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Friday, July 1, 2016

Book Review: THE NEW WILDCRAFTED CUISINE BY PASCAL BAUDAR


       
  Simply a stunning book, the visuals, photos, are just perfection as is the rest of the book. This is not a plant ID book and not a cook book in the sense that that you have ever seen in the past, but a real breakthrough on originality in dining. Pascal offers a broad array of foods and drinks in an elegant and exciting way very clever in its presentation in an inspirational manner, yes even we can do it. Creating a form of foraging that is both a wild combo of ingenuity that demonstrates the huge potential of culinary art into practical recipes that nature provides.

Pascal’s hard earned infinite knowledge and the passion for the wild foods shine through in this presentation like you have never seen. We hear about books that are one of a kind and at last here is one that truly is one of a kind. Clear instructions for each recipe, that are unique, innovative ideas for using the wild flavors, all for your delight. The contents are amazing from making wild cheeses to primitive beers and cooking with dirt, sticks, bark, leaves, sap, and stones. Preserving by dehydration and making cold in fusions, creating wild spice blends and using wild mustards. How to make wild sodas and wild hot sauces to making jams and syrups with wild ingredients.

 Pascal states the book is not about identifying plants and not about cooking either it is about exploring from a culinary perspective what the wilderness is offering us. It’s about how to create interesting ingredients that will represent your local terroir as a forager, cook, or chef, to some degree it fills a gap between foraging and cooking. Many of the ideas and methods presented here you can use regardless of where you live most of the plants or related species are found around the world. 

Packed with information not one wasted photo or comment is to be found. Pascal has set a very high bar for anyone one to follow, and good luck with that. A most beautiful book I must confess that Pascal is a personal friend, and I am proud to be. His book has been a work of love in the truest sense. The detail is amazing, not to be missed, well worth the investment. A big book in every way. publisher is: Chelsea Green Publishing ISBN 97816035856061



                                                         REVIEW BY DUDE MCLEAN 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

A FULL SET OF SKILLS



 Having been involved in survival skills for more than 50 years , you learn to wean out things that are not useful or realistic , one learns to discount certain items that are not practical. I have spent a great amount of time learning survival skills  and honing those skills , I firmly believe you have to round out your skill set. The skill set includes the modern tools we have at our fingertips , these can add up in the dollar side of the margin( but you can find used tools for cheap) and you will find some are just not worth it and in reality just hype by some company but those that do work can be a life saver and add to your confidence level. Rounding out your skill set should include the primitive skills, I count the primitive skills as your foundation with which you can build on with any of the modern skills, if the modern tools fail you have the primitive to fall back on. 

                                                                       WHAT PRIMITIVE SKILLS 


Making fire with friction can be a life saving skill.  Learning the bow and drill and following that the hand drill . The bow and drill takes a while to get it , knowing what wood to use and
how to prepare the "set". The best way to learn is with an instructor who can show you in person , some can get it in a day others will take a week of working on it everyday . Once you get it do not let it rest , make a fire once a week to keep your hand in the game, if you let it go too long you will lose some of the nuance. The hand drill is a different critter  and much harder to learn, it will take devotion to learn the skill but you can do it. I suggest you become as expert as you can with at least one of these methods . WE have flint and steel as well not as hard to learn but does take practice, Even the lowly match takes practice to start a fire. A bic type of lighter is must carry  I feel in addition to the more primitive skills of fire making. The tinders and learning how to build a fire lay will come into, play  The ferro rod also is seen as away to make fire but this simple device seems not to work for many who have not practiced a bit . All of these methods  will take time and practice. Do not slack apply your self and you will  master all of the methods to make fire. Again if you can find an instructor to teach you it will be far easier  to learn. However there are some good videos to, teach you as well. Making fire one time is not enough , one has to make fire several times , like maybe 100 times or more before you own the skill. After that you have to keep up the practice at least once a week. However my favorite way of making fire is a ferro rod and/or Bic lighters , you should be able to make hundreds of fires with these tools.

