Monday, 31 October 2011

Dumpster Dived Burberry Jacket

Conspicuous Minimalism: the non-ownership purchase of material goods flaunted as a token of moral and intellectual superiority. 

Well who-da-thunk-it? No sooner had I put the last post up when a chance to flaunt my new found 'moral and intellectual superiority' with a bit of dumpster-dived booty. Behold the Burberry Waxed Cotton jacket [£500 to you sir] or free from a posh blokes rubbish! All I need now is a pair of red strides.

More soon

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Unboxing: Kifaru Packlock Parka Review

Café Minimalism
To espouse a philosophy of minimalism without actually putting into practice any of its tenets. 
From Generation X by Douglas Coupland

OK this really is it. I've confessed to rampant Kit Tart-ism before: it started as a fascination, thats became a little too much of an obsession and must come to an end. I've scaled the giddy highs of matching boot bags, I've sneaked guilty lustful glances at the websites of low volume manufacturers, I've felt the pain of being out-bid or worse still; been at the back of a que of similarly afflicted chaps offering the asking price.

The main focus of my recent kit collecting has been Kifaru; the Colorado design and build shop run by Patrick Smith. He seems to go from one extreme to the other with his ideas, the packs feel like they'd be tough enough if they were only half as strong, while the sleeping bags and clothes seem to be made of not a lot. At just 1,715g (60.5oz) for the whole outfit the Arctic edition of the Parka and Pants look like a lot of warmth for the weight.

Secretly I've been delighted to hear the weatherman foretell freezing conditions this winter, my heart leaps at the words "Arctic Blasts sweeping the country" for now - at last - I have the whole suit.

A while back I picked up the matching pants, and then missed out on buying the jacket, this very jacket. Weeks passed then the vendor wrote to me, confessed to backing out of the deal, and offered the parka to me again. Seeing as I'd been emailing Kifaru to see if I could at least get on the waiting list for when they restart the clothing line, I resigned myself to living on road kill, beans and rice for another month or two and bought it.

As with Kifaru's regulator sleeping bag the design time has gone into draft exclusion. There really is an almost hermetic seal where the collar meets your face, I've often felt that pretty much any weather can be tolerated if you don't have a draft playing over your neck. With the hood up only your eyes are exposed to the elements.

 Moody 'ninja stare' model's own

These pockets put a pair of heat pads right on the small of your back - perfect for groaning old farts and/or those of us afflicted by the growing pains of middle youth. The little black square is a pocket for the elasticated draw-cord for the waist. It's these small touches that make gear from small companies so special, at the time of ordering you specify right or left handed and the zips and tensioning cords are handed for you.

The Packlock concept is the tacky/sticky patch (both inside and out) matches up with patches on the pants and the packs lumber pad to lock the pack in place.

During the summer I spoke to Scots supplier of high-end low-volume hunting gear, [yes there will be a review but not for the foreseeable - skint init] we chewed the fat for a while, discussing the outdoor industry's latest attempts to separate the public from their money and agreed that the Kifaru pass-through pouch concept (you can still use the pouch while your packs waist belt is done up) is probably the most 'elusive obvious' idea in current outdoor clothes design. I'm planing to modify my Ventile smock to have the same utility.

So how does it stand up to the elements?
How should I know its still in double figures [centigrade] here!
More Soon

The yearning spiritual emptiness of my acquisition-deficit-syndrome is now being held in check by the yawning actual emptiness of my wallet. But there is an alternative I'm thinking of trying.
Conspicuous Minimalism: the non-ownership of material goods flaunted as a token of moral and intellectual superiority. Also from Generation X by Douglas Coupland

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Falconry For Grouse In Montana

I really love this film, unfortunately its not available for free anymore, but it's well worth the $2.99 it costs to watch it. If I find anymore clips I'll add them to this post.

I've never met the filmmaker, I'm not getting paid to recommend or post it but I'm very happy to champion the film, it must have taken many many hours of work to shoot and edit. A real labour of love.

Original Post
This morning, while falconry was in my thoughts I saw that The Terrierman had linked to his film by Matthew Huston, three friends go to grouse camp to fly their birds in Montana's endless skys. It's just over an hour long, and its an hour that will leave you feeling inspired. Grab a coffee and a sandwich - this is amazing storytelling
More soon

Friday, 28 October 2011

Falconry Survey Please Help

My thoughts entirely

Chas who writes the excellent Southern Rockies Nature Blog has mentioned that Helen Macdonald (University of Cambridge) and Mike Nicholls (University of Greenwich) are doing a survey on people's attitudes to falconry, you can guess mine. If you're not doing anything more meaningful - and let's face it if you're reading this you're not - please spend 1 or 2 minutes answering their questions
The survey is here

I've always been fascinated by Falconry and in particular the falconers of the Kazakh and Mongol stepps, so I really enjoyed this piece about a trip by Falconer, naturalist and amazing storyteller Steve Bodio.

It's here Sovereigns of the Sky from Atlantic magazine
More soon

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Benedict Allen: Going On Expeditions

A hero of mine Benedict Allen talking about, Going On Expeditions! He's a source of great fascination and inspiration to me with his parachute in-walk out philosophy of adventure travel.

