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I often romantically dream about being an Indian, but the reality of it is that Indian (Native American that is) life is very hard for an individual, tribal life is almost a necessity. The skills and labors required to do more than survive are nearly impossible for one man to posess and practice. I can however master some of those skills and mix them into my own personal lifestyle. More than the skills, the waste/not want not philosophy of the Ancient Americans is probably what defines alot of their lifestyle.

I recently read an article called "The Art of Nothing" and it was very enlightening. Instead of hurriedly going about to make everything (or work your tail off to buy) everything that you think you need, why not master the skill of making do with what you have, and the skill of the expert gatherer. The expert gatherer, instead of spending hours making what he wants, spends hours of finding the perfect piece to be quickly modified to the use that he needs, all the while making observations about other possibilities.

I need a dry bag. I can't afford one. I think I will use a large inner tube and and cut it to twice the length I want my dyr bag to be, place the contents in the center of the tube, take both open ends and press together, then roll with an appropriat sized dog collar inside the roll as an attachment and closing device. I'll let you know how this works out. One benefit I see already with two opening is that I won't have to DIG for what I am after, just reach into the proper end. I could glue it all together with rubber cement but I like the instant simplicity of the double ended dry bag.

Please don't criticise my dog's drawing skills, it conveys the idea.

March 5, 2010

Throwing a Tomahawk and getting in shape

I am horribly out of shape. I lost all of my gear 2 years ago and went
into this winter gearless, no snowboots, gloves, scarf, any of that
plus no money. Needless to say I didn't spend much time outside, I
spent a lot of time traveling the world wide web though,my fingers are
in shape but the rest of my body isn't.

I will be a raft guide this year which is a pretty physical job. Pack a
100+ pound raft a 1/4 of a mile down a mountain, paddle for six hours
and then pack the raft to the shuttle vehicle. I need to get in shape.
One of the things I have been doing to get in shape is practicing my
wilderness skills (now that the days are over 20 degrees). Yesterday I
was cleaning up some large limbs that blew down this winter, and
instead of using a chainsaw to remove the smaller limbs from the larger
ones, I used a Tomahawk. I sharpened it to a razor edge and it would
remove most limbs up to about 2 inched in diameter with a single blow.
I saved anything over thumb size for campfire wood and started a small
comfort fire to burn the very small twigs that were left. AHH... :)

After the fire was going and I tired of cleaning more limbs I rolled a very large oak log to the top of a dirt ramp and practiced my throwing technique. My neighbor Sabrina, she's 13, was helping me
with the brush and was dying to know what I was doing with the log. You
should have seen her face light up when I planted the 'hawk in that
piece of oak with a nice loud crack and the anitclimatic thwang of the
handle vibrating from the impact. She couldn't wait to give it a try
(she wants to be an indidan too). I showed her the basics and turned
her loose. In no time at all she was sticking the hawk every time. I AM
a good teacher, lol. She took to it like a duck to water.

Well today I am very sore from dragging large limbs up a hill, packing
firewood, swinging a tomahawk, rolling a log, and riding my bike to the
grocery store. No pain, no gain. At least I am getting in shape and
having fun doing it, and I saved about 10 dollars that weren't spent on

The BONUS, I passed on a little piece of heritage. Throwing a tomahawk.

March 17, 2010

Ah, the Joys of finding what you need for free.

I have been wanting a LOT of string for some Native American Craft projects I have in mind, but the season isn't officially going yet, so I am efficiently broke. I have learned how to process yucca fibres into quality cordage but it is a lot of work and it takes a lot of yucca for a LOT of string. So imagine my joy when I stubled onto a few hundred feet of decent quality nylon twine, or mason's line as some people call it.

I was riding my horse( a 20 inch Dyno that I put racks on) past a brand new section of guardrail, and when I looked down I noticed that they didn't bother to roll up the mason's line that is used to lay out straight lines and grades with. They had been done with the guardrail project for some time so I knew they had left it for good. Both guard rails were about 300 ft. long so I am sure that I got close to 600 feet of twine for the mere price of humility, and the time it took to roll it up. My God is good. :)

So now I can work on some of those projects that require quite a bit of cordage and if I find myself getting hungry for some fresh fish, I now have enough line to run a pretty good line of bushhooks, I love catfish and turtle.

On another note:

My penny wood stove performed excellently over the last 2 days. It has been wet and drizzly with temps in the mid 30's in the evenings, and finding a quantity of firewood that was dry and smoke free for an open fire would have been difficult; but, with my penny wood stove I was able to harvest the extremely dry dead twigs still attached to the bottom of the many hemlocks that were near the shelter that I slept in, and use just a handful of twigs to cook my meals and heat my water, all while inside of the shelter and out of the elements. I had never used hemlock as a cooking fuel before but it performed well, it does however throw a lot of sparks; which could be good or bad depending on the natural environment and the preference of the user.

Pine Needle Tea:

I used the needle of the Black Pine and put a small handful into a coffe cup, then poured hot water over them and let them steep. It was an interesting beverage. I made mine pretty strong and was able to drink it but it wasn't exactly gourmet. It was a nice change from plain ol' white tea (hot water). If I remember correctly this may be a source of vitamin C.

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Comment by Dale Stewart on April 1, 2010 at 10:05pm
Thanks Anneliese, I would like to write more on it but I have been pretty busy lately and writing and internet communication are usually the first things to lose out when I start heading into a season, too much to do and experience, but I love it.
Comment by Anneliese on March 31, 2010 at 4:58am
Great topic! Makes me think of Mark Boyle founder of The Freeeconomy Community.

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