Tag Archives: sustainable living

Eating Out

This week we are going to highlight a few useful plants that are native to the pacific northwest.  You have no doubt encountered these in the mountains and forests already.  If you forage for mushrooms, pick huckleberries, or just like to hike be on the lookout for these.  If you make a habit of identification then you will be able to find these plants with ease should the need ever arise.  As with any foraging of wild edibles DO NOT consume without being 100% certain you have identified it correctly.

 

Bear grass

looks like a giants q-tip and easy to identify.  Always find these at high elevation.  The root can be boiled and eaten like a potato, but is very stringy.  The most useful part is the leaves.  They are super strong and can be used for cordage, natives used this often to weave baskets.

 

Fireweed

Can be found in burnt areas and clear cuts.  Young leaves and shoots are high in vitamin C and can be eated raw or cooked, treat it like spinach.  In early stages of growth when the leaves are still pointed upward the whole plant can be cooked like asparagus.  The unique vein in the leaves can help with identification.  Can have a laxative effect if eaten in large quantities.

 

Pineapple weed

I always found this in heavily trod areas like rock driveways, but it can be found in the wild.  Often referred to as “wild chamomile” it has a very pleasant smell when crushed.  The dried flowers can be used to make a tea just like chamomile.  The leaves are edible as well, but are slightly bitter.

 

Wild Ginger

Found in dark forests with plenty of shade.  Look for it in our old growth cedar stands.  Treat it just like commercial ginger.  Although in the wild variety the leaves have a stronger flavor than the root.

 

We tried to pick a few that are not widely talked about, but are plentiful here in the pacific northwest.  Again do not pick and use any wild plant or fungus without being positive you have identified it properly and understand its uses.  Have fun looking for these plants and shoot us some pictures if you find these while out foraging.

 

 

 

 

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I’m dreaming… but its not of a white christmas

By now I am sure that you understand Grant’s views on winter.  I honestly wish I was one of those people.  I have always been cold blooded, you will find me wearing a hoody in all, but the warmest of summer days.  For me, once hunting season ends and there is little to nothing to forage, it only means dark days ahead.  My lack of tolerance for the cold wet weather does not diminish my ability to acclimate and survive this season so many love, but it is the most difficult season for me mentally.

Nearly every hobby I have is spring, summer, fall friendly.  Camping, hiking, hunting, foraging, blacksmithing, riding the ol’ ATV, travelling, gardening, etc…. all of these things are more difficult to do in the winter.  So when the time comes, and I know it will every year I try to prepare myself for the inevitable cabin fever.  I turn inward and try to focus more on internal growth, reading, writing, painting.  I enjoy these things very much, but after a short time my mind drifts back to foraging, exploring new peaks and forests… and I get a little fidgety… just a little.  I try as often as possible to think of activities that make me feel like I am doing something I would during warmer times.  One of those things I will share with you today is prepping food.  Over the years I have found myself hunting less and foraging more, not sure why, but I think its just been the lack of time during season.  With foraging comes food preparation, or storage.  You have to do something with the bounty you have found.  Now in the raining, snowing, below zero days we have in winter there is nothing to forage, so I improvise.

One lonely winter day at the store I happened across a hand crank pasta machine.  Now I could have bought a more high tech machine, but I thought to myself… this will take more time, and time I’ve got.  Dried pasta is incredibly cheap to purchase and I am sure many of you would rather spend very little money to acquire this dried food staple.  I do not for two reasons, one again is time, I must have something to do, two because I know every ingredient that goes into that pasta including my effort and I like to have a direct involvement with what I am consuming, it just makes me feel better.

So on days I have nothing to do I will turn up the radio, pull the pasta machine out of the pantry, crack open that 5 gallon food grade flour container and prep some food as if I just returned home from harvesting that wheat and grinding it myself.

Here are the two recipes I love to make the most.  I take some of each and mix them into whatever serving size I feel necessary.

“Spinach Pasta Dough”

  • 2eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. water (or as needed)
  • 8 oz. stemmed fresh spinach
  • 1/4 Tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

Wilt the spinach in boiling water, roughly 2 minutes.  Rinse in cold water then squeeze dry.

Add the two eggs, olive oil, salt, and spinach in a blender and puree.  Add water a tiny bit at a time if needed to liquefy.

