Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Appalachian Mountain's Majesty!

Wow! On our trip to North Carolina to visit family we drove through Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia. I loved seeing the Appalachian mountains especially of West Virginia as they were very obvious, looming tall by the route we took. The beauty of these mountains is in their variety and distribution. I love that each mountain has a mixture of deciduous and coniferous trees and that the even the most settled parts are quite unsettled.

I love the idea that there are still parts of this country that you could lose yourself in.

I can just imagine walking off into those mountains and finding uninhabited portions and areas devoid of human impact. I love exploring and being able to find new spots and seeing things for the first time.

How Beautiful!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A sad day for!

Well, It's been a great adventure! is officially down and I am looking into what I want to do next as far as a survival website goes.  I enjoyed writing and experimenting for SurvivalNut!  I intend to continue writing and dedicate a new site, but maybe in a different direction.  We'll see...  As for SurvivalNut... farewell friend.  You gave me a chance, and inspired me on in my quest for expression, and learning of all things survival.   

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rainy days.

Don't worry. This is a happy post! I have had the wonderful opportunity, (albeit brief opportunity) to stop and smell the roses so to speak.  In the last few days we have had some rain, some sun, followed by melting snow and cloudy days and nights.  There have been a few moments I have been able to inhale the smells of the newly uncovered earth and simply feel alive.  I have looked at the skies at night and saw the stars peeking through the swiftly passing clouds.  The rain and drizzle falls on my face and I can't help but imagine myself in the woods stalking animals or gathering materials on a cold wet morning or evening.  Luckily I have plenty of memories to draw upon so these brief moments as I pass from one building to the next, or go from my car into my house are refreshing and reminding of the simple pleasures of life.  

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I love the snow!

We have had a very snowy winter so far!  I love the snow.  I always look forward to long explorations in the woods with the snow settling down around me.  There exists something almost magical about the sound absorbing qualities of snow and the peace that usually comes with the white of winter.  Late at night all that can be heard is the crunching of snow beneath your feet as you walk and look at the stars or ponder the way the light refracts off the falling snowflakes.  I have yet to don my fur suit this year but soon I will be out sneaking among the trees and brush tracking animals and whatever else catches my attention. I have been catching up on studying out of some field guides and look forward to reacquainting myself with the plants, wildlife and trees of this area.  

A CHALLENGE TO ALL; Take a walk at night during the snowy months! Explore a new area following the tracks of animals and see where they lead you and what they have to teach. Nature brings clarity to all aspects of the participant's life.  Will you do that?   

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Five years!   The best five of my life! Caity and I have been so blessed and feel so in love!  Though I am sure our love will be deeper at our 50th anniversary, if we only manage to have an equal love to what I feel for her now it will be a love for the storybooks and the eternities.  Here's to the best wife and friend ever! Cheers!

Free at Last!!!

I am done with my Bachelor's!!!! Now I can finally study what I want, when I want and with who I want! What a relief! I have a book list about a hundred books long I've been wanting to read so now the difficult decision is where to start.  This couldn't have come at a better time as Caity is pregnant with our third child (a sweet girl) due the end of January, and we are in the middle of a snowy winter which always makes getting to school hard not just because the travel conditions but because I'd rather be out up to my knees making forts or tracking in the woods.  Happy holidays!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I am such a proud father! I was out with my two kiddies walking through the woods and exploring some marsh areas this morning. We were following a deer trail and I noticed some deer droppings (scat) and thought I might point them out to Emma and Tanner but decided we better keep moving as they were getting tired. They do good at noticing deer and animal tracks but I haven't taught them much in the way of other animal sign. I kept walking and Emma who was about 10 feet behind shrieked in excitement; "Look Daddy! Deer poopies! I was way impressed and amazed first that she noticed them between the grass and leaves and two that she knew what they were!

What more could a survival and tracking-crazed dad ask for?

Friday, August 1, 2008

edible parts of cattail plant.

A cattail is a wetlands plant! Or something you see waving on the rump of a feline. Both are probably in someway edible but you'll find the plant variety much more appealing and better available for consumption.

