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Monday, June 29, 2015

Question Authority

In the 60’s, “Question Authority” was a very popular bumper sticker. You saw it on every other car it seemed. I think in todays world it applies even more than it did then.
Looking around us, at the never ending loads of lies and very very questionable activities, it seems we need to be wary of any authority, no matter the source.
On one hand, we are told one thing just to find out it isn’t even close to what is going on. In fact, lying seems to be the order of the day, along with what ever so called authority says is the last word.
The problem seems to be how do we question said authority. Used to be we had real journalists who would sniff out the lie of the hour for us. Not anymore, it seems.
“Watergate” brought down a sitting president, uncovered by real journalists investigating the lies., They questioned the authority. So called journalists today are the TV talking heads who for the most part are just “readers” reading what someone prepared for them, many times just repeating a wire release that is in reality a “press release” from wire services like Reuters. Said authority can be government or a private company. It is taken at face value because of who it is from, no questions or investigation needed or called for.
Our information system seems not to question much of anything. Newspapers wonder why they are losing readers, the same with nitwit, sorry, network news TV programs. The cable news programs are a tad better, but those are divided by the right or left. Very few offer anything better for a halfway intelligent viewership. The internet seems to be an alternative no one saw coming in the big business of news. And they don’t seem to know what to do about it. The internet has so many options to dig out what is a lie, a twisted truth, or the truth without a bias, but those options are hard to find as well, so things are not what they seem. If you lean towards one side even the truth can be denied.
The question is authority and how do we question it. I sure have no simple answer, except to be be very doubtful of much of what we hear and the source whence it came.
We are conditioned from the time we are little kids to believe a great part of the absurdities that we hear from authorities no matter how far the absurd takes us. How do we question authority when many times we don’t even know the question to ask, or who to go to? If you have ever been to a community meeting, see how your questions go and the disdain with which they are received… Mostly gets one nowhere because they are the authority and how dare you question their wisdom. The further up the food chain you go, the worse it gets.
The cliche’ I cannot avoid is “they”. Yes, the infamous “they” think everyone is not too smart and they are. I once was at a meeting for the small community I lived in at the time and it was about water bills they, the water company had a very complicated chart with all kinds of math and flow charts that was, in  reality, confusing to a layman. and they bamboozled us with numbers that no one could follow . However, in our group was a man who looked like a typical hippy of the day who started asking question the water authority could not answer, because the dumb hippy was a math genius, and pointed out all the mistakes in the presentation. The water company folded their tent and let and our water bill remain at the same rate. That was questioning authority with a positive outcome.
WE need to keep it in the forefront of our brain pans to Question Authority, at every juncture.
We need those bumper stickers again and we ain’t even hippies.
Question Authority, we are not as dumb as they think.

By Dude McLean

Please feel free to post comments on my articles, I enjoy hearing from and responding to my readers. When you're finished posting your comment please click PUBLISH to share your comment with me and my readers.

Eating Your Long Term Stores

I have read a lot lately of the items one should store, because they will last a long time… The myriad gurus all mention the same items pretty much .
How many of them ever really stored any foods for an extended length of time , like ten, or twenty years? I have.
I have been at this for a very long time, so I have a bone to pick here. And, the items I’m going to mention have all been stored the proper way.
Lets take pastas for a start. They do not store well, no matter how careful you are with the preps They get very hard and will not cook into the softness you need to eat them, unless you like a crunchy chewy pasta that is really not edible. A few times over this last 6 months I broke out some pastas that have been stored for ten years. We tried everything to cook them… not happening. So, I turned to some that were prepared by a so called survival foods storage outfit, a well known one that shall remain nameless. Same results… much beyond a few years, they get so hard as to be no good for a meal. Soak them for a few days nope. Cook them for hours, nope.
Another item is beans. Same as pastas. After a few years, they get hard as rocks. Soak them for days nada zip. The only ones that held up were lentils. I don’t know why though..
If you were counting on these items you would be SOL for sure. Another item is milk. About 4 to 5 years is the max. Nothing is worse than bad milk, if you were counting on it.
White flour will not last a long while, maybe a few years at best, Whole wheat flours do not make it much past a year. That’s why you store the grains and grind them your own self as you need them… Grains will last a very long time. I just ground some hard red winter wheat that has been in storage for 12 years and it is fine.
Powdered eggs are also tricky to store over the long haul.
Seems to me that one should be able to know the date of when the items were packed, if buying from a commercial company. Of course if the shtf, where would you turn to for a replacement food item?Answer, no where.
It could be an extremely down side for one to find that what you thought would help save your family, you simply cannot eat.
Spices do not store all that well either, they seem to lose any taste and just are zip.
I found the food stuffs I prepared held up just as well as the commercial brands have, so I have been doing something right.
Also as far as the commercial outfits go, some are most likely way better than others, but I really suspect many of them get a lot of the same foods from the same place already prepared from a company that is the real “maker” and all they do is slap a label on the cans.
Canned food will last a long time as well, some for many years. Always mark the cans by date and it does pay to rotate. Look for sales on the items you like and buy then. You can save a lot of bucks.
Be careful don’t let your storage get hot or freeze, keep it in the dark. Make sure no critter, like rats or mice can compromise what you have. Do not store it all in the same place try and scatter it around your home if possible. Be sure to store some dog food.
Okay this is short and sweet, so good luck on your storage plans. Be aware of the pitfalls.Stock up it always pays.Even if you lost your income you will eat.
This is my own unique experience.. yours may be different

By Dude McLean


Please feel free to post comments on my articles, I enjoy hearing from and responding to my readers. When you're finished posting your comment please click PUBLISH to share your comment with me and my readers. 

Plan B or a Reality Check?