                                                                                       TOOLS


Speaking of tools brings me to tools you can use and should master , a wood chisel is something to think about and a hand auger as well one you  can fit a handle on when you need it , this allows you make holes in wood( you might consider a stone auger as well) to build shelter and other tools where wood is needed.A saw is a tool that is helpful as well.  With these you can make furniture enabling you to live a bit more comfy in the bush , these tools ill also help you make weapons as well. Primitive blacksmithing is a craft one should try their hand at . Jason Hawk  is a primitive black smith and a master at it . We live in a world of tin cans and other metals , iron etc. and if you can craft many useful items from the scrap. a tin can will yield arrow heads and spear heads even a knife,  not a pretty thing but workable . I have witnessed Jason making items that are heated and pounding them into a tool using a rock as a hammer, again not pretty but workable. Jason has a series of DVDs called "Making Do" the poor mans forge on Paladin Press  , I feel they are well worth the money , I have been  pounding somethings into shape , it is slow learning process but Feel it well worth the time to learn the primitive skill of the blacksmithing side of survival skills , you wont make nor is your goal to create a really pretty shinny blade but with some leaf springs or any found  metals you can make hinges or any number of items, arrow heads , spear heads  large or small cutting tools.. *In a   SHTF situation you could barter your skills
or make items no longer found . Another tool is a good machete , they are easy to get now and they are cheap to aquire and they do not run out of bullets , they an awesome defense tool and very intimidating , just in a few countries they have killled thousands plus the more obvious uses , I would stock up on more than a few. One more thing I would have is a Vechawk and a Ecohawk , both tools created by Mike Gapp, I have found these to be very useful in camp and out and highly recommend them  you can reach Mike at michaelg@euinoxcoronado.com
 
                                                                                   
                                                                                          PLANTS

 ID'ing wild edible plants can help fill your larder . Learning the wild edibles is an on going education and can continue as long as you live it is a great feeling to be in the bush and just reach down and grab a few edibles as  you walk along. Wild plants offer many opportunities to fill you up or round out a meal . This skill takes a lot of time to learn but is well worth the effort . Once you get into it it will be second nature to learn new plants . There are many books and videos on the subject, but a instructor will give you a large step forward  some of the best meals in my life have a feast of wild plants. Never eat any plant you have not
Identified 100%. The problem is the time of year and where you live in some places it could good for only a few short months , learning how to grow food is a skill that one could learn now when if your crop fails it wont mean you starve, learning the ins and outs of growing your own food is a valuable skill to own. 

                                                                                           TRAPS


Learning how to trap is a skill set that is important as well. Keep in mind the little critters add up, and for the most part much easier to harvest than a big animal.Snares are  way  to trap that is very effective . The good old rattrap can catch cotton tails and bushy tails and other  small ground animals , even birds and snakes  . In my rat traps I drill at least 3 holes in the base  I tie down with cordage or wire so the animal  cannot  drag it off into the bushes. I suggest you use only the Victor brand of rat traps as they offer a good strong spring that is fast and will hold the critter  . Practice where you can , be aware of game laws . You can set snares that will let the animal go, you do that by using very weak wire that will break under any kind of pressure , then examine the location for tracks.  Adding the traps like Conibear or other steel traps will help feed you and family.. All traps are passive and are working 24/7 , hunting is only a one on one deal unlike a trap line that you check at the least 2 times a day if not more,  live hunting burns a lot of calories and limits your chance of a harvest , the live trap is a way to go also ,it is an MRE  fresh when you need to eat , most critters will eat anything you feed them . While I do like snares after one use they are for the most part
useless. The live traps can be used over and over , the same with a Conibear trap , keep in mind  that gun only has so many bullets and someday you will run out. Traps do not run out , they need no bullets.Let us not forget fishing , nets and other items that are not legal now may very well feed you in a SHTF life.  . 
                                                                     
                                                                                     THE COMBO

I like the combo of primitive and modern tools , it allows for more bang for your survival  life to thrive.I think our ancestors would jump at the some of the modern tools that are common now , so now is the time to grab some of the non power tools that can make for better conditions at really thriving in a SHTF life . Tools are for  us to understand and use o the best of our abilty, the modern tools are a huge advantage for the survival life.

                                                               by Dude McLean

Thursday, June 2, 2016

SMALL CONTAINER WATER STORAGE



                                                                                 

Many have little choice but to use small containers for water storage. There are a few things to look out for when choosing a container. One is the use of milk containers, a no-no for sure, no matter how well you think you can clean them out you cannot get into the small little imperfections on the plastic they harbor the bacteria that will turn your water bad in a heartbeat. Plus, they are flimsy and will fail in a short time. The same for those already filled water plastic containers with a spicket. The plastic is weak and will fail in a year or less. Avoid a problem and do not use these containers.