Add dry ingredients to a bowl, make a well in the center and incorporate the wet ingredients.  If it is too wet add a little flour if too dry add a little water.  Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until it is a consistent color and texture.  Form the dough into a mound, cover with a damp towel and let rest for 10-15 minutes.  After resting you can divide up into smaller portions to begin rolling pasta.

 

“Garlic Pasta Dough”

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. water (or as needed)
  • 6 Garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil

Directions are the same as above.  I add my garlic to the wet ingredients to be blended.

Pasta is simple to dry, freeze, or use fresh, and I do a little of each…. its a prepper thing 🙂

spinach linguini and garlic linguini ready to dry
spinach linguini and garlic linguini ready to dry
ye old pasta machine
ye old pasta machine

If you have any hobbies, ideas, time-wasting devices, prepping you do to appease the winter cabin fever be sure to leave a comment!

 

 

Kris Anderson 11/29/2016

Politics, Euthanasia and Recycling…

Well, if all my other blogs lead you to believe that maybe I am half a bubble shy of level, a title like “Politics, Euthanasia and Recycling”  would surely finalize that idea… But hear me out on this one…

This week I had quite a few ideas about what I would like to write about, but due to time constraints, I have to be pretty selective and try to get to something that I hope you would like to read about, and at the same time keep it short enough to where if you are reading it on your smart phone, you don’t have to plug in before you attempt to navigate through my run-on-sentences and over-hyphenated neologism’s. (by the way that is a real word… of the $5 variety, and it will score you you 36 points on scrabble if you play your tiles right 😉 ) So I figured that I would make this pretty simple, I would talk about something going on in the world, something that’s going on in my neighborhood, and something going on in my life.

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Politics: Any one who has watched any amount of television, or has been on any form of media site , knows exactly who this is, and why he has been a major focus for the media. But just in case you don’t…His Name is Colin Kaepernick, and he is the  back-up quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. He attended college in Nevada, where he was named Western athletic offensive player of the year as well as MVP of the 2008 humanitarian bowl before being drafted in the second round of the NFL draft. That seems like reason enough for him to be in the lime-light right? No Sir, you are mistaken. On August 26, 2016 in a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick decided to make a political statement by refusing to stand for the singing of Our National Anthem and the raising of Our flag, stating “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder”, referencing a series of events that led to the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Well This is America, if you choose not to stand for the national Anthem, that’s on you man. Thank God for those brave men and women that gave there lives protecting and serving our beautiful country, They gave you that right. It’s The First Amendment for pete’s sake, and you have to right to exercise it. You want to know about oppression,  Go to a country like North Korea, or Saudi Arabia. You pull a move like “Not showing respect to ones flag and Country” the only thing you will have to worry about is how to stop the bleeding. People have, and will continue to be killed for less then that, daily. Thank your lucky stars that you were born in a Country that “ALLOWS” you to have an opinion. You know that I would rather trim my eye lashes with a weed-eater then talk about politics, but there is one thing that I stay away from even more then that… And its race. If Kaepernick wants to use his mediocre football career as a “soap box” to express his feelings about oppression and racism, Once again that is up to him, He has that right. But If you want to get down to the real nitty gritty of this whole black lives matter thing (If you want my full opinion click “here“) is racist. I believe that black lives matter, I also believe that red lives, yellow lives and white lives matter too. Life matters period. I think some people just Just have an inability to deal with not being the prize pig, Kaepernick will never be remembered for his 27/20 win/loss record. Now being a backup, maybe he is afraid that he will disappear all together. His football career may never make a true impact, but maybe he feels that his actions will?