The last few days I have been looking at many many plans for bugging out, lots of videos with lots of good info in many cases—The gear to have on hand and so on. Some offer very sound advice, and it seems to make sense until you start to break it down by questions. The essence seems to be if you have to bug out due to untenable conditions at the home base, you bug out and live off the land. What none of the videos I saw ever took into consideration was no family to deal with. If you are single and owe nothing to anyone then you’re free to bug. Taking that line of thought, I was amazed at the idea of what minimal gear was, and the weight of the pack. Even most young guys would be hard pressed to move well, much less hike into the wild very far. I think the reality is what kind of shape you are in and be honest with yourself. If you have the skills to try and live off the land you would still be still have hard battle.
Another factor would be what time of the year are we talking about, dead of winter or middle of summer? Even in many remote areas it could be beyond the skills of most well trained outdoorsmen. for any length of time past a week, if that. And if things were that bad, just avoiding company would present other problems. Let me ask this, when was the last time you carried a pack of 60 plus pounds with a rifle, up hill, in the snow or in 100 degree weather, or in a driving rain and mud? Not an easy task.
Many folks have never been in the wild alone even for a weekend, much less under such stressful conditions. Don’t laugh, over the years I have seen many plans for someone to spend a week out by themselves, most cant do it, just cannot cut it. Then they come back with some goofy reason for not staying out in paradise, riiiiight. It is not easy to be by yourself.
My partner in crime, Alan Halcon, stresses communication and I think he is right on the money , if whatever device you have will work, that is cool, even if all you have is a receiver. At the least you will hear what is going on to to a certain degree. Commo will help you decide what move to make. Not one video I saw even brought up the subject and I watched dozens. Of course, now they will pop up all over the place.
Another thing that was never addressed. If you have a family, are you going to just leave them? I think not. This is really an impossible situation for most. and off the charts… Makes for a cool video though . Also part of the Plan B structure of bugging out is to be ahead of the crowd, how do you do that? Bugging out in your trusty survival wheels and your retreat cabin that is only 50 miles away, allowing you to zoom ahead of the panic.. What if you didn’t have heads up first that TSHTF? Everyone is not starting from the same point. All along the way are feeder roads leading to the main highway or freeway and how the highways become parking lots. No easy answer. Bugging out seems to be mostly a great survival fantasy, a great romantic adventure and that is all it is.
Bugging out could land you in the “camps” or not. Either way you are a refugee and that is something you want to avoid at all costs, then you are under the gun of someone else’s control over you, you dont want that. All of these conditions will also have side effects of trauma that no one ever talks about. What are you just going to sail along like it is another weekend of extreme camping, no thought of what happened to mom and dad, grandpa and grandma, your bro or sis, close friends and such? What about your dog, cats and horses, etc all of that will weigh heavy on you as well?
Bugging in seems to be a good idea on the surface but that is going to depend on were you live. All of these things depend on so many outside factors it is impossible to round them all up in a nice ribbon and bow. . It is a package that will unwrap before our eyes, and I feel it wont be pleasant
In the videos I viewed they never take into account what could go wrong, and just common sense will tell you things do go wrong, the small stuff could shut you down. The flu could knock you out, a tooth ache could take you out, a broken limb could do it, for some forgetting certain meds could be a bust.
What is your Plan B?

By Dude McLean


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Kitchen Coin Shooting

I learned this from one of the grand old men of treasure hunting , Karl von Mueller, taken from the expression “coin shooting” with metal detectors..
The deal is this. Buy from the bank 50 cent rolls—I buy a 100 bucks at a time sometimes more—break open each roll and look for the dates pre 1965 and 65 through 73. The banks do not separate out the silver coins, I have found and continue to find whole rolls of pre 65 coins free silver for a few minutes time. At about 10 bucks per coin, todays silver price, it can add up very fast. For the 65 through 73 you are looking at about 4 to 5 bucks a coin. Sometimes I have found nothing. If that is the case take back the rolls back to the bank for your money back or just trade them for more rolls. I mark the rolls I have been through so I dont do the same roll twice.
This is a savvy way to make a few bucks and the silver is free. Just take the silver coins to a place that buys gold and silver and bam you have some easy money.
There is millions waiting to be found right in the banking system and it is legal… it is just sitting there. Almost any coin shop will buy. They will pay the spot price for your silver coins. All over the country there are shops that buy and sell silver and gold… One is close to you.
I have been doing this since 1968. I used to find way more back then even bought dime and quarter rolls then, but not so good anymore. The half dollars did not circulate like the dimes and quarters did, too heavy for most to lug around. You can pick up a 200 buck bill for a bit of looking, every week if you are lucky.
Some folks like to keep the silver coins and are waiting for the price of silver to climb higher. Thats okay also it wont go anywhere.
You cannot lose any money the 50 cents is still 50 cents and you got it for free.
This is a great time of year to buy those rolls of coins, as people are looking for bucks to spend on gifts so those old stupid rolls of coins grandpa had are just sitting there and they trade them in at the bank for bills at face value. The bank will not give you the silver value.
All you do is ask the teller for rolls of silver halfs or dollars if they have them. Very seldom do rolls of silver dollars come up, but it does happen so always ask… jump on it. Small town banks can be more productive in most cases you don’t even need an account to buy rolls of coins.
This is just a way to self reliance. Take the money you make and buy items to stock up on.
I have made a 1000 bucks at one sitting in the past doing this game. It is easy to do and is just waiting for the savvy guy to come along. I am always grateful for whatever I find. Have fun.

By Dude McLean


Please feel free to post comments on my articles, I enjoy hearing from and responding to my readers. When you're finished posting your comment please click PUBLISH to share your comment with me and my readers. 

Desert Riverman... Book Review

Many of you who know me have heard my stories of my dads strange friends, at least as a kid I thought they were strange and different from most.
They were loners ,bordering on hermits, or very rugged individualists to use an old term, the kind of men that are far and few between anymore.
He knew folks like this all over the country, How he met them over the years I’m not sure, but they were always glad to see him. Many of them were not rich by today’s standards, but were rich in lifestyle and knowledge of the outdoors life. A lot of these men were well into old age, when I met some of them as a teenager, some were only in their fifties. My dad would drag me in to meet these men and they would talk for hours. It was always fascinating to me, the way they lived, the stories, the laughter and the joy they had about living as they pleased.
To my surprise, a few weeks ago, I was in a little out of the way book store and as I was looking over the stock, a book cover jumped out at me. It was a man in repose with his eyes shut and holding a corncob pipe, My reaction was I know that man. The title of the book is ” Desert Riverman , the free-spirited adventures of Murl Emery”. He was one of the men my dad knew. I met him when I was 13 years old, some where out of Bullhead City, Arizona .off of route 66. My dad and him sat and drank beer and smoked cigars and laughed their butts off. Murl was amazing to listen to full of fun and adventure telling stories and recounting some of the things my dad and himself had done. At one point, Murl was telling a story about something he and my dad had done. I recall my dad saying , “oh for gods sake don’t tell the kid that”
I think this is the kind of book many of you will truly enjoy, a true story of adventures and failures, gold mines and looking for ways to make money. Murl worked as a beaver trapper, cattle rustler, bootlegger, house mover, store keeper, ferry man, prospector, cowboy, truck driver, inventor, miner, river freighter, aviator, astute mechanic, fishing fleet operator and became the lead boatman during the construction of Hoover dam. And that is just a little bit of his life. Murl claimed he never went beyond the 5th grade but was wise way beyond most men. He was a beachcomber, a desert philosopher, story teller, adviser to scientists, congressmen, desert detective, dude wrangler, devilish trouble maker, showman, powder monkey, consummate kidder, defeated politician, museum curator , joker, incorrigible vagabond, and a self -styled old goat.
Murl went on many trips with Erle Stanley Gardner, the creator of the Perry Mason books and stories. They had adventures in Baja that looking for lost Indian cave paintings and so on.
Here are a few quotes from Murl..
“Up up up up, breakfast is getting cold , only a whore can make a living in bed”
“If you don’t spit in the tigers eye once in a while you miss a lot of experience and a hell of a lot of good times and a few black eyes:”
“Endless years of wasted effort have made me the failure I am today. And thank god from what I’ve seen of so called success, I want no part of it”
“If you are really a pure prospector you hope to god you never find anything. The looking is a lot of fun but the finding stinks”
“I m just a crude ignorant old man, but I enjoy every minute of it”
Murl died in 1981.. the world is a sadder place.
The book is by Robert S. Wood, a friend of Murls.
Publisher is Fret Water press.
A great read about a one of a kind man.
My Father told me this guy is the happiest SOB you will ever meet

By Dude McLean


Please feel free to post comments on my articles, I enjoy hearing from and responding to my readers. When you're finished posting your comment please click PUBLISH to share your comment with me and my readers. 