 Pop bottles are great and will keep water for years. A few drops of bleach in the water works well. I have had water in some pop bottles for years. When checked they were fine and good to go. Keep the bottles out of direct sunlight. Do not forget to clean the cap with bleach also. Be sure to include the threads of the bottle top. Any glass bottle is good but could lead to breakage. 

 The amount of water that seems to be suggested by the survival experts is one gallon per person a day. I think that is way too conservative, I suggest at least 3 gallons a day per person. That includes cooking, drinking and cleaning, like washing clothes. And that may not be enough, so go to the high side as much as possible, nothing replaces water in your diet. If you can find 40 gallon containers so much the better, but remember that water is heavy, about 8 pounds a gallon, so a larger container might be difficult to move and do not forget a small hand pump. 
For those of you who can get a hold of the 55 gallon drums or water storage so much the better but remember the weight you are dealing with. A 40-gallon container will weigh in at about 320 pounds, so a dolly might be a good investment or a very strong son. When I used the 55 gallon containers I placed them in a location so they would not have to be moved, I could roll the 40 gallon containers if I had to. I believe it’s better if you do not have to move them. Rolling them is a huge pain in the butt. It could compromise your container. No sense in taking that chance. 


 The alternative are the small containers, way better than nothing. The pop bottles are very strong as they have to be in order to withstand the pressure of the carbonation process. That’s why they do not fail over time, keep out of sun as that can make them brittle. You can stash them under beds, sofas, chairs, in cubby holes, in a garage on shelves etc. Years ago when I lived in an apartment I had about 100 bottles under a bed, even stacked them. Keep some in your trunk, under the seats, every little bit will help in a breakdown of water service if it ever comes to that. 


Do not forget your pets they will need water also. My deerhound drinks about a gallon a day. Water is something we cannot live without, plus if you have emergency food much of it needs water mixed into it or to cook it. I know water is not as sexy as food to store, but it is just as important if not more so. Water, prepare for it now. Once it is cut off, good luck with that one. Water is so common we often do not think of it ahead of time. It is not hard to get ready for storage of water, you just have to do it. Daddy can I have a drink of water? If you feel the water is suspect just boil it. Water is life. 

      BY 

                                                                             DUDE MCLEAN

Thursday, May 12, 2016

BUG OUT THE HARD TRUTH


 Bugging out is a thing that is beat about on all survival forums and magazines, either by truck or car or hiking etc. The one question I always have about being on foot is, when is the last time you ever
hiked any long distance with 50 to 100 pounds on your back in the heat summer or winter cold? Most will not be able to last a few miles. What about your family? Being under stress will be a factor that you cannot ignore, plus at some point you will stop and throw gear out of your pack deemed not needed because it is too heavy to be worth it, or it is just worthless. I feel the fantasy of bugging out on foot seems like a romantic adventure, that is the lure of heading for the hills. Get out your bug out pack now and go for a hike. Be sure someone can pick you up, I doubt you will get far.  I know of a few who could do it, but even they will have a tough time of it.

 I love it when some writer says to get out ahead of the crowd. What is your info source that will allow you to know you are ahead of everyone else? You really have no more info than anyone else
and that’s the hard truth. All roads are like a river with many side streams that add to the flow. Everybody is not starting out from the same place, but feeding into the stream/road at different places. Witness the roads we are seeing in Canada with all those poor folks in a huge traffic jam. “Oh I know a short cut”, really? Well so does everyone else, they have maps/GPS just like you, cars running out of gas, flat tires,
overheating and other things that break you down are lurking. Wrecks will be everywhere. Its bound to happen and no one to call to remove the wrecks off the road. Nightmare alley is the name of the game.  Panic stricken drivers will make a lot of mistakes to be first in a race to nowhere. The unlawful will most likely be around every curve looking for a pickup that is loaded with gear, an easy to spot target. You might be a badass, but so are the ones who will covet your gear and they won’t be alone.

 Then there are people who will say “well I am living in my bugout location”, by definition  that is impossible. A bugout location is somewhere else other than where you are. Think about it, no matter where you are now that you think is a safe place you can be displaced by events. Events like huge fire storms, tornadoes, earthquakes and floods to name a few things that can upset your location. You always need a backup plan, but it has to be viable for you to execute. Now is the time to check out how far it is and what if someone else took over your bugout location before you secured it. Oh the problems that you may have to deal with. A fire fight is really not an option in real life, they are just
as desperate as you are. That leaves to chance being killed, good guys do not always win. No one wants to chance being killed or wounded that might lead to death. No matter how well one may think they are off the beaten path. If there is a dirt road or a path that is a problem in a large scale SHTF. If you are settled in have a few locations that you can bug out to planned ahead. You most likely will not be able to really defend your location against several bad guys. The bad guys are determined to get you out and take your gear and maybe your life. It is much smarter to fade away to another location. Know your AO ahead of time, explore while you still have time.

