Tag Archives: fire starting

Time management

A martial arts teacher told me once, “If you want to be good, train when no one else is training…”.  I not being the brightest bulb in the box took this at its most literal translation.  So here I am throwing punches on my way to get a glass of water, kicking down the hall when I go to take a piss, swatting flies with what I hope are lightning fast backfists,  and practicing my footwork while moving around the stockroom(this I am positive gave my supervisor an uneasy feeling about me when he walked in on what I can only assume looked like a schizophrenic believing himself to be attacked by a rabid group of capybara).

The point of this article isn’t to show you how unhinged I am, or that I was even a successful martial artist due to my strange training habits, but I’m sharing this story because that one conversation changed my perspective about skill integration, time management and getting shit done.

Like most people one of my worst enemies is time.  To be specific “I don’t have enough time.”  Time is a formidable foe to be sure, but sadly most of us aren’t even bothering to get in the fight.  You hear us talk about skill sets over assets all the time, but what good are these skills without skill integration, sure you can learn a ton of stuff, but is it worth anything if you can’t exercise that skill under duress?

Around a PWP campfire you might hear such strange conversations as, “I got the fire going”, “yeah, but can you start a fire with a cricket and the lint from your belly button?”  (PLEASE don’t try this… those poor crickets, I can still hear their screams).  All joking aside, this type of banter should get one thinking, did you start that fire with your bic, matches, or gasoline?  If your perspective is tuned to skill integration and your willing to take up the fight against “time” every fire you start you should be practicing(read integrating) the skills you have learned.  If your lighting up the fire pit in the backyard cause your buds are coming over for a beer.  Guess what you have nothing but “time”, your not lost, hypothermic, or otherwise in need of the blessings of fire.  This is where time management comes in.  Build a bow drill, a plow, find stuff in the yard or on your person as fire starter, at the very least get out your firekit (you have one right?) and use the ferro rod.

This type of everyday skill integration is what will matter when you actually need it.  Shift your perspective to see what skills can be utilized during every day tasks.  Do not become a victim of “I don’t have enough time”…. or you might actually become a victim in a bad situation.

 

 

Kris Anderson 2017

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Why is your freezer empty…

If you are reading this on a Sunday, we can draw a couple conclusions…

Conclusion #1: There is a chance that you are a fantastic hunter. With archery elk opening on September 6th, archery deer opening on August 30th, and fall bear (you pick the weapon) being open since August 30th also, there is a chance that you have already tagged out on all of your big game for the year. Now you are just biding your time until October 1 so that you can slay a bunch of ducks and geese. If that’s you… Got any ideas how a fella could fill his freezer that you would like to share? If Not, then we can move on.

Conclusion#2: You  have been out hunting a few times already and are wishing that you had bought a B tag, and never decided to pursue critters with stick and string.You just needed a break. Hey I been there too my friend. There is a reason why people say that any animal that is harvested with a bow is a trophy, The amount of miles covered (quietly) and the amount of work entailed in  putting yourself into range with a bow is truly commendable. But you know as well as I do that the chances of shooting a critter from your couch are really limited. (If you regularly shoot critters from your couch, and you decide that you want to adopt a 33 year old fat guy… I might just know one. 🙂 )

Conclusion #3:You either go to church on Sundays, or Sunday is your “family day”. Both are acceptable answers, and I respect both answers equally. We would all love to spend every waking moment in the woods chasing dinner, but most of us have regular jobs that allow us very little free time. With only 2 days a week that don’t require a time clock, it is pretty hard to juggle your real priorities, God, Family, and Hunting! I personally try to limit my hunting excursions to one day out of the weekend (and boy is that hard to do when you got onto a good scrape the night before, or saw a ton of green heads land  just after shooting light  when you were picking up dec’s.) But, as for me at least, I feel that it is important to spend some time with the fam. Now when my boy gets old enough to carry a rifle and give it a go himself… Well, I should  just start apologizing to my wife now…

All things being considered, I think most people fall into group #3. That being said, It is always important to hedge your bet a bit by being proactive. So here are a few things that you can do before rifle season opens so that you don’t have to waste what little hunting time that you have getting ready.

