Adventures with Bears

humor survival Dec 09, 2020

Since I’ve had the cabin property I’ve had numerous interesting, and sometimes scary, encounters with wildlife. Just recently, I unexpectedly ended up nearly face to face with a rather large bull moose. Fortunately this encounter ended uneventfully and I walked away only with a huge adrenaline surge and a very rapid heart rate. Now this type of encounter does not happen every week but it does happen regularly. But, to understand why that is requires a little background information.

My cabin property has always been somewhat isolated and very private. I purchased the property in 1996 and to this day I still do not have any neighbors. My property is part of a quarter section, which is 360 acres, that is completely surrounded by National Forest. The property is 9 miles from the main highway. Access is off a spur road and through a portion of National Forest. The last mile is a private road.

You have to go through three locked gates in order to get to the cabin. The property...

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Essential Knot Tying Skills

essential skills survival Nov 10, 2020

Knot tying skills are taken for granted way too often especially for those that are inexperienced in the outdoors. Knot tying skills are important in survival situations, performing first aid, when working over heights, working over water, climbing, and even during day-to-day chores on the homestead.

Although there are literally hundreds of knots that are used for many different applications, there are a few techniques that are truly essential. While hiking, camping, travel, and emergency situations, is it important to know how the do the following: 

  • Secure a line to a fixed object. For example a tent line secured to a stake or tree, tying up a horse to a post, securing the dog to a tree when camping
  • Securing a smaller rope to one of a larger diameter. For example: tying a large diameter rope between two trees and then using that as a means to secure several animals or other objects
  • Binding knots for bandages, securing bundles (firewood) for transportation
  • Securely attaching...
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The Basics of Survival

essential skills survival Nov 10, 2020

Learning the basics of survival stated when I was very young. My father took us on many camping trips and I spent a tremendous amount of time wandering through the forest. He taught us how to build a shelter, how to build a fire, and how to stay safe and warm. I continued that training as an adult by taking survival classes. Furthermore, I’ve spent many a weekend putting myself in “controlled” survival situations and practicing my skills.  

Although I am not a survival expect, I now live off the grid in an isolated area. Additionally the focus of this site is not about survival. However,  if you live off the grid you already know the importance of outdoor skills and simply being prepared. For example, at certain times of the year, if I stayed at the cabin it might be several months before I see anyone.  Consequently, I have to be prepared for emergencies. After 20 plus years at the cabin there have been several times I’ve found ...

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Learn to Read the Clouds

off grid living survival Nov 10, 2020

Perhaps the greatest challenge to any survival situation is dealing with the weather. Depending on your geographic location and altitude, the weather can be your best friend or your worst enemy.  This is why it is so important to have some basic knowledge about the weather.  Additionally, you can make some accurate weather predictions by reading the clouds. You can learn to read the clouds in less than one hour. 

You do not have to be a meteorologist to be able to make some basic predications concerning the weather.  You just need to be familiar with some basic types of clouds, why they form, and what that means as far as impending weather conditions. Understanding how clouds are named and correlating that with what you see can help you make reasonably accurate weather predictions. 

 

How Clouds are Formed

The most important thing to remember is that as air rises it cools. As the air cools, it can no longer hold as much moisture....

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Learn How to Build and Maintain a Fire

essential skills survival Nov 10, 2020

In order to get to my cabin, I have to drive through a Forest Service campground. Consequently, in the warmer time of year, I get to observe the camping practices and skills of a lot of people.  It never ceases to amaze me how many people want to spend the weekend in the mountains and they do not know how to  build a fire. Additionally, many of them do not know how to maintain that fire.  

Building and maintaining a fire is an essential survival skill. In fact, the ability to build a fire is considered one of the Ten Essentials of safe travel in the back country. In extreme circumstances, it could make the difference between life and death. A fire will help you stay warm and dry, cook a hot meal, and it is an incredible comfort in an emergency situation. 

