean. Learn how to use a pistol, a revolver, a lever action rifle, a center fire rifle and a shotgun. If you understand the basics for each one of these you will be in pretty good shape. You won’t be an expert, but if you come upon one you will at least (hopefully) be able to make it safe.

Cook a meal just using what you have in your pantry. I love to cook. You need to be able to mix a can or two of this or that and a bag of noodles and make a good dinner. Understand about cross contamination and how to avoid it. Know how to store food safely. Know what various herbs and spices taste like and how to use them.

Set up a camp and cook over a campfire.  Know to look overhead for widowmakers.  Don’t set up too close to some river or stream that may rise up.

Use a Coleman stove and lantern. Know how to fill them, pump them, light them and change a mantle.

Gardening skills. Know how to compost, understand NPK and micronutrients. I used to work with a very well paid lawyer (like $450 an hour, yup, that’s right). She went to all private schools that were very expensive for her education. She was interested in gardening. One day I was explaining to her about bees. She had no idea that bees pollinate and that without bees we wouldn’t have any fruit. Imagine that, not knowing that bees pollinate? Learn what USDA zone you are in. If you don’t garden buy a book and some seeds and start.

Be able to fix simple things around your home like a toilet that runs, fix a clogged toilet or clogged sink, a bad light switch or prime and finish the walls of your home. Know how to use simple hand tools.  Be able to replace a cord from an appliance or a switch from a lamp.

Understand the basics of how your car works. I don’t mean just turning the key and having it start. You should understand the basics about fuel, air and spark. Know where the battery is and how to jump start a car safely. If you have a standard transmission you should know how to pop the clutch to start it. You should know how to change a tire safely, how to check the fluid levels – brake, transmission, coolant, oil, washer, how to put air in your tires.

First aid skills. Understand how to spot an infection, redness, hot to the touch, maybe drippy fluids and how to treat an infection. Know how to perform CPR, how to take someone’s temperature, how to stop bleeding (direct pressure and raise the wound), how to prevent shock in someone. Know the difference between a virus and bacteria. Know what kind of bandages, dressings and ointments to use. Know the difference between different degrees of burns and how to treat them. How to get something out of someone’s eye, remove a tick or sew someone up. Know the basics of anatomy and physiology. Where your arteries and veins are and the basic bones of the human body.

That is all for now.  Knives and getting out coming up.