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.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The road less travelled

Today while walking in the snow to my car I was noticing the well worn paths of my peers and how they had all seemed to choose a similar path and made what reminded me of a well worn deer trail. It makes sense to follow a trail as it saves energy by following a broken-in path as well as keeps your shoes from getting snow in them. I decided to waste some calories and change things up by trudging off through the untouched snow and winding through some trees. As I walked I couldn't help but notice that there were foot prints and tracks already marking the path I was choosing. Even though they had become almost unrecognizable because of the new snowfall or the blowing winds. I could see that even in my attempt to be original and spontaneous I had accidently happened upon another's path and the thought occurred to me that just as I am walking and treading on this earth now, there have been people before me and there will come those after me. We are all connected, the only thing that is different is that I am the present, they are the past and those who walk in my paths after me are the future. When those of the future pass the same way I just tread I will become part of the past and therefore I am already part of the past in a way... Does that make sense to anyone else? We are all connected...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bundle up!

The weather forecast is calling for snow by the end of the week. We have had some wet and cold days as well as some moderately warm days in the past few weeks. I am not one for the cold but I do enjoy the snow. Funny how that can be! What I love is the way that snow absorbs sound and as it softly settles over a landscape it seems all time slows down with it.
I am not for the cold typically because I just find it takes so much more energy to perform typical tasks and for the many memories of being unprepared and freezing in the past. My first winter camp-out was a disaster and even though I can say I ended up having a great time it proved to be very uncomfortable! I feel with years between me and my first snow-filled winter camp-out I can somewhat unabashedly tell you I forgot gloves and ended up wetting the bed (Sleeping bag)!
Not a very comfortable or safe scenario to find yourself in! I have to laugh now at the pitiful situation as I remember how severely cold I got and how my clothes were frozen stiff! I was too embarrassed to ask for help and ended up shivering and shaking through the night and luckily found socks on my hands to be a somewhat viable replacement for gloves! I am amazed I ever went back to winter camping but can usually attribute a difficult or uncomfortable situation with teaching me the most about preparedness and the art of improvisation! I am much better prepared now (Fur suit and all) and have come to look forward to the snow even if that means it has to be cold.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Important Things. (My yard care thoughts)

I love seeing all the colors and sights of fall! I have to stop and wonder what some of the smells of fall are associated with. Yesterday I smelled a sour smell from a sugar maple's leaves decomposing. Where only a week ago you could only smell the crushed acorns on the road, now the world has changed and the senses tell me a different story. I have been pondering a lot of things and I am not sure if that is because of some of the recent events in my life or merely the change that autumn brings and the innate desire to prepare for the upcoming winter.

I am very inspired by the leaves and the changes in scenery. I guess the whole circle of life is simply manifest more fully right now. I have been busy with some important things and as my poor neighbors can attest I have neglected to keep up on the leaves and winterize my yard and do other (in my opinion) less important things. After all, the leaves keep falling and if I don't fertilize my yard it will still come up green in the spring. (albeit because of dandelions where others insist there should be grass!)

I am starting to learn the value of certain things we do and the priorities we place on things, actions, or habits. I am finding that not keeping up on the yard for example will not be something I regret at the end of my life whereas missing my children's growth or remembering great times are the things that will mean the most. Yes I do feel we should have a house of order and I am not advocating a sloppy or rundown property but I am not convinced I need to spend much time on areas where the fruit does not merit the cost and energy put into it's growing. Basically I am just commenting on the purpose of life and what kind of fruit we will have to show for it and what will be of value and what will have proved to be pointless. As for my yard... it'll be here long after I am gone whether I rake today or not for another week!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Service Projects Galore!

