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Ernest Hemingway: 3 Reasons That You Must Watch This New Documentary

If you are an outdoor enthusiast and sportsman, then there is a new documentary out there that you absolutely must see. This documentary is just released on Monday April 5, 2021 and is available at no cost through the PBS channel.

I have always been a huge fan of Ernest Hemingway. His minimalist style of writing and life experience were second to none.  He was definitely a man’s man, and and any serious look into his life will illustrate that. He was the epitome of a survivalist and made do in war torn Europe and Spain on many occasions; he thrived with little of nothing or with great affluence the same. One of my favorite stories of Hemingway involved his life in Paris as a starving writer trying to learn the craft:

His first child, Bumby, would accompany him on walks to the park where, with old bread purloined from the dumpster of the bakery near his flat, pigeons would be enticed to come to the baby’s stroller. Here, the illustrious old man would snatch and wring them and then  stuff the still warm and feathery body into the folds of the baby’s blanket until there were enough in hand, (or swaddle as the case may be), to proffer a full meal of squab for the family for the evening.   It can be surmised that it was said; at one time,  by the locals, that Hemingway was an learned and dedicated ornithologist of the first order… though his genus of regard lacked any form of particularity

It is for these following reasons that you must watch this most informed and inclusive of documentaries:

  1. Hemingway was a hunter and an avid outdoorsman. His hunting writing gets so in-depth that some people have learned how to wing shoot simply from reading his narrative on the technique involved.
  2. Hemingway was a warrior and a poet. And though this cliché is quite common in  todays literary world, this is exactly the case in regards to Ernest Hemingway.
  3. Hemingway was a purveyor and user of military surplus equipment. Whether he was fishing in Michigan, hunting in Idaho, or on safari in Africa, Ernest Hemingway was a prolific user of military surplus tools and equipment. He stayed in military surplus tents, slept in old army cots, and even hunted big game with military surplus weapons. This expose and documentary are both enlightening and conducive to having a fire lit in your belly regarding the understanding of the impact of the written word. The air of nostalgia that surrounded Hemingway is eloquently captured here. Ken Burns, along with Lynn Novick, were able to show you the man without telling you how to take or partake of him; and they did it in an Ernest way.
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Springtime Dandelions: 3 Uses You Have to Know

One of the memories I have of my childhood, (I won’t call them fond so as to avoid deception), was that of my old grandma gathering a spring mix of greens for the family to eat. Now, to those of you who are less cultured, “greens” amongst the mountain people is actually an accumulation of any leafy weed that sprouts up from the recently thawed ground. For some reason, it was thought that fresh and tender equaled edible, and while that might have been true for the most part, it certainly didn’t equal palatable.

However, this isn’t true for dandelion greens. These are not only palatable, they are downright tasty and I’m actually surprised that they aren’t included in most spring mix salads you can get at the grocery store, considering their prevalence across the landscape.

In any event, here are three uses for the common dandelion that every serious outdoorsman or survivalist must know:

  1. They are edible. Both the yellow flowers and the leafy greens associated with the plant are food worthy. My favorite way to eat them is to have the flowers fried in batter like a hushpuppy (called fritters), and to have the greens freshly washed and sprinkled with vinegar and oil. I’ve also had them boiled like spinach with bacon and onion.
  2. They are potable. You can actually make a coffee of sorts out of the dandelion root. You can literally do  this with any root, but dandelion coffee is pretty ok, compatible at least with chicory coffee, (neither is as good as the real thing). To make the dandelion coffee, you must finely chop the root and then parch it in a pan over low heat of a fire. When it is brown and brittle, grind it up as you would coffee beans and brew as you would coffee… it’ll get you through some cold nights.
  3. They have down that is multifunctional. Whenever the flower goes to seed it leaves a head of down that can be used to enhance your tinder bundle, or if gathered in enough quantity, add insulation to clothing or bedding to create dead air space.

 

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Uncle John’s Truck: A Story of Coming to Manhood in Rural America (part 2)

… The car that stopped in front of me was pretty straightforward. The lady driving the heavy Ford Expedition pulled up to the stoplight and ceased all motion as planned, I followed suit, and the guy in the F350 dually – which was directly behind me – blew it!

The crunch was horrendous as everything moved in slow motion around me. I remember thinking back to every modern action movie I had ever seen, with “The Matrix” taking a predominate spot in my rumination. As the shattered glass, bits of plastic, and personal items that had been sitting in the seat beside me began to dance in strange rhythm around my head, and the ass end of that Expedition loomed menacingly in my windshield preluded by the crumpled metal that had just milliseconds before been the hood of my car, it occurred to me that I could be injured and I experienced a strange calm and quieting.