His quiet understatement is at odds with the way in which TV demands that all adventure be 'EXTREME!!' yet his adventures are far edgier than anyone else I've seen on TV.

When he travels his left hand is the film crew, while his right is clearing a way through the jungle - unsupported to the source of the Amazon anyone?

His approach is to present himself as ready to learn, like an infant; the communities that he visits take him under their wing, equipping him with the necessary skills. It is not always the adults but sometimes the children that "adopt" and teach him.

A great example of someone who could only be what he is, and in many ways the father of the video diary format.

"Qualifications for a Traveller. - If you have health, a great craving for adventure, at least a moderate fortune, and can set your head on a definite object, which old travellers do not think impracticable, then - travel by all means. If, in addition to these qualifications, you have scientific taste and knowledge, I believe that no career, in time of peace, can offer to you more advantages than that of a traveller. If you have not independent means, you may still turn travelling to excellent account; for experience shows that it often leads to promotion, nay, some men support themselves by travel. They explore pasture land in Australia, they hunt for ivory in Africa, they collect specimens of natural history for sale, or they wander as artists. " - Sir Francis Galton

More soon

PS Steve thanks for the Francis Galton quote.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

For The LSP

This post is for my old pal the Lone Star Parson 'A Brit Anglican priest in rural Texas getting into the country life' he's also something of a Short Magazine Lee Enfield [smle] aficionado and sometime hog hunter. One of the good guys.

Saw this sporterized 'smellie' over the weekend, belonged to a general who carried it during WW1 .303 (actually .311) should make powerful hog medicine. With its 'parsimonious' running costs, you could stock it in Texan Black Walnut.

 While I was at the National Army Museum I also saw these adjustable sunglasses, pretty niffty for shooting over open sights in your neck of the woods.

More soon

Plucking Pheasants And The Pheasant Plucker's Song

Many years ago when I first met Tobermory, among the smart things he taught me we some very very silly things. One of them was this drinking game/linguistic dexterity exersise.

I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's son. I'm only plucking pheasants 'till the pheasant plucker comes. I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's son. I'm only plucking pheasants 'till the pheasant plucker comes.I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's son. I'm only plucking pheasants 'till the pheasant plucker comes.I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's son. I'm only plucking pheasants 'till the pheasant plucker comes.I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's son. I'm only plucking pheasants 'till the pheasant plucker comes.I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's son. I'm only plucking pheasants 'till the pheasant plucker comes.I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's son. I'm only plucking pheasants 'till the pheasant plucker comes.

How fast can you say that after four pints of Stella?

Turns out it comes from a lager body of work

The Pheasant Plucker's Song
I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's son
I'm only plucking pheasants 'till the pheasant plucker comes.

Me husband is a keeper, he's a very busy man
I try to understand him and I help him all I can,
But sometimes in an evening I feel a trifle dim
All alone, I'm plucking pheasants, when I'd rather pluck with him.

I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's mate 
I'm only plucking pheasants 'cos the pheasant plucker's late !

I'm not good at plucking pheasants, at pheasant plucking I get stuck
Though some pheasants find it pleasant I'd rather pluck a duck.
Oh plucking geese is gorgeous, I can pluck a goose with ease
But pheasant plucking's torture because they haven't any grease.

I'm not a pheasant plucker, he has gone out on the tiles
He only plucked one pheasant and I'm sitting here with piles !

You have to pluck them fresh, if it’s fresh they’re not unpleasant,
I knew a man in Dunstable who could pluck a frozen pheasant.
They say the village constable had pheasant plucking sessions
With the vicar on a Sunday ‘tween the first and second lessons.

I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's mum
I'm only plucking pheasants 'till the pheasant plucker's come.

My good friend Godfrey is most adept, he's really got the knack
He likes to have a pheasant plucked before he hits the sack.
I like to give a helping hand, I gather up the feathers, 
It's really all our pheasant plucking keeps us pair together.

I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's friend
I'm only plucking pheasants as a means unto an end !

My husband's in the forest always banging with his gun
If he could hear me half the time I'm sure that he would run,
For there's fluff in all my crannies, there's feathers up my nose
And I'm itching in the kitchen from my head down to my toes.

I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's wife 
And when we pluck together it's a pheasant plucking life !

Click to consult the expert for a recipe

More soon


Friday, 21 October 2011

Dozy Bitch (Stay Calm The Four Legged Kind)

Big shout to Sir Hiss who found this one, very funny and safe for work too. For once.
Thanks to everyone who has been sending me books, I'll be posting reviews as I read through the pile
Stay tuned for a new series of posts, a pile of new gear reviews from the 'super cheap' to the 'HOW MUCH!!!', and some nose-to-tail eating

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The Runner Beans Of Sulkers Medow

My own words in the last post prompted me to do a little suburban homesteading. Although Kit-tart-ism is fun, and indeed compelling, my journey should be about moving away from rampant consumerism and towards a more honest and complete relationship with my dinner. So this afternoon while The Littlest Bushwacker  was receiving some frankly unnecessary training in the dramatic arts [trust me on this one, drama she knows 'I love the camera and the camera loves me!']. I ventured to my former sulking ground at the end of the Ex Mrs SBW's garden. There I found evidence of my feral failure.

