Monday, 31 December 2007

I Want One - A Not So Occasional Series Pt2

I keep having a fantasy where there's erhm 'less of me to love' and as the weather warms up I'm thinking a bike ride to and from the office would be a step in the right direction. i could fix up my forgotten bike from the back of the shed, but it needs a lot of new parts, or i could use the inspiration of a gleaming new machine as impetus.
Or i could keep it legal by putting the money towards paying my tax bill...... Ho Hum

Whatever you decide to do with the new year, i hope it works out better than you intended. Or as the heyoka's heyoka once said
"May you live in interesting times - and get to be a part of them"
CHARGE a very cool bike co.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Easily Forage-able Resources. Online And In The Suburban Bush.

Every tribe or social grouping has its rituals and catchphrases, which let members identify each other, and let outsiders know they are outsiders. Sometimes these mantras set a frame of context, making sense of a situation and sometimes they serve to remind you how to do the business in challenging circumstances.

For as long as there’s been a fireside to return to at night, there’s been bush-lore passed on verbally by the light of the campfire, and now there’s the Bushcraft-Blog-Law. The law that dictates how a new tradition develops its tried and tested formulas, conventions and clich├ęs. Leaving aside (for the moment), the obligatory pictures of knives, axes and hats that most of has used as symbols for our adventures. Every bushcraft blog must also pass on some timeless wisdom:
Usually attributed to that wise old man of the hills Mors Kochanski.
Or if you wanted to ‘freshen up’ your pitch (or create your own trademark) it could

As a culture develops there are also powerful totems which when invoked through stories and songs will provide insight and inspiration. Some people will find themselves wondering what Ray Mears would do. The wit and whiles of the coyote have served as a signpost to thinking beyond the expected in many North American cultures. In South Dakota I often wondered how BoB would have approached the task in hand and by emulating him was able to pass myself off as competent camper rather than reveal myself as a tubby desk jockey from the ‘burbs. But if I were to choose a guardian deity for suburban bushcraft it would have to be Wimbledon’s most famous residents…

I used to spend a lot of time with a really clever management consultant, who ran mind-bending workshops. A sort of Tobermory of consultancy, fixing up (and super charging) broken projects with stuff he found lying around. One of the really cool things that he taught us to do was, to see familiar behaviours (individual and organisational) as processes. Then to look at the process we’d uncovered in new and unexpected ways, until we could see other examples of when and where the behaviour or system attribute could perform another purpose. A bit like bushcraft and survival skills and of course just like the Wombles….

‘Making good use of the things that we find,
Things that the everyday folks leave behind.’

I really was starting to think that I’d seen all the bushcraft blogs of note, when I saw that a guy who posts on one of the bushcraft sites as Fenlander had started one, and its the best I’ve seen in ages. While most bloggers are enthusiastic amateurs afield (or incompetents-a-couch in the case of your pal the bushwacker) – This guy is skilled AND enthusiastic, what the Kiwis call ' a good keen man', check out the post where he and a pal test out the insulation provided by some woolen clothes. Brrrrr!!

As Fenlander demonstrates when the really skilled bushcrafters are out in the backcountry they find new uses for the thing that they find, stuff everyday folks would leave behind. Sadly my backcountry is more, well, suburban back-yard and it’s not so much things left behind, as crap folks throw over my back fence (everyday).

Look everyone SBW’s made a lantern!
(Without spilling any blood or severing a finger!!)

Meanwhile at the other end of the performance curve - Fenlander’s made a distress whistle that, ‘in a pinch’, could save your life.

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Ferreting Out Some Advice

I recently met with my new friend James Marchington editor of Sporting Shooter magazine.

If I had tried to imagine a quintessential English journalist afield, it would be James. Tweed jacket, spectacles and an encyclopedic knowledge of everything to do with guns and field sports. Sitting in his office surrounded by shotgun cartridges, rare books about deer stalking, ferreting and wildfowling he beguiled me with tales of life afield, cleared up numerous questions I had about firearms, their legislation, and the UK shooting fraternity. I had ‘popped in’ to see him for ‘half an hour’ and two and a half hours later I had to excuse myself so as to put in a token appearance at my own office. Wish I were still there.

James has kindly offered to induct me into the wiles and ways of the shooting gent, starting with an invitation to go ferreting for rabbits. With the proviso that I wouldn’t have to put any ferrets down my trousers, I enthusiastically accepted.

Ferrets? Rabbits? Trousers? What?
One very effective way of hunting rabbits is to flush them out of their holes by sending a ‘business’ of ferrets down there (great collective noun isn’t it).
You simply net off all the exits you can find and send a hob (male) and a jill (female) down the hole. When the rabbits come charging out into the net you kill them and eat them.

I’m from the south and you hear a lot of tall tales about the northerners and their strange rituals and antics. There has long been a folk legend about gentlemen of the northern persuasion using that that was intended for legs, as a storage place for these most able of helpers. Now it turns out that it’s true!! There really is a ‘sport’ called ‘ferret legging’ where you trouser ferrets and the last one to tear their own pants off in sheer terror is the winner. Probably more fun to watch than take part.

“Basically, the contest involves the tying of a competitor's trousers at the ankles and the subsequent insertion into those trousers of a couple of peculiarly vicious fur-coated, foot long carnivores called ferrets. The brave contestant's belt is then pulled tight, and he proceeds to stand there in front of the judges as long as he can, while animals with claws like hypodermic needles and teeth like number 16 carpet tacks try their damnedest to get out.”

The rules:"no jockstraps allowed. No underpants-nothin' whatever. And it's no good with tight trousers, mind ye. Little bah-stards have to be able to move around inside there from ankle to ankle."

For those of you without the inclination to read the full text here’s the punch line

The current record stands at an awesome 5 hours and 26 minutes!

Thanks for reading

PS One ferret, Freddie, is registered as an electrician's assistant with the New Zealand Electrical Workers Union.

Photo Credit

Tis Still The Season To Be Silly, Sigh........

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Baron Suburban Bushwacker the Bewildered of Middle Witchampton
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Still in the office, not a lot happening here today

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Christmas Card From Rex At The Deer Camp Blog

Where Rex blogs it's Christmas everyday!
The Deer Camp in question is at the Christmas Place Plantation Hunting Club, on the edge of the Mississippi Delta.
Happy Christmas Rex


PS in case your wondering I'm four up and one in from the bottom right corner, wearing the hat.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

How Many Ways Shall I Compare BoB To A Battered Trangia?

As the times and my tastes have changed, I’ve had a few different lives, each of them symbolised by a ‘trademark’ item. Some people I know well from office life have never seen me not wearing my trademark old school pinstripe suits, that bushcraft knife was witