Springtime

Although this blog isn’t really focused on our daily activities, I thought I’d share a few photos.  We had time for a beautiful day out this weekend in the eastern Ozarks.  Many plants were in bloom, the insects were moving and ticks had their presence as well.

It was also an opportunity to get out the new pack and see how it felt under load.  It was fairly heavy as it contained mostly water and food but was certainly comfortable enough for a day in the woods.

Kyly the wonder dog was back in her element sniffing out creatures and diving into every possible body of water or mud she could find.  Spring was here in full force.

The only minor disappointment was the complete lack of edible mushrooms in the area.  It wasn’t for lack of looking; we just didn’t find any.

We didn’t spot any snakes either but the area is just warming up now.  I suspect they were out but not moving much yet.

A very cold tributary to Pickle Creek provided hours of fun.

A leisurely walk in the woods without any destination is one of the finest things I can think of in life.  I hope you get a chance to get out and have saunter as well.  To get in the spirit, I find it’s good to re-read Henry David Thoreau’s Essay on Walking from time to time.

You can read it HERE:  https://paleotool.com/philosophy/walking-an-essay/

Advertisements

Too Many Knives

A few too many camp knives?

This is what happens as you travel, receive gifts, buy better stuff, always need a good knife, etc.

From the upper left: Camillus 5-1967 (a friend carried this through Vietnam), my small Arkansas stone for field touch-ups, Buck folder, two classic Victorinox Pioneer knives (I’ve carried this style every day since high school) and a small pen knife, a lock-blade Buck made in Idaho, a 19th century bone handle knife cut down from a larger eating knife, two Gerber multi-tools (the original is from 1990 and a more modern, but heavy version beneath), a hand-made patch knife by M.P. with walnut neck sheath I’ve had since 1986, a Solingen-made high carbon Bowie knife with ebony handle, two classic Case XX folders, two small folding Gerbers, a hand-made camp knife from a fine Colorado maker, and at the bottom my “go to” Buck field knife that has worked on archaeological projects, cut up animals, dog holes, and performed about every other imaginable task.

This photo came about as I decided to organize my camping gear.  While emptying packs and bags I realized there were knives in every one, usually in more than one pocket.  After throwing them out on the floor and arranging for a quick photo I began to think about the ones in various tool boxes, my wood carving knives, a couple collector knives I can’t seem to part with, and others stashed away around the house.  My search for minimalism is failing when it comes to good tools.

Safety, above all…?

Just how important is safety in a happy and complete life?

indiana-jones-bridge Don’t get me wrong.  I have known people with little regard for their own well-being, be it physical or otherwise.  Some of these are confirmed idiots.  Whether they are just non-thinking zombies or the overly entitled who expect someone else to look out for them, they lay outside this commentary and deserve no further thought.  However, fear of failure, fear of death, fear of the unknown; these all hinder us at some stage of our life.  We are taught to seek safety.  Everything is a balancing act; a never-ending series of choices  sometimes with many possibilities and I feel strongly we often reap what we sow.  Mostly, we drift along with the current of our culture, our circle of friends, down the river of expectations or wherever else circumstance leads.  These thoughts are just an introduction to a thought I want to share.

I found this quote in a book I read when I was very young.  This influenced my thought deeply throughout my formative years.  Not in immediate risk taking, but as a real thought on what safety is to us all.

But if you judge safety to be the paramount consideration in life you should never, under any circumstances, go on long hikes alone. Don’t take short hikes alone, either — or, for that matter, go anywhere alone. And avoid at all costs such foolhardy activities as driving, falling in love, or inhaling air that is almost certainly riddled with deadly germs. Wear wool next to the skin. Insure every good and chattel you possess against every conceivable contingency the future might bring, even if the premiums half-cripple the present. Never cross an intersection against a red light, even when you can see all roads are clear for miles. And never, of course, explore the guts of an idea that seems as if it might threaten one of your more cherished beliefs. In your wisdom you will probably live to be a ripe old age. But you may discover, just before you die, that you have been dead for a long, long time.

Collin Fletcher The Complete Walker.

cfIf you are not familiar with Colin Fletcher’s writings it is worth knowing that he helped create the backpacking movement in the form we know today by his seminal book “The Complete Walker” in all it’s revisions.  Starting life as a Royal Marine Commando in the Second World War, Fletcher eventually ended up in the United States and began his writing career with his book The Thousand-Mile Summer about his hike describing his walk along the length of California.  Check out his other titles HERE.

The Wilderness isn’t a place to escape to as so many refer to it.  It is a place to be, just as valid, if not more so, as the comforts and safety of civilization.

Save

Save

Chickens

Just an infomercial about how much I like my chickens.  Feeding western barbarians like me since 500 B.C.

PoultryChickens clean up your yard, patrol garden areas and give us great eggs for virtually nothing per month.  Most dogs can be trained to watch over a flock.  Unfortunately, they don’t always respect other flocks so keep this in mind.

Camp Stoves: Optimus 80

Continuing on with the theme of admiration for the classic camp stoves, here is a visual overview of the Optimus 80 / Svea 71.  No, they are not exactly the same, but are very close and share virtually all the same features.  For those interested in the early history of the liquid fuel camping stove, have a look HERE.

The Oprtimus 80 stove.

The Optimus 80 stove.

How much simpler can this get?  It is essentially a repeat of the classic design in a slimmed down form.  It was designed to stand alone as a portable cooker with the carrying case serving as a pot support.

This beautiful stove pcks down in this nice little tin box.

This beautiful stove packs down in this nice little tin box.

I wasn’t really looking for one when found this on Ebay.  It has obviously seen very little use and the paint and tin plate are still in excellent condition.  I’m not a fanatical collector so when I bid on these things I tend to be pretty frugal.  I was fortunate to get this one for a very fair price.

The box opened for use.

The box opened for use.

A bit of oxidation is visible on the top and in the lid of the box but otherwise, this is a clean stove.  It fired up immediately and works extremely well.

Simmering along with a QuietStove insert.

Simmering along with a QuietStove insert.

I put a Quiet Stove flame spreader in this one and I think it makes it easier to cook on.  The flame is certainly a lot nicer and more controlled with this device.  They are a bit expensive but are certainly worth the cost if you are using an Optimus-style stove on a regular basis.

QSinsert

Check them out.

 

Camp Stoves: Optimus 8R

Just some eye candy of the Optimus 8R.  Battered, grungy, and well-used, much like it’s owner.  I really wanted one of these back in the mid-1980s.  Since I was bumming around and using air travel, I went to a butane cartridge stove instead.  For those interested in the early history of the liquid fuel camping stove, have a look HERE.

Svea 123.  Click for more information on liquid stoves.

Svea 123. Click for more information on liquid fuel stoves.

 

Camp Stoves: The Svea 123

DSC_0001

The Svea 123.

Arguably the pinnacle of white gas stove design.  My little Svea 123.  It is essentially a brass fuel tank and a burner; a Molotov Cocktail with a valve.  And it comes in one of my favorite colors, shiny brass.  During a recent extended power outage, I used this guy on my electric stove top for making up the coffee.  Collectors will probably cringe at this but I ditched the little aluminum cup years ago as I don’t cook in aluminum.

If you’re interested in the early history of the liquid fuel camping stove, have a look at an older write-up HERE.

Save