Hotel Hiding Places

If you travel and stay in a motel/hotel room you have the chance of finding money or other valuables just for the taking.
How? you ask. Well, you search the room under lamps, under chairs and tables, behind the TV, in the bathroom, under the sink and so on.
Look around the room and ask yourself where would I hide money or whatever it is and look in those places?
Look for furniture that has hollow legs lamps that you can peel the felt off of the bottom. Sure you have to turn the table over, same with chairs. All TVs have little cubby holes behind them in the works. Pull out all the drawers and look under them and behind them. Look at light switches—unscrew them and take a peek. Move the large furniture and look behind them. Check all the cushions for sewing that does not match. In the bathroom look at the shower curtain rods if they can be moved, remove them to see if it has a hollow place, you will need a small flashlight. I once found in excess of 6 grand stuffed in a shower rod. I bugged out of the room and went to another motel. Who knows how long that money was there could have been drug money or? Who knows when the person who hid the money would come back? And if he was up to no good. I’m gone like the wind. I had a hell of a time getting the money out of the rod, Used a long piece of wire I found in the parking lot. Check under the sink as well. I found a great knife taped under the sink. Behind furniture I have found porno DVDs and old tapes, sexy nighties, and other sex toys, as well as old Polaroids… when they were in use. Those polaroids were interesting stuff, showing angles that were for a contortionist. I have also found guns.
The why is, why does one hide things and then leave them? Did they mean to come back or what? I don’t know. Perhaps they Just forgot it like anything else. We all have forgotten things.
In Wickenburg, Arizona I found 250 bucks tucked up in a fake beam with metal decorative bands and I thought what a great place to hide some bucks, and it was. I could just see the end of the folded bills with my flashlight. I had to stand on the bed and could just wiggle out the money… Thank you very much. That was a weekend trip that was paid for.
I suspect, in many cases, the items were forgotten by a trucker, or a sales person on the road and was safe guarding the stash for whatever reason. So they get 2 hours down the road and the thought hits them “oh crap I forgot my money” or whatever. It will now take 2 more hours to go back and another 2 hours to get where the hand hit the forehead and they are now 6 hours down. Most are on a schedule and cannot take the time to go back, so they write it off or figure they will pick it up on a return trip, or I don’t know ! I also think most of these things no one ever returns for the item. If they do the room is taken and they have no access anyway.
Older motels are better because they offer more places to hide stuff, but new places have some fine places as well, like the furniture. Even under the mattress the oldest spot in the world, but people continue to hide stuff under the mattress. Lift them so you can to see the middle of he bed and under the bed look for taped up stash on the frame. Don’t forget behind pictures. I have taken them apart and found money. Always put everything back as it was. Leave no trace!
One time we were pulling into a roadside cafe and a bunch of bikers were roaring out of the parking lot. 4 cop cars were there. We went in the place and it had booths lined up by the windows. The windows had curtains and a shelf like inset. I sat down and it was a natural thing to put my arm on the shelf thingy. And what the hell I felt a gun, hidden behind the curtain. I looked at my evil other half and said we have to go now. As we were leaving the parking lot, I spied two bikers racing back. I think when the law showed up one of those guys stashed the gun and was coming back to retrieve his stashed weapon. That was good luck on my part bad on his… Treasure is where you find it.
Over the years I have found a lot of money, by taking a few minutes to search a room. I can do it in about 15 minutes. I can look in 10 rooms and never find a thing, but once in a while it pays off. Nice hobby all just for the looking.


By Dude McLean


Please feel free to post comments on my articles, I enjoy hearing from and responding to my readers. When you're finished posting your comment please click PUBLISH to share your comment with me and my readers. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Survival Sitrep

Situation Report , those who were in the military will know this phrase. And most will know it any way. “SitRep”.
If you find yourself in a situation where you must spend the night when it was not planned, or like Daniel Boone once said, when asked the question, “were you ever lost in the woods” too paraphrase his answer ” no but I was mighty confused once for 3 days” So, if you find yourself “confused” for a minute sit down and and ask yourself some questions, best if you have a notebook and a writing device, and write the questions and the answers down.
What is the character of the terrain?
What do have with you? (Take it out and list your gear)
Does anyone have any idea where you are?
My suggestion is to write down what you may encounter, weather, water and shelter come to mind.
You need a positive and complete report and what you need to do in the immediate future. Try to avoid any danger, as simple as tripping and turning an ankle,
what critters are in your AO. There might be conditions that could harm you. Make a check for, critters, tracks and dens. How much light is left… More on that in a minute.
Do you have knowledge of plants that might help hold back hunger or add to your rations? My list would include some of these ideas. Weather (what is it doing), water, terrain, animals, snakes, hunger, fire, shelter, not in any order at this point just get it down on your check list.
This activity will help you get yourself settled down and thinking in a positive mode.
How much daylight is left should determine you shelter building. If you have A Tarp or large garbage bags it can cut down on your building time. Depending on the AO, in the woods, you have a hardware store at your fingertips. Lots of useful wood for building a great shelter.
  • Pile on the brush deep.
  • The more you get the warmer you will be.
  • Make it small in order to hold in the heat.
  • Be careful of dead limbs above you. Even when not windy they have a nasty habit of breaking off and falling.
Good idea if you have time is make a smaller shelter under a larger one… helps a lot with insulation
If you can make a fire, try heating some rocks that can be moved intro your sleeping area. Also try and keep off the ground, heat rises and contact with the cold ground will draw body heat away. So if you are able and have the time make the shelter so you can build a bed frame up off the ground. This will pay off for a comfy warm night.
In the desert, never make camp in a dry river bed or any place that can carry water. Again, depending on what kind of desert you find yourself in, you may be able to build a wickiup . The same things applies. Heat stones to move into your shelter. If you are by water don’t camp too close as it will attract all kinds of critters, including nasty biters. However it would be a great place to set some traps. Please allow plenty of time to construct your shelter before it gets dark. Most books never cover the time frame it takes to build a proper shelter.
Keep checking your SitRep, so you are on point. Hopefully you have some kind of communication so you can alert the right folks you are okay but are just confused.
Being in reasonable physical shape will be a huge advantage. If you have the skills you will be able to fashion some great trap triggers. Set as many as you can, and continue to do so for the duration. Having some snare wire will be a giant plus. Keep track of where each trap is set and trip them all when you are leaving, make a map in your notes. Keep improving your shelter as well, it can be improved on everyday.
Planed survival is always best. That’s why you have a notebook that is water proof. I am Assuming you have at least one knife. If you do not, finding some rocks will get through the problem. Bash them and you will end up with a discoidal blade that will be very sharp and is an excellent cutting tool.
My suggestion is to stay put, unless you suddenly remember where you are and the confusion lifts.
A map might help, if you can ID some terrain features and you are really positive where you are on the map. But if it is say foggy you are out of luck.
A compass will help if you know what direction to go. That could be just as confusing, so you might be SOL.
Don’t panic. You have your SitRep to consult and other ideas might come to you.
Make yourself comfy by improving the situation every day. Folks will be looking for you. .Don’t be embarrassed you’re lost… it happens to the best of us.
Years ago, I was in the San Gabriel mountains and a fog rolled in. I knew this area well, so I kept going. I went left, I think, looked like it was down hill… it wasn’t and it turned out to be the wrong ridge line. I could only see about 12 or 15 feet. Seeing was zip. I walked looking for something I could ID… Didn’t happen. Then it started to get dark, wet, and cold. I had started above the city of Burbank. When it started to get dark, I could just make out some lights to my right.. The fog was lifting. I went down hill…Very rough going. I ended up coming out on the outskirts of the city of Glendale. I had hiked about 8 miles… I had no clue. When I found a pay phone, remember those?, I had a buddy come and pick me up . He still, to this day, makes fun of me. I would have been better off just hunkering down until the fog lifted, but I knew the area so well, I thought I would see something that would give me a tip. Did not happen. I have been hiking in the area since I was kid. It didn’t make any difference, over confidence and perhaps ego would not let me admit I was confused.
Be prepared and own the skills, and be ready to admit you are lost and or confused, no shame in that at all. I had the where with all to make a fine comfy camp, but I knew better, Riiiiiiight.
[At the time of this ordeal, more than 50 years ago, I was about 25. It had never occurred to me to apply a SitRep to hiking, camping, hunting or being turned around. After this little hike though, I reached back to my Marine Corps training and pulled out SitRep,.taking a notebook and pencil, thinking through to a positive conclusion by utilizing the SitRep]