 I am just using common sense here and identifying some problems. Remember the best plans happen really fast once they begin, circumstances change in a unforeseeable manner. Be ready to shift with the wind. I hope this will get you thinking about your bug out plans. 


                                                                       by Dude McLean

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Mentors...What Does It Mean?

I recently read about a well-known survival guy who said, and I’m paraphrasing here, that he had no mentors — he learned it all himself. Really? It would take a long life time to learn all the primitive survival skills on your own and how would one even know about them in the first place. We all have a teacher in some form. Even if you don’t agree with them, it sets your brain to thinking of another way, or an improvement to your mind.
Mentor: Someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced, often younger person. A trusted counselor or guide, tutor or coach.
For many, a mentor is from a book you read. Even if you were set off just by adding a nuance to what you read, that author was a mentor. Even the author of a magazine article that is BS and sets you off experimenting on your own is a Mentor.
If you are lucky enough to have a face to face instructor and can admit you learned even one thing, he/she is a mentor, even if they set your thinking process that perhaps sends you in a better direction.
A Mentor can be a friend who is not actively being a Mentor, but has a skill set they share with you in a conversation or just in the act of camping together and having campfire talks. I believe some think it is a weakness to admit they have learned from someone else. I also believe the person who is a Mentor can be younger than you. Anyone who teaches often times learns things from a student. If you’ve ever taught any class, you will have experienced this.
An old friend of mine once said to me why are you taking classes from that guy, he’s way younger than you? What does that mean? He had a set of skills that I did not have, that’s the bottom line.
I was very weak in plants and had tried out several books and instructors. Then I began taking some of Christopher Nyerges’s classes and it was apparent, almost instantly, I found the right Mentor. He is a natural born teacher who was articulate and knew his subject. One thing I liked was his attention to detail. And if he did not know something, he told you so. A know it all teacher is not a good thing. Being honest with himself and the student is a bonus for everyone. I’ve had a lot of Mentors, some more important than others, but learned from them all.
As one moves along in life, you look back and say, “wow how do I really know all this stuff?” It’s simple, you picked the brain of several mentors along the path. You practiced and soon have tucked a lot of info into your grubby brain. You now have experience and have provided your own nuance to the subject.
Some never learn anything new and get stuck in the sands of time never questioning your “way” of doing a certain skill. We have a habit of taking what some guru of survival says as gospel. Rigid thinking is your enemy and is hard to part with because you have convinced yourself that this is the right thinking. It took me quite a long time to use stainless steel knives. I still like the patina a carbon steel knife attains over the years of good honest work in the bush, but I now use stainless, not exclusively though. It was after Alan Halcon kept harping at me, that he gave me a Mora. Yes, he’s cheap, but after using it for some time I see things have changed with stainless steel. Shame on me for not being flexible sooner. A lesson in getting stuck in the sand. Lesson learned. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks
On a personal level, I have so many to thank the list could be a book. Look back and think of those mentors and give them a shout out, or send smoke to the directions because some do not walk beside us anymore. Make an effort to help those just beginning the path of owning the skills, they will never forget you.

Never stop learning none of us are know it all’s. Always be a student of the skills and of life.