Typically we associate cattails with the brown "cigar' or "hot-dog looking thing" on the plant. This is the pollen bearing head or stamenate. Unknown or unnoticed to many are what precedes the thick brown and sometimes fluffy head. During midspring to early summer (up to about July 4th) you can find green cattails. These are the best eating and you cook the green heads by steaming them as you would asparagus, perhaps adding a little butter. Both the very top section and the lower section of the cattail head are edible and they are connected by a very dense inner shaft that reminds me of a hotdog stick. After cutting the cattail head up and steaming it you simply eat it as you would corn on the cob with the inner fibrous stick (or cob) remaining. After the very top portion begins to blossom bearing very yellow pollen (this is the male part of the plant) it no longer cooks well. Same goes for when the bottom (female part of plant) turns brown. It is still edible but not very appetizing.

The Pollen is very abundant and very edible! You harvest it by shaking the pollen-laden head into a bag or bottle. This pollen sells near $20 per pound in Asia for its supposed medicinal qualities! I can only vouch for its use as a flour additive and general soup thickener. It is relatively flavorless as you would expect flour to be. An no grinding needed!
Use the pollen to make a yellow pancakes!

If you follow down from the cattail head you can peel away the leaves which start at the very base of the plant. Doing this allows you to reveal a wonderful wild food called cattail heart. It is usually within two to three feet of the head and will readily break from the bottom plant portion once you have peeled all the leaves away. The heart is about 6-12 inches of very tender stalk that is very chewable and less fibrous than the rest of the plant stalk. As the season passes this becomes too fibrous to be enjoyable. Slice it up into a salad!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cattail Dinner!

Hello All! Hope your summer is off to a great start! We have been very busy with readying our house to sell and work. I haven't taken the chance to go outdoors except for a couple of times in the past month. One was me with my two children. I was up to my knees in the lake among the reeds and cattails and my two children were up to their chests courageously following their daddy. It was quite a site and they loved being able to get wet and touch "icky" things that they normally couldn't along the shore. Tonight my family and I walked to another nearby lake and nibbled on cattail. They are almost past blossom stage (with all the pollen on the male portion of the cattail head) but they are still great for plucking and eating the heart and steaming the female head which is still green. Just cut them and steam as you would asparagus! The heart is about 2-3 feet below the head and all you do is peel away the leaves and the heart is like cucumber. Fresh and soft without any bad aftertaste unlike some other wild edible plants. Give em' a try! Let me know how it goes!

Friday, May 23, 2008

wild plants galore!

Wild carrots.  Notice the fine hairs on the leafy stems.  If no hairs watch out and don't eat! (These were tasty but a little tough raw. )

Now that spring is in full motion everything is up out of the ground and turned to green. I have been toying with the idea of creating a weed garden. Not really a weed garden but a wild plant garden which just happens to be made primarily of what we know as weeds.  Each time I cut my yard the thought passes through my mind that I am cutting up my food storage! I have dandelions, plantain, wild garlic, onion, wild leeks and even a bit of grass growing in my yard, all of which are edible. I am not in the habit of eating these foods regularly but know that they are edible and useful in other ways. I have acorns year round that can be made into flour or meal and then also have some transplanted wild raspberries and grapes. Of the storebought plants I can eat the flowers of the daylily, the hens and chicks plants, mulberry leaves and berries, fruit of the peach and plum trees and some rose petals. It just surprizes me how much food really exists that is normally never on my food list! The weed garden might be interesting for the fact that I could see how a little care and no cutting might make a difference on the quality of the plant. What do you think? Leave the weeds to the mower or start my garden?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Indian bow update!!!

Being too impatient to wait and try my bow when I had made a primitive arrow, I decided to try out the bow using one of my store-bought arrows. I noticed really quickly how much the arrow set to the side and at a wide trajectory compared to modern bows where the arrow sits on a rest and has a trajectory in line with the bow. The arrow made it's target and sunk in which was a great relief and very exciting to me. This means that I have a method for making a viable hunting tool should the need ever arise. After a few more arrows I had to call it quits because of other commitments, but not because the bow was lacking! I didn't expect a lot from my first handmade bow and am looking forward to making more of these in the future. It takes me back to being a child stringing up bendy sticks and pretending I was an indian. The process is rather therapeutic!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The indian short bow!