A few months back The Littlest Bushwacker and I had sprouted and planted Runner Beans, I think I harvested the first crop a little late as Ex Mrs SBW, Bushwacker Jnr, and The Littlest Bushwacker pronounced them not to their liking. "Bitter and unpleasant" in fact. The rest grew on untended and unloved.

Today's harvest was part seed crop and part bean crop. While Wikipedia claims that in north america the vines are grown for their, admittedly. attractive flowers here in old blighty we eat the seed pods. Sliced. The other thing I learned from Wikipedia, as I was nibbling on a few of the fresh raw beans, is that they contain a poison unless cooked, so if this is the last post you'll know it was 'deadly' poison.

More soon [hopefully]
Kmart coupons are available for pressure cookers, to cook up the perfect pot of beans.

What Are The Odds Of That?

Morning folks
Just saw this and thought you'd like it too.

Evan Van Der Spuy of Team Jeep South Africa is taken out by a Red Hartebees in a race at Albert Falls Dam. The video was shot on one of those neat little Go Pro cameras worn by teammate Travis Walker. Keep the sound on - Epic groaning from the victim at the end! Or is it the protagonist?

More soon


Friday, 14 October 2011

Unboxing: RedRam Merino Base Layer

The lovely people* at Red Ram have sent me a Merino Base Layer for testing, but frankly the weather is still a warm to be able to tell you anything about it's thermal efficacy. Red Ram is a fair bit cheaper than my current favourite brand, which is no bad thing. The saving seems to come from not having the spiral seams of 'technical' underwear, after one days wear I'm yet to detect a difference. I wore the top last weekend on a  Pheasant shoot where I was over dressed for the weather and under dressed for the thorns and brambles I fought my way through, I was boiling the whole time. As soon as I get round to slinging on a wool wash on I'll let you know how well it survived the rigours of the washing machine, but a true test of the longjohns will have to wait until the mercury falls.

For those of you not afflicted by 'kit-tart-ness' sorry if that's the way the blog seems to be going at the moment - normal service with it's tales of feral failure will resume shortly with a cold weather adventure, a look at the english class system afield, some book reviews, and I may even get the time to finish some craft projects that aren't based in other people houses.

Keep well, your pal

*Lovely People status is available to pretty much anyone who wants to send me useable stuff

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

I Want One - A Not So Occasional Series Pt20

Caught sight of this, and well, it was was love at first sight, at last something truly new in air rifles. Just single shot at the moment but that maybe about to change....

Made in Russia by EDgun

Perfect for "Bring Your Rifle To Work Week"

More soon

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Unboxing: Lundhags Ranger Boots Review

Your boots and your bed: if you're not in one you're in the other.

Regular readers will know that up until a while ago I was a firm believer in wearing 'approach shoes' and waterproof socks or Muck Boots for deerstalking (hunting), and was dismissive of proper clomp-clomp walking boots, that was until I woke up one morning and walked downstairs, as yer do. I've now got a bump in my achilles tendon that still hurts over eight weeks later. More ankle support is called for. Not that I'll be wearing them in bed, so they won't prevent a similar incident - but here's hoping they'll be a aid to recovery.

I really want a pair of handmade bespoke boots, but alas many many things are between here and there, all of them clamouring for money. So for the time being it'll have to be off-the-shelf. I flirted with the idea of this brand and that, I toyed with Kevlar instead of leather, but ultimately my dreams return.

There is a boot you see, ever since I first saw them in the long departed Survival Aids store in London's Euston station I've wanted a pair. Every nation has it's national boot maker, Sweden has Lundhags.

Born in the Swedish wilderness region of Jämtland, Lundhags are a simple un-lined boot. I've heard about the wonders of Thinsulate linings, but the quick drying practicality of the un-lined boot has always made more sense to me. At the moment they are hard and smooth; where one day they'll be soft and wrinkled, the Nubuck is pale and matt, soon it'll be dark and greasy with treatment. The other side of those first hard-yards they'll be a dependability that the much promised 'improvement' of plastic boots never seems to deliver. Dare I say it - they'll have soul.

I'm not the only one. There's something about the love a blogger has for his boots, that has brought forth some great writing.

From The Buffalo Digest, where the outdoor media is called as it's seen
'you can tell a lot about a man by his boots. I read an article by someone who was billed as some sort of expert backpacker, which I suppose is someone who is just really good at camping. I guess that’s just a weird distinction, because if you can set up a damn tent, not starve, pick up your trash and return uninjured, you’ve pretty much nailed it.' Boots

And the ever-wonderful Mouthful Of Feathers
I have to be honest – I rarely ever think about you. Which, I suppose, is the ultimate testament to how good you are at what you do. At times, however, I know this may come across as ingratitude, and for that, I’m sorry. You’ve accused me of being a fickle S.O.B. and I know there is a certain amount of truth to that. I expect a lot in a lamentably short period of time, and offer little more than neglect the rest of the year.  Dirty Love
More Soon

PS in part two we'll see how they got on after some dirt time