Suddenly everything sprang into motion and I could hear a horrible cacophony of sound. There were car alarms sounding, the tinkle of glass, loud honking, and the memory of that never ending thud of being battered from both ends by vehicles far larger than mine.

My first thought was for the injured. By this point in my training I had adopted the mindset of a first responder, and grabbing my medical kit from the floorboard where it had landed, I pulled the door handle on my car and threw my body weight into the door. It squeaked open grudgingly, and in a moment I was free. In my periphery, I could discern that the Expedition was driven by a young woman, mid-twenties to early thirties. The truck I had seen was driven by an older man. I had noticed this somehow as I glanced in the rearview mirror after stopping at the light, and saw that he had a dogged, determined look on his face as he barreled into the back of my car; I don’t think he even saw me or the Expedition for that matter…

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Grubs, Slugs, and Earthworms: 3 Foods You Must Not Pass By in a Survival Situation

It is with great trepidation that I relay this information to you, strictly because it is to most people, distasteful.  However, in the interest of all aspects of survival, I feel like I must share these options with you.

Before we get started, let me say this: I would only use these food sources in one scenario – well, actually two – I would eat snails grubs and earthworms if I were A: in a position of needing to move quickly and maintaining strength, (i.e.; I were being pursued),  or B: I would resort to this if I were sick or wounded and had to have quick and easy proteins.

But this article isn’t about me; it’s about a quick and easy meal that will keep you alive in the event that you are caught in a life or death situation. Trust me, if you are starving, you will eat anything including the leather from your own shoes or backpacks. So let’s talk about how to eat these easy to catch, protein rich foods. First of all, you don’t want to eat them like you find them. Just because an old bear in the woods, or a skunk can eat earthworms right out of their nest, that doesn’t mean that you can. Your digestive tract is just way too pampered to deal with all of the residuals that come with such a meal. Secondly, understand that it does you no good to get food into your mouth or belly that won’t stay there because of your retch reflex.

  1. Earthworms: These should be purged before consumption. Much like a lobster, worms have a mud-vein that is full of worm poop. Worm poop is neither tasty nor nutritious. After purging, (leaving them contained in moist leaves for a couple of days), they should be boiled aggressively for at least thirty minutes.  Eat quickly with your nose pinched shut…
  2. Slugs: These should be cooked similarly to the earthworms above; however, I would collect snails in their shell before I would slugs. They are easier to handle, and there is less of a chance to come in contact with a toxic species, (Often due to their diets). The shell also gives you an opportunity to slow down and look for contaminates.
  3. Grubs: You should boil these as well, and my advice is to watch the local animal population to determine what local grubs would better serve as food. Bears, skunks, weasel’s, and Badgers  all eat grubs. Many of these are even tasty I’m told.

Just remember, there is always risk involved with consuming unknown sources of protein, so use caution and common sense as much as possible, and if a little bit of something makes you feel ill, you certainly shouldn’t consume any more of it.

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Survival News: Reviewing the Tom Brown Jr. Tracker™ Knife

I have been a survivalist for about thirty-five years now. I have also been a student of Tom Brown Jr.; having attended his standard class twice in the late 80’s. Back when I started learning this type of bushcraft, it was standard to head out into the wilderness with at least a bowie knife and a tomahawk. Those days; however, are over it seems. This is because my beloved teacher and mentor, Tom Brown Jr. himself, has created his own brand of knife that he has named the Tracker™. This knife, (made popular by a movie of the same namesake), truly seems to be the “be all-end all” in relation to survival tools, and here’s why:

  1. It has a chopping blade. The front end of the blade is not only useful for the fine skill usage such as skinning or separating bone, it’s also heavy enough to fulfill other needs such as cutting down saplings, breaking apart bone, or even throwing if the need were to arrive.
  2. It has a wood splitter. Another function of the tomahawk was that of splitting or shaping pieces of wood to make axe handles, bow drills, etc… The Tracker knife has a back portion of the blade that is perfect for splitting with an offset portion of the blade set aside for precision striking.
  3. It serves as a notch cutter. Often you find the need to carve notches for survival, making a survival bow or building a bow-drill fire set for instance. The top of the blade is serrated to make cutting notches very easy to do.
  4. There are many other functions too. Tiny notches on the wedge section of the blade work to trim cordage or cut fuzz sticks. The front and rear lanyard holes,  (on the handle and the kydex sheath respectively), serves in a pinch as a makeshift bow for a bow-drill, the offset curve of the wedge serves as a perfect surface for fleshing a hide.
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A time for reflection: 3 things you can do to prepare for self sustenance

In this crazy time it is important that you be prepared to not be dependent on others for the needs in your life. Beyond binge watching old episodes of Little House on the Prairie and Survivorman, there are a few things you need to do to be ready for living without a support structure.