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Euthanasia: This was a rough week for the Willoughby clan, Well for My wife to be more precise. Walking out to my truck Monday morning I noticed a white tail doe laying in our front yard, as I walked closer she turned her head to look at me but she didn’t flee. Something was up, I looked at her rear legs and could see that she had been hit by a car. Being an avid hunter and outdoors-men, I hate to see things in pain or suffering, and I could tell that she was both. I looked down the road and saw a sheriff sitting at the corner in his Suv and figured that he had been called out to evaluate the deer, and displace her if necessary. That being said, I immediately text My wife and said “Hey there is a doe out in the front yard, she looks like she has been hit. There is a cop out there, so if you hear a shot, just know that it is a cop. Please don’t let the dogs out until the situation has been remedied, I don’t want to stress her out any more then she already is.” Later I got a reply to my text, that just said “can you talk?” I called her and she was in tears, she had walked outside to see where the doe was at, and found her piled up, but still alive-ish. I told her to call fish and game and see what they could do. Fish and game told her that if she was laying there she may still be ok, and that because she wasn’t already dead they really couldn’t do a whole lot about it. Hearing this story, I felt the need to make a call to fish and game myself. After explaining myself to the receptionist, she forwarded me up the chain of command “Well the Deer looks to have 2 broken legs, she is laying in my yard, we live in a neighborhood that is filled with dogs, if one of those dogs gets out of there fence, the doe has no chance and she will be torn to shreds. Plus there is a state aided day care across the road, I would really hate to have all those little kids spend there whole day watching an animal die in pain. I hunt, and I love animals but she is hurting pretty bad. If I lived out in the country I would have put a bullet in her this morning, and put her out of her misery”. That was all that he needed to hear, he said he would send a guy out and see what he could do. 15 minutes later, a fish and game officer come to my door and spoke with my wife, he said that in fact the deer had been struck 2 blocks away and had in fact broke both rear legs,he then asked her what she would like to do? Maybe I should have prefaced my story with this very important detail. My wife is an animal lover, and a… wait for it…. wait for it…  VEGETARIAN! (I know what your thinking, you are a hunter, and your wife is a salad eater how does that work? Well my deer meat just last longer then yours does 😉 ) In that the officer asked if she would like him to make the call? Less then a minute later, he had already been to his truck, grabbed a small caliber rifle, and put an end to the situation. He then came back to our porch and consoled my wife. “That deer was in bad shape, there was no choice. The neighbors down the road are going to keep the meat and nothing will go to waste. You did the right thing.”  Needless to say my wife still tears up a little bit when she thinks about it. When I got home, we talked about it, and it dawned on me. That was the truest form of mercy. She would never be able to kill that deer, but the fact that she could see the pain,and know what was right even through her personal feeling were telling her something totally different. I am very proud of her. Now I just have to work with her about telling the fish and game officer that we want the meat next time…

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Recycling: Yesterday, I did My part in figuring out how to reduce my carbon foot print and recycle… Pwp fired up the forge, and we built some cool blades. We will get some pictures up shortly. We are going to try to get in some kind of schedule  for when we will be banging metal. Maybe next time you could come join us, or send us some ideas for potential project. This time we used old rail road spikes and made hatchets and knives out of them. In my opinion, that is the best kind of recycling that can be done. Take something of very little value, and make something awesome using  only fire and sweat-equity. Plus everyone looks like a boss spraying carbon sparks all over and wielding a hammer like the Sons of Ivaldi.  Happy labor Day.

-Grant Willoughby 9/5/2016-

lets all be seated…

I have been struggling with what to let loose down the post world patriot pipeline this week, I absolutely love to try to be funny, interesting and most of all I want to be informative to all of ya’ll. I would rather teach then give you a shame session.That isn’t my nature. But its pretty hard to speak to a point that no one wants to talk about, I want a conversation, not a monologue… But maybe I haven’t been open enough, maybe I haven’t been honest enough, maybe you don’t know me (by “ME” I mean a “Post World Patriot“). So this may be a little different blog post then before, and I hope that maybe me flexing my voice and opinions, will make you do the same. I feel that I have the ability to speak as the voice of PWP, which means (if you are reading this) that I am your voice too. So please find your seats. This is the sermon of the “Post World patriot”

My name is Grant Alexander Willoughby, I am in fact an ordained reverend,  I have actually married people… Kind of cool stuff huh? I spent quite a bit of time working for North Idaho Youth for Christ. ( about 6 years) working with kids that didn’t have a chance. That’s why I wanted to be a teacher when I got out of high school, went to NIC for a year, then decided it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to craft our youth, it was the fact that I couldn’t pay my bills with there salary (next time you go to a parent teacher conference be heartfelt and thank your kids teacher, there doing it because they love your kids, not for the money… Because there isn’t any.) Then I did a correspondence course and became a Gunsmith. Filling out paperwork to prove that I know about guns seemed a little redundant, but I finished a 9 month course in a little over 6 weeks, with scores that perplexed the makers of the program. I wasn’t learning anything, I was just proving what I already knew. And now I am a husband, a father, a son, a beer warehouse supervisor, and an active member of my community. But….