By Dude McLean

Please feel free to post comments on my articles, I enjoy hearing from and responding to my readers. When you're finished posting your comment please click PUBLISH to share your comment with me and my readers. 

Cold Steel Bushman

The Cold Steel Bushman has proven its self over a long period of time. Seems like there has been a lot of talk about the cost of knives and many opt for knives like the Mora and such.. Some like it because the Mora is inexpensive and seems to work for them. Others have no use for it. Be that as it may, it is still popular.
The “Bushman”, both large and small, is one great tool for the money. I have both the mini and the large. Here are a few mods I did.
One day, while at the local Home Depot, I spied some key rings, so I bought some of the key rings that fit over the handle of the Bushman. I then wrapped the handle with green duck tape over the rings and handle, holding the rings in place. Then you can wrap that with paracord, if you so desire. Now you have some handy and always available rings you can use for snares or other things that may have the need for loops. By wrapping the handle, you are not grabbing a cold steel, no pun, when it is cold out and gives you a better purchase with your tender hands, and does not slip.
For many years my friend Christopher Nyerges beat the hell out of a large Bushman while batoning wood to process hearths and fire wood. Many times he used a large rock to pound down the Bushman, if a wood baton was not handy. Not the best idea, as he knows, but the Bushman took the abuse for many years and kept right on ticking, and is still in use to this day. The edge has never rolled and Only needs a touch up to keep it sharp and ready for chores. Like being used as a draw knife, or any other chores he needs it for. It is not a thing of beauty, at this point, except for its performance.
The other day I was doing a class with a friend and he was using his knife to baton some hard oak and rolled the edge on his not so cheap knife, one that has a very good rep. Granted it was not made for this use, but he had done it many other times with no problems. The oak was very hard and he may have hit a knot. I handed him my Bushman. I don’t think he had ever used one before, because he was very surprised. It went though all the rest of the oak effortlessly.
I always carry this knife in my pack. I think in truth this is a knife we all know about but many never bothered with it, It is well worth the nominal cost, and will give you great service.
The Bushman. is all one piece with the handle being hollow. This affords other utility, like adding a stick for a longer handle or a long stick for a spear. You can also put some goodies in the hollow portion for emergency use, like water purifying tabs, fish hooks, and any other small items you might wish to add. I have used these knives since they were introduced and some folks have turned up their collective noses at them but they are missing the boat by not having a few or more.
Now, this is not a knife that yells” wow Am I pretty or what?” . This is a real user for anything, and works hard at it, never giving up. Like I said,not the best looking knife in the world, just a work horse and in the Dirt that is what you want and need. They are inexpensive and you can get them everywhere. The Cold Steel Bushman, you can't go wrong.



By Dude McLean

Kurt Saxson Quotes

Kurt Saxon is the man who coined the word “survivalist” he wrote many books about survival, had news letters and etc. His ” The poor man’s James Bond series of books were classic Saxon. He had another set of books he published  mostly reprints of 1800s technology and interspersed with his own articles. In the 70s he took the survival world by storm and continued his writing though the 80s and 90s
Nothing was taboo to him and he always rocked a lot of boats . As it turns out he was way ahead of the “preppers” today with his idea of 1800s use of technology. I have his whole collection in my desert  man cave. Some of it is absurd some is right on the money. He wrote for every survival magazine of the time.His books are still available.
I met the ,man at a survival expo in about 1983 in Pasadena , California, he had a few missing fingers from playing around with explosives, read experimenting!
 Here are a few quotes. These are from 1982  “the Weaponeer”
FANTASY OF SURVIVAL
 ” The silliest is the scenario which tells of the survivalists ,seemly dying of old age after interminable  battles with a never ending list of enemies. The World has sunk in to perpetual barbarism. Valhallah!”
 “The gung ho survivalist who fancies himself an eternal warrior or warlord , keeping himself alive by looting urbanites and then the rurals is plainly and simply doomed. His  mastery  of martial skills will leave him about as useful  as a muscle bound bound sports “hero” in a machine shop”
 “After the  collapse , only the versatile will be useful. The narrow specialist , whether he is in hi  tech , or a Brinks guard will serve no more purpose than  teats on a bull”
 ” The danger to the weapons freak is a false sense of security. He believes  he can defend his holdings from all comers, or, if he has none, he can take what he needs from others not so well armed, or he can hire out”
 “Defending  an untenable position is stupid. Surviving urbanites  may only be refugees , leaving most of their holdings behind and finally  being killed by hostile rurals “
“Hiring out  will only be temporary , The Great Culling  will exterminate those with the need to take what they haven’t earned”
“Most of them are decent  men with regular jobs , just hobbying. They are all right, but there are among them who live for the day when gthey can be free to kill anything that moves. I hope they all do yeoman service in the coming urban hellishness . But they will not be needed for long in a rural environment.”
He goes on about living in A rural location in Arkansas and about being involved in the community. He speaks of  how most are vets  and are at  least part time hunters,  his county is a  garrison state without meaning to be .  he states there is about 70- miles of hillbillies  between him and the nearest city.  Aside from having it out with a few infiltraters  he will most likely never any action at all., if he is lucky..”
 “In my downplaying of the importance of weaponry I dont mean to belittle  readers of the Poor Mans James Bond or the Weaponeer or any other such works. Learning  to make things yourself ,for one otherwise totally dependant on others  even weapons ,   for ones manufactured wants and needs , especially ones safety. “
 So he seems to have been ahead of the curve.