In the past week I have had more opportunity to serve than I might normally have in a month! When I lived up north it seemed every weekend was spent helping someone by stacking wood, doing yard work, clearing land or working on roof. I learned a lot of valuable lessons and skills but most of all learned how good it felt to help another and how good you sleep after a real hard days work. This week I have been able to help move someone, deliver a bowl of soup, landscape and seed a yard, dig out a stump an old man was working on, and load and deliver firewood to a friend. (ALL FOR DIFFERENT PEOPLE!)
To be honest I have been distant from work in the blister and sweat sense. I have also allowed myself to be "TOO BUSY" to help in the past and have missed many great opportunities. My point in blogging about my experiences is to simply express that I have felt like more of a brother and more of a friend to those around me in the last week than I have in the last year. Through service we can find relationships, peace and perspective that is otherwise out of our reach.
In offering this I am in no way reveling in my accomplishments in the service arena, in fact I am feeling pretty humbled and low for letting this part of my life almost slip away by my own neglect and lack of priority. What saddens me is that I am sure last week and the week before that and so on, have all had just as many or more opportunities to serve but I have not either opened my eyes to the need or I have let my personal agenda take precedence.
I challenge everyone to look around them and take the opportunity to do something solely for someone else's benefit and likely you will also rekindle one of the sweetest parts of your life. For those who already serve so well, my hats off to you! I hope I can one day be like you.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I am still alive!

I have been so very busy lately! To catch everyone up, I have been studying like a mad man and been involved as a YM president of my local church's youth group. I also decided to compete in a Business pitch competition and somehow won 1st place out of 27 competitors! I have been reluctant to post news about my winning on this site because the nature of the Business pitch was an invention for cleaning. It will be made of plastic and is very useful but also for convenience more than anything, which doesn't really fly with my vision for this site and for me as a caretaker of this world. I can just imagine the invention ending up in a land fill someday and it makes me cringe. I am looking for ways to make the scraper and scrubber out of used or recycled materials to hopefully offset the impact it could have by its eventual discardment. As I get the Patent figured out I can post images and explain more but in the meantime realize I still exist and don't forget to get yourself out and enjoy the beautiful fall colors and sensations!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Wildwood Survival Posting!

I have been posted on the Wildwood Survival website! It is by far the most informative site on primitive skills I have found. Best of all the information is free! I posted a primitive Vision/Eyewear skill. Look it up at under the "More" link and then look for the Vision Section. (My favorite links to the right will get you there)
I am excited about this and it is an honor for me to have a submission accepted!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Good old Calvin!

I recently saw a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon that reads; "I say, if your knees aren't green by the end of the day, you seriously ought to re-examine your life." It shows Clavin completely dirty and yet smiling at his days accomplishment. Hope we can all get our knees dirty daily.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Update on LAKE MICHIGAN SAND tracks.

These are Fox tracks in sand found at a wildlife site online. They are similar to the suspected Fox tracks I saw at Lake Michigan and they stagger much the same in both pictures. Cat tracks tend to be more consistent as they go at a slower pace and a small dog wolud probably have accompanied a "Master" which i saw no evidence of. I am not sure but I would guess a Red Fox went by that morning within and hour or two of me getting there!

Inquisitive Minds

I have been impressed lately by the way ancient art was a way of studying nature and the human experience. I am sure the need to record and capture our lives experiences has been handed down since the time of Adam. Lately I have been able to learn more about Leonardo Da Vinci and other historical artists who have made art a way to study the world around them. Some might say they used the world around them to inspire art but I am impressed that they were inquisitive and art offered an avenue to explore more thoroughly the questions they had. Da Vinci has many drawn "Studies" of various natural things. If you would like to see some amazing drawings of the world around us I suggest a web search starting with Da Vinci. His Pictures of flowers and plants put most of our modern field guide drawings to shame. Check it out. I guess my point in all this is to challenge everyone to look at something with the intention to learn something new, and to try to capture it in some form for later study and use whether that be to draw or even using digital cameras. It'll probably surprise you what you can learn and how it'll spur you on to new discoveries!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My new Fall layout!

