Posts Tagged With: Hunting

Surviving the Wilderness โ€“ A Review and Critique, Part II

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 11 – Exploring

Gerard talks about moving camp and he spends his last night (Day 3) at his old campsite. Again, he talks about how hungry and weak he is. The whole time he’s surrounded by edible plants that he just walks by as his stomach growls.

This is why I’ve always tried to help people learn about edible plants. There’s no reason to go hungry with food all around you.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 12 – Rain

The first mistake he made was not taking an ember encrusted log with him from his previous fire. Especially if it was raining. One thing primitive man learned early on… ALWAYS take your fire with you, especially if you aren’t very good at re-creating said fire.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 13 – Breakfast

Hey, he got a chipmunk with a rock and then stabbed it with his fishing spear. Good going Gerard! I bet that little vermin was the best meal he’s ever had after what he’s been through.

At about 2:50 in, watching him try to skin and clean the chipmunk is interesting. Especially since he says he’s never cleaned an animal before. (And, is thus, starting at the wrong end.) Most small game can be skinned the same way, and quartered if necessary on larger things such as rabbits. I’ve never eaten and skinned a chipmunk, but it’s likely no different than a mini-squirrel without the big fluffy tail, cleaning-wise.

It’s kind of funny. Day 1, he said he wasn’t hungry enough to eat a frog. Day two, the frog was delicious. Day 4, that chipmunk was probably equivalent to Fillet Mignon.

It’s amazing how much better things taste when you think you’re starving. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 14 – Seafood Lunch

Not a bad job catching a few crayfish. Though I have no idea why he didn’t eat the claws. Also the ‘innards’ that he was all like ‘eww’ about, could have been cooked in the can to make a broth, which would have been very sustaining.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 15 – Nighttime Rant

A recap of the day’s events

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 16 – Gone Fishin’

From his ‘feeling lazy’ last night and not making the fire larger, it went out from the rain. And… he lost his firestarter. Double ‘doh’.
Then he lost his fishhook, and is pretty much tossing in the towel.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 17 – Packing Up

He found an earthworm to eat. He said that it “Tastes like dirt with a little tang to it.” HA! He’s right. They do taste like dirt. They eat dirt. Imagine that. If you ‘purge’ them first before eating them, they’ll taste less like dirt. But they still suck. ๐Ÿ˜›

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 18 – Hiking

He sees a deer and says “Hmm, now how can I kill that.” At least he’s thinking right! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 19 – End of Day

Gerard is talking about walking Southwest and thinking that he just might be lost.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 20 – The Finale

He hears a dog barking and finds a house. Gerard is entirely lucky to have found this house. He’s also lucky that no one shot him on sight. ๐Ÿ˜›
So he goes home after 8 days, utterly defeated.

I would have hoped that he would have learned something, and would have used that as an impetus to shore up his shortcomings in his outdoor knowledge. So that if he was ever put in that kind of situation again (against his will, that is.) that he’d be infinitely better prepared.

As it is, it sounds like he’s scarred for life and probably won’t even go camping ever again. And that’s just a sad thing.

Again, thanks to Gerard for sharing his adventures and Bucky for posting them.

If you missed the first part, you may read it here:

Surviving the Wilderness โ€“ A Review and Critique, Part I

Categories: Animals, Foraging, Hunting, Nature, Preparedness, Survival | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Surviving the Wilderness – A Review and Critique, Part I

Surviving the Wilderness.

Two buddies, Gerard and Bucky were sitting around watching survival videos, and Bucky bet Gerard $100 a day for each day that Gerard could stay out in the wilderness.

So, Bucky drives Gerard out to the middle of nowhere, with only a Machete, knife, cordage, and a magnesium and flint firestarter. (Plus a backpack full of camera equipment and a hoodie.)

I’ve decided to review and critique each video. I’ll note what could and should have been done, for the edification and education of my readers, as well as pitfalls to avoid, and just plain out idiot things that you absolutely should NOT do. (Such as drink straight out of a stream or carve things into live trees…)

I have also included a link to each video. They can be hard to find since Youtube altered the way videos are displayed in that the next video in the series is not always listed in the recommended list.

Please note I’m not bashing the survival skills of this fellow, or the lack thereof. (Mostly…) I’m commenting so that other folks can see where opportunities were missed, and so if they find themselves in the woods, they don’t miss those same opportunities. There’s nothing like starving and having no idea that you just walked past six meals worth of food due to your ignorance.

I thank Gerard and Bucky for having the guts to post these vids so that people can see what someone’s ‘first time’ out in the wilderness really is like. Everyone thinks its so easy to just walk out into the woods and survive. Reality is somewhat a bit different.
Thanks to my pals Aktrekker and SlowRide13 on the Green Deane forums for the links to the first and second videos.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 1 – The Beginning:

This is just the prelude and driving to the wilderness.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 2 – Finding Camp:

Here Gerard makes his first little camp area.