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1: A man is only as sharp as his knife: It sounds silly, but a sharp knife is one of the most important items that any outdoors men can have, especially a hunter. With a little practice and a small sharpening kit you can maintain your own blades in almost no time, and its always better to start with a sharp blade and be able to touch it up. Believe me, having to sharpen your knife mid-deer stinks. You can take an hour or two (after work) and probably sharpen all the knifes and hatchets that you will need for your hunt. Another nice tool to have especially for game processing is  the Piranta knife made by Havalon. They are basically a gutting and field dressing knife that uses replaceable 2 3/4″ hermetically sealed scalpel  blades. If a blade gets dull or breaks, just swap the blade out. Is it a replacement for a good fixed blade knife? I don’t know that I would say that. But I do know a guy who raises buffalo, and it is the only knife that he uses for processing them out (field dressing and caping) and that says a lot.

ob32: Shoot your rifle: Its the easiest thing to take for granted. “It shot straight when I put it away last year.” Yes it did, but it has been stoved up in a case or gun cabinet since then, it has been cleaned and oiled, and maybe it has even been knocked around a little bit. I try to pull my shootin irons out a couple weeks before season starts and give them a good once over. Make sure all the screws are tight, run a few dry patches through the bore, then take it out and put a few rounds down range. if all goes right, the rifle prints right where I’m aiming. At this point I DO NOT clean the bore until hunting season is over, a bore that is clean and oiled will shoot to a different of impact then one that has been shot in. because of the residual oil,  rifles will tend to ( but not always) throw the first couple rounds high, due to less drag, and settle as they wear off the oil. Plus it gives you a little time to re-familiarize yourself with your fire arm. I know it is expensive (I shoot a .338 Win Mag for elk, and at $50+ a box I feel your pain) But if you cant afford to burn a half a box sighting in, you probably cant afford to hunt.

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3: Batteries, batteries, batteries: What do you have in your hunting kit that uses batteries? If you said everything you are correct! GPS, walkies, range finders, flashlights, head lamps, if your lucky… a camera. Yep, you already thought about those, but what about for your ATV and truck?  Make sure everything has a good battery in it, and make sure they are all charged up and ready. Foul weather brings out the worst in everything electronic. While your at it, maybe change the oil, air filter, and even throw a little fuel additive in the gas tank. Be prepared for all the challenges that arise in the field, you know what they say about an ounce of prevention…

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4:Packs and survival gear: This is by far the easiest and most fun pre-hunt preparation you can do. Dig out your pack frame, your hike pack (hopefully if you have been listening, your survival gear will already be in there. 😉 ) and check the condition of both, as well as what you have in inventory. Do it in the living room, in the middle of the floor and get the kids involved. If they see what it takes to do what you do, they will be super excited about it when they get to do it themselves. Matches, lighters, fire starters, knives, sharpening stones, tinder, game processing bags, meat sacks, something to boil water in… Its awesome, it is exciting, and its what you are about. Share the experience, if you don’t have kids, do it with your hunting buddies, when you compare and contrast what you carry, you may just learn something new, or you may get to share some lessons that you had to learn the hard way.

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5: Fellowship: I am very lucky to have a group of friends that share the same values as myself. In that, most of our conversations usually are about either hunting, fishing or guns. Big surprise huh? No, that’s not all that we talk about, but much like every road in Idaho leads to the bunco, all conversations lead to those topics. If you want to get ready to go on your fall hunts this year, I have a super easy recipe that will get you there. Grab a 6 pack, wrangle up your buddies, and talk about hunting. Talk about how much fun last year was. Talk about the ones you got, the ones that you missed, and about “the Big One” that you just know is out there. Talk about how good the coffee was in the morning, and how tasty the beer was when you got back to camp. Talk about hunting camp breakfast! Talk about how much it rained, or snowed or whatever. Reliving last years adventure is a sure way to wet the taste buds for this year. The memories that you make afield, are addicting. The more you make the more you want to make. Start a tradition and stick to it. Wouldn’t you love to be able to one day talk to your great grand children about your hunting adventures and show them a picture like the one above?

22 days… That is all the time left before opening day of Idaho’s general elk and deer season. The time is running down, fall is in the air. I wish you all the best of luck in all of your adventures, if you don’t hunt, that’s fine, fall pike  fishing is some of the best of the year, no to mention the steelhead run on the Clearwater. In whatever you do, make memories and traditions that will last a lifetime. Even one day in the field, will make the five days that you spend in the salt mines well worth it. Be safe, and good huntin’.