Caity get's all the credit here! She took it upon herself to make my blog a little more original. What do you think? I like it! As fall is coming I am seeing the tips of the trees turning into deep reds and oranges and I find myself amazed that summer is to be gone soon. I have played and learned hard. I feel no big regrets in how I used my time this year so far and have made great progresses towards understanding nature and my place in it. I have thought much about what I hope for in life and I am satisfied that I am where I should be at this point in my life. I have only gratitude to God and the Creator for all their beautiful things. At times in my life I have regretted my place or wished I had taken advantage of a past opportunity to enjoy, but find that as this Summer is fading into Fall I am content. It is enough for me to just enjoy the present. What a wonderful thing!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Lake Michigan Sand!




Lake Michigan beach tracking with my kids! I am trying to figure out the small rounded tracks. I have to do some research but I am guessing a small domestic dog, large domestic cat or a fox. I am hoping it was a fox. You can see the Seagull tracks and how recent some are in comparison to others. I'll give a more detailed analysis after I do some homework!
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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fire By Sweat and Friction

While in the great outdoors of Canada I found myself attempting fire by friction with some new materials previously unavailable to me. Not that I couldn't find them in my area , just that I had not come upon easily accessible materials with the time constraints I have. Normally if you have enough time in the woods you can find the right materials without negatively impacting the area.
I don't like to hurt the trees and so unless I find a deadfall or previously cut wood I am resigned to go without.
The area we were had many lumber company access roads in which they had cut many trees or just plowed them over. So I was able to find large Paper Birch that provided pieces of bark for containers, torches and tinder bundles. Cedar which I used for my Fireboard and Spindle and which inner bark provided a great tinder bundle. I had a rock for the handhold and after scrounging up some rope that was about shoelace thick I began.
After a minute of vigorous passes with the bow an lots of wheezes from being out of breath I had the desired coal smoking. I blew with all the air I had left until it reddened and after which started the tinder bundle I had placed it in. After that I imagine was quite a show for any onlooker.
You would have seen me whooping and hollering in excitement while the tinder bundle was aflame in my hand. After adding it to an awaiting pile of sticks and some Birch bark I had my official first fire by friction! ( I had coals before, just no fire)
I Just Kept whooping in excitement and felt like I had just conquered some great feat. What an invigorating feeling to both feel part of the past and be able to be effective at a skill in the present!
I don't know if my dancing and whoops around the fire were received as a Rain Dance but soon after it started raining which only added to the warmth and comfort of the fire. If only you could've been there...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Busy Again!

I have officially begun Fall Semester at College. I am terribly busy again with Organic and General Chemistry as well as a research class. I was eating my lunch outdoors on the edge of the woods when I started to think about if you could study the effects of visiting nature on one's health. ( I have to research something this semester)
That is when I realized that I don't tend to find the woods or my visits to nature very relaxing mentally. I guess I am always noticing things too much for it to be a mental break for me. (The plants, animals, beauty, movements, and sounds.) I do find nature a great clarifier in the sense that it seems to wash away confusion or daily clutter.
I guess I just find this distinction interesting. Previously I would go out to the woods half an hour before a test hoping to just relax but instead finding myself learning new things and seemingly forgetting the test material, for lack of mental space! Maybe I just haven't come to that stage of skill or schedule where I can just Relax AND Clarify through experiencing Nature.

PS. I may be busy but check back because soon I will post about starting a fire by friction! I was able to do this on my Canada trip!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Explanation Of previous picts

The pict of me with foliage on my back and chest are after stalking the boys in my group(who were trying to find me!). The gray sweater matched the rocky area and the backpack under the ferns on my back is bright red. I had my shoes off and snuck to within about 20 ft of the boys before they saw me! The wolf track is not very apparent but if you look you'll see pad marks from the toes. On a wolf the middle two toe pads look larger than the outside toes whereas on a dog all appear the same size. We stayed in a cabin on the lake shown in most picts. We heard loons and saw groups of up to ten of them. We traveled mostly by four wheeler along powerlines and made it out to some remote rivers and ravines. Lake Superior looked so blue and powerful. I will post more on specifics but the picts go far to show the area and the beauty!

Tracking And Stalking




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Canadian Scenery




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Canada trip!




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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Groundhog day.

I have no inclination to look up the real date of groudhog day but I thought it interesting to find out that the Groundhog and the Woodchuck ARE THE SAME ANIMAL. I am sure this is not news to many but I always assumed them to be different and never was up close to one to question its identity and habits. At my wife's family reunion, my sister in law Suz, pointed out a large woodchuck running back and forth across the driveway. I was able to investigate and sit out for a while at the rented cottage and see that it lived beneath a woodpile. Fitting for a woodchuck! I was curious however because it's burrow had large holes and a lot of expelled dirt (attributed to groundhogs) just as I had recently been seeing at my university. That is when I associated that the two creatures might be the same. A quick internet search confirmed it. I was able to get a few confused looks from the animal as I sat near it's hole and heard the characteristic whistle of alarm the animals give when it dashed into the safety of it's hole. I was also amazed by how saggy the fur appeared to be as it stood on it's hind legs looking at me. I learned the woodchuck fattens up in the summer so it can hibernate through most of the winter and thus the" If the groundhog comes out of it's den and sees it's shadow..." thing at groundhog day.

Running Waters is finally back!

It's sort of fun to have a name I can use in the third person! I have been quite inaccessible the last month due to many wonderful events. I have been finishing up Physics classes, attending a two week family gathering, leading a high adventure trip to Ontario Canada, plus working and trying to get out to Lake Michigan whenever possible. Needless to say I have sufficient experiences and lessons to keep me babbling for a long time. My only task is to decide where to start. I don't want to write it all in one sitting so I'll probably just keep a steady (if not daily) stream of posts coming your way.
I figure this post is already long enough so I'll just pose a question. Has anyone been able to see or smell the flower of milkweed? I was at lake Michigan early in the summer and as I returned to the van noticed a very sweet fragrance. The flower looked almost as a lilac but positioned differently on the plant. I think if I remember right it was even purplish. I had always liked Milkweed for the butterflies it attracts but now will look forward to its summer blossoms!

Friday, July 27, 2007

A better plan...

I wanted to simply direct any readers who are interested in the Green Building topic to check out Kaleb's comment under the pictures post and follow his links. Very worthwhile.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Strawbale House picts.

Hay there!

I use Google Reader to keep updated on a few different topics. A new feed that came my way yesterday was about houses and buildings made of strawbales. Yep the kind you see driving down the country roads! I found a further search on Google quite interesting about how to build these high efficiency homes out of material that is both practical and easy to come by. Here's sort of a new twist on an old method of house building. Wikiups and other shelters were often made out of straw or woven grasses. We have all seen or heard of thatch roofs. So why not strawbale homes? Check it out! Unfortunately children's books have shed a bad light on this building style (poor little pig) but I am sure there are no wolves huffing and puffing these days.

All the pictures above show houses that are built in this fashion. Notice the stucco look? Pretty cool.

Friday, July 20, 2007

fun day at the beach

Today was a lot of fun. Fun for me is not always fun to someone else. Like today I tore off an old shingled roof (Took 8 hrs.). To me that was fun. Sort of like when I go running up and down the dunes and through the woods chasing deer or simply exploring. Some might call that grueling, or say it sounds too much like exercise to be any fun, but I enjoy it immensely.
I did today something that pretty much everyone could call fun though. As you could guess from the title it was to go to the beach for a barbecue swimming and volleyball. Best of all it was with my family and some good friends. we had a lot of fun just talking, playing around and enjoying the beautiful weather. I kept grabbing wild blueberries and raspberries from the plants which flourished in the area. I was a little disappointed to not find any peas this year as last year there were quite a few plants which gave many seed podslast summer. The park had mowed over the area where they were to preserve beach I am sure because all the plants have grown in and closed up most of the once sandy beach. Anyways, the water was wonderful, and nature provided a wonderful playground for us. I am just so grateful to live in such a wonderful area and see the hand of God so prevalent in my life!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