At 1:20 in the guy starts hacking at the greenery that isn’t even knee high with his machete. And I’m thinking… what the heck was that for? Dramatic effect? Seen one too many jungle movies?

I’ve had three machetes in my life, and other than having fun with one shortly after the ‘Rambo’ movies came out, haven’t found much use for it in a normal camp situation. I keep the ancient one I have, as it’s better built than the later two, just in case I have encounters with animals. 3 feet of razor sharp steel comes in very handy in such situations. But not for hacking down ferns like someone is in the Amazon river basin.ย  ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
I think that was purely for dramatic effect. No machete action was needed to walk through those weeds, and just wastes precious energy and calories swinging that thing for nothing.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 3 – Shelter:

The shelter isn’t exactly shelter from anything. It won’t keep out either the rain or the animals. I think I built a more solid shelter when I was 8. ๐Ÿ˜‰ However, something is better than nothing, even if it’s only to have a psychological ‘cave-like’ place to sleep.

OMG. 2:20 into video 3. The guy starts hacking into a full grown live tree. Why? To make a record of his time there. Very few things irk me enough to make me want to thunk someone, but if I’d seen this done in person, the guy would be keeping his teeth in his pockets. That’s right up there with idiots who carve their initials in trees and write ‘Dumbazz was here’ on ancient monuments.

He has a machete. He could have split a small dead log in twain, then used the flat surface to etch his little ‘record’. Idiot. I realize that’s negative and highly judgmental on my part, but I can’t imagine anyone really thinking that doing what he did to that tree was OK, or a good idea.
Please don’t EVER do this to a live tree for no reason.

At 2:30 in, he epically fails at starting a fire. Humorously so.

My favorite part so far is the end of vid 3 where in typical American childish impatience, he kicks his fire pile of what looks to be bone dry leaves because the wind keeps blowing around his magnesium. Dude, your 21 years are showing. Big time.

But I do agree that it’s very good for folks to watch this series. Especially folks who seem to think that the uninitiated will just waltz into the woods and start living out there like it’s no big thing. And they can’t even start a fire.

The guy said he ‘looked up how to do this online’. Obviously prior to his being dropped off in the woods. But, typically, he didn’t think to actually PRACTICE it first a few times. I do wonder what he plans to eat and drink though. Looking forward to watching episode 4…

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 4 – Days End

This is just a short little commentary by Gerard recapping the day’s events.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 5 – Finding The Stream

When starting a fire with a flint, he should have been much closer to the material he was trying to light on fire. He’s basically ‘going out to bat’ with the firestarter here, and then wondering why nothing is catching. Also, with those leaves being as dry as they are, he certainly shouldn’t need the magnesium to start the fire.

Most of my commentary focuses on around 3:00 into the video.

First off the water. He just drank this straight from the stream. I hope he didn’t get crypto-whatever. he should have skipped the machete and brought a portable water filter for backpackers and hikers. I have two. One has a viral-guard filter. Never leave home without it. At the very least, get one of those ‘life-straw’ things.

Secondly, the frog. He has no food. And no way to get food. Letting that go was stupid. Period. He said he didn’t have a fire going anyway. After drinking right out of the stream, raw frog would be the least of his worries. Think of it as American sushi. ๐Ÿ˜‰

(For the record I’d personally cook the frog, but after slurking out of that stream, he can’t possibly do much worse…)

Thirdly, he’s walking by tons of cattails. Obviously he has no idea they’re edible. You don’t even need to get down to the roots for a quick snack. Just pull the shoot and peel and nom the bottom few inches. I do this when walking in swampy areas all the time. Om nom nom.

Fourth. He found a patch of ox-eye daisies. He has one behind his ear. Cute. But he should have collected the greens. Young ox-eye daisy greens are, in my opinion, a superior nommable. I eat them straight and raw. The older they are, the more ‘perfumy’ they get though. You can also eat the white petals of the flowers. I wouldn’t eat too many of the yellow centers though. They can give some folks an upset stomach. But a few out of hand shouldn’t cause any issues in any but the most sensitive of folks.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 6 – Fire

So here he is attempting to start a fire, for what, the fourth time? No fire ring, just trying to light a pile of leaves, connected to all the rest of the leaves, connected to the rest of the forest.

I don’t think I need to point out how utterly stupid this is. If you have no rocks, make a fire ring by clearing the leaves away in several feet from your fire, and scratch and disturb the dirt at the very least in a circle around where your fire will be. This will keep the fire from creeping out. If you have the means, make a fire ring using dirt and/or rocks to contain the fire.

After all that scraping the fire flint I kind of felt embarrassed for the guy. He should have accidentally caught it on fire by then with all those sparks flying around.