-Grant Willoughby 9/18/2016-

Alright lets be honest…

-A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.-

-Robert Heinlein-

 

Alright lets be honest…

How many of you have enough water stocked up for your family to survive 72 hours? Have all of your important document in a place where you can get to them if (God forbid) something catastrophic happens? Have an emergency plan in effect (yes this means practicing it.)? Just in case you happened upon this blog by accident, or have no idea about self-preservation, prepping, survival or anything along those line, the basis of most people’s ability to survive in any given situation seems to rely on there B.O.B. or bug out bag.  A bug out bag usually consists of tangible items that would be used to keep said person, or group of people in some cases, alive for a predetermined  length of time.  Do I believe in the idea? Of course I do. Do I think that everyone should have enough personal survival gear to perpetuate their existence? You bet. Do I think that there are a lot of things that get forgotten when people war-game their survival scenario? Sadly yes. We as Human beings are pretty impressive creatures, as a whole we are limited only by what we believe we can, or can’t do. Wake up tomorrow and decide that you want to learn Spanish… I’m betting by noon you will know enough to probably find a restroom, order food, count to 20, insult someone and find the Police. (Which may be an important thing depending on how good your insults are.) We are limitless, have you ever decided to take up a new hobby, and within a few sessions you either realize that you had a knack for it or you were able to learn it quickly? I think most people do it on an almost daily basis.

So with all this unabated potential, and  want to be prepared, what can we actually learn that may help us on our pursuit of self-reliance. I came up with a list of things that I believe get over-looked, but are pretty realistic needs in a survival situation.

1: Learn to drive a manual transmission. I know it sounds pretty lame to some, and to others it sounds like I just asked you to drive a a jet ski to the top of Everest. In a true to life survival situation you may be forced to drive something that actually has 3 pedals on the floor (the middle one is the brake ;)) Maybe you are at a family event and someone gets hurt, and the only vehicle that you can use is a stick? Or maybe your on the search for a new car and the only vehicle’s in your price range are manual. According to  Edmunds.com  as of 2013 only 3.9%  of new vehicles have a manual transmission. But I bet that you have a friend who drives a stick, and (if you’re like me)  I bet you don’t have 100 people who you call friends, so chances are pretty good that at some point you may be asked to “move their car”. Plus its fun, driving a manual transmission won’t make you any worse of a driver, its not like you have to choose one or the other, it just gives you options. At any given moment I can jump into almost anything and drive it, semi’s, tractors, motorcycles, sports cars or my 1 ton. With a little practice and a little patience it becomes old hat, and you may just be able to be a hero some day.

2: Learn to cook. Not like ramen or pop-tarts, but real food. Learn to use a knife, how to season things and a few different ways to cook. Food is important, not only does it nourish our bodies, but it also gives us a sense of family and comfort. Start simple and easy, then broaden your horizons. My mom always says that a good cook can make a meal out of anything, I whole heartedly believe that to be true. Recipes are a good start, and definitely a good way to get your feet wet in the cooking game. As your skills progress, try to make things with limited ingredients, or even better, have some one else buy ingredients. Then piece together a meal with what they bought. Not only is it fun, but it is also a great exercise for survival situations.- Word to the wise, learn to cook over fire. I think its funny that people will have 3 ways to start a fire in their survival gear, and have absolutely no idea how to cook with it. Fire+Meat=Awesome

3: Learn to preserve food. I guess I could have just added this section into “learn to cook”, but I believe that it is important enough to deserve its own section. There are many ways to preserve food, but the most widely used is canning. I actually just started really getting into canning a couple of years ago, it always looked like it was a lot of work, and I never thought that I had the need to jar anything. Now I look back a little ashamed of myself for being so foolish. Canning is actually pretty simple and  a ton of fun. If your new to it and want to learn the basics its hard to beat www.freshpreserving.com. Its the website created for Ball® mason jars, it has a ton of recipes and techniques from super beginner to ultra advanced. If you have a small backyard garden, canning is definitely for you. What finally pushed me into canning was actually a want to pickle. one stop to a local farm and feed store and I was on my way. 4 fours later and I had pickled everything we had in our house, we had dill pickles, hot pickles, pickled jalapenos, pickled onions and even pickled eggs. They all turned out great and became a new family favorite. But canning isn’t the only way to preserve your food. From smoking fish to Air-drying biltong, meat preservation has been around since we first learned that fresh  protein, like all things, doesn’t last forever. There is no finer treat then smoked salmon, jerky, or a dried salami. It’s just a matter of learning the process and keeping the tradition going.