(You were waiting for the tie-in huh?) I am the “Post World Patriot“. Not that this was my idea, that’s not what I am saying at all. People, as a whole are “johnny come lately’s” PWP wasn’t something crafted because prepping was all the rage, or 2nd amendment , or organic farming, or hunting and gathering. “WE THE PEOPLE” have always done this, We didn’t start doing this when PWP  was created, We have always done this, and a name finally  came about. We didn’t invent PWP, it was a living brand of our lives. It isn’t a group to join, its a support group for those that do. Teach, learn, and grow everyday. Be honest, Love and learn. Stand on your own two feet… and have support in us. Want to know the best caliber pistol to carry? The best way to carry it? How to start a fire with a maxi-pad and a plastic bag filled with urine? how about how to get your Kids outdoors? I want to share the skills that I have, and I would love to know yours. That I owe 100% to my parents and my raisin’, I have always been a Post World Patriot, Kris, And Brad would explain there upbringing the same way. We don’t do this, this is who we are. We are as different as you could imagine. Kris has a way of interpreting things that goes without explanation. If he were a super hero, his super-hero persona would be “Mr. Matter-a-fact” he believes in two things… right and wrong, they create a balance, and are both needed. But he does, and teaches, the right way… no matter what the cost, and the pain you have to endure to get there. You earn your knowledge. Brad, if you have never met him, is as charismatic as they come, he doesn’t know a stranger. He is a good father and husband, and the life style that he lives is what he wants his children (and yours) to be blessed with. His gifts are yours, just ask. Now I have to explain me, and I don’t like doing that. I’m not perfect, In fact I might be the farthest from plumb pillar in PWP. I am both sides at once, if you hop up in my truck you may listen to Killswitch Engage,  Merle Haggard or Bubba Sparxx, I don’t feel a need to fit into any idea, all I can do is be me. With an open heart ill give you my last nickle, and my last breath (I can’t thank my parents enough for instilling that ability in me) I know about a couple things, if your willing to learn, I am willing to teach. And vice-versa… Hopefully. What I’m trying to say is that “Post World Patriot” isn’t something that we take lightly, It is the idea that makes us believe that tomorrow can be better then today, it is the mortar that holds our foundation together, preserving the foundations  of freedom. “We The People” are a community, we are a revolution,  We are an embodiment of tomorrows hopes, we are family… Warts and all. I hope that I am as important to you, as you are to me. This is our chance to do something that matters, to be a part of something that changes not only our lives, but tomorrows generation too. Remember when the United States was the land of opportunity? It can be that way again. Remember when you could leave the front door open, or your truck doors unlocked without worrying about being robbed blind? We can still have that. It will just take some work. Stay the True North, don’t falter, when we do whats right, we become what is right. No matter the burden, always stay true not only to yourself, but to what you represent… “We The People”…  AMEN!

-Grant Willoughby 7/24/2016-

pitchin’ tents, and gettin’ wood…

First of all, before I go on my over-hyphenated, half-cocked reverie about all things Post World Patriot, I would like to remind everyone that Memorial day is not just about the great sales at Home depot,  or loading up the family, to go in the woods to play Lewis and Clark. To all of you who had a loved one who gave their life to protect the best country in the World, I solute you, and may their memory never be forgotten…

Ok now I will regress to my former state. So sit back and let’s get this series of run-on-sentences rolling. I usually talk about guns, I hate to say it, but firearms are kind of my security blanket. So I’m branching out a bit this week. So here goes, Lets get weird!

Kids (and Adults for that matter) are growing farther and farther away from our frontier roots. I was lucky enough to be born and raised in the Panhandle of North Idaho, and my parents were (and still are) troopers. We camped and fished all the time in my youth, not only because we were under an hour from some of our favorite haunts, but because it was a reasonably priced weekend activity for the whole family. The camper was already on the truck, and all we would have to do was throw some drinks and ice into the cooler, grab a bag of groceries, and we were on our way. As time progressed so did our camping, and Dirt dikes were bought, ridden, wrecked and sold, now my parents and I have transitioned to quads. One word to the wise, once you have an ATV, camping never really seems the same without one. Yes I still go for hikes around camp, but the freedom of being able to take the ATV to other locations to forage, hunt, fish, or hike is awesome. Plus it makes it way easier to bring back game or fire wood. ATV’s are a ton of fun but not something that you have to have in order to enjoy the woods. So what I figured I would do this week is put together a list of things that I think are great family activities, that not only bring us back to the woods for an impromptu “spirit vacation”, but also bring the family closer together. Many a memory and photo album have been filled with “The Adventures of Camping”. Try these ones out with the fam some time and you would be amazed at how much fun you will have.