At about 2:25 in, he gets lucky and accidentally catches part of the forest on fire. ๐Ÿ˜‰ A stray spark, not even where he was aiming, caught a leaf on fire.
I wonder what this guy would have done if it was raining.

At least now he has a fire. And later in the same video he must have cleared the leaves around the open flame. (Or likely ended up just pushing them all into the fire.)

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 7 – The First Meal

As he’s about to leave his fire in search of food, he notes that maybe it’s a good idea to push the leaves away from and/or into the fire, and states that maybe he should put some of those rocks around the fire. (He’s had rocks this whole time and just NOW thinks it’s a good idea to make a fire ring?)
To his credit, he goes back and gets what is likely the same frog, in the same spot. And he cooks it and eats it. Good job, Gerard! ๐Ÿ™‚

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 8 – Another Night

Gerard talks about being a bit weak from lack of food. He had no lack of food, simply a lack of knowledge about food. Food was everywhere around him. I don’t know if anyone later pointed out to him the cattails he walked past. (The easiest parts to collect in his situation would have been the bottom few inches of the shoots can be peeled and eaten raw, and the roots can be roasted and peeled and then stripped with your teeth for their starch.) Or if anyone mentioned the ox eye daisy greens he passed up. (The flower he had in his hair.) I can guarantee that anyone even passingly familiar with wild plants could fill a basket in very short order if they know what to look for. There was no reason whatsoever for him to be hungry with that bounty around him.

That’s why I support places that encourage ongoing education concerning foraging and identification of wild plants, like Green Deane’s forum: ‘Eat the Weeds

Also check out his online Youtube videos

The last I checked he had something like 143 foraging videos all available for viewing free online.
And the main Eat the Weeds site:

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 9 – Target Practice

At about 1:20 into the video, after talking about needing his teeth brushed, Gerard states “I don’t know about any plants I can use, but I’ll find out when I start sticking stuff in my mouth.”

Do not EVER, and I do mean EVER do this!

This is how you end up being those few people a year who die by eating random unidentified wild plants.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 10 – The Creek

This guy spends an awful lot of time and energy staging ‘walking out’ and ‘walking towards’ shots with his camera.
Finding the larger stream with the fish was a definite plus, and the first thing he should have done is just what he was talking about, and that is to make a new campsite there and bury the fire at his old campsite. (And take a ember-encrusted stick from his previous fire to start the new one.)
Shelter isn’t an issue in the middle of the summer and his old campsite didn’t provide any shelter anyway.
You can also build a little dam (or two) in a creek and corral the small fish between your dams. And when they can’t get out, you have all the time in the world to figure out how to catch them.

Continued soon in Surviving the Wilderness – A Review and Critique, Part II

Categories: Animals, Foraging, Hunting, Nature, Preparedness, Survival | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Paleo Day 6

Last night was a lovely dinner of crappie and bluegill with wild garlic (and a little salt and cracked black pepper and olive oil).

The night before was slither, prepared the same way. (More on that at another time, perhaps.)

Either dinner, or supper today, depending on how hungry I am and when I am hungry, will consist of the remaining bluegill that I didn’t make yesterday. Probably made the same way, but likely without the wild garlic as it’s been raining cats and dogs today.

I’ve also pretty much eliminated legumes. I’d add them primarily to soups, and by switching from the ‘winter/spring’ diet to the ‘spring/summer’ diet, soups are naturally eliminated from my diet until the colder months anyway, so that one was pretty easy, as I’m used to eating near zero legumes during the summer anyway. Thank goodness for small little gifts, eh?

Breakfast today will be oatmeal (real whole oats) with cinnamon and half of a real apple cut up.

I’d like to eventually cut out the oatmeal, but I have nothing I can consistently replace it with yet that won’t bankrupt the tribe’s monthly food budget.
We’ve been eating the same thing for breakfast, nearly every day, with only the fruit being changed out for quince when it’s in season, or occasionally a few raisins or shredded carrots in lieu of the other fruit, for a few years now.

And considering that when I cut out milk and cereal for breakfast, and went to the oatmeal every day, is when I went from 215 pounds to 160 pounds in the course of one winter.

So, yea, it’s a carb. But honestly I don’t think it’s the most egregious of them out there. Though I also cut out most processed foods as well, and totally cut out HFCS.

None of us are fat. None of us are overweight. Hell, if anything, I’m a bit underweight. Though this could be because of my very high metabolism, and because I’m the most active member in my family. (I do get a bit of walking in when foraging, of course.) I’m a bit over 6 foot tall, a size 32, and currently clocking in at 154 as of this morning. By reducing carbs and massively reducing my sugar intake (down to 1/10th what it was 6 days ago!), I’ve lost about 3 pounds in the last 6 days. Pounds I didn’t need to lose, in my opinion. To be honest, I’m petrified of losing any more weight. It was a long and rough winter, and for a while there, I was down to 145 pounds and not feeling good at all. I’m in no great hurry to ever go back there. I need to put weight ON, not take weight OFF.