4: Learn to sharpen a knife.  A man is only as sharp as his knife. If you carry 3 knives on your person and in your pack and none of them are sharp. You might as well have carried nothing. There is an art to sharpening a knife. No matter what your preferred sharpening implement is ( I prefer a Lansky or a Gatco, but I also use a flat stone too.) learn to use it well. you don’t have to regrind the edge, only touch it up. Its therapeutic, it teaches you to have patience, and to dance the line between perfection and destruction. That lesson holds true to more than just sharpening your knife.

5: Learn to read a map and compass. I love my Garmin GPS, and I don’t head out on a hunting or fishing trip without it, but I understand  the limitations of batteries. When I started my voyage into the outdoor lifestyle, the only GPS systems that were in existence were owned by the military and were expensive. We navigated  by forest service maps, and by lensatic compass, compared to a modern GPS it was about the equivalent of shooting geese with stale marshmallows! But it taught me a few things about not just knowing where you are, but understanding where you are and how you got there. With a map and a compass (and a little understanding of the land) you can figure out where your going. AA batteries or not.

6: Learn to sew. I know, I know… You have enough food and water to last 10 people 720 days, you have 10,000 rounds for every firearm that you own, you have a bunker that makes the Beverly Hilton look like the Bates motel. But can you sew? Sewing is a bushcraft that is often times over looked. Not only can you make items that are not currently in your inventory, but you can also mend items that have been rendered useless due to use and harsh conditions. And (you knew that at some point I would bring it up) in a pinch you never know when you might have to throw a suture or two into someone who has had a mishap. Yes I have given myself stitches, it was an early more difficult time in my youth where I didn’t have enough money to pay for a hospital bill. It was a split finger  that had been cut and wouldn’t stop bleeding no matter what I tried (Remember that I spent a fair amount of my youth in survival classes and doing first aid) so I went to work cutting the fingernail out and preparing the surface for stitches. 6 or 7 stitches later my finger was all sealed up and looked pretty decent if I don’t say so myself (even my Dad later agreed). Did I do it all right? Not so much, but luckily it was a finger where I didn’t need to know how to split the skin from the fat to do sutures. But it held and stopped further bleeding and introduction of infection. All because I learned to sew up holes in hunting pants. Consider it a skill that you can use for its intended purpose, but is also a good mental part of your first aid kit.

And lastly 7: Learn to listen, and be a decisive problem solver.  I, (as most Men) like to think that I can take care of any situation. See problem, fix problem. Period. Problem is that some problems can’t or don’t need to be solved, they need to be adapted to. If actually placed into a desperate situation, the most important thing to do is be able to listen, and organize problems into order of importance. Someone has a sliver? Well that is unfortunate, but the fact that it is 20 degrees outside, and we don’t have a fire takes precedence over it for the moment. Once a fire is established, then the sliver has to be taken care of. (Some wood causes infection and festering. But beyond that, its uncomfortable and the fact that you take care of it, shows that you care.) An empathetic individual who has sound reasoning can accomplish many things with the help of those that trust him.

Maybe you already have all these skills, and if you do, that is great. Whats next on the list then? Each day we are given the opportunity to further ourselves, be it financially, spiritually, or with intelligence and experience. If we make a conscious effort to add more knowledge to our survival kit everyday, then the pack that we have to carry becomes lighter. If we share that knowledge that we gather with those we care about, and in return, they return the favor to us, we all become closer to our common goal.  And let’s be honest, that sounds a whole lot more like the future that I want to be apart of, How about you?

-Grant Willoughby 5/15/2016-

Fire Starting methods from household materials

One day I noticed my girlfriend cleaning her nails with these small pads and asked what they were.  She tossed me a package of exfoliating pads made out of 100% cotton and even made in the USA!

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The fact that they were made out of cotton was great, being flat made them scream to be used as a fire starting material.  You will notice that some of the firestarting materials sold in stores is no better than a chunk of candle wick with wax on it, or a small hunk of fat wood.  I decided to pour some melted wax onto the back of these.

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These worked awesome giving plenty of workable area to start with firesteel (ferro rod)  I was able to fold them into small triangles and put into a Ziploc bag that fit into my fire kit.  You can watch the video of making and lighting what is now one of my favorite survival fire starting tools.