The camp-out went well (besides waking up sick at 5 AM.) I made a debris hut out of some red pine that had been cut from a windfall. I slept warm and felt pretty good about the shelter. The next morning after starting to feel a bit better (about10am) I started to teach the indian short bow. They are the typical bow you would see on the plains and can be very short or up to to the typical length of a modern recurve. We split the Ash staves into halves and some into quarters then made the bows from the outer rings (bark-side). We had some sharpened mower blades instead of drawknives but then the camp Ranger brought us two drawknives which made our work much more effective. We shaved the staves down until they started resembling bows and then sanded them after checking how they flexed over our knees. WE made bowstrings by twisting twenty feet of four strands of thin string until it kinked, then doubled this over, twisted some more, waxed the length of it , twisted some more, double it over and waxed it more. By the time we were done we had a reasonably thick string about the length of the bow and that would stay twisted on account of the wax and doubling over. (imitating Sinew) I strung two bows and was pleasantly surprised when they didn't snap under the pressure. Woooohoooo!!! This was quite an accomplishment and felt wonderful to draw them back and feel like they might actually work for casting arrows! I was excited that we had actually made primitive bows using only hand tools and some string on a spool, and a candle. I have yet to cast and arrow with them. The first one we strung was made by a boy who has gone on to carve it down. This has caused a weakening and fracturing of a limb that will no longer make it strong enough to fire. This will be a lesson for him and a story for me to share when teaching how to make them again.
They say the best way to learn is to teach and that is the case for me. My bow looks like a reflex but that was the natural feature of the bow stave. Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Spring is here!

I have been very busy lately but even so I can't help but to notice the Blue-jays screeching, the robins calling and the chickadees singing. We have had some starry nights and as I come in from a late "day at the office" I can sometimes look up and find my favorite constellations. The bulbous flowers are all coming up and the earth is starting to wake up again. I am excited to be alive! I feel really excited about this year and the upcoming warm seasons. I am planning many attempts at learning new skills and have already begun making some blanks from Ash trees which I will try and make a primitive bow from. These trees were cut near my college as apart of a construction project and left to waste, which allowed me the opportunity to try making bows without me cutting live trees! I'll try and post of my progress.

As always, keep up on my new skill and creative posts at

Take a moment and bring your nose to the earth and notice what memories stir as you breath in the rich smells of spring soil!

Friday, February 29, 2008!!!

Hello again! I last posted about a new site that will be survival skill based. It is officially accessible although the content within it is still being added. I am trying to add a little as time permits, and anticipate being able to add almost daily starting in mid-march. It will be amazing to see it evolve and I look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions on how to make it better or to simply take joy in learning something new about the outdoors! Check it out!

P.S. Great job to Kaleb the website administrator!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Busy life!

Hello All! Anyone out there still? I can't expect much traffic considering I haven't posted in so long. I have been doing my best to finish school, work, be home, fufill callings and church positions and still work and play on the side. The good news is that I have been working on some content for an up and coming website dedicated to wilderness survival and primitive living! yeah! It means lots of advice and skills demos for all to have access to, and will soon be the most informative website on primitive survival. This is a joint venture between my brother-in-law Kaleb (survival-wiz and web-wiz) and myself (survival-wiz). Keep an eye out and let me know if you have any suggestions on what might be useful! Get outside and enjoy the season!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

John McPherson

I have long dreamed of going into the wilderness with nothing and seeing what kind of life could be made and the progression of necessary skills that would be made evident in such a situation. I have recently come across a book written by John McPherson and his wife. The whole premise is going into the woods naked and making a life for yourself. The couple have not just written a book on the theory but the actual doing of skills with how-to information and pictures along the way. Whether it's taking 3 days to chop down a cottonwood tree with stone tools they made to be able to make a dug-out canoe, or the wife showing how to gut and part out a deer using a sharp sliver made by flint-knapping. I am really impressed that these authors actually have experience in what they relate. I rented this book from the library and the only negative thing I have to say about it is that it was stolen! Someone entered our cars while parked in our driveway and stole lots of things and the book was among them! The book is called "Primitive Wilderness Living & Survival Skills: Naked into the Wilderness" A necessary read for true primitive skills practitioners! Good luck!

Sunday, January 6, 2008


On Friday and Saturday I was able to go camping with the youth of my church. The temperature was in the mid thirties and we had a light drizzle every so often. I didn't attempt to practice any outdoor skills using primitive techniques, because I was in charge of the whole event and knew going into this that time would not be on my side. I was the first to the site and had to shovel some paths and start the fire as well as set up a tent for me to stay in. The boys stayed in a large canvas military tent which was on the site ready to go. Before anyone arrived I was able to get away and take a walk across the frozen lake and I explored along the lakes perimeter. I found an old attempt at a log cabin. Nature brings all things back to her and the cabin was already starting to return to the earth that the cabin logs had grown from. It is always interesting to contemplate who had been there and had desired to dwell and how time and nature had other plans.
I had a great time with my brother who came out, and we snowboarded and sledded with the youth among the trees on a large hill overlooking the campsite. I noticed the hill behind where we would start our runs and could see the snow and leaves all torn up from deer. I saw a few turkey tracks and plenty of squirrels who had taken advantage of the above freezing days to gather and forage. I was glad simply to be outdoors and to be able to contemplate my life. I go back to school tomorrow and in doing so will find limited opportunity to be outdoors, which is understandable but saddens me. The good news is that nature will always receive us when we do return home.