And that weight loss over the winter was even whilst I was eating high carbs (two bowls of rice a day plus oatmeal, plus bread, plus crackers) and high sugars, about 10 teaspoons worth all things considered, per day.

I’ve always had a very high metabolism. Since I’ve gotten rid of 99.9% of processed foods from my diet, my old metabolism has kicked back in, in SPITE of the sugars and carbs that were still part of my diet.

And all of this is with a minimum of actual ‘exercise’. It’s not like I’m expending massive amounts of calories. The most calorie burning thing I’ve done during that time was doing some walking whilst fishing and standing in place for 6 hours whilst fishing. (Which did quite a number on my back, as I’m not used to standing in one place for that long.) I typically do pushups in the morning most days, as does my wife, and she does some stretching and crunches and other exercises.

So, we’re shedding sugars and carbs a bit at a time. We’ve also not baked any bread in 3 days. And if it doesn’t exist, it’s a lot easier to not eat it.

It’s quite likely, the oatmeal will be the last thing to go. Of all the carbs I’m currently eating, I feel it’s the least offensive of the various carbs. It’ll go, it just won’t go all at once.

The white rice, on the other hand, is likely the most offensive, next to the white flour. And we’ve already started massively ratcheting that back by simply not baking bread. Which is really a kick in the grapes, I must say, because I bought eight bags of flour for our monthly food budget like two days before we started going Paleo/Primal! (Talk about bad luck.) Oh well, we’ll eat them eventually. Just very spread out, instead of all at once.

The key here is that we replace the carb foods with non-carb foods, once they’re depleted with our pantry. In other words as we use the rice and flour and oatmeal, we replace it with something ELSE.

Unfortunately, all our food for this month has already been pre-purchased, so no change out of any kind is going to happen until July. All I can do until then is add more meats and good fats to the diet, and reduce the portions of the carbs.

Update: This was dinner. Yum! The garlic greens were fried in coconut oil and served over a very small sliver of rice. About 1/3rd of what I’d normally eat.

Panfried BluegillSauteed Wild Garlic

Categories: Animals, Fishing, Food Health, Foraging, Nature, Organic, Wild, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WAMPSDUH โ€“ Part III: What Can We Do About It?

First of all, as an adult, I firmly believe that there are a certain set of skills and knowledge that every human, both adults and children, MUST have in order to be a functional and useful member of society. Most of this is not taught in any school, and most people’s parent’s never had these skills to be able to teach their children in the first place.

This set/list is probably not one that most people currently have in it’s entirety, or learned very much of growing up, though I am am sure that the vast majority of people will have some of the basic skills on the list. The thing here is that everyone needs all of the skills. Not just a few here and there willy-nilly.

The solution to this is that people must embrace the lessons of the past and learn the very valuable basic skill sets of their ancestors. We must learn to be self reliant again. People must do this as a whole, in order to bring us back from the brink. But, I fear, they will not. We’ve had it far too good for far too long.

It is my very strong opinion that first and above all else, a human MUST know how to find and harvest, and then prepare, their own food. This is absolutely essential for the continuation, and advancement, of the human race. Every non-parasitic animal in nature can do this, one way or another, without exception. Why can’t we? It’s pathetic, and insulting, really, that we, the supposed masters of our planet and so called ‘top of the food chain’, can’t even tell our Asclepias from our ascot.

I must admit, I’m a very judgmental individual when it comes to not being a burden on my fellow man. So much so that when I first meet someone I tend to quickly ascertain whether or not they have ANY interest at all in learning how to become self-sufficient, if they do not already possess that ability. Not everyone has been exposed to this kind of information, and I understand that. It’s not a very common way of life anymore, and you can’t know what you don’t know that you don’t know. However, the ‘test’ is how they will respond when given the opportunity to do so. If someone walks up to them and offers to teach them how to become 100% self sufficient, how do they respond? Are they even slightly interested? Do they embrace it and ask for more information? Or do they do what most people do and outright reject it, saying that they don’t have the ‘time’ or that there is no ‘need’ for them to learn such things in today’s modern day and age?

If you think about it, what individual in their right mind would NOT want to know this information, at least on a basic level? How can anyone possibly justify not knowing how to feed themselves?

The average Joe doesn’t need to be a Green Deane, Sam Thayer, John Kallas, or Steve Brill. They just need to know the very basics of how to collect and prepare the majority of the common edible plants near them, and practice them with some regularity. Anyone with half a brain should be able to accomplish this. Every human did so in antiquity. The only ones who did not were the ultra rich or nobles, or those living in cities. But they were an uber minority. Even the nobles usually knew how to do basics for themselves. They just typically did not do so as they had servants to do it. But they at least knew how. A king typically knew how to hunt and clean his own deer.

So, I ask again: who, as a sane individual would not want to know how to find their own food?

Sadly, the answer is many, many people, it would seem… It’s simply not natural. It’s an abomination of the natural and basic order of things. And when such things happen en masse, it’s an absolute recipe for disaster for any society. Our society stands on such a precipice. These skills will be lost forever unless they are embraced and taught to the subsequent generations.

But, if someone is not interested in learning about plants and how to feed themselves, I’m polite about it of course, and I am not rude if they reject the possibility of learning such things. But if they do, my overall esteem of them falls sharply.

I would even go so far as to say that if they completely refuse to even learn the preliminaries of how to identify wild plants, and therefore be able to feed themselves come hell or high water, they tend to automatically get classified in my mind as ‘part of the problem’. Thus and therefore, they end up getting lumped with the other 90% of the planet that are bottom feeding, blood sucking parasites, in my estimation. ๐Ÿ˜‰ This is regardless of whatever other skills, intelligence, or usefulness they may have. The CEO who makes 5 million a year, is still useless in a real world emergency situation if he can’t even feed himself without an army of wage slaves at his beck and call.

Yea, I know. I’ll get flak for that. People usually object to being called parasites. But if you absolutely CANNOT feed yourself, and depend on others to do it for you, and absolutely outright REFUSE to learn how to feed yourself, then that’s what you are. A parasite. A parasite feeds on the lifeblood of others, and will die without the lifeblood of others, as it has no ability to feed itself. If this applies to YOU, then recognize this and change it!

But if ye are someone who is currently classified in Janosese as a ‘parasite’, don’t get all stink-eyed and offended at me. Think about it a while instead of getting horked off. It’s nothing personal. It’s just ‘business’, or rather, practical reality. Think of it like this…

If you can’t feed yourself, you’re causing a problem. A very massive, monumental, epic, planet-sized honkin’ problem. Because it’s not just you anymore that can’t feed yourself. It’s the human race as a whole. Folks like you used to be a very small minority. Back then, it wasn’t a problem when 98% of everyone else grew their own food and the 2% who didn’t needed to be fed. Now it’s more like 2% grow their own food and 98% do not. Houston, we have a very serious problem!

Now, please don’t mistake me. You don’t HAVE to feed yourself, every single moment of every single day. Farming for profit has a purpose, and is a good and noble profession. You can buy some of the things that you consume. That’s what a currency is for, to trade value for value. There is nothing wrong with paying someone for a service out of convenience. Not everyone needs to forage all the time, or grow all of their own food, they just need to be aware of how their needs affect the rest of us. And the planet couldn’t support such en masse foraging anyway, on such a massive scale as our current population. Thus, and unfortunately, in order for the current population of the world to survive, we depend upon ‘modern’ methods of production. There is plenty of room to improve that, however, and go back to more natural methods. GMOs don’t equal greater productivity. Quite the opposite, actually. Lower yields and more singularity instead of diversity amongst crops.

The overarching point here is that you just need to know HOW to forage and feed yourself. It’s the difference between thriving and surviving, and dying when, not if, some kind of disruption in the ‘just in time’ supply chain happens.

Also, people with basic foraging knowledge tend to make wiser choices when planting their own gardens or when tending and harvesting wild resources, and are able to work consistently with nature, as opposed to against it, to get higher crop yields. These kind of good things happen when you understand the partnership with nature vs trying to fight it all the time. Besides, nature will always win. Remember that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

People who forage also tend to like unadulterated food, and don’t tend to purchase or consume things with more chemicals in them than they can pronounce.

Do you know what’s in my tea? Tea, that’s what. It says… Ingredients: Tea.

Black Tea

Do you know what’s in my green tea? Tea, that’s what. It says… Ingredients: Green Tea Leaves.

Green Tea

And this is the ‘cheap’ stuff. The black tea is less than $2 for a box of 100, and the green tea is $1 per box. You can find affordable real food products out there, you just need to actually READ the labels.

If your regular black or green tea has a slew of listed ingredients, including the vile and toxic soy lecithin, then you shouldn’t be drinking that foul swill. And having ‘organic’ toxic soy doesn’t make it any better for you. Unfermented soy is an out and out toxin. Fermented soy, such as traditional soy sauce, miso, etc, is fine in limited quantities. But you would do well to avoid unfermented soy products.

(And pro soy people who have bought into that lifestyle and who haven’t done their research will now in all likelihood lash out at me instead of doing said research… If that applies to you, research before you lash out, and you’ll see that I just quite possibly saved your life, if you take this information to heart.)

Foragers tend to be aware that their food should have only natural ingredients in it.

This means that people who forage, by and large, make wiser consumers.

In the end, the real ‘What can we do about it’ ends up summing up to the fact that we need to have the skills and knowledge to make wise and proper decisions about our health, and most importantly, what we put in our bodies. Let our food be our medicine, and all that. But we can only do so if we know how to forage for some of our own food in the first place.