  1. Learn the sacred order of survival. Those are water, shelter, fire, and food respectively. When I say learn them, I don’t mean memorize. By learn I mean that you should come up with a method of acquiring these things. There are lots of great resources for learning survival. One of my favorites is the series put forth by Tom Brown Jr., (Tracker inc). Tom puts survival in layman’s terms and takes the concept of the Peterson field guides to another level.
  2. Learn home medicine. Before modern society became so overbearing, people doctored themselves and tended to their own survival. As a culture we have grown away fro that tendency and though it has served us fine, (for about eighty years or so), this modern pandemic has shown that government, with all of it’s bark and bravado, is ill-equipped to actually be helpful in the event of an emergency without being self-serving. There are excellent options available to learn medicinal herbs and concepts. Tom Brown Jr., (of course), has an excellent field guide to medicinal herbs. He also teaches it at his standard course,  (A lady named Wendy taught it in the 1980’s when I went through). But you might also want to invest in a set of Foxfire books if you can find them. Mother Earth News is also a good reference and old copies can be readily purchased on ebay.
  3. Lastly, you need to learn warfare on some level. It should not be a secret to you that if you have resources in a post-apocalyptic world, others will want them… you must be prepared to defend yourself and your loved ones who depend on you.
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Combatting Covid 19; 3 things you must do from a warriors perspective

After the tenth or eleventh time some nine year old skateboarding girl killed me in a game of World of Warcraft™, I decided that enough is enough.

I have been in lockdown, you see. I don’t know why I have been in lockdown, it is not me who falls into the susceptible class of individual who is likely to die from a Covid 19 infection. I mean, I am turning fifty this year; however, I keep myself fit by running and lifting weights and to be quite honest I am a bit of a masochist anyway. I am one of those rare individuals who enjoys having a surgery done and who gets a kick out of the recovery process. I recently had a rotator cuff repaired and the challenges I faced in the 10 weeks of recovery were high times.

Along the same lines, though I do not necessarily want to be infected by Covid 19, I certainly don’t fear it. I never expected to live forever anyway and have been in many situations where I expected the sudden thud and tug of a bullet to be the last sensation I would experience as I shed this mortal coil and traversed onto bigger and better things. To be honest, even if the afterlife were to hold nothing more engaging than the act of being transformed from organic matter into a bear turd, (Timothy Treadwell), it would certainly beat getting my ass repeatedly kicked in World of Warcraft™ by some 10 year old girl.

And so, as I said, I decided that enough is enough. I have been social distancing for two reasons. The first and most important is the fact that I hang around some old codgers who are susceptible and I wouldn’t want to get them sick; secondly, I don’t like being around people all that much anyway.  But I have found myself getting lazy and soft, and so I came up with three things we must do during this pandemic to get ourselves prepared for seeing it to the end.

  1. Get back to the basics. I mean this on a deeper level than the simple act of buying more mason jars or extending your garden. Get back to your roots as a hunter gatherer. These are the most basic of skillsets that allow the survivalist to subsist indefinitely with nothing more than good information and a field of adequate rocks. A good guide to follow is the teachings of Tom Brown Jr. (Ol Tracker® hisself). Though possibly not in print anymore, Tom’s books can easily be found in the library and on ebay; and he has a plethora of videos on Youtube, AND a school in Asbury New Jersey. The skills you can learn from Tom are second to none and I can’t recommend him highly enough.
  2. Stay in shape. Though I have developed great finger dexterity by playing World of Warcraft™ so much, the rest of my body has gone a bit to flab over the last couple of months. Get that ass out of that chair and go work out!
  3. Stay close to God. Most of the men and women I know who are survivalists or warriors, (often the two correlate it seems), have a strong faith in God the Father, if that is who you are, make sure that you take the time to spend with him that he is entitled to so that your faith doesn’t wane.

Mr. X, survivalist

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A rough winter: 6 survival tips and tricks to get you through

I happen to own, through inheritance, a horse farm that I rent to others more prone to enjoy such things. Though I have had my time in the saddle, I have never really grown to enjoy it. Instead I like to be in the woods, either taking photographs or living by limiting myself to a survival bowie, a handful of salt, and the clothes I’m wearing… or both. I recently awoke to my telephone buzzing incessantly at 11:30 at night, it was a text from my renter, it said simply: “There’s no water”

We have just had a pretty good cold snap here in Ohio, and water, as it’s prone to do when exposed to freezing temperatures, will freeze. And so, I was a bit perplexed by the fact that this gentleman was calling my at 11:30 at night because his water was froze, and it made me think that perhaps we as a society have gotten to the place where we are way too dependent on others for our very existence.  So, here are six tips to keep in mind as we head into what’s likely to be a very cold, rough winter.