By Dude McLean


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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Easy to make and a great game getter it is silent and deadly. you can bag 4 legged critters and larger birds, like duck and pheasant and geese. It also makes for a great weapon against two legged jerks.
I feel this has been an underrated weapon for hunting and for defense against a knife or clubs, just by swinging it you can defeat and disarm a person with a knife—gives you great reach.
The Argentine Gauchos have used them for centuries, they used the bolas as the cowboys used a lariat to stop a cow or calf in its tracks, by wrapping them around the legs.
All it really is is three balls, or if you like, round weights made of metal or lead. The old lead weights are very good for this weapon, but hard to get now. Cover the balls with leather, and and tie them to three lengths of cord of equal in size. Take the cords and tie them together, this will form a knot that is also your holding point while you helicopter the bolas. I have a set that I made with the use of pool balls. I have another set that the leather bags were filled with wet sand. You can use rocks, round and the same size is best. Or, you can use a bunch of smaller pebbles. You can buy small leather bags almost anywhere.
When the bolas touch an object with any one of the balls the whole thing will wrap up tighter than you may be able to unwrap them, at least it can be a chore.
Practice on a post that is covered in a several wraps of cloth. Make sure it is far from your dogs or any other live thing—They can kill or maim or disable in a heart beat. When the balls are heavy such as lead weights they will take out a human if it hits them in the head or any other critter. Billiard balls really work well.
It does not take long to become very very good with them.
Once I was at a lake side and just because I was there I threw the set of bolas at a flock  of ducks as they took off, as luck would have it I wraped one up out of sheer luck and brought it down like right now, it was dead. I had roasted duck that night.
The length of the cords
Try 2 feet first, is my suggestion, then move up to longer lengths as you improve your throwing technique.
helicopter the bolas over your head, you only need to do it one revolution. At first you will do more than one revolution but you do not gain much and game will see it the longer you stand there swinging this thing over your head. The aiming will come naturally as you use them. You can become deadly accurate very quickly.
I made a bamboo tube that I can carry my bolas in, first I push in a ball and follow that with the respective cord. Then the next ball goes in and again that is followed by the cord, the last ball,goes in and then the cord follows. I can pull on the cord on top and the device comes out not tangled up but ready to use. You can also use a tube made from PVC.
This is easy to carry on your person and weighs next to nothing.
Be aware that you do not hit own self in the head, you might not wake up. This is not a toy and you use these at your own risk, however it is a skill that you will not regret learning. It is a skill to own and is a lot of fun.

By Dude McLean


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The Always Gun

Reading as of late brings on the rash of home invasions. I feel we are only hearing of a small percentage of these invasions.
For myself, and others who are showing some gray hair, it means to young punks “harmless old guy can be taken out so is an easy mark”. Well, I believe part of the solution is the “always gun” no matter where or what, along with the skill of being aware.
Being aware has to be practiced until it is second nature. Most guys think they are very aware and my question has always been, “how do you know?” No one is there pointing out what you missed. I have written about this subject in the past and once had an article in “Wilderness Way” magazine titled “You are only aware of what you are aware of”
That brings us to the “Always Gun”. For well over 40 years, I have had my always gun on me or right next to me. If I get up it comes with me. Now, where I live today, in the high desert and pretty remote, I feel it is more than the right thing to do. The combo of an older guy and being remote might lead some bad guys to think ahhh easy mark. Maybe not, sez I. Most of the time my 45 is on my hip—I love 45s. I leave it on when I’m writing or watching tv. After a while, you forget it is is even there. You get used to it. By my bed side is my 45, a 12 ga. shot gun, a vec hawk and a machete… Some people worry others prepare.
If I could see into the future, I wouldn’t have to have an always gun or other weapons so handy. I would wait until the red flag went up and I would be warned in advance. Since I’m not able to see into the future, I feel it is prudent to be prepared as much as I am able, to ensure my own future.
My always gun was very handy the other night when I had the incident with my dogs and the coyotes. It was also with me when two guys came up to my gate pretending, I think, to sell me some frozen meat, it is not the area where you go to try and sell anything door to door. Most places like mine are fenced with locked gates and the homes are acres and acres apart, and really spread out. They eye balled my 45 and my two dogs who were going off on them. After some choice words, they hauled butt. When they came up to the gate I didn’t have to go fumbling around for a weapon it was already in place.
I will recount another true story that my friend Alan Halcon can verify as well. Several years ago, on the 4th of July, we were having a party… daytime bbq and etc. It was the middle of the week, when the next door gardeners started using a leaf blower, causing the the dust to go all over our food. I got up and told the guy to stop. He just kept on going. I told him to stop again. He said his boss told to him to keep going… it was getting heated at this point. I told him he was now on my property and to stop. Out of about 25 men who were attending the 4th of July party Halcon was the only one who got up and came out to where I was, to check on me and all the loud yelling. I asked Halcon to tell the guy in Spanish to stop using his blower because he was blowing dirt all over the food. The guy told Halcon to” F:” off, then he pulled some pruning shears and took a swipe at me. I was backed up against my garage door with no where to go as was Halcon. The next this thing dumbass did was look really scared. Halcon had A knife at his belly and I had gun in his face. I don’t know who was more surprised the guy or Halcon as I was wearing a t-shirt and shorts. We told him to drop the shears, he did. In the news there had been recent reports of guys using shears to cut up people. Now, this was in a pretty upscale hood of Toluca Lake, Ca., something you would not expect there. No it wasn’t my 45 It was a Beretta Tom Cat, 32 caliber. But, I betcha it looked bigger to the dumbass. You just do not know what and where anything will take place. Later on Halcon asked me where that gun came from? He did not even see me pull it out. All he saw was the gun in the guys face.
A neighbor, who happened to see the whole thing from his second story home, asked me the same thing the next day. He said, all of a sudden, like magic, I had a gun in this idiots face. My safety was off as I pulled the weapon… Practice pays off.
Granted a stupid thing turned almost very bloody, and I’m glad it stopped where it did. Things get out of control very fast. I could relate a few other events, but that is enough for now. My point is the always gun should always be.
The always gun takes some discipline to carry all the time, even around your peaceful home. At this party, the last thing on my mind was we would have any trouble of any kind .
The Always Gun. some people worry others prepare. Over the years I have had intensive training and continue to train. The Always Gun. is great insurance for you and yours, if you know how and when to use it. Make sure to train and keep training for the always gun, it will pay off.

