I came across a Youtube video by Omaha knife detailing the difference in bevels, handle lengths and head weight of the Gransfors line of axes and splitters. I wish someone had done this years ago. I was thinking of what brands of axes I had owned over the years :Eastwing, RMJ, Cold Steel, CRKT, Hibben, Firestone, Fiskars, and think Ive become some sort of axe snob when it comes to bushcraft style of axes. Only going for Gransfors. I am still considering a council tool camp axe. At this stage I own three Gransfors and am looking for a longer handled splitter of around 24 inches.
I was watching Brooke Whipple on the Girl in the Woods YouTube channel where she recommended the book One Second After by William R Forstchen. When ever anyone says to me this book will change your life. I at-least have to look it up. The Glass Bead Game and The Celestine Prophecy were two other such books.
One Second After arrived yesterday so I wanted to write this down and see if in fact it altered my perceptions in some way when I started reading it.
In 2009, Forstchen’s latest work, One Second After, was released. Based upon several years of intensive research and interviews, it examines what might happen in a “typical” American town in the wake of an attack on the United States with “electro-magnetic pulse” (EMP) weapons. Similar in plotting to books such as On the Beach and Alas Babylon, One Second After, is set in a small college town in western North Carolina and is a cautionary tale of the collapse of social order in the wake of an EMP strike.
Postscript 03/AUG It took me three days to finish the book and it was indeed a life changer. If I mention specific parts of the book it will ruin it for others. You realize just how fragile our system is and without an ongoing supply of meds most of the population wouldnt last two months. Ive lived in some pretty feral area and i still predict more than ever that the middle class would turn within a week being optimistic more like three days without food. In all honesty I really wonder how many people would actually work together anymore after what I saw at the beginning of covid. Disease on top of food and you saw how peoples attitudes changed and paranoia reigned. I probably wont read the next two novels, they go more into the military side but A Good Read.
As I was reading this book I am reliant on 25 meds a day. I had one day left of dog food before I can get it delivered at the end of the week not counting dry food. I always try and stay ahead with my own and my staffys meds. A book like this brings home a lot of realities. If an EMP hit today Im in a walking frame and brace with atleast another 3 months of rehab to stretch and strengthen the knee.
An EMP wont do damage, you dont have to invade, or you have to do is sit back and let the targeted populace destroy itself.
Every remote, rescue or wilderness first aid course Ive taken required equipment. Either Stethoscope, BP monitor, etc. No improvisation was taught. I have never seen any advanced equipment on any hiker or on any training course Ive done. So learning things such as improvising a latex glove into a CPR mask or using a baggy and duct tape to seal a lung would be a great course to do.
Ive seen one person carry a pressure bandage and Ive been the only one carrying a tourniquet in six years. Good name for a book wilderness medicine Macgyvering
Disclaimer: Im not advocating cutting a camelback tube and shoving it up someones nose just a very interesting lecture.
When I first tore my quad tendon I txted a few instructors to let them know I would have to put off training for a few months. That has become till after summer now. First day at rehab and I couldnt bend the knee as far as I would have liked.
I had arranged to do a few days of primitive fire lighting with Rick J Peterson and the first thing he said to me was look after your mental health first. I thought a few months in a brace and walking frame peace of piss Ive been through worse but after a while or the amount of pain trying to hobble around and just not getting anything done eats at you.
I talked to a doctor once after some other surgery and was asked how do you deal with stress? Beer! How do you deal with pain? Beer! How do you deal with depression? Beer! but the thing is i dont like drinking anymore.
I came across something on my youtube feed I kept going past and finally in a moment of boredom clicked on and wanted to share by Shawn Boland. The fucking bluff Creek Chronicles, however under that link youll find some great stuff on mental health. Enjoy.
I was put onto another online training course, Im currently looking into this and thought Id share.
The Kamana Independent Study program is an experiential four-level home study course that will guide you down a path to becoming a skilled and knowledgeable naturalist. Kamana provides all the tools you need to connect with nature at your own pace, at your own place.