  1. Watch those forecasts. We have come a long way from the old Native American “weather rock” days. Modern forecasters are able to predict the weather to within ten degrees of authenticity and so we should not be surprised by any cold snap in this day and time.
  2. Make sure you are cognizant of the sacred four needs for survival. Those are: shelter, water, fire, and food. These four things are all that you need to live, or should I say… exist. This is the bare minimum that you must have to keep your heart beating, and that, in the end, is what survival is all about.
  3. Gather old clothes, dry foliage, hay, straw, etc. We are kept warm in cold times by dead air space. That is basically a layer of air formed between you and the environment that your body will heat up and maintain an aura of warm air around you. Therefore, if you want to survive a cold snap that involves your heat source going out, you need to learn to bundle up. Pile in blankets, stuff clothing with paper, cloth, stuffing, etc… and remember to stay dry.
  4. Have alternative shelter available. A nice tent, tarp, or even a small camper available for in the event that you lose heat in your house, or if you lose your house such as in a flood, earthquake, or fire, will be invaluable and none of these options are very expensive.
  5. Keep a  reserve of water somewhere.  Or get a means to purify water easily. You can’t last more than three days without it, but there are many easy ways to gather water during a cold snap. Frost and snow can easily be turned into potable water.
  6. Get some food together before you need it. You don’t want to have to eat poor old Fido because you didn’t prepare for an emergency. There are plenty of surplus MREs and if you’re not into that, you can find freeze dried meals at your local outdoor pursuit center. If you don’t have the budget for that, sardines at the dollar store are a great alternative.
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Pakisteel: The saga of the $15 Damascus

By: Mr. X, Survivalist

If you have been following me at all, then you know two things about me, well… maybe three. First, I’m always looking for a good deal; second, everything I do centers around survival; and third, I’m hard on equipment.

So, it should be no surprise to you that recently I was perusing eBay and discovered a veritable treasure trove of handmade custom Damascus steel knives that are extremely affordable. The problem is that they are all Damascus blades and they are all made in Pakistan.

I did a little research, and it seems as if there are some very talented bladesmiths in Pakistan; however, there is not a great supply of quality steel so they use old  rebar, a lawnmower blade, some pot metal from a sewer grate, etc… to form a blank that they can then grind and shape a blade from. The result is a very beautiful product that seems to fit the bill in every way. The question is “will they hold up in a survival situation”?

I went ahead and bid $25 on a few of them that seemed to be of better quality than the others, as much as I could tell from the photographs. One was a classic 12″ bowie knife and the other a “tracker” knife. I won the auctions for these two and am therefore going to put them to the test in survival situations and see if they hold up. If they do then I will also take them to an American Bladesmith Society guy I know and let him put them through the standard tests of the ABS.

The one thing I will note is that they both came to me dull as a fro, (an uncommon practice in American made knives), but both sharpened up to razor qualities with just a few passes on my old sharpening steel. So far so good. Our next installment will involve some simple survival tasks… stay tuned.

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Why survival? 3 reasons you need to hone your skills right now

There have been times over the years, as I live in luxury and ease, that I have questioned whether or not it was worth all of the trouble I have gone to in order to learn and live survival. There have also been long periods of my life that I haven’t bothered to hone these skills to their utmost. However, in these days and times I make it a habit to stay on top of these skills because by all signs, children, we are heading for some tough times.

You only need to read the news everyday to realize that we are heading towards a conflict, not only in the world, but within this country as well. With conflict comes hardship, and when society breaks down again, finally, it will be up to you to be able to fend for yourself and I’m here to tell you that you will need to have some survival skills in that time. Here are three scenarios that could throw us into a long term survival situation right now:

  1. War. You think it’s not possible? If so, it’s probably because you are a member of that privileged  generation who hasn’t had to live with the fear of an attack from a foreign, invasive army. The truth is that we as Americans are surrounded by enemies on all sides and there are many others who want what we have.
  2. Cyber attack. Whether you realize it or not, we are under the power of the Chinese and the Russians due to errant practices in the past. We have trusted hostile countries to act as manufacturers to supply the major components to our computers, which now run our power grids, weapons systems, public works, etc…  Who knows what kind of trojan horses they have planted on everything  from motherboards to cellphones.
  3. Far left election. Do you realize that there are political factions whose entire platform is to threaten our very way of life? They desire to take us back into the ages before fossil fuels and who knows if they will be successful or not?
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