Sunday, November 30, 2008

Early New Year Resolution

I have been drinking way too much soda and eating way too much fast food lately...ok, my whole life. I know how bad both of those things are for me and I've wanted to cut them out of my diet completely for a long time now. Unfortunately I haven't wanted it bad enough. Another thing I've been wanting to do lately is to start the second level of the Kamana Program. However, I'm really broke and the program is not free.
You may be wondering what these two things have to do with each other. Well I'll tell you. I recently started keeping track of how much money I spend on both fast food and soda, and though I'm not going to bother putting the amount in this post, let me just say that IT IS A RIDICULOUS AMOUNT!! So, since I have the brain of a genius, I had an epiphany moments ago in the shower.

If I stop drinking soda and eating fast food, which I want to do anyway, I can easily afford the Kamana 2 books in two months.

So that is my early new year resolution. Wish me luck. (I just amused myself by typing "wish me luck" with full knowledge that nobody reads this blog)

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I spent Thanksgiving with my girlfriend Krysta at her grandparent's house in Llano, Tx. The Colorado river runs straight through their backyard, so we hung out down there and skipped some rocks.
We also tried to break some rock and make discoidal knives...not much luck there though.
Where I live and where I grew up, there are literally NO rocks. So my knapping skills are really really lacking. I guy named Bill Metcalf teaches knapping in Killeen, Tx, which is several hours from where I live, but I hope to go and learn from him sometime soon.

We saw quite a bit of wildlife, but the only things I got pictures of were some moths and a bee on some asters growing near the river.
I made some nice hand-drill stalks from yucca, but they mysteriously dissappeared when all the children started showing up. Oh well.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Knife

After my knife broke last night, I decided to buy a new one. I don't have the money for The Scout right now, so I went to Academy and bought the Gerber Big Rock Camp Knife.I've always had good luck with Gerber knives and it was only $34.99, so I figured I'd give it a try. I'll take it to the woods tomorrow and try it out. Hopefully I'll return with my opinion of Gerber intact.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Knife Recommendation

I called this post "Knife Recommendation" because I recently bought a knife that I recommend that you NEVER USE. The knife I'm talking about is the Benchmade Model 10505 RANT DPT by Mel Pardue. Earlier this evening I decided to go to my sit spot to test myself and see if I could make a bow drill kit and start a fire with it in the dark. I grabbed a few dead branches off the ground and started to carve all the pieces. I finished all the carving except for the "V" notch in the hearth board. At that point I needed to make the bow so that I could burn the holes in. I quickly found a good branch and proceeded to hack off the smaller twigs and branchlettes. I think I got three good wacks in before part of my blade literally snapped off!I used to have a Gerber knife that I would love to recommend, but I can't seem to even find a picture of it online. I suppose they discontinued the model and I don't remember the name of it. It lasted me years and only cost about 20 dollars or so. Hopefully in the somewhat near future I'll be able to buy The Scout knife by Tom Brown Jr.. I have The Tracker, and if I knew I was going into a survival situation, it's definitely the knife I would choose to bring. However, for every day use, it's far too bulky. If The Scout has even half the quality of The Tracker then I have no doubt it's worth the money.

Tanning 1

Well it's deer season again. Which means it's time to try my hand at brain tanning again. I went to my girlfriend's dad's house to pick up my hide rack.

I'm only partially proud of this rack. I used wing nuts to bolt it together, so it's very easy to take apart and transport. What I don't like about it is that it's not quite sturdy enough. I would like to build another one with something thicker than 2x4's. Anyway, when I picked up the rack, my girlfriend's dad also gave me a deer hide to work on.

Here's a picture of the hide just after I thawed it out.
Once I got the hide thawed out, I brought out all my tanning tools.The deer (as usual) was poorly skinned, so I had a lot of fleshing to do. I bought this fleshing knife from Gander Mountain for under 10 dollars I think. It works really well.

I have a fairly nice fleshing beam that I made from a section of large pvc pipe, but I left it at my friend Jon's house so I just used a garden timber leaned against a tree. I think I actually like the upright method better, so I might stick with that. Here are some before and after fleshing pictures of the hide on the timber.

and after
Now the hide is soaking in a bucket of water and dish soap to loosen the hair. I'll continue posting this project as I go.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sense Test

Today at my sit spot I practiced my hand drill technique for a few minutes. It's been a while since I last practiced and my hands have become soft. I'm really trying to avoid getting blisters as bad as when I first started learning. The rest of the time I tried to focus on expanding my hearing. I tried to pick out as many different sounds as I could hear and identify them. Of course I heard cars, sirens, a couple planes and dogs barking in the neighborhood, but I also heard a breeze blowing through dead leaves in a tree, leaves falling through the branches of other trees, one possibly two bird calls I couldn't identify and some type of woodpecker. I hope to hone my sound awareness and knowledge base to the point of not only being able to accurately identify the sounds I heard but also to hear all the sounds I'm sure I didn't notice.

I also noticed these scratch marks on the uprooted dirt at the base of my sitting tree. Another mystery I hope to one day be knowledgeable enough to solve.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mostly Pictures

I didn't have much time to spend at my sit spot today, but I did take a few pictures.
Here are a few of the tree I sit on.

This is the trail leading toward the sit spot. There is also a lot of Black Berry growing nearby.

I'm not sure what these plants are, but I see them a lot and I want to figure it out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sit Spot

Part of the Kamana Home Study Program involves finding a spot in the woods to spend some time at as often as possible. After many failed attempts to find such a spot, I finally succeeded today. The problem I was having before is that I was being way to picky. I wanted to find the perfect spot. I had an idea of what it would look like in my head. The problem was that every time I would find a good spot it would be so far out of my way that I would never end up going back. I finally put my ideal spot out of my head and went with a functional one. There's a really nice tree that has fallen over that's really pretty comfortable.

-I'll post a better picture when I put more batteries in my camera.-

You can hear and almost see the road but it's really close to my house (about a 5 minute walk) and opens up into a very large section of forest. So when I need to go deeper I have the option. I think what's most important right now, though, is the fact that I can so easily get to my sit spot.


Hello, my name is Joshua. I am a student of nature. My love for the earth began while I was very young. I grew up playing in the woods and camping with my father and brother. When I was a bit older I randomly decided to buy and read "The Tracker" by Tom Brown Jr. That threw me into a new world. Suddenly the woods were no longer just a place to play, they were magical, beautiful, wonderous, and they were a part of my life. A very big part, I've realized. Since then I have completed the standard course at The Tracker School and level one of the Kamana Naturalist Training Program. I wanted to start this blog for two reasons. I want to keep a journal of what I'm doing, and I want it to be public so that it might help others who have the same interests.