Monday, 30 May 2011

Urban Hunter [Spoof]

OK they're joking, but for how long? While I'm not a doom and gloom prepper myself the number of credible voices starting to talk seriously about coming food shortages are certainly rising. Suburban Detroit is already to be turned over to Cuban style city farms and several other cities are not far behind.

My own [early days] experiments with baiting suburban gardens suggest that while you wouldn't get fat, you'd be able to get a reasonable amount of protein from passing pests. If you supplemented pest control by keeping Rabbits and Hens even a very small space would feed a family.

Of course in Europe there are several precedents; during the Siege of Paris (19 July 1870 – 10 May 1871 Franco-Prussian War) market stalls did a thriving business in cat, dog and rat meat.

Le Monde Illustre, April 1871. 
The food shortages of WWII were felt even by the winners, with the rationing of most foods continuing into the 1950's. In Berlin pets weren't seen for quite a while after the conflict ended.

More about this to come
Your pal

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Mark Zuckerberg Wants To Be SBW?

Really? I was delighted to read that you and I dear reader are not alone in our desire to have a more honest relationship with our dinner. Mark Zuckerberg the founder of Facebook is joining us

"This year, my personal challenge is around being thankful for the food I have to eat. I think many people forget that a living being has to die for you to eat meat, so my goal revolves around not letting myself forget that and being thankful for what I have. This year I've basically become a vegetarian since the only meat I'm eating is from animals I've killed myself. So far, this has been a good experience. I'm eating a lot healthier foods and I've learned a lot about sustainable farming and raising of animals.
I started thinking about this last year when I had a pig roast at my house. A bunch of people told me that even though they loved eating pork, they really didn't want to think about the fact that the pig used to be alive. That just seemed irresponsible to me. I don't have an issue with anything people choose to eat, but I do think they should take responsibility and be thankful for what they eat rather than trying to ignore where it came from."
See the very very rich are just like us after all.

Rumours that Mark is a regular reader of this blog remain unconfirmed, although a 'close friend' was quoted as saying "who wouldn't want to be like SBW?"
Meanwhile SBW was quoted as saying "My life? He's welcome to it, even if he only wants to try it out for a week or two, I'll swap places with him in a heartbeat. it's the least I can do"

More soon
Your pal

Hat tip to Chad for finding this one, and if you don't believe me the story is here.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Locavore Escargot AKA Snails

It's that time of year again Helix aspersa or the common garden snail is out of hiding and on the move. Towards my dinner table.

The plateful in the picture were harvested (picked?) from a pile of unused border tiles in a wooded, but still inner-city (zone 2) London garden. I kept then in a lidded bucket and fed them on salad trimmings for two days which purged all the grit they had accumulated from their natural diet. Then they were fed for two days on white bread. The bread passing through the snails and staying white, tells you the purge is complete. A lot of recipes say you only need to purge them for twenty four hours but my 'white bread test' reveals that it's not quite long enough.

Boiled, rinsed and boiled again (approx. 5-10 changes of water) until the slime and froth were gone. Stuffed back into their shells with a dab of parsley, garlic and butter. I baked them until I could stand the deliciousness of the smell no longer. Served with rustic bread to mop up the melted butter. Yummy.

More soon

Thursday, 26 May 2011

If You Only Had One Wild Food Cookbook

'We live in an edible world. And yet many of us have forgotten the feast that lives all around us'
Regular readers will know that I'm a HOOJ fan of Hank Shaw's writing and recipes, his enthusiasm for reclaiming the foods of the wild is a massive inspiration to me, his book is finally out and for you lucky people in north america his book tour is under way. Hank has pulled off that rare feat of being a blogger who has been lauded by the publishing mainstream, twice nominated for the James Beard Food Awards basically the Oscars of the food world.

"I am not simply cobbling together all my old blog posts into a book. You will definitely see some of the same topics I write about here, but Honest Food will go deeper, be more helpful for those looking to get started on these endeavors, be less regional in focus (I’ve lived all over the country, so the book will not be California-centric.) and will – I hope – not only tell readers how to hunt or fish or forage wild greens, but will also tell them why they should bother in the first place."

So far Hank has confirmed for 20 dates across the US over the next three months and if you ask nicely he may well take a detour to vist your local book shop!

UPDATE several people have asked for a visit and Hank has now added:
San Diego, Toronto, Memphis, Billings, and probably Boulder, someplace in Michigan, Eugene and maybe even Bozeman. With Los Angeles TBC

Hank is updating this post with dates and adresses

Amazon have it for less than $15 and you can try before you buy at his blog Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

If I can scrape the money together you may even see me at the readings in Boston and or NYC

Your pal

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Kifaru Stuff Sack Review

Well who-da-thunk-it a sleeping bag stuff sack that's actually worth reviewing?

I've always seen sleeping bag stuff sacks as a necessary evil, yes they do what it says on the tin and make the bulky less bulky, but they make your bag into a far from ideal shape 'Football' shape [OK 'soccer ball' to some of you].  So why no one ever thought of this before?

Of all the terrific and innovative stuff Kifaru offers, this is among the best.

In summation
As usual with Kifaru, not cheap, but brilliantly thought out, terrifically well made, and frankly worth the money.

More soon (as in more kit soon as I can afford it)
Yours in well equipped penury

Link to the kifaru site

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Skinning Rabbits - Made Easy

Advice as good as this deserves a wider audience.

Yeah I know filler post, but a funny filler post.
More soon

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Unboxing: Parker Hale Phoenix Air Rifle Review

Parker Hale Phoenix PCP (Pre Charged Pneumatic) Air rifle spittin' .177's @ 11.22 Ft/Lbs.