my berry queen

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Nature area clean-up

This evening I was able to to see the truth to; "Many hands make for light work". I work with the Boy Scouts and Young Men organization through my local church. They are a fun group and had decided to do a service project for the weekly activity. The scouts lacked a project so I volunteered to come up with one. I had in mind a park (and wild area behind it) and made the plans. It was great to see the clean-up and the difference that followed the plans.
I had expected about 20 persons but it turned out to be about 30! The whole clean-up took about 1 hour and we got rid of a lot of junk and refuse. I had been out there before with my wife and we had personally cleaned up about two large trash bags of litter. I had planned on spending a little time here and there until I could clean it all up someday so as you can imagine this project has freed up some play time out there instead of work time which I am excited about.
I love this wild area and park because it has lakefront bordering the wild area which I would guess to be about 4 acres, and it has a large park about the same dimensions. I have eaten mulberries, blackberries, raspberries and dewberries from its trees and bushes. It also has carrots, strawberries, grapes and plenty of cattails for eating. Some sugar pines offer a soft place to nap during the summer and the birds play among the thorns. I want to give anyone who reads this blog a challenge: Next time you go on a walk or to the park take a bag with you and at any time your feet or eyes cross paths with trash just put it in the bag and dispose of it.
You can do it! Let me know how it turns out!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

I had the pleasure of going to John Ball Park Zoo today with my family. I was expecting to see many wonderful animals and figured the kids short leg span would set the pace for our day. I realized right away that I was going to be the one holding us back because I wanted to learn names and habits of all the interesting animals. I have to say I am quite impressed with the Zoo and my family. The Kids did really well and when I asked Emma what her favorite animal was she said the Flamingo. She didn't explain why, but my guess is because Flamingos are pink.
The zoo had an exhibit of Brazilian rain forest animals and some artifacts such as oars and a boat carved from a whole tree trunk. I had seen many of these boats before and reaffirmed a nearly 6 year old promise to build one of these boats one day. I lived among the Brazilian people for two years in Sao Paulo as a missionary. Brazil has such a rich and wonderful culture and I brought back many wonderfull memories and aspirations. I had determined to build a boat and also oars after seeing fishermen build some in a remote village on the island of Sao Sebastiao.
Back to the Zoo... I was surprized to see how fast Wolverines walk around having always assumed them to be burly and not overly agile which was dead wrong. Also the claws on the bears were much longer than I had imagined. I have seen only black bears in the wild and it makes sense why Grizzly and Brown Bear inspire so much fear to those who only see them or hear stories about them. I intend to learn more about Bear and and understand them for what they really are. For the "real" details of our trip I would suggest Caity's Blog as she will post picts and other comments.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Medicine Man

Hello again! I have been thinking a lot these past weeks about my love for the outdoors and my love for medicine. I have wondered how to combine the two and figure on making medicine my career and primitive skills my pastime. My sister-in-law has joked about me doing my own show and so one of my brainstorms that came rolling in during the night a few days ago was to do a show called "Medicine Man" or "The Witch Doctor". I figured I would put myself in outdoor situation having some sort of medical emergency or need and show how to both do primitive skills and what natural remedies are out there, how to prepare them and such or simply things like making stretchers, splints and or hypothermia intervention. What do you think? I better not quit my dayjob right? As an interesting side note... Did you know that since more than 2500 years ago people have been chewing willow bark to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Hippocrates a greek physician reccommended extracts of willowbark to alleviate pain from childbirth. So what is in willow bark that is so special?... Acetylsalisilic acid ... otherwise known as Aspirin! Yep! Bayer began marketing the stuff in 1899 and the rest is history! Speaking of history... Happy Fourth of July!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Skills practice slideshow!

The latest pictures of my attempts at making arrowheads, string from bark, and a little fishing with my children. The "Finished" arrowheads are actually a knife blade and an arrowhead, both made of glass. Tanner helped me make cordage (ropes, lines, and string) out of the inner bark of an old tree, and helped eat the berries out of my birchbark and leaf container. The picture of us fishing with Emma is from the "Weekend Wonders" post weekend.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Just chippin' away.