Friday, December 21, 2007

needing to reconnect

Life has been absolutely wonderful and yet such a blur these past few months. I have accomplished much and have no real regrets but feel a little detached from the forests and marshes, lakes and streams, fields and thickets, that I call home. I have been either busily working towards my goals or a homebody. I suppose that is natural when you have such a wonderful family such as I and have determined to get a degree and other such demanding ventures. My wedding anniversary was Dec. 20th and after four years of marriage I still ask myself why she ever let me into her life. We always joke about how I tricked her into marrying me and how "if she'd only known..." :) Well I absolutely love her and feel more in love each day and on ever-deepening levels. I am not going to try an communicate that love here and now (It's easier just to tell her) but suffice it to say I am deeply thankful for her and my family.
It seems all I do is drive these days. I notice a lot of things around me and learn about the movements of nature but it is different when you are on the other side of the glass actually breathing in the scents and listening to the sounds of nature.
Driving today I realized I have not been out in my fur suit since early march. That may not make sense or be a big deal to those who haven't seen or heard of my full body fur suit, but being in my suit means I plan on being out for awhile in the cold and plan on really learning while either sitting or stalking deer or other animals I see. The fur suit is practical. It keeps me warm. It provides a quiet material that doesn't make any noise as I brush past a trees or climb through briars... basically I am just saying how much I miss being a part of the landscape and feeling the snow settle and accumulate on me as I watch nature move around me. I hope to be able to dedicate a day for me to feel that again. Does anyone else feel that need to connect with nature like that? It's almost like all time stops and you become counted again as a brother animal of the forest instead of an alien just passing through.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Deer tracks.

I finally finished another semester at school! Now I find myself able to do things that I wish to do instead of what i have to do.
I decided to go up to my mother-in-law's cottage on thursday to take some of her belongings and to tear out some of the bathroom and closets that need remodeling. I was excited about the drive because of the beautiful country you drive through and because of the time it gives to think and ponder about things. The snow was hanging on the trees and making everything look just like a "winter wonderland". When I got to the cottage I was delighted to get out of the van and see fresh deer tracks all over her yard! The property line has some fruit trees and they were eating up what was left on the trees and what has been late to fall on the ground. I am JUST SO EXCITED ABOUT HER PLACE! On my lunch break I walked about a 100 yards and sat on the edge of a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan! the scene was gorgeous and had rays of sunshine penetrating the clouds making a painting-worthy scene. The water was everything from deep blues to emerald greens because of the different sandbars and how the light was hitting the lake. The deer tracks in the yard came from the bluff area and I am speculating that they bed down in some fur trees a little ways down on the bluff. I did see five bedding areas that had melted the snow in little 2-3 foot wide ovals and they were only about 75 yards from the house in some heavy brush and thicket. The area across the street from her is an Audoban Society Preserve and so it is well taken care of and has many animals and birds especially. It is such a magical place and I am excited for others to come up and enjoy the place and the great company ( my Mother-in-law ) it will offer!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Trompin' through the woods

Yesterday was just above freezing here and the wind had died down to where being outside was bearable. I decided top stop at the nature preserve on my way home and see what kind of deer traffic was present. Snow tracking is very easy and makes determining how long ago a deer passed quite simple. I have to admit it has been awhile since i ran the deer trails and found my lungs were pretty out of shape! I found what I call deer Highways and then some smaller runs that led me through some marsh and out to the rivers edge. I am pretty sure the deer actually bed down on an island that is just a swim away because for all my wandering i only found one recent bed and have seen a pretty big group of them coming out of the marsh from that direction. I think i will take my boat soon and check out the island.
One of the best things about my TROMP was that at one point I was able to simply stop and listen for a bit. The quiet and peace that is out there is something I have missed. Especially when it snows the sounds are absorbed by the new white insulation and it seems that sometimes the only sound you can hear is your own heartbeat and the noise that is commonplace in your mind. I miss spending sufficient amounts of time to allow for even those noises to disappear into the surroundings.