By Dude McLean


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Silly Toys

As with all preps, the bucks are hard earned on our end and one needs to be very prudent about what you buy. One should do a lot, or as much, research as possible… time to be tough on yourself. What is a silly toy as compared to real life use, in the field or at home. And if you would ever need it in place of another tool, or with a bit of improve on your part would answer just fine.
My suggestion is don’t get mixed up between every gadget that is offered up in the name of survival. Know the difference between silly toys and real tools. Lots of stuff comes to mind that really would make no difference in your life. Survival silly toys for silly boys under the guise of a must have real survival tool are everywhere. Survivalists and preppers is big bucks for many internet and brick and mortar business… they are all looking for the next item to sell you.
Perusing the internet 1000s of companies are all vying for your buck. Most are run by good folks, but it is a business trying to get you to spend with them. I see some folks on treks, hikes, classes, etc they might as well be Batman, they have so many items in pouches and sheaths wrapped around them. Who knows if they, in reality, can even work, or if they even do work. Many items look cool and all seem to justify the carry, use and cost. When did it get so complicated? You might point a finger and say well you’re old school… granted that just means I own the skills, without compromising my life for silly tools. The only batteries I want to carry is for my headlight, and for any comm gear I choose to use to keep in touch. I don’t need a battery for a fan for a cook stove. As a matter of fact, I don’t need a cook stove, when I can make one from a can, that if made the right way works as well as any thing else on the market. The idea is to cook and be at ease with it. I don’t need a stove that looks like a volcano and will boil water in 45 seconds, though I’m sure some of you reading this will give me some sort of ridiculous reason why I do.
I’m not naming any names, but you know the silly toys when you see them, I hope. What gets me is we see some of these items pushed by perceived experts, either from their books or TV shows, so they must know what they are talking about, right? They are getting paid and some times very well. Survival sells. Now walk this line of thought with me. It does not mean they are not skilled, because most of them are—some are highly qualified—however some are not. It’s up to you to find out the difference, that is part of your homework. The range of items that are for sale is staggering, with the promise to help you survive. You would need a pack train to carry all this stuff. This goes for all kinds of storage items also. When it is promised it will last for X years, what happens when it fails, and the SHTF, who do you call? Answer… No one.
I for one do not want to be Batman with his utility belt, that was a great idea when I was a kid but not now, I also found out I couldn’t fly, despite my neato cape. Some of this stuff makes you think you will be Superman by having it. Silly toys for silly boys and for suckers… one is born every second. Common sense seems to have taken a backseat. You are only as stupid as your parents. Apparently, it’s true, as we see them march in lockstep for the silly toys.
Any of you who are reading this and if you have suffered this far, and have been to any of the Dirttime events and classes know you do not need gadgets and those silly toys. Keep your money and spend it in a wise manner. Own the skills first, Your brain is the only gadget you need.

By Dude McLean

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ray Mears, My Outdoor Life… Review



Most of us involved with survival and primitive skills, or just outdoorsmen in general, have heard of Ray Mears, have read his books on bushcraft, or have seen him on TV hosting his outdoor shows in remote places. Many times, we really do not think too much about the host, as long as they make sense and are concise in their delivery. Ray Mears is one of those people who make it look effortless and has a way of being there, but not in he way. That makes for a very pleasant viewing and learning experience, for those of us who are interested in the subject matter. In other words, he does not get in his own way.
What we don’t know is the man himself. His book is a real eye opener, about The Ray Mears we never knew… I just wish he had not kept it all under wraps for so long. But then again, he wasn’t ready, or old enough, until now to share the many personal images of his life, and what a life it has been.
He takes you back to his beginnings as a boy and brings you forward to the man he is today. He could just as well been a professional photographer, the choice was up in the air, and we would not have had the privilege of his knowledge of bushcraft and the many other subjects he covers, in his books and his films.
What I find interesting is his preparations when he films. He is demanding of his crew. He wants only real professionals, who always deliver, no matter the obstacles. If in a remote land, he demands respect toward the peoples who’s land they are visiting… No looking down at them. He really wants to present the very best quality.
The chapter on man tracking, where he is involved in the largest man hunt in the country, ever, takes you through all the emotions he was experiencing.
Writing a book about your self has to be very difficult. You are walking a tightrope between being an over the top egotist, or being so humble as to be not real and untruthful. My take is, he took the high road and laid it out like it was and is. I found his style refreshing and charming. His love affair of Judo and his mentors is told in a very respectful manner. He is a man who has earned many hard lessons and turned them into positives. All lessons are not earned, but I think Mr. Mears earned his lessons and was smart enough to know it.
First thing he is a bushman and has shown he can survive in any extreme environment. His skill set is nothing short of amazing. I think he is well on his way to becoming a legend. That is something you cannot buy or lobby for, or vote for. It is unintended. And, from reading his book, he would be embarrassed to think of himself as a legend… but a legend in the making is undeniable. His dedication to bushcraft seems to be driven and he is at the wheel. The story is very good and holds your interest. It is a compelling read. His life takes journeys unforeseen, just like a real person, like the helicopter crash he walked away from and the tragic loss of his first wife will bring a tear. The determination to make his bushcraft company, Woodslore, work, and be the best in the field. And, his new found happiness with life. Talk about dirttime, he spends as much as 250 days a year in the bush, day and night. He is the stuff of legend, in today’s world, with so many making claims, while he is doing it. A tip of my hat.
I have always held Ray Mears in high regard, but after reading this book, he commands my highest respect.
You cannot go wrong with his book. You will even learn a bit about bushcraft. The stories within the story are great
I am at a loss for words—a true outdoor adventure not to be missed.


By Dude McLean

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Cold Steel Weapons



The term, “Cold Steel” has been around for centuries, well before the “Cold Steel” we know as a knife company, came along.
“Taste the cold steel”. “20 inches of cold steel will do the deed “. “My cold steel will change his mind”, and so forth. Guns are a hot weapon, and what if for some reason you cannot get your hands on one, you name the reason. What’s left are cold weapons, most obvious being a blade of some sort and the myriad iterations—daggers, swords, machetes, Kukris and the everyday butcher knife. In California, the weapon that has killed more people by one man is a butcher knife— Ramon Salcedo killed 7 people with a butcher knife. All knives make fine self defense cold weapons, with a little training. There might be reasons where a cold weapon is better, silence is one factor, surprise another. There is a reason for the 21 foot rule with a gun against a knife. Knives are natural in the hand and move with you. Most knives are easy to conceal as well, and as a cold weapon, offer many choices.
Before leaving the cutting edge cold weapons, the hatchet, ax, and ubiquitous tomahawk are called on. The ax, hatchet, and tomahawk go back thousands of years and They certainly have the rep to back them up. They are fearsome to face and can reach out and do damage. They are easy to have by your bed or other close by place you can grab in a heartbeat. Practice should be done with countering and attack moves. However, I feel it is a natural weapon in the hand and it will come to you easily. Two tomahawks in your hands is a thing to see in action. Tomahawks were even used in’Nam. That sums that up.
A good old all American baseball bat makes for a cold weapon, as does a pipe, and have been used many times. They also have an intimidation factor that more dangerous weapons do not. They are still used as cold weapon for robberies because of the intimidation factor. the baseballl bat is a cold weapon of choice, for many in their truck or car. Stored with a few baseballs and  baseball mitt to show you were not planning on using it as a weapon, might help. Most really do not know how to use the bat other than to swing it. I suggest you get a few lessons, I have seen some good ones on Utube
Another cold weapon is a cane, and you can take them everywhere, at the time of this writing, including airplanes the last time I checked.
The hook or crook can be used to trip someone or to capture an ankle or the back of a knee and take them down. Around the neck works well as does capturing an arm and twisting the cane as you pull it toward you.You may also just whack your attacker, or poke them in the face or location of your choice, like the groin. Canes are so common and it is not  unusual for any age to be seen with one. I have on occasion carried a cane. On that same train of thought, an umbrella, a crowbar or a tire iron can ruin an assaulter’s plan really fast.
The bow and arrow are cold weapons but as a self defense weapon, could be a bit awkward in a home or ant close quarters. The crossbow it seems might work much better, the draw back, no pun, is they are slow to reload. From a distance, both could be a physiological edge. Having a few arrows landing at random in your AO, or a few quarrels would be a discombobulation factor, especially if your partner has an arrow sticking his chest, that only happens in movies right?!
The sling shot and the ancient sling can be mastered in a short time by practicing everyday for a month. The sling shot has taken large game like deer and in the hands of the person who has mastered that skill would be deadly to go up against. The slingshot today has the power to generate velocities that are unreal. The ancient sling was used in armies of old. The Macedonians used them and many times those troops were the front line and they employed the slingers by the thousands, even having special locations in which they manufactured the ammo. The ancient sling is still used today in many parts of the world.
In truth anything you can pickup is a cold weapon. A lamp in your face is not pleasant. A fork in your eye is hurtful, and any corner of a table that is squared is a weapon waiting for you to shove some scums head into it
These are just a few ideas on cold weapons. You may have others as well, maybe they will work better for you… you do have options.
If you live in the country, a pitch fork will work. Sledgehammers or any hammer will also work. A shovel is a great weapon too.
What do you have in your passive cold weapon collection, hidden cleverly, under your tunic?

By Dude McLean


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The Toxic Foragers Lawn



I have read many times, over the years, about finding edible plants in your lawn or a neighbors lawn and harvesting them. Personally I feel this is mostly a bad idea. Lawns in general have more chemical additives than any other single place you might forage from. Lawns usually get a lot of fertilizers, with some having a so called weed killer added to the mix. Lawns use far more chemicals per square foot than even commercial farms use, all in the name of a green lawn.
I feel the prudent forager would be aware of the kinds of chemicals he has added to his lawn. If you are confident you know the level of toxic additives you have applied, or not, use your informed judgment at that point. Your neighbors lawn is a crap shoot. You have no idea what and how often he has poisoned the land, in order to attain the preferred green lawn. Harvesting from that toxic plot of grass may not be a good idea. The plants that pop up can be loaded with bad stuff. Pass up the temptation of that lambs quarter that is calling you.
I believe lawn chemicals added to the millions of acres of lawns, are doing way more harm to the nations water tables than most heavy duty industries. Of course this is conjecture purely based on nothing other than observation and coming to a logical conclusion.
Even vacant lots in many cities are places where the city government dumps weed killers to eradicate those “unsightly weeds”. The exception might be if you have observed those locations for years and have seen  no evidence of chemical use , you could be good to go.
City and county parks have the same problem. In order to make it a pleasant place and to attract visitors, they soak the green with chemicals, and the great looking edibles that spring up, look great, because they get regular water and fertilizer. Any area that is “maintained” should be avoided in my book.
I think my friend Christopher Nyerges had it right , his whole front yard was filled with edible plants, looked way better than the useless green lawn.
Where does that come from anyway, having a green expanse no matter how small or large. My research shows it came from George Washington, at his home, in Mt Vernon. He had an immense front lawn, Why? He was emulating the brits, the rich ones who all cultivated green grass in front of their homes. It came to show prosperity to the passing citizens. It sure got out of hand. It created whole industries, from lawn mower makers to seed companies to fertilizer companies and the endless lines of gardeners to mow for you. People spend millions taking care of a useless lawn.
The useless lawn space could be used to grow edible plants of your choice, saving money instead of spending. Also would be a better more practical use of the front lawn.
By Dude McLean


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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Ancient Traps



It seems ancient traps do not have a “use by” date. The traps and trigger systems go back 10,000 years and more, lost in the mist of time.
They still work today, standing the test of time. Some have been rediscovered, like the promontory peg and it works very well, a two stick trigger system, a dead fall that is ingenious and effective. It had to work so the native peoples could eat , they did not use it for sport.
Most are familiar with the figure 4 dead fall system and its variations, but most do not set it up in the proper manner.The trigger system should be to the outside of the dead fall, so when the weight comes down the upright does not deflect the weight. The bait stick should be almost touching the back of the weight, if not touching it, for the best results. Some like this system because it is easy to learn and has a decent track record, only requires a few sticks and no cordage. In my research, the Paiutes are the origin for this trap. When you look at them the Paiute dead fall it is much the same mechanics as the figure 4, with the difference of the use of cordage, and perhaps a bit more efficient, but the same basic principle. The craft and the mechanics involved of these traps is pure genius. All over the world we find elaborate traps.
There are the so called line drives, called “kites”, stone built along like a deep fence that guides the animal to a killing field that they cannot escape from . Some of these guides are up to 40 miles long. Made from stone and wood, they have been debated for years. They were first seen from the air in WW2 and then studied in depth. Now that is an elaborate system that took years to build… that is a trap, said to date back about 3000 years. They were made for antelope and other critters of the hoofed kind.
The Mohave scissor trap holds the critter and with each breath the scissors squeezes ever more and within seconds causes death.A most elegant and humane trap. You can see where the idea came from for all the body holding traps like the conibear.
Ancient man who lived on the sea shores all over the world seemed to notice the same features along their respective shores. When the tide went out many fish were caught in tide pools. Trapped by nature they could not get out until high tide came back in. Most of these natural traps were crescent shaped, so the next logical step was to construct them by hand in order not leave it to chance so they could benefit from the bounty of the sea.
We have not even touched the myriad traps in existence, after all it takes a large book to cover them all. The snare traps and the variations is a facinating subject. My point is to bring attention to how these ancient traps are found all over the world. The ingenuity of ancient man is really astounding. Just the mechanics is a huge step to have been taken by our ancestors and we still benefit from those peoples today. Those who are into the primitive techno aspects of the ancients are working with the brilliant results handed down by these peoples.
If you have the occasion to use one of these traps be sure to thank those who came before us and indeed invented a trap system that fed them and allowed us to exist.
By Dude McLean


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Foraging California .. Book Review