In part IV, I’ll go into what skills I think we all need to have, on a very basic and preliminary level, in order to arrest and reverse this trend of being increasingly useless with each passing generation.

Addendum: For further research into the dangers of unfermented soy, please see here: Beware of the Dangers of Soy

And for more comprehensive research and information, see here:ย  Soy news, articles, and information

Categories: Food Health, Foraging, Nature, Preparedness, Wild | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WAMPSDUH โ€“ Part II: How Did We Get Here?

We all pretty much universally recognize that Grandma and Grandpa could do things we have no clue how to do nowadays…

But how did it get to be so that we are so very less skilled than our forebears?

I think that perhaps part of the answer is very simple. We don’t have to be.

Why was this knowledge never passed on to our parents, and then from us?

Again, same answer. It didn’t have to be.

It was the modern age, after all. Why bothering teaching your children such things as cooking and gardening, when they’ll never be burdened with having to do such things for themselves. We’re America, after all. We’re all Middle Class here! We’re rich and prosperous and on top of the world… until we’re not.

But even now, after the serious economic troubles in 2007 things haven’t changed one whit.

We’re still spoiled rotten, as a general thing. We’ve been born into a world where nearly everything is handed to us on a silver platter. Near magical devices such as microwaves are the norm now instead of the exception. Just put it in, press a few buttons, and voila! Near-instant heated and cooked food!

I remember the first microwave my family bought back in 1982 or so. It was a combination microwave/range. And it cost something like $900. And that was the sale price as it was a scratch/dent model. Regular MSRP was something like $1200, but my Dad got a good price on it because it had a dent in the side on the bottom. Well, as that side faced the wall, no biggie. ๐Ÿ™‚

It was very neat to be able to cook hot dogs in about 45 seconds, instead of having to boil a pan of water first on the stove. But thankfully, my parents stressed that the microwave was a convenience, not a replacement, for knowing how to cook. After the newness wore off, my father only used it to heat up leftovers and to heat water for tea and coffee. He never actually ‘cooked’ whole meals with it, as so many folks do today. Today, if it can’t be cooked in a microwave, it isn’t cooked at all.

This is how my wife learned to cook. When I married her, she could barely boil water on the stove top, or even cook noodles. If it couldn’t be cooked in a microwave, she couldn’t cook it. She would make (reheat) mac and cheese and cook fish in the microwave and think it was delicious. Now, she can’t stand the taste of such things prepared in that manner.

Nowadays, microwaves can be had for around $50. And if anyone knows how to cook anything, it’s usually in a microwave. And that’s the extent of their skills. No one thinks they need to know how to really cook anymore. Heck, I’ve met people who can’t even operate a toaster. I kid you not.

But these are only symptoms of a larger disease. A disease in where we can get away with sitting on our duffs all day long without having to give too much thought to anything at all.

Most of us have running hot/cold water on demand, centralized heating/cooling on demand, electricity on demand, food on demand that we don’t even have to prepare ourselves… (Would you like fries with that?) The list is nearly endless.

And all of this happens without us having to do a damn thing other than turn on a faucet, press a button, flip a switch or speak into a microphone.
Wow! Aren’t we skilled?

Sometime when I was around 13 or so, I started to feel quite embarrassed as a human. I just woke up one day and asked myself what skills I had. I mean REALLY had. Sure, I knew how to do a bunch of different things, and thanks to my parents, knew how to cook extremely well from a very young age… and sure I could catch fish fine and hit a moving target with either an arrow or long arm, but what ELSE did I know? Could I live on my own if I had to? What if something happened to my parents and I had to live on my own, or truly be a ‘man’ at a young age, like my own paternal grandfather had to do at age 12? What if war broke out and I had to take care of myself or my family? (These things historically do happen, you know. Even if they’re not pleasant to think about.)
Was I physically and mentally capable of doing so? Would I even survive?

I asked myself, in my current mindset, what was the skill that I was the proudest of? My own answer astounded and horrified me.

I was a whiz kid at video games. I wasn’t just good, I was darn good. I could beat Super Mario Brothers in record time. That’s what I was most proud of. That was my ‘accomplishment’ that I held nearest and dearest to my heart.

Wow, I thought. That’s pretty pathetic. So pathetic that it sickened me.

At the age of 13, my grandfather was already a man. Working a full time job, doing a man’s work, and supporting his family.

And what was I doing? I was pressing buttons on a video game controller nearly 40 hours a week.

I was ashamed. For all of the useful things I knew, I wasn’t a man. Not even close. I was a boy playing with toys. I wasn’t a worthy heir of my grandfather’s noble legacy.

