Enjoy the Ride; Happy Birthday Edward Abbey

Don’t Forget to Enjoy the Ride

This is a re-post from last year.  However, I think the message is a strong one and worth think about again.

Life is short.  If you’re fortunate enough to live with the means and privilege and food security, consider yourself lucky.  When I feel low or unhappy, I always want to remember the people subjected to abject poverty worldwide through no fault of their own.  It seems that the privileged, the comfortable, and those with the least to complain about are the most vocal and judgmental and superior acting.  A few words by Edward Abbey from a speech to environmentalists published in High Country News, (24 September 1976), under the title “Joy, Shipmates, Joy!”


Columbia River 2015, G.T. Crawford.

One final paragraph of advice: […] It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space.

Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.

Edward Abbey

The Tobasco Donkeys, a little known musical group working at the Philmont Scout Ranch recorded a song using Abbey’s words in one of the verses.  It fits well and brings a smile to my face.

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8 World War II Survival Lessons We Must Never Forget

I love this post…

How to Provide


[repost source: http://www-offthegridnews-com/extreme-survival/8-world-war-ii-survival-lessons-we-must-never-forget/%5D

Our ancestors simply were better equipped for survival than the people of our generation. Just look at it this way: Could you imagine your neighbors heading out cross-country in a covered wagon to settle “out west” somewhere?

For most of us, the answer to that question would be a resounding “No,” probably with a few laughs thrown in. Yet there was a time in our country’s history where that was happening all over. People would pack up what they could and take out across country; sometimes with hardly any notice at all.

How is it that they could do that and we can’t? Basically, it’s because their lifestyle caused them to do many things on a regular basis, which we would call “survival skills” today. Their lives were very different, and those differences helped them face a crisis and come out on top.

When we talk about…

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Flacket – the other leather bottle

So, I hung my leather bottle over the wood stove one evening and awoke to find it very dried out and the wax, hitherto virtually invisible had run to the bottom then onto the hearth. While seeking out design ideas, I recalled the excellent tutorial from the Leatherworking Reverend from way down under. I hope he doesn’t mind the publicity as I am reposting his Flacket-style bottle design here. On my ever growing, rarely shrinking list of things to do!

The Reverend's Big Blog of Leather

A flacket is a type of leather flask or bottle made from only two pieces of leather, one for the front and one for the back. It has no base, but may additionally have a welt or gasket piece between the front and back. Depending on your cultural prejudices, these are sometimes also known as pumpkinseed- or pear-flasks.

Examples are few, pointing to it being an older design than those we more commonly see, such as costrels and the two- or three-piece leather bottels. Most of the surviving examples come from the Mary Rose (1545) and are regarded as among the last exemplars of the form. Accordingly, Baker is of little help other than on p59, remarking “Flasks (Flascones) as well as bottles are mentioned in Alfric’s Colloquy in the 10th century as being made by the shoe-wright…”

Designed mainly for upright use such as hanging on saddles…

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Live Well

“God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.”

Voltaire was on to something there.  Here is a very inspirational family making good in the wilds of Wisconsin.  I would love to see more as they sound like some truly genuine artisans and keep craftsmanship alive in this consumer era.

I want to continue being inspired by people like this with positive spirits and keeping an eye on the important things in life.  Feel free to submit links like this or comment if you have feeling about a handmade life.


And don’t forget to check out their own web-page, photos, and blog by clicking the image below.


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Quinzhee Snow Shelter

Winter is here. For some of you it is here with real gusto.  Growing up in Missouri and being sent out to ‘play’ no matter what the weather or who was around I learned a lot about how to entertain myself.  Snowfall in the Mississippi valley could be heavy and wet throughout the winter and was a great medium for construction snowmen, fortresses, and quinzhees.  Of course, we didn’t know such an exotic word at the time but we did learn good tricks and techniques for safety later in the Boy Scouts.

Image from Boy's Life magazine. Click for the link.

Image from Boy’s Life magazine. Click for a short “how to.”

I’m certain there are no photos of the sometimes elaborate, and often not so elaborate, snow shelters my friends and I built as kids (I don’t think parents played outside with kids in my era).  I was reminded that we had our own photos of one built with my daughter several years back.  We were staying with a friend in the Sangre de Cristo mountains for the holiday at about 8,000 ft AMSL (ca. 2,500 meters).  The snow was perfect and wet so we couldn’t pass up the chance for a little shelter building.  “Teachable moments” surround us every day.  It’s up to us to take advantage of them.

Working on the wind wall.

Working on the wind wall.  If you look closely, you can see the miniature chimney and rain shield on top.

The snow wasn’t deep and we weren’t intending to spend the night inside so it was kept pretty small for ease of construction.

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View into the vestibule. The opening was kept narrow for warmth.

It was a chance to talk about safety, collapse, and fresh air exchange.  Valuable information for later in life.  Ours faced south.

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The dog was, of course, a great help, mostly chasing snowballs.

Testing out the fit.

Testing out the fit.

It was definitely kid-sized but an adult could squeeze in more-or-less comfortably for a while.  The dog was not enamored with the confining space.

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Enjoying the evening by the warmth of a candle.

It was just another fun day, experimenting with the gifts that nature provided, and passing on knowledge to the next generation of wilderness lovers.

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