Wilderness Awareness School founder and original Kamana author Jon Young named this self-study course for a word meaning “apprentice” in the language of the Akamba people, natives of Kenya known for their holistic tracking skills and refined cultural mentoring practices. Unlike any other naturalist studies course you’ll find, Kamana is designed to initiate you into a way of seeing into natural mystery, a way of recognizing patterns that will entice you to follow them up into greater mastery. We pull you outdoors and get you to quiet down. We show you how to alert your senses – five and more of them. We show you how to use the field guides so that they act like living mentors as you wander through your studies. We focus your eyes and widen them to mystery at the same time.
The Nature Awareness Trail focuses on developing your awareness in an expansive way. It is about using your eyes and ears and other senses in ways not often challenged in academic training. Specific field exercises are presented and build on each other throughout the four levels of Kamana. If you work on them every day, the result will be new patterns in your awareness, an increase in your “mind’s eye” ability to visualize, a strengthening of your gut feelings, and an ability to be in the right place at the right time. In short, this trail invites you down the rabbit hole of natural mystery.
Learn to move safely and with confidence outdoors
Get to know the flora and fauna of your own backyard
Understand the language of the forest and see more wildlife
Discover the medicinal and edible plants of your area
Develop a deep connection to one place in nature
Gain perspective and find peace in grounding core routines
“Have you ever found yourself wandering, truly lost in the moment, seeing everything as if for the first time? Or coming across a discovery that you never would have found, had you stuck to the beaten track? Wandering, as opposed to destination based walking, is a lost art form in modern culture. Dropping agendas and plans, slowing down, we become like a moving ‘sit spot’, following instincts and curiosity, open to the cues presented by the wild other. Wandering allows us to become porous to the landscape, to enter into a conversation with the land through the weaving path we take, to enquire, to wonder in awe, to discover what’s right there beyond the usual tunnel vision of the modern walker.” Clare Dunn
Last night as I was going to bed I wrote a great article in my head on my experiences of wandering by not actually moving. By dismorning I had forgotten most of it, even the name of the article and I was thinking that no one was going to be interested in reading it anyway and must have started it three times before closing the computer. It wasn’t till I mentioned my idea to the girls on the Wandering and Holistic Tracking course in the break room chat that i decided to give it another go. I don’t usually like writing about myself unless Ive had several pain killers of which I did have last night.
In the early 2000’s my first transplant started to fail and I ended up back on an oxygen bottle with 25% lung capacity and 2 litres of 02. At this point you can still get around and drive etc but everything takes longer and wears you out faster. Theres still the ability to take the dog down to the local park on a mobility scooter for a walk for example. However as you start to decline and end up on 4 litres of oxygen that all stops. You cant risk loosing battery power to the 02 conserver. Even on the lower amount you start shaking with lack of oxygen trying to swap bottles.
On 4 litres it takes all your time to simply walk out the front door and sit on the couch on the decking to look at the garden. Walking 8 meters to the letter box becomes an impossibility.
It was at this time I developed what they’re calling in the above course as a Wandering Mind. When your body declines that much its like loosing one of your senses that another becomes more dominant. Pain and meds make you present in the moment.
I would manage to make a coffee which was a signal to the cat and dog to run outside and I would sit with the cat on one side and the dog on the other and spend the day watching everything in the garden from the smallest bug to birds feeding, to the wind moving the plants. I like the term used in today’s course session of Dynamic Meditation.
I now find myself in a similar situation of being limited in my movements. I found out yesterday that after two months in a leg brace and walking frame that it would be another month before i could even think of removing the brace and the day before that they made a second attempt at removing a chunk of meat the size of my thumb from my shoulder to hopefully get all the cancer this time. I’m now taking lots of pain killers once again.
So I’m back to finding myself wandering without traveling or movement to do so. It has become more of a State of Mind. My wandering this week consists of; I sit with the door of my caravan open and am chastised by a butcher bird sitting in my doorway for not feeding her bread as I wait for the Eastern Rosella Parrots to arrive. It sounds like the inside a hamsters cage with the chattering they make.I sit there with my staffy and we watch and listen to every noise and movement they make.