I first put my hands on one of these about a year ago, but sadly had to leave it in the shop. Apparently a pre-read newspaper and half a Kebab wasn't an aceptable offer, they wanted money too. Lots of it.

Parker Hale have taken the road less traveled with the design , there's no visible bottle so it looks more like a centre fire rifle. Air rifles (as opposed to BB guns) usually come bolt action or straight pull, Parker Hale have gone for a leaver action, that really works - straight out of the box 10 [poorly] aimed shots in 8 seconds!

I've sold my Air Arms S400 to Nurse Mc [you'll meet him later] and he kept threatening to collect it, which would have left me perilously under armed - you know how it is, the Tree Rabbits would literally eat E's woodland to stumps, if your pal SBW and The Northern Monkey weren't on hand, pellet guns at the ready, rubbing our hands with glee at 'the culinary solution'. So when I found a chap selling off dads old rifles I bought the the Parker Hale. Even as I went to collect it I was in two minds, as I'd been saving up for a Weihrauch, but the price was good so if it didn't work out I could probably chop it in against the Weihrauch. No way.  While a little heavier the Parker Hale has similar build quality and accuracy to the Weihrauch, but the leaver action is a revelation, it's just so much fun to shoot!

200 BAR bottle good for 60+ shots more if you go for the longer barrel and .22

Nicely made, fast to the next shot, easily accurate enough for hunting

A bit heavy, no pressure gauge, can't fit an adjustable butt pad

Next steps
Lower scope mounts, find that Accucover, choose a bipod, and a posh leather sling

Your Pal

PS Hubert isn't blogging at this time but his blog Rabbit Stew is far and away the best air rifle hunting blog on the web, and attracted intelligent comments. Here's how the grownups debate .177 vs .22

For really informative air gun writing visit B.B. Pelletier's Pyramid AIR and Nigel Allen's Air Gun Blog.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Food Inc.

I cannot recommend this highly enough. A fascinating documentery about the industrialisation of the food chain. Here's the link to LEARN MORE

More Soon

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Modern Life - Still Rubbish

I feel a paralysis not because these images are horrible but because this particular issue is just one (a faraway one at that) of the many problems in the world and I don't know which should get my attention and hence no issue gets my active attention.

From the excellent Boiled Down

More soon

Friday, 6 May 2011

Weekend Reading: New UK Blogs

I've been meaning to update the blog roll for a while now, but time and tide haven't deigned to coincide, so in the meantime I thought you might be interested in these blogs, linked by the simple fact of being UK based. Some mentioned before, some I'm glued to either way worth a read

First up, bit transatlantic this one (and all the more interesting for it)
Milkweed and Teasel an American from a liberal New England college town who ended up in Old England 15 years ago. My day to day life is like something out of the 19th century, working for nobility and living on an estate (as seen in period films). I was the head gardener when I met my husband, the head gamekeeper on a neighbouring estate, a few years ago. Between us we hunt, shoot, fish and grow lots of our own food and supplies. We have the best and worst of both worlds - the present and the 'peasant'. This is a story of our successes and failures as we try to get the balance right.
Another Shout for Artemis and his blog, I know a few of you have been to check him out already- well worth a read. Hunter's Harvest I am 34 years old and I love the countryside, I have been shooting since I was big enough to tag along with my dad

McShug who I stalked with on the East Sussex Safari with The Bambi Basher has started a blog, he's still introducing himself and the cast and crew at the moment, but he's going to post lots of his amazing wildlife photography from a trip to India any day now and they're stunning - definitely worth adding to your RSS feeds McShugs Life
The fascinating Working For Grouse Making the most of advice from professionals, friends, books and the internet, I have thrown myself into the task of converting 1,600 acres of desolate sheep farm into a shooting paradise; a place where respectable bags of snipe, woodcock and red grouse can be summoned with a simple click of the fingers; a place where roe deer in graceful abundance can be taken for the pot at a moment’s notice; a place where declining black grouse numbers can be developed to provide a shootable surplus, and where groundnesting birds infest the peaty tussocks of heather and bracken.

For foraging and bushcrafty stuff Paul Kirtley's blog is very good
A professional Bushcraft instructor. I studied under the guidance of Ray Mears, the world-renowned Bushcraft and Survival expert, for 10 years. I worked for Ray from 2003 to 2010. I now split my time between bushcraft instruction, writing this bushcraft blog, and having my own adventures.

More of my own stuff to come
Your pal

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Where Architecture Meets Bushcraft

This filler post comes from the intersection where architecture and bushcraft meet
'The living bridges of Cherrapunji, India are made from the roots of the Ficus elastica tree. This tree produces a series of secondary roots from higher up its trunk and can comfortably perch atop huge boulders along the riverbanks'. Learn how the locals get them started, and a whole lot MORE HERE

back soon

Monday, 2 May 2011

One In And One Out

The ethics of the hunt have been in my thoughts this weekend. One young man had to be deleted from the blog roll after reporting that he and a friend had caught a very impressive Trout which they'd then nailed to a fence post and used as a target. My blog my rules, do one.

An interesting  conversation about the perception of hunters and hunting broke out over at Tovar's And in an unprecedented move I've added a blog with ONLY ONE POST to the blog roll, I've not added people with less than ten posts before, so this really is an unprecedented move, Artemis kicks off with a really good post about a deer management stalk where he ends up taking the pictured 'antlered doe' interesting stuff and well written too, it really does look like his blog Hunters Harvest will be that good. Stop by, say hi and encourage him to tell us another one

More soon
Your pal