I also thought about what I was learning in school. That was also pretty pathetic, and ultimately, totally useless. Nothing I was learning would ever help me even survive, much less thrive. I’d already long since learned the ‘Three Rs’ and there was nothing else they could teach me other than rote memorization fluff that I could absorb on my own, if I was thus inclined to spend tremendous hours on such worthless endeavors. (I haven’t found an actual use for Trig or Calculus yet!)

But still I had to show up and have 9 hours of my life vacuumed from me against my will every week day.

Did you know that handwriting isn’t even taught in most schools now? And that they actually graduate kids who can’t even read and write beyond a rudimentary level? I’ve even read that they graduate kids who can’t read or write at all. How is that even possible? How can you make it through twelve years of school and not know how to read or write? Well, thanks to the failed Prussian school system model, we now have the largest group of idiots to ever walk the planet graduating from our fine places of learning.

The schools have failed. The parents have failed. The government has failed. We have failed.

It’s time to take a new look at this problem of cranking out utterly useless people each generation, and find a way to fix it.

Categories: Food Health, Foraging, Nature, Preparedness, Wild | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Why Are Modern People So Darn Utterly Helpless? – Part I: Intro

Henceforth known as ‘WAMPSDUH‘.

I thought of using the word ‘Useless’ in the title, instead of ‘Helpless’, but I figured that everything has a use. Even if it’s an example of what NOT to be. Or cannon fodder. ๐Ÿ˜‰

This isn’t really a ‘rant’ post, so much as it’s a ‘Let’s recognize this for what it is so that we can go about fixing it!’ kind of post. ๐Ÿ™‚

But as to the helpless/useless concept, this is a question that I’ve asked myself for quite some time now.

I looked back at the things my father could do, and before that, my grandfather, and great-grand father.

It is an overall fact that, by and large, we keep getting more useless with each passing generation.

And by ‘useless’, I mean that we need someone or something else to do what I consider very rudimentary and basic things for us. Things that our ancestors didn’t need someone to figure out for them.

Think of how useful and dynamic most of our grandparents or great-grandparents were. (Was there anything they couldn’t do?) And then look at your neighbor, or your family members, or maybe even yourself. Can they or you even make minor plumbing repairs without having to call someone? Can they or you hammer a nail straight? Hell, can they or you even find their/your own food and cook it for dinner without having to purchase it from someone else at a marketplace or have it cooked FOR ya’ll?

Let’s face it… modern people are nearly helpless compared to their ancestors.
We’re fatter, weaker, and less Renaissance.

I recognized this when I was in my early teenage years and sought to reverse the trend.

I was determined that I’d at the very least be equal in usefulness to my father. In some aspects, I’ve achieved that. In others, I still have a way to go. And in some fields I know I’ll never be as good as he was, for he was truly exceptional at a few things, whereas I’d simply term myself ‘better than average’ in those same areas.

You may be asking yourself by now โ€œWhat does this have to do with foraging and/or wild food?โ€ The answer is: EVERYTHING! Guess what skill the vast majority of people DO NOT have? That’s right. The simple ability to feed themselves.

This series will be in several parts. Currently three parts are planned, but it could go longer if necessary

The parts will be posted as they’re written and checked for any glaring grammar or spelling errors. ๐Ÿ˜‰

In part II, I will share some of my thoughts on how we got where we are today as a people and society.

In part III, I’ll go into some details of what I think we can do about it.

Categories: Food Health, Foraging, Nature, Preparedness, Wild | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Welcome to the Brand New Wild Cookery and Foraging Forums!

My dearest foraging friends,

First off, let me apologize for the inconvenience of having to move the forum. There was, however, no way around it. The old forum’s servers crashed a total of eight times, just today in my efforts to copy over the data. Such a flaky forum host is not acceptable to me. You deserve better than that. I think that now, we have a stable forum hosting service. I’ve used this provider before in the past, and whilst not totally ideal in some respects, it should indeed be much more stable and productive.

This is a completely new, made from scratch forum. It only looks like the old one. I mirrored it as much as I could, with the exception being that I cleaned up and re-organized some of the forum boards a bit, to be, I hope, a bit more comprehensive.

However, it is not a totally clean slate. The meat and bones of the last forum were saved and form the backbone of this new forum.

I copied over all the text from all the posts that I could, and I got everything that I saw. There were a few things that I’d posted that I have intentionally not transferred over, but most of the important stuff is still there.

If I have missed anything, please let me know and I will do my best to rectify it.

Of course, the text will just be posted in the threads, not under the original poster, but I copied it with quotes when applicable so you can see who originally wrote the post.
Everyone will have to unfortunately re-register, but that should be a relatively quick and painless process.

Be aware that being a free forum it will try to offer you junk in the sign up. You can just click on the slightly greyed out ‘no thanks’ when it comes up. The number of offers that you will have to click through varies, but typically 3 โ€“ 5.

Thank you again for your time and participation, and I hope to see you all at the new forum soon.
All the best, my friends.