I’m awake at 630am. I refuse to give up the discipline of an early morning, even though i no longer work.To walk the staffy and try and have a glimpse of the morning light to see what colours Im brought today to try and silhouette them against the tree line.
I was just getting back into bushcraft and had signed up for Paul Kirklys Online Basic Course. The initial free video was of Paul Carving a Feather Stick. I think the video lasted for something like 40 minutes. Several thoughts jumped into my mind. Your spending 40 minutes carving a stick in order to burn it and Im not spending more than a few minutes carving anything in order to start a fire in under a minute. I then realized after watching the video several times, that he was teaching the ART of making a Feather Stick. The whole concept then changed for me.
However were in Australia. Several things to consider. The oils in the timber here dont require that much processing to ignite and the timber is much harder than Northern temperate Species. I have never seen anyone make a Feather Stick Here.
However Making Feather Sticks on softer timber allow you train your knife and carving skills for larger projects. A Feather Stick is usually the first and a Tent Peg the second lesson or project when learning carving skills.
Dan Wowak from Coalcracker Bushcraft came up with an interesting idea in one of his videos. Why not use shavings instead. Same blade skills used and I thought this was a much better way of using a Feather Stick in Australia when trying to start a fire in wet weather than trying to form a carved stick in hardwood.
This is the mentality of what modern society has receded to.Needing warnings on everything. “Dont lick the hot surface”, I thought would be obvious. So to all the Crayon Eaters and Window lickers.
All statements made on my blog, or any other medium, represents only my personal opinion on the particular issue, unless I specify a different source. I assumed that this would be obvious considering that this is just my personal blog, but I guess in this day and age even the obvious has to be stated.
I am not an expert on any issue concerning bushcraft, survival, camping, or any other outdoor pursuit. This is a hobby for me. Again, I have assumed that would be obvious. Ive done a lot of training courses and wanted to share some of what I have learnt.
I do not make any income in any way from anything related to my blog, or anything else related to bushcraft or other outdoor activities. I sell off a few of my own blades Ive collected, or th odd item I make. survival Supplies Australia has given me a affiliate link which I have stated previously. I dont have a large enough reader base to make any money.
If you decide to do anything that I show you, do it at our own risk. Again, something that should be obvious.
This was my first course with Claire Dunn from Natures Apprentice and Jon Young. I didn’t actually read the description of the course correctly. I thought it was more about a physical tracking course.. Being stuck in a caravan for two months with a leg injury and heavy pain meds I really needed something to do. I was starting to go stir crazy. However I’m glad I participated.
I learned a lot about myself. What Ive been doing naturally for many years had been put into words. After doing a lot of mind-fullness training in martial arts and becoming aware of the environment around you from numerous security courses in situational awareness it all combined eventually into what Claire was describing as a wandering mind.. A wandering mind is being taught to have presence in the moment and to pay attention to the relationships that occur around you.
Although I’m not sure if I like that description as it sounds like your not paying attention but its exactly the opposite. If I understand correctly its applying the theory of mind-fullness from martial arts to being outside the dojo. In the moment and engaging with the landscape.
Jon said something interesting that Ill be working on for the next week until the second session.
“What senses am I using and what question am I working on” in other words am I using all of my senses to work on the question/problem im facing in front of me. Bringing in a wider awareness and expanded mindset and applying this to relationships in nature. Point A to pint B exercise. Instead of going directly from point A to point B. Go towards point B.
I spent 12 years of my life connected to a 9 meter oxygen hose. It took all my time and effort to make it outside onto a lounge to sit there with my cat on one side and dog on the other. Being in the moment. Absorbing everything around me, aware of every little movement. Almost like meditation. I have that same feeling every-time I’m in the bush taking photographs and looking at different angles and being aware of the lighting and shadows around me.