I finished my physics course!!! As a celebration of my new-found mental freedom (instead have having to study), today I shot my compound bow and the recurves my stepdad loaned me. I was keeping track of my accuracy and precision by marking down points earned by getting the arrows into a circle about 7-8 inches in diameter. I had a few great shots and did well for so little experience. My goal is to one day make my own long bow and recurve bow and arrows. I just love being outside and feeling like I am developing a skill. Maybe someday it'll come in handy or maybe not, but at least I am learning right? I also was able to practice making arrowheads out of glass. Glass chips much the same as obsidian or flint. (the typical rocks used for arrowheads) Plus it's easy to find in a survival situation because without fail you can find littered bottles or old junked TV's that people have irresponsibly taken care of. I feel good to find these sites and be able to make good (learning or a tool) come out of the hurt it caused to Mother Nature. The glass I have been using came out of a riverbed near college dorms where students have thrown old TVs, computers and other items off a bridge for the joy of seeing it break over the rocks. Little do they think about the harmful chemicals and dusts that are inside the components and tubes of these things and the harm it causes to the water and life down river. I wish I could do more to teach these people but reallize it starts with me and my attitudes and hopefully one by one a difference can be made. I feel I have to give credit to my wife who has helped me think more in tune with the earth and who has supported my endeavors to understand Nature and her wonders and in this case the threats she faces.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

weekend wonders.

This weekend was by far one of the best I have had in a while. I didn't have to work and had no real plans which made for an opportunity to be spontaneous and carefree. Caity and I went to lake Michigan and took our first plunge. It proved to be very cold yet very fun and invigorating. The wind was pushing in large waves and so it made for a fun time running in and out with the tides. Emma and Tanner were there and had an enjoyable time even for how windy and cold their feet got. I also was able to go fishing both with my family and with Drew my brother-in-law. We had a great time and got plenty wet in the lake near my home. Carp were in the cattails and rushes so we chased them around and tried grabbing them which didn't work out well but proved exciting. On Sunday after a great church service we napped and then went for a walk down to the lake. We had roast waiting in the crock pot so I decided it might finally be the day to try cattail as a side dish. I showed Caity the edible parts and we ate fresh cattail heart (the inner soft core) on the lakeside. They were great! I had heard they tasted a bit like cucumber and can agree with the rumors. Caity enjoyed them too! We brought some of the green hot dog looking cattail heads home and steamed them and ate them as a vegetable side dish which proved very good and interesting. I would say if your an asparagus and corn fan you had better run down to your local cattail hotspot and get harvesting! I knew the cattails were a keeper because Caity and Emma asked for seconds!

Monday, June 4, 2007

gone fishing.

Hello again. I have recently had the opportunity to go up to my Mom and Dad's place in northern Michigan. It was a great little trip with my family. I finally broke down and bought fishing licenses for my wife and I and I am glad we did. We went fishing together and even though I didn't catch anything worthwhile, I realized again why fishing is so alluring. It's all about being outdoors and in good company. I realize their are many just seeking trophy fish but take that away and you get time to talk, listen or just observe. I was glad to have seen and heard Loons and many other wonderful birds. Leaving for home my Dad apologized for the Bad fishing, but I had caught a glimpse of what I enjoy so much (Nature, family and peace) and that made for great fishing.

Monday, May 7, 2007

My wife and I had the opportunity to complete an adventure race together this past weekend! Thank you to all the babysitter's! We had a lot of fun being outdoors, and got a great workout! It's funny that as we were racing I just kept noticing how many of the wild strawberries are in bloom. I'll have to go back sometime soon and pick them!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Three is company.

This morning I was out by the Muskegon river and noticed three Painted Turtles about 8 inches long and 6 inches wide, traveling together. They were traveling slowly upriver under the water's surface and bumping into each other. Is this typical for turtle mating? Any comments?

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Raccoon skin.

So a while back (Mid winter) I came across a recently road-killed raccoon with a beautiful coloration and thick winter coat. ( You can probably guess where this is going.) I decided to skin my first animal and see how tanning hides works. Imagine me trying to tell my wife I'd be busy for a bit and when I told her what I was doing! She was supportive of my undertaking as whe always is, but understandably grossed out by the idea of a dead raccoon and the idea of me messing with it. I thought it purposeful (to learn to skin and tan) and a good that could come from the raccoon's death.
Anyways ... The skinning went surprising well and I was not grossed out as I expected I might be. I froze the hide for future tanning after making sure no flesh was still attached and all was well until a few days ago when our freezer broke! I had to figure out what I would do with the skin in a hurry. I unfortunately did not have much time and decided on simply experimenting with smoking the skin because I could set up the "smoker" ( a closed barbecue with punky wood and old charcoal briquettes in it) and leave for the day while the smoke worked into the hide. I remembered to only have a very small smoldering fire that only smoked and I made the fur like a chimney for the smoke over the small vent holes in the barbecue's top. I also made sure I would not cook the hide but only expose it to the smoke. At the end of the process I had a stiff but otherwise leathery looking skin with fur in tact. The fur is large enough for perhaps a pair of mittens some day. After working the hide by twisting and stretching it I was pleased to see it came out rather decent for as little effort as was put in. I know that I have a very long way to go, but found smoking the hide a reasonable method for survival situations.


I've always wondered what Huckleberries were. Growing up as a Boy Scout and with an interest in plants (especially edible ones) I was prone to eat any of the fruits I could find in nature. I would savor the wintergreen leaves and berries in moderation. I would eat all the wild strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and dewberries I could find and was especially fond of the wild Blueberries because they reminded me of many summers working on my great Aunt's Blueberry farms.
I always wondered what Huckleberries were and was too prideful before to ask when someone would tell of Huckleberry syrup, jam and other products they made from collecting the wild fruit. The other day I was talking with a lady and she told me how good huckleberries were and I had to ask her how to identify them. As you probably already know they are the same thing as wild Blueberries! I felt so naive! So come to find out I'd been enjoying them most of my life just didn't know what that many people only knew them as Huckleberries!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Uncle Howard's April 28th

My uncle has lived for thirty years at the log cabin he built near a fishing lake. It is quite a magical little place and very rustic. We skidded out logs for an addition he'll be working on in the fall. As can be imagined I feel bad for the trees that were cut, the animal lives and homes interrupted, and the vegetation hurt in the process. I felt better in knowing he had grown these pines with the purpose of using them as building material. He had cared for them and protected them from disease and blight. The usefulness in my mind outweighed the loss. As is obvious I feel I have to rationalize the destruction and motivation for what we did.
I did resolve to make some tools that might come in handy for me someday, or for my Uncle Howard to use in the upcoming fall when he plans on scraping the bark off all the logs. Howard had shown me the simple draw-knife and how it was used (and also the price tag of about $65 dollars!) I just finished a book by an excellent author and expert of self sufficiency; John Seymour. He has many books and the one I read showed all about the tools and methods of different traditional skills now almost lost to society. The draw-knife is shown as needed in many of the trades and I plan on making one with two purposes. One: to know how to make the tools effectively, and two: to practice with the tools. I suppose a third reason is because I am a cheapy and don't want to pay for something I can hopefully fabricate!

Monday, April 23, 2007

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Doesn't everyone like crawling around in the bushes?
A Preface: NO I AM NOT A PERVERT!!! I know a question like that could throw people off a little. I wanted to establish my orientation before I ended up linked to some bad sites or being investigated!!!.
I'm a sincere and observant guy.There are many thing that are very important to me. I also like to laugh and enjoy life. I am sort of like a mullet; -Professional in the front, Party in the back!!!

So now to my story and point about nature's call and bush crawling and stuff...
Have you ever thought about why we find peace and relaxation when we are in or near nature?
One of my favorite things to do is to disappear into the woods. Nature to me, is sacred. I'm probably quoting someone with that sentence but all the same I feel that way too. Nature has a way of cleansing us and clearing up our minds long enough to see what is really important. I get so caught up in the rat-race of life that I often miss everything that is going on about me. I miss life in my attempt to live it! (At least the way the world tells me to live it.) Nature tells me to live it differently. To slow down, and literally smell the roses. It's spring now. How many of us have knelt down and smelled the tulips up close, grabbed a handful of dirt and taken in its leafy sour smell? One of the funnest things I did a few years ago on vacation was to visit a lake near my brother's house. I took a scuba mask, knife and my swimming trunks.
Unlike every other person on the beach that day I proceeded to the edges of the sand, where the vegetation starts growing and the sand turns to mud. I got some pretty strange looks when I walked further into the marshy peninsula. I had left the sand! The beautiful blond manicured sand! The only area that promised a clean walk to and from my vehicle! The only area without nasty little bugs and critters! I had stepped into no mans land where the snakes and monsters and muck and spiders and every other creepy crawly thing could get me!!! AHHHHH!!!! What had I Done?

