On Discovering Self

"Walk in Peace... Learn from Nature... Find Yourself...

Sunday, March 31, 2013

On The Sounds And Sights Of Spring

   It started out being a very rain filled morning, but by 9am it had begun to tamper off and all the birds started to become very active. I decided on making it more of a hiking and exploring kind of day, rather than a bushcraft skills practice kind of day.
   Since I was going solo, I knew I could take my time and just enjoy my surroundings. It turned out to be just what I needed to clear my head and absorb the peace.
   It has now been one year since I committed to meeting every Saturday at 9AM, any of my friends who are interested in studying bushcraft and other skills together.
   I have gained a few faithful friends who come pretty regularly and share the expirence and I have seen a few who have faltered but may return with the now fairer weather.
   As for me, I will always continue to get out and explore and to learn and practice my passion for bushcraft. And I will also continue to make videos and share the experience with all of you, my friends. Here is the video of my great day out. I covered about 4 miles total and it felt good to get in some exercise.

  It was good to get out and enjoy the sights and sounds of spring. I am looking forward to yet another good year of learning and practicing at the art of bushcraft. Until next time, Happy Exploring.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On Using A Baton On Your Knife To Split Wood

   It is probably no secret my friends that if you have followed me on my adventures long enough, you know that I choose to use a baton on my knife to split wood for fire prep and other projects. A lot of my fellow bushcrafters also use a baton and their knives to split wood.
   In the world of bushcraft there occasionally arises the discussion as to whether to baton or not to baton. I say, to each his or her own.
   For me there are many reasons I choose to baton my knives. First of all, it's just practical. I go prepared with at least a couple of knives that I know are designed to be "beat up" and abused. I also go out with more than one knife in my possession, and if one were to break, I have back ups.
  In all my time on this earth so far, and for all of that time, meaning multiple decades of bushcrafting, I have yet to break a knife in use. Maybe perhaps I am not having enough fun, but I prefer to think that I am just working smart and not hard.
  Anyway, I fall into the camp that prefers to use the tools that I have and use them wisely and with caution, but I will always baton my knives. Besides, they are much safer to use for splitting wood in the dark or in low light, than a hatchet or an axe. I learned that lesson a long time ago, when I thought that all I needed was an axe and nearly lost my thumb in the dark as the fire light died at the most unfortunate moment.
   To contribute to a recent discussion on knife battoning on the BushcraftUSA website, I put together this short video composed of highlights taken during the 2012 Hardwoodsman Meet in Missouri last year. We did a lot of knife batonning at that meet, and it seemed and was accepted as the norm. We even created "knee high prep" not just knee high flames.
   So here is the video and I hope you enjoy it.

      Please consider learning to use your knives correctly and than after that, decide if you want to baton or not. I believe it to be a good skill to master and continue to practice, because one day it just may save your life. Until next time, Happy Exploring.

Monday, March 18, 2013

On Looking Forward To Spring

   I don't know about you, but I have grown tired of all the snow and ice and greasy skid stuff we have around here in southern Minnesota. I mean really, can we get anymore slippery? It seems that the weather has turned so unpredictable lately and there is no telling from one weekend to the next, just what you will get. Is mother nature really that fickle?
   Well, we are now into the middle of the month of March, and this is my first posting for the month. Where has all the time gone? I know I've been busy with a couple other things that have prevented me from getting out much in the past couple weeks, but this past weekend ended the dry spell and after three weeks of trying, I finally hit the trail for some much needed dirt time ...or rather make that snow and ice time.
   The recent warm temperatures and even a few rain showers have raised the level of the local creek and its runoff to the river and this has in turn, helped to break up the surface ice on both. It also means that there is no longer anyway you can just "hop" over it, as it was a small trickle of a stream during the colder winter months.
   By the end of this month, it will have been one year since I committed to getting out every Saturday at 9AM to meet up with local area bushcrafters to practice skills and to enjoy the comradery and fellowship that comes with the love of bushcraft. I think, now looking back, I have only missed about three Saturdays all tolled. It has given me a huge insight into how the seasons act upon the area I choose to explore. It has also helped to fix in my mind how much at home I can be in any of the wilderness I have chosen to roam, as long as I am prepared.
   This past Saturday was a good day to go out and feel and see the signs of spring. My friend Sticker and I both felt we needed to get out. We played with new sharps, practiced some firecraft, followed some animal tracks and sat down to enjoy a good cup of a hot brew. We both agreed though that spring could not come fast enough and we looked forward to getting in some practice on some other bushcraft skills besides always making fire just to keep warm.
   Here is the video of our latest outing. I hope you enjoy it.

   I hope as the spring temperatures finally reach your area, that you are all able to get out and enjoy the signs and sounds of nature coming back to life after a long spell of winter sleep. Until next time, Happy Exploring.