Camp in a tent: I have a camper now,but when I first started camping on my own I used my tent a few times. A tent is about as close as you can get to really roughing it, without sleeping out under the stars. (I have slept under the stars too, but as for a family get away, I believe the tent to be more practical and I think most would agree.) Practice setting your tent up at home first (preferably when there is little wind and the sun is shining), that way when you get to your camp location you have a reasonable idea how to get your home-away-from-home set up. Plus you look like a boss when you have your whole tent set up before you buddy has found his tent pegs.

Don’t camp In a campground: I know some of you are reading this and thinking to yourself that there is no way that people actually “Pay to camp”. But to a lot of people, that is their idea of camping. Restrooms, running water, maybe even a power plug-in. All for somewhere between $25-$129 /night. Sacrilege I say. If you go to your local forest service station you can buy a forest service map that will show you all kinds of places that can be camped at for free. The reason I go to the woods is to get away from people and all of the modern conveniences that clutter our lives. If I wanted to sleep 15 feet away from some kids watching Netflix, I would just stay at home. I don’t recall in Robert Frost Poem “The road not taken” where he said “I shall be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence, Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one that had WiFi, KOA made all the difference.” That even made me sad just to type it out.

Buy a BB gun: You knew there was no way that I could sit for over 15 minutes without talking about guns a little bit… (And technically a BB gun is not classified as a firearm, and in so I am tap-dancing a grey area on this one.) We always had a BB gun in camp, it’s what you did all day long, and even Mom would join in on the fun. I can still remember my first dabbling into the world of the pellet rifle. My parents bought me a Crosman 760 Pumpmaster (yes I still own it), and boy is it a thing of beauty. It has the wood furniture,  it holds 18 BB’s in the magazine tube (as well as about 7 pounds of them in the reservoir. :)) and it could shoot pellets by loading them one at a time into the loading gate. No C02 cartridges to worry about, all the air pressure needed was generated by a levered pump that was mounted integrally into the forend. If I had received a dime a pound for all the Crossman Copperhead BB’s that left the end of that barrel, I would surely be writing this blog from a 1000 acre ranch somewhere by now. Everyone started out shooting some sort of BB rifle, and we all learned a ton about ballistics by shooting them. We learned trigger control, proper safety and shooting techniques, and we all had good and safe fun. Just think back to your youth and the first time you heard the metallic “TINK”  of a BB hitting a soda can and try to keep yourself from smiling… It is physically impossible.

Forage your dinner once:  I was 12 years old,  with my first hunting license in my Velcro wallet, and we were going camping for Labor Day. I can still remember it like it was yesterday. This was the first time that I ever harvested all that food that I was going to eat. My life long friend Greg and I had spent the morning plucking Brook Trout from the creek behind our camp. In the early afternoon we went out shroom hunting with his uncle and brought back a bucket full of coral  mushrooms. But the day wasn’t over yet, we loaded up the shotguns and headed into the woods, determined to collect a few Ruffed Grouse (I always thought they were “ruffled” grouse, but google tells me that I have been saying it wrong all of these years, you learn something new everyday I guess.) A few hour later we returned to camp, grinning ear to ear with a limit of grouse a piece. My Mom, being the master chef that she is, took the grouse, the brook trout and the coral mushrooms, egg wash and  floured all of them, and promptly fried them all in a cast iron skillet over a Coleman stove and we feasted like kings. From that moment on, I was hooked. A person (especially those new to the woods) can be well served by talking to someone who knows the local flora before foraging wild plants. But once a few simple plants are easily recognized, foraging can be a lot of fun. If you want your children to eat better , make them a  fresh batch of pancakes, with huckleberry’s that they just harvested themselves. If you want to get a little more fancy, make a simple syrup with the same berries. I’ll bet you wont even have to wash dishes, the plates will be so clean.

Make it fun: The biggest Reason that children would rather  play video games, then go camping is because they believe that its boring…This is really sad to me, how does someone get bored in the woods? You are always way to busy to get bored when your camping. If you’re not cooking, your cleaning. If you’re not cutting wood, your starting a fire.If your not hiking, your fishing. But some children have been brought up in an environment where things are instant, if you don’t like whats on TV, you can watch Hulu, or play a game on their Iphone,  or their xbox… Blah, Blah, Blah you get the point. Well the woods doesn’t lend itself well to that kind of thinking. But by the same token, the easiest way to sour someone on the woods forever is to make them miserable when they are in them.Just because I like to traipse down deer trails looking for wild asparagus doesn’t mean that my 5 year old Son will. So whats an outdoors-men to do?  Well here are a few things that I have tried that have worked pretty well.The first one I just think of as little bites. If I want to go hiking and I want him to go, I need to cater my trip to his abilities. Shorter trips are almost always better, especially if you break up the trip with several breaks for snacks, drinks, and just to look around. Enjoy the time with them, and more than likely they will enjoy the time with you. Encourage your children to look around, and take everything in. If they see a cool tree stump, be excited about it too, if they see some flowers and want to know what they are, take the time to pull out your field manual and try to figure it out. You will be amazed at how much you both learn by then end of your trip. One thing I always try to do is remember what it was like when I was just a kiddo and everything was new to me. Its Ok to laugh and joke and play. It is your get away and however you decide to spend it is fine. Bring games. There are no rules that say that you cant set up a ladder-ball or Horseshoe pit in your camp.  Industrial revolution makes an awesome invention called the “Softshell Ice Cream Ball”. Think of it as a soccer ball with 2 openings, you put ice and rock salt in one side, and your milk and ingredients in the other. Then you go run around rolling and throwing the ball for 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes you have a pint of Ice cream, and a happy kid. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Make a s’mores oven: Ok so this is kind of a fun one that will impress your kids or friends. I personally don’t really care for s’mores too much, but I make it a common practice to have at least one a year whether I want one or not. The problem with s’mores is that they are a mess factory filled with sugar. You cant really get away from the sugar (its jet blown sugar, sugar in the chocolate, and sugar in graham. there is no way around it.) But you can get around the mess with a little invention i found some time ago called a “S’more Oven” and it is about as simple as can be to build.

List of materials needed for the project.

mallow1

  • 16 oz. beverage can.
  • 1 Large box of strike-anywhere matches.
  •  Knife or scissors.
  • Pair of pliers or a Leatherman.
  • Graham crackers.
  • Chocolate Bars.
  • Marshmallows (the big ones)

Directions for project.

  1. Cut the top off of the can Carefully. (freshly cut aluminum cans are extremely sharp!)mallow2
  2. Press the large box of strike-anywhere matches (or a trimmed down 2″x 4″) into the open side of the can to make the round can into a rectangular shape.2mallow
  3.  Cut all 4 corners of the can to a depth of 1 inch from the open side.1mallow
  4. trim off  2 of the short flaps, and one of the long flaps.
  5. Fold the remaining flap to a 90 degree angle.
  6. Assemble s’more as follows. 1/2 graham cracker on the bottom, then the marshmallow on top of that, 2 pieces of chocolate on top of the marshmallow. Then remaining graham cracker on the top.mallow5
  7. Press crackers together gently and place inside the can.3mallow
  8. Place can next to fire , using the flap to stabilize your s’more oven.mallow7
  9. Let Your s’more cook for  a couple of minutes, then carefully remove the can from your fire ring wall (I use tongs).
  10. Carefully remove your perfectly cooked s’more, and enjoy. Look Ma, no mess.mallow8

 

Happy Memorial Day ya’ll, and Be safe.

-Grant Willoughby 5/28/2016-

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-

Can you accept the suck?

I have always been a reader (as my mom would call it). I was blessed with the ability to sit and read, not because I wanted to be able to converse with scholars about the subtleties of War and Peace, but because I loved the information. With that information my mind traveled to those distant places, I was hunting quail with Ruark , casting a fly to a tarpon with Hemingway and I was the chief elephant cropping officer right there next to Capstick. Literally I have read these books tens if not hundreds of times, and each time I was transported to a different time and place. so what does that have to do with survival, prepping and most of all a title like “Can you accept the suck”?

 

Well here it goes… “Accept the suck” pretty much means being able to actually deal with the situations. I have been reading a lot lately about peoples bug out plans. Their stashes and cashes, where they are going to go and what they think they will do. Elaborate plans for survival when the grid goes down, zombies attack, solar flares hit, there is an invasion, the ice caps melt, you name it, its going to happen. And there prepared! I understand the principle, some call it war games. You come up with a situation, then you find solutions. In all reality, that’s what the basis of prepping is. We have readily acceptable solutions in case of emergency. The one thing that our plans never take into account of is the “accept the suck” variable. How many of you work with (or are) a person who says “Don’t even talk to me, until I’ve had my coffee.” Well I’m pretty sure that there are not going find a whole lot of Dutch Bros coffee stands in your post apocalyptic scenario. I guess your bug out camp will be a quiet one. So what will you do about it? “I need a shower to wake up”, well running water may be a commodity, so are you gonna sleep forever then? Is a shower more important then a drink? I need a dip/smoke to calm down, and relax my nerves. (I hate to say it but this one relates to me too, damn Copenhagen.) Etc… so what do we do?

 

The last two books that I revisited were “The Revenant” by Michael Punke, and  “Ridgerunner: Elusive loner of the wilderness” by Richard Ripley. Both, at least in my opinion, address a lot of the actual issues that come with the idea. Both tell stories of characters that are placed into harsh situations and how they adapt and overcome them in a sense. In “The Revenant”, Hugh Glass crawls and stumbles some 200 miles (given he was fueled by rage, and a want for revenge) through South Dakota. He had been attacked by a bear, and crudely stitched back together before being left for dead. Glass’s leg had been fractured and throat cut during the attack, to the extent that he couldn’t walk or swallow for a fair amount of his journey. When he finally found water and food (if you want to refer to it as food) it was so uncomfortable to swallow that he would nearly lose CONSCIOUSNESS! Maybe he just needed a shower, a cup of joe and a wad of Redman huh? Probably not.

 

In “Ridgerunner: Elusive loner of the wilderness” William Clyde Morland (we will just refer to him as “Bill”) after guiding himself through a troubled childhood, decides to reject society and its laws and standards. Bill makes his way to the Clearwater area of northern Idaho to live “like a coyote”, for 27 years. (Yes years.) If you have never been to the Clearwater, (or any northern state for that matter) it goes a little something like this. Most places are steep enough to scare away mountain goats with climbing gear. Its hot in the summer, not Arizona hot, but 90’s are pretty normal. The bugs are super abundant, the yellow jackets, bald faced hornets and wasps always seem to be looking for a human snack any time that the suns up. Once the sun sets, there are enough mosquitoes to make the idea of carrying enough blood for a mild transfusion, seem like more of a “need” then a “want”. Then you have the winter. Some peaks on the divide maintain a snow-pack from September through July. Were not talking a cute little snow globe skiff of snow, we are talking low land snow up to the bellies of full grown elk, and snow deep enough to bury two story cabins in the upper reaches of the range. Bill chose to live there. He did take up residence in some NFS cabins, and he did steal what he could find, but never more then he needed. All this and not a hot shower or Thomas Hammer to be found any where. What gives?

 

So what am I getting at? Should we all get attacked by bears and crawl across the Badlands, or run off to the Frank Church wilderness and live in other people cabins eating cat food to prove that we are as “prepared”as we like to believe we are? Probably not. Should we learn to  deal with a little discomfort in order to better mentally and physically prepare ourselves? That sounds more like it to me. I like to think of it as a perpetual conditioning to adversity. For instance, try hopping into your car after its been sitting in the sun for 8 hours while your at work. Don’t hop in and immediately turn your air conditioning on . “Accept the suck” and drive a few miles with the windows up. You will be hot and uncomfortable. Then roll the windows down and drive for a few more miles. Immediately you will feel the oven like air escape and be replaced by the cool breeze. Then turn your a/c on. I know it seems stupid to put yourself through being roasted, just to prove a point. But its not a point your trying to prove, its gaining the ability to know your limits. You can do it with all walks of your life. Find your tolerances for hot and for cold, hunger and thirst, even something as simple as depriving yourself of an hour of sleep, one day a week, will give you a better understanding of how your body reacts. Everyone has something that provides them comfort, or that is part of there day to day routine. Try writing those items down, then listing them by rank of importance. Now try going without them. Some will be easy, some will be torture, but all in all, they all affect you in one way or another. By conditioning ourselves to live without, you are actually opening your eyes to what you can live with. We are, after all, simple creatures, that have complicated wants, and very few true needs. The more that we learn about ourselves, the closer we get to realizing that the most important piece of survival equipment we have isn’t in our packs, its under our hats

 

Grant Willoughby 4/23/2016.

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