The new forum is located here: http://wildcookery.freeforums.org

~Janos

Categories: Updates, Wild, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Wild Cookery Forums are now LIVE!

Wild Cookery Forums are now LIVE!

I am proud to announce the official launch of the Wild Cookery Forums!

The forums may be found at: http://wildcookery.prophpbb.com/ย  http://wildcookery.freeforums.org/

Freeforums

This forum will be what YOU, the members help make it into. It’ll grow along the lines of your contributions.

This is your chance to make forum and Foraging history and create something great from absolutely nothing.

It’s also your chance to get in on the ground floor as a founding member of one of the very few Foraging forums in existence. This means that you’ll have a say in the direction of the forum, and can help make it into the kind of forum YOU’D like to see!

New boards can and will be created upon request, and if you have a specialized interest that you’d like to see represented and discussed, we can create a board or sub-boards to cover that.

*Please note that this forum will be geared to adults 18 years and older, and you must fit that category in order to officially join as a member. If you are under 18 you are still welcome to come and read the forum, as the content will be mostly publicly available, assuming that you have the express permission of your parents or guardians to do so.

The first thing after signing up would be to go to the Announcements and Updates pageย  and read the very brief documents listed there. That would be the Member Agreement, Moderation Policy, Legal Disclaimer, and FAQ.

Don’t worry, as I said, they are all very brief and straight to the point. No wall of text to read.

After which, if you plan on posting pictures to the forum, you can read the tutorial that I created on how to do that, here

Be sure to stop by the member’s only area Wayfarer’s Innย  once you have signed up and introduce yourself! ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope to see you all there! ๐Ÿ™‚

Categories: Food Health, Foraging, Nature, Organic, Recipes, Wild | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yet More Nibblenuttery

My wife said she saw a few deer in our yard early this morning. But they were long gone by the time I got to the window. Then, about an hour or so later I heard a shot in the woods that sounded pretty close. Looks like someone got another critter of some sort. I only heard one shot, so they probably hit it. Could have been a turkey, deer, groundhog, heck, or maybe even a pheasant. We have those around here too from time to time.

Since it’s daylight, I’ll probably go out a bit later when the rain slows down a tad and see if I can see anything. I don’t expect any bloodtrails though, to be honest, since it has been raining pretty steadily. But maybe I can find some spent shells or some such. Sounded like a shotgun of some sort, and usually folks aren’t so careful that they keep the spent shells.

I’d just like to find out who the heck is hunting on my property and what they’re using.

But if they’re hunting in this crappy weather, I’m guessing they need whatever they shot more than we do.

Categories: Economy, Hunting, Organic, Organic Meat, Wild | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Foraging Duo

I posted this earlier today in response to a post on the topic of ‘Foraging Tools’ on the Green Deane Forum.

When foraging I always carry what I call my ‘foraging duo’.

I carry a bunch of different stuff, but the two things on me no matter what, are my two pocket knives.

foraging duo

This is a Victorinox Officer Suisse swiss army knife, along with a Benchmade tanto-pointed combat folder. The swiss army knife applications are obvious, but I like my Benchmade folder for it’s ruggedness and utility. I’ve put that knife through hell for a dozen years or so now and it’s barely dulled the blade. I’ve never sharpened it either. I haven’t needed to. Thus, I keep it less than super sharp, but if I ever needed to actually sharpen it, my Victorinox comes with a mini steel in the sheathe that I could use to sharpen it up if I had to clean an animal for survival.

It’ll make short work of anything from rabbit size to idiot size.

Also, not shown, is a full tang, paracord wrapped, fixed tanto bladed full size combat knife. I usually keep this on my belt for extra protection from feral animals, of both the two and four legged varieties. It’s a made in China cheapy, and the sheathe and paracord are olive, so it makes it look just like a typical hunting/survival style knife. I think I paid $15 for it, but it’s sharp as heck, and if I lose it I wouldn’t cry over it. If I ever need the paracord, I can unwrap the handle and still have a full size usable knife. I can also use the mini-saw on my Officer Suisse Victorinox to cut a sturdy length of wood, and slot the full sized knife via it’s tang into the wood. Then, use the paracord to tightly wrap and secure it. The result is a spear/polearm. If you need to make that a permanent arrangement you can get sinew once you’ve killed something and replace the paracord with it and reclaim the paracord.

When I bought the knives the prices were:

Benchmade Tanto Folder: $135

Victorinox Officer Suisse $40

Chinese Tanto $15

That’s just what I paid for it. I’m sure you could find lower prices these days on the first two.

But everyone should have a GOOD quality knife, like a Benchmade, or another quality brand. It’ll last you a lifetime of real actual use, and assuming you don’t lose it, will be a one time investment that you can pass on to your great grandchildren.

Categories: Foraging, Hunting, Tools | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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