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Honeysuckle: 2 reasons you must learn about nature’s treat

When I was a little boy running around my grandpap’s farm, some of my fondest memories came from learning from Grandpa and Grandma how to live off of the land.

They taught me many things about farm life and wilderness survival, having both lived through the Depression in Gobbler’s Knob, Kentucky… (Seriously)!

One of the things my grandma taught was one of nature’s simple little sugary treats, the dewdrop of nectar that can be ha from a Honeysuckle flower.

Now, don’t be surprised when you go to gather honeysuckle flowers, if you find it necessary to compete with any manner of bee-folk who will busily be buzzing around trying to gather sap themselves. Try to avoid the bees because if they sting you they will die, (usually because you slap the hell out of them), but sometimes because they are the type that gut themselves by using their stinger.

Here are two reason’s you should learn how to gather the drops of sap from these flowers:

  1. Because they are delicious. Though not much in quantity, these flowers are high in quality and the sweet droplets make a welcome respite when in a survival situation.
  2. Because they make a delicious and refreshing tea.  Simply take a pitcher of water, soak 25-30 flowers in it in the sunshine for 6-8 hours. The sun will brew the flowers into a crisp and refreshing sweet tea if you can get it cold, (a two hour dip in the creek will do it), but if you try to drink it warm you probably won’t like it much… at least I don’t.

I almost forgot to share the technique to enjoy the dewdrops of nectar straight from the flower. Simply pinch the petals between the thumb and forefinger of one hand, and pull the pistil out slowly with the other. The drops will appear on the end of the petals as the pistil is withdrawn… simply apply gently to the tongue for maximum effect.

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Wilderness photography: tools to take it to the next level

If you are an adventurer, survivalist, hunter, fisherman, outdoorsman, prepper or any other form of military surplus equipment connoisseur, then you are probably a photographer as well, at least on some level. Photography is my passion. I am an avid hunter and outdoorsman; however, in this day and time I have traded in my rifles and bows for cameras.

Not that I have anything against hunting, I still will if and when the need arises, but in the meantime I prefer to keep my skills sharp by  taking photographs of the animals that I like to hunt and eat. I have found that it is less expensive in the fact that I don’t have to pay Big Brother for the privilege of shooting deer with a camera, (not yet at least). There are several plusses to shooting with a camera as opposed to using a rifle; if I accidentally shoot my buddy, it’s no big deal. Me and my buddy can each shoot the same deer, (several times), and if I happen to see the game warden sashaying down the trail, my guts don’t turn to jelly…

But that’s not the purpose of this blog, I want to turn you on to a great little invention that I have recently stumbled upon that has taken my wilderness photography to an entirely new level, that is the window based camera mount. I discovered this at my local outdoor outfitters store and couldn’t buy it quickly enough.

Now I don’t need to scramble for a camera when I see a sasquatch hunting feral pigs in a wooded meadow, or a fox squirrel riding a blue heron as it flies around Acton Lake… no, from now on I have my camera mounted to my driver’s window and merely have to turn it on and focus as best I can.  This thing is even designed to offer one handle operation for tilt and swivel.

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Survival poaching: 3 things you have to know to make meat in an emergency

Though I don’t in any way, shape, or form advocate the practice of poaching, I will tell you that in a survival situation you have to resort to any means necessary in order to get the nutrients that you will need to live.

That being said, you should understand that if you use some of the tricks I’m going to share with you today, you could very easily face charges in a criminal court if they’re ever discovered. The old adage “I’d rather be tried by twelve than eaten by worms” comes into play here though, and if your very existence depends on it, then the laws of nature and the writings of John Locke demand that you take the life of whatever you can in order to save yourself. Here are three ways to do it.

  1. Hook snares. Anything is susceptible to a hook snare. They are just what they sound like, a hook tied to a cord of some kind, with bait on it for an animal to gulp down and get hooked in the gullet. This is a very cruel technique and should never be used except in a life or death situation. Small hooks can be baited with kernels of corn and placed just below the surface of a lake at the bank for ducks and geese. Pieces of meat can be suspended with treble hooks from green branches for coyotes, fox, etc… Nasty bit of business and you should be in real trouble before you resort to this.
  2. Wire snares. Wire snares are effective as well, and can be set to trap and strangle anything up to a moose. For smaller game you can use old electric wire with the insulation stripped off to make a stout copper wire strand that keeps its form nicely, and which is strong enough to strangle anything up to a fox. You will need something more substantial than twisted copper wire for coyote, bear, deer, or moose. Basically set a wire snare wherever your desired animal may stick its head or foot. Attach the end to a sapling strong enough to hold it, or to a log big enough to eventually get tangled.
  3. Night shooting. Animals are largely nocturnal, and their eyes glow in light. This is a no-brainer if you have a gun with you, either build a fire or use a flashlight. When you see two eyes glowing in the darkness, shoot between them.
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SURVIVAL CANNING; 4 THINGS YOU DIDN’T EVEN KNOW YOU COULD CAN