Christopher Nyerges, has  a brand new book just released .
From Falcon Press and all in color, the book offers up recipes and nutrition charts. A break down of locations and time of year for harvesting. It also [ncludes what Christopher calls “Forager Notes”,  that gives you ideas on how to collect the bounty. It covers the use , the range, similarity to toxic species, the best times, the status and tools needed to collect. All plant photos  are in color showing a good specimen in each photo, plus detailed information on each plant. There is a  great chapter on the “staff of life, best wild food bread sources”, excellent information. For those with a sweet tooth, Christopher offers A  section on the best wild food sugars and desserts. The chapter on the dozen easiest to recognize,  most wide spread foods of California is a great help for beginners and those with experience alike. Included are several easy to read charts that will be a great easy guide for you.
One area in books that most never read are the “introduction ” and ” acknowledgement sections , in this case I feel it worth your time as it adds greatly to the how and why this man has become one of he leaders in edible wild plants education. It gives you an inside look at the man. Not to be overlooked is the endorsement of Paul Campbell, his stamp of approval is earned not bought at any price. He calls the book a ” brilliant guide”. Cant get any better than that.
This guide is an easy read told in Christopher’s classic style, that many are familiar with. Loaded with many antidotes about the plant/food he is informing us about, it makes for a more interesting read, taking you along the educational path by a master at the top  of his craft.
I liked the chapter titled “other edibles” giving information on these plants and why they can be edible and why they really are not used much.
Many of the plants are found outside of California , no matter where you live it can be a help. Though it is focused on California .
If you live in , California,  this is a guide you will use as your reference for many years to come, allowing you to become more comfortable and knowledgeable in your wild food harvesting.  I feel if you live in California this is the one book on wild edibles you cannot pass over, belongs in your pack and on your shelf.
 I highly recommend “Foraging California” wild foods guide. this is Christopher Nyerges at the apex of his game.
Christopher has authored over ten books on wild plants, survival and self reliance. He has written thousands of articles  and has had many thousands of students attend  his classes.

By Dude McLean


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Becomming Wild and Go Wild



My quest for information on a feral woodsman lifestyle has led me down many paths. From websites to Youtube to books, interviews and secondhand stories
Today I am covering a few books I have unearthed. These are two of the best in my opinion. I have read books on hermits, loners and misfits, books on being in the wilderness alone or in groups. The wide personalities and myriad, all over the world, places is astounding. Some are just sad, some are heartwarming, some are because of circumstance,or accidental.
The best are on purpose and planned. in the book “Becoming Wild ” living the primitive life on a west coast island, by Nikki Van Schyndel is one who planned and schemed to achieve a personal quest. As she states, sometimes predator sometimes prey in this isolated rain forest. She was a young woman from a family of money and lots of comfort, applied herself to learning primitive skills she felt she would need to live as a wild person. The book is written in a very transparent manner. She struggles with awakening ancient instincts, sensibilities and perceptions that are mostly lost for most of us.
As preps she graduated from Dominion Herbal College, in British Columbia. She has studied with and taught under some of North Americas leading survivalists, trackers and primitive artisans.
Self discovery, reconciliation and renegotiation with self is a thing to grab a hold of with her. Her goal? To forsake almost all technology known to modern man. She hooks up a kindred soul, Micah, who shares her vision. Together, they build a remote shelter and learn to trap bears. The bear scenes are heartbreaking because of what they dont know, but resolve themselves with learning by doing. Endless deprivation, starvation and extreme discomfort, but shows what you can do and what you can do to improve your condition. They stayed for two years before returning to the modern world. But that is even harder for her. She now has gone from wild woman to forest dweller where she conducts Echo Bay ecoVentures. She now lives in Echo Bay, a remote very small community where she built a log cabin. This is just one of the better books I have found.

The second book ” Go Wild” by John J. Ratey, MD, and Richard Manning. takes a far more academic point of view. It, in essence, supports much of my reasoning for a feral life. This book was brought to my attention by a Dirttime forum member. He thought I might find it interesting and I sure did. This book is very hard to do a review on, as the depth is wide and deep. Each page is loaded with information and investigates the power of evolutionary forces in our lives, and how it relates to a life in the wild… even on a part time basis. It points out some things that we already are aware of, like how much of our current distress is the product of how the activities of our regimented modern life estrange us from our biological needs along with contributing factors that make us ill.
Go wild to break free from the restrictions, from what we eat to where and when and how we exercise to keep healthy. For instance, a gym is a joyless place, all flat and no real air, etc. Running on a treadmill is not natural and your brain goes dead firing blanks. Where as running on a trail, where you have to pay attention, so you don’t trip, is a more natural way to run. This is what your brain needs to keep firing. The uneven terrain and bushes or tree limbs you have to dodge is a feral run that enlivens your brain and creates better muscle and balance. It engages your brain to work with your muscles. If you can go barefoot, do so, but any minimum sandal or mocs will work also. Do what works for you. Even a fast walk over uneven terrain will work. Since before the last Dirttime14, I have been wearing mocs. I find the difference to be invigorating. You learn to walk in a new manner that is for the better. Better than wearing those coffins we call boots.
Sleep is a big deal, more so than we know. This book goes into the why of sleep and how most of us do not utilize it in a proper manner. I have changed my sleep patterns for the better. The book deals with nutrition in a way that is fresh clear and makes sense, much more so than what most of us have been led to believe.
This is not a book for the masses, but they should be made aware of it it could change your life in a very positive way. The importance of just being in a wild place, even if you only have time to drive through it for a few minutes. But the more time you can spend in the wilderness, the better.Use the wild as your gym. Pick up rocks and lift them. Stretch out using limbs and trees. Pull yourself up and down. The research is impressive and enlightening. I feel it is a must read. I cannot begin to cover the contents of this book and this review does not give the book the justice it deserves.
By Dude McLean


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"Camping in the Old Style" by David Wescott Book Review

"Camping in the Old Style" by David Wescott
Gibbs Smith publisher   ISBN 978-4236-3794-3 (revised edition ) Hard back  255 Pages.



 At long last here is the version that should have been the first edition , this version is much more than a second edition with much added and many color pictures . I spoke with David Wescott and he is happy with this edition . Gibbs Smith the publisher got it right with quality paper and clear photos. This is a beautiful book loaded with information about camping in the old style , has many contributions by Steve Watts . They have produced an instant classic work. Covers the history of camping in the old style , the gear, the food and the clothing . Even if your cup of tea is not into old style and you use modern gear , I feel you will be enchanted with this work. . You cannot help but to  be drawn in. 

 The pages are jammed with great information for any outdoor lover , some of the observations are nothing less than profound. 
 For those who are fans of the old style here is your guide . This book will sit along side the old masters of camping an they will be proud to to be there with this fine book . The research is deep and readily apparent as you read through , with plenty of references from the old masters , look out here comes the new masters of old style camping. You no longer have to search through dozens of books for a piece of gear from the golden era of camping , it is all right here . The color photos enhance the look of of the old gear and promotes the feeling well. 

If by chance you are just getting started with the old style camping this book will support you with the correct information. This  is a master work on the subject. The book is loaded with references to the old school masters that you can collect for your library . Just those books  listed will greatly improve your understanding of why the old style is catching on with old and young alike. Rich in its passion for old style camping  that brings you closer to nature . This book brings it home. 

 Wescott give a tip of his hat to those that came first " It is to these writers we turn to to glean knowledge and experience that we might other wise lose if it is not conserved . Sources of information regarding techniques and technologies of our camping heritage are all but gone from the oral tradition."  And conserved  it is with this work Mr. Wescott and Mr. Watts . A standing ovation from this old style camper. 

 Get the book while can .  http://woodsmokeusa.com   or http://masterwoodsman.com

 By Dude McLean