worry! I survived! In fact I can tell you I grew! I learned and experienced Nature. It called me to this animal trail worn into the mud by muskrat and passing deer. The animal trails opened up to a beautiful little sheltered cove where the cattails grew tall and the lilypads floated on the surface of the green water. I was experiencing something different than most do on their visits to the beach. I decided to test the experience and do something very strange. I slowly waded into the murky green water and felt my feet sink deep into the cold muck of the bottom. As I moved slowly through the lilypads I got down further and deeper until I was up to my shoulders in the middle of all these lilypads, green mucus and floating seaweed. Wow!!! Instead of disgust and fear I felt peace! Like the area had something to teach me. I grabbed my scuba mask and submerged through the lilypads and slime to see a whole new world beneath that which I saw on the surface. Light catches the green and yellow particles that are suspended under the water and makes them almost glow. The stalks and stems of the surface plants and weeds disappear from view in a constantly moving almost glittery underwater.

Thing are different than what you might expect. There exists a peace and flow of life. In talking with my wife about the experience (Yes I am Married! Sorry Girls!) She said something that helped me to understand the peace and spiritual cleansing that occurs in Nature. I had asked why a great sunset or visiting a waterfall or any wild place can change us so much. She said; " I believe it's because Nature obeys." She continued; "Nature is a spiritual place where we can find peace because nature follows with exactness the laws of creation. God created Nature, Nature obeys, and so it is worthy of God's spirit. That spirit clarifies our cluttered minds, cleanses our hearts and heals us". WOW! If only the rest of this world understood this too! If only we would give up some comforts and give in to Nature's call to learn and experience life through Her ways!!!


I work in an Emergency Department and have showed a few of my coworkers how to make snares and stone tools. I was paged by another coworker. He asked "You're outdoorsy right?"
I admitted at least an intention of being such and he escorted me out to the ambulance bay where there were quite a few nurses giggling and screaming about a bat that was on the ground, supposedly injured.
I remembered learning about how bats need a vertical surface to start their flight because they couldn't get the full span of motion they needed for liftoff from a horizontal position. (Hence why they like hanging?) After many jokes form the nurses about which one would be lucky enough to give me a rabies shot, I managed to pick the bat up and with a light boost up into the air the bat commenced flying and sent everyone scattering! It turns out that bat just needed a little help. The next day coming into work I was greeted as "Hey it's Batman! "

I am Running Waters

Anyone who knows me can easily tell why I chose this symbolic name. Perhaps because I am a wealth of knowledge flowing endlessly on. Swirling, and bubbling with fresh ideas and life. I carry the secrets of the woods and the valleys I run through and offer refreshment to the lifeforms that come in contact with me.

(That or I just have an overactive bladder which is probably why I prefer outdoor settings to the confinements of normal living spaces and schedules.)

I am very much the latter, but aspire to be the first definition of my self-declared name. My bladder aside, I do intend to chronicle my experiences and flirtations with the outdoors. I am intrigued by the outdoors, and the beauty in every creature. I do believe in the Spirit that moves in all things, and that there is a Grand Creator. I find peace in my outdoor ventures and find that clarity comes from asking nature to reveal her secrets. I am nowhere near the level of inner awareness I want to be but that comes with time and patience.
As I am part Cherokee, I am not trying to make fun of Indians or primative lifestyles in my attempts to mimic and master their ways. I simply want to learn and come closer to living with the Earth as our ancestors have done.