Canned “King White Salmon” from the annual NY trip

Recently I was working a long shift with my good friend Tom L. when I suddenly detected the odor of sweaty socks and fishy garbage wafting through the office at about chest level. Since I was sitting down I got the maximum effect out of this phenomena and immediately jumped to the most likely conclusion. “Tom!” I yelled, “What the hell are you eating?” He appeared quickly from around the corner, eyes gleaming with devilish lust, a small canning jar hanging limply from one hand. In his other hand he brandished the fork side of the hobo knife I had given him for Christmas, the year before. He gestured towards me with the jar and the knife at the same time. “It’s fish sarge, canned salmon from last year’s run in New York. Me and Jerry got twenty-seven pounds of this stuff apiece. I been canning it.” It smelled like hell, but I had to admit that he had my interest. I am a sucker for canned things. I love sardines, clams, oysters… all of it. Even canned crab meat. So it was with very little trepidation that I took a bit of old Tom’s canned salmon and ate it… It was like a party in my mouth! I decided then and there to accompany Tom and Jerry, (yes, I know!), on their next fishing trip for no other reason than to stock up on a supply of fish for myself. Tom is going to can it for me too. Here are things that Tom cans that would make an excellent addition to any military surplus tent adventure, survival trip, or existence after a coming apocalypse.

  1. Venison and other meats. Tom has his own special seasonings he adds and he won’t tell me what they are; however, the point is that you can preserve any kind of meat, fish, chicken etc… by canning it.
  2. Casseroles and meals. I never thought of it, but Tom had canned many different already cooked meals to include stews, spaghettis, and lasagna.
  3. Dried beans. Very effective for if and when you don’t have a bagging system and you need them to last for food or seed.
  4. Gravy. Perfect way to save sausage gravy for a time when there is no refrigeration process.
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FREE SURVIVAL TRAINING: 3 WAYS TO GET BETTER PREPARED FOR FREE

Photo By: theactivetimes.com

FREE SURVIVAL TRAINING

If you want to find some ways to become a world class survivalist, but you don’t really want to spend a bunch of money doing it, there are several ways that you can do so. Not everyone has the inclination or the wherewithal to invest several hundred or thousands of dollars to go to Tracker School or some of the other fine survival institutes available today. The good news is that in todays times you don’t really need to. There are plenty of survival resources out there for free. Here are three excellent resources for survival training, all of which are absolutely free of charge.

  1. The public library. When I first wanted to learn wilderness survival, back in the 1980’s, I occupied my time in two ways. Either I was reading books from the Wilderness Survival Series by Tom Brown Jr., or I was practicing the skills relayed therein out in the Ohio woods of the family farm. The best place to get these books was, of course, at the public library because I didn’t have to pay for them. Some great titles to get are: The Wilderness Survival Series by Tom Brown Jr. The Foxfire Series released by Eliot Wigginton and his students from the 1970’s, Any of the Peterson Field guides by Lee Allen Peterson.
  2. Youtube. This is probably the best survival tool available in today’s technology, because the practice of “monkey see monkey do” can be implemented much easier in video than can be relayed in a book. If you have a smart phone, you can get hands on instruction during the actual practice of whatever survival skill you’re trying to learn.
  3. State and public parks. I just read that the Tyler, Texas Department of Parks and Recreation has recently offered free survival classes to it’s residents and clientele as part of their wilderness and ecological outreach. This is a great opportunity and one which I wish would have been open to me in my youth.
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COOKING FRESH FISH ON A CAMPFIRE; 3 WAYS TO MAKE IT HAPPEN

When I was a young wild-man in training, I had several opportunities to practice my survival skills and I took every opportunity to do so. This was the case when it came to young love as well, and the girls with whom I shared a mutual affection were often reluctant to be exposed to the wonders of the outdoors, specifically in the form of wilderness survival. I found out very quickly that the most adventurous of women of the era were more prone to brave the wilds of the local malls than they were to try their hand at living off of the land, and it was therefore a special treat for me when a young woman of my affection finally agreed to a wilderness respite in the form of fish, (apparently the only wild game she could eat). I easily caught us a couple of panfish each and set about to scaling them with a rock, gutted them with the same piece of shale, (I couldn’t find any chert at the time), and cooked them to perfection on the green boughs of a willow grill, on a bow-drill fire I had quickly built myself. To her credit, she did pick through the bones rather courageously if a bit daintily, and she was great company for the rest of the day. It was, however, our last date and I’m not so sure that she really enjoyed herself though she had assured me that she had. In any event, these ruminations have brought me to the present topic, that of cooking fish over an open fire. This is one of my favorite wilderness meals because it is so quick and easily prepared, and here are the three ways I usually do it:

  1. On a simple willow grill. It is just a web of green willow boughs placed over a bed of hot coals. Probably the easiest way to cook them, however, I recommend that you don’t fillet them if you’re going to cook them this way as the fillets tend to get flaky and fall apart and will go into your coals and get ruined.
  2. On a spit over coals. This takes a bit more time, but the advantage is that it’s quicker because you can build a hotter fire. Be careful of singing on one side and getting it raw on the other. Spit cooking takes a lot of attention and care.
  3. On a rock next to the fire. This works best for fillets, especially if you don’t mind eating fish crumbles. The fillets cook more thoroughly and there is less attention needed but they will come apart as you go to turn them.
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