In The Gravest Extreme

Guns and self-defense, many of us are of the mindset that we will defend what is ours, and our loved ones. All well and good. However, in this society we have laws that we must, at this point, obey and the closer to the letter of the law the better when it comes to guns, and self-defense.
” In the Gravest Extreme” by Massad Ayoob ,  far as I know is still one of the best books you can own and read, and  parts of it should stick in your memory banks. The copy I have was purchased by me in 1980, it was already in its 18th printing. It covers the role of the firearm in personal protection. This is a book that covers what you should know. Your rights. I’m sure that the book by this time has been updated, keeping up with changes and what you need to know.
Here are some of the chapters. “Self-defense and lethal force.” ” The Dangerous myth of Citizens Arrest.” ” Samaritans with Guns.” ” A Gun At Home.” ” A Gun in the Street.” ” A Gun in your Car.” ” Deterrent Effect of Defense Handguns.” ” Women and Guns.” “High Price of Handgun Machismo.” ” Gun Saftey.” ” The Aftermath.” .
These are only a few of the chapters that are covered.
Many of you are aware of who this man, Massad Ayoob, is as a writer for many magazines and other books on weapons. He is very much sought after as a professional witness in self-defense cases. To the point, he knows his stuff.
This book could save your life, your loved ones lives, and a ton of money, and grief. By knowing a few fine points of the law, what and when to say anything is key. The book is an easy read, 130 pages and is interesting despite at first glance of being boring. Please do not fool yourself with thoughts like “Oh hell I know the law” or “I already know what I need to know my buddy is a cop and he told me” (Many times the police officer is wrong, do not take a chance) . What you think and what is, are two different things. You owe it to yourself to be informed as possible on this subject, it could impact you and your family for years to come. Find a lawyer who is a “pro gun” lawyer in your area and keep his card or number on you, or store it in your phone. The NRA other gun rights outfits have gun friendly lawyer lists.
I just reread this book and it holds up well, still applies today. Shows you that not much has changed. Ammo choice has really changed a lot, and that’s good for us. The book goes into ammo and your gun. Your gun is best left as stock as possible, if you go to court that will be in your favor, it is in the book.
I feel this is one book that anyone who owns a gun should have, and that it should be reread every year.
It is your right. Know your rights. Do not guess at what your rights are.
Read this book do yourself a favor. I am not a lawyer and I cannot give you legal advice. However, I can suggest that you buy and read this book

By Dude McLean

The Rat Trap

 In 2011 I wrote an article on rat traps, that same year we held a Dirttime event. During that event I held a class on traps and how the rat trap is often overlooked as it is so common. So we held a contest and anyone could use the trap they wanted to. The winner would get a bush knife. 
The winner used a baited rat trap, they caught a ground bushy tail. So I thought it would be nice to publish the article here ... but it is not to be as I cannot find the article from 2011, so here is a new article.

 The rat trap is so common that if we need one, we just pick one or two up the next time we go to market. I feel this trap is so important for small game I always have a few of them in my kit. I feel it would be a wise move to have 50 to 100 of them in your stock pile, at present they run about 2 bucks. I prefer the traps by Victor over all the rest as they have a stronger spring to hold the critter and it is very fast. The knockoffs just do not do the trick. I have caught cotton tails, bushy tails and birds and a lot of ground critters that add up for a fine stew, including snakes. 


                                                                                 THE SET UP

I drill at least 3 holes in the trap to hold it in place with cordage or wire, that way it cannot be dragged off and lost for the critter to suffer. I paint some of them but it doesn’t seem to be something you have to do. Bait it with food scraps or peanut butter or seeds. You can set them on a tree limb and tie in place, they do not have to be flat you can even set them on edge against a tree or a bush. The rat trap is very good at catching small game. I do test each trap to make sure the spring is in good condition. The time could come when you might need them to catch vermin in your house, I set a few on my engine block when some ground critters decided the engine was a nice warm place to nest, they chewed some wiring and cost me about 6 bills to fix it.    

Rat traps are light and take up little space in a pack. Rat traps are very effective. Just be sure not to
leave any set when you leave the AO. I have never done this, but have heard you can catch birds with a rat trap, makes sense to me, might be something to experiment with. Keep in mind the laws in your area, many birds are protected, but in a true survival situation I would not hesitate, your call.  Like all traps location, location, location is all important. Set traps along runs where the critters go. You will have a better chance of a meal. Rat traps can be used over and over again, this is a plus when compared to most snares. Sure the meals are small but 6 or 7 small critters add up to some real eating. You can practice on rats and mice. It is much easier to catch small game that larger critters. Set them around oak trees also, as may critters like acorns, any fruit bearing tree will be good.



I feel that a cache of rat traps is a major item to be set aside as a time might come when none are available at the local hardware store is the shtf. Rat traps are cheap enough to stock up on while they are available, Rat steak anyone? Not too bad in reality. Chipmunks are easy to catch. I have never caught a jack rabbit with a rat trap, too big unless it is a very young one. Sometimes your trap will be sprung, look for tracks to see what it might have been and reset plus set up a snare, you might make a catch of a bigger critter. Stock up now!!!

By Dude McLean