 

Why You Need to Know How to Build and Maintain a Fire

This is a skill you need to learn and practice, practice, practice.  Even if you live in suburbia, it is essential to keep at least a small...

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Guide to Pickling Vegetables

Pickling is likely one of the easiest ways to preserve fresh produce.  This process has been used as a means of food preservation for over 4,000 years going back to the time of the ancient Mesopotamians. Food was pickled and used for long journeys especially by sea. 

The term pickle is derived from the Dutch word “pekel” or the northern German word “pokel” meaning salt or brine, which are two components important to the process.  These days in the U.S. and Canada the word “pickle” almost exclusively refers to pickled cucumbers. However, the end product of any food that is preserved by a pickling process is referred to as a “pickle”.

Pickling preserves food by anaerobic (without oxygen) fermentation. Consequently, this is typically done in either a salt brine or in vinegar. The brine creates an acidic environment which inhibits the growth of bacteria. Consequently the food does not need to be completely sterile.

In...

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How to Choose the Best Water Filter

survival water supply Nov 10, 2020
Having pure drinking water is critical whether you live off the grid or not.   In fact, having an available water source will be a critical factor in choosing an off grid property. In some cases, you may be able to connect to city water. If you can drill a well then you have an independent water source. Whatever your availability of water may be, there is always the possibility of that water source becoming contaminated. This is why it is important to have a backup system in place. That back up system is as simple as having an alternative means of producing potable water. This is where choosing a water filter becomes important. But how do you choose the best water filter for your particular situation? 
 

With so many products on the market, how can you possibly know which one is the best water filter? How do you choose a water filter that suits your situation?  In this post, I will outline the primary factors involved in evaluating the different products on the...

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The Ten Essentials Needed for Survival

essential skills survival Nov 10, 2020
There is a lot of talk in mountaineering circles about the “Ten Essentials”. This was a list that first appeared in the 3rd edition of Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, released in 1974. The 9th edition was released in November 2017. The purpose of the Ten Essentials is to answer two basic questions:
 
  1. Can you respond positively to an accident or emergency?
  2. Can you safely spend a night (or more) outside? 

First and foremost, this blog is not about outdoor survival, camping, hiking, and mountaineering.  It is about living a simple life off the grid. But many of us who live off the grid, myself included, do so in an isolated area with few if any neighbors.  Consequently, you have to know how to deal with the unexpected and make certain you always have the basics that are necessary for survival.  For this reason, I just want to do a quick post on the Ten Essentials.  

If you have read my post on the 100 Best Homestead Tools, then...

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How to Build a First Aid Kit

In our pursuit of self reliance we often overlook many of the small details that turn that dream into a reality.  One of the things that most people overlook is the possibility of dealing with medical emergencies. Yet this is an extremely important detail that must be addressed before you run for the hills.  Having a proper first aid kit on hand is a very important first step.  

A little knowledge and experience can help you keep calm during an emergency.  It can also help you to manage others and keep them from panicking. Having the ability to treat minor injuries or render basic support until you can consult a medical professional can potentially make the difference between life and death. At the very least, it may prevent an expensive visit to an emergency room.  At an absolute minimum, you should take a basic first aid class or become a certified first responder.  These skills will serve you well especially if you plan on living in a rural or...

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How to Start Your Food Storage Plan

It just makes sense to have extra groceries around the house. Those extra supplies will be useful in the event of a disaster or any other unexpected events that just seem to be a part of life.  Consequently, it is important have a food storage plan. Besides, it is an easy first step toward self reliance and becomes especially valuable in an emergency situation.

I grew up with two working farms in the family. We always had a large walk-in closet that was well stocked with home canned goods, extra dry goods, and other basic supplies. This was a normal part of being self sufficient.  In my opinion, it is similar to having an insurance policy.

In our modern age most people have either lost the desire or simply do not even see the need to have a food storage plan.  However, such a plan is one of the most basic and easy steps toward self reliance.  Simply consider what happens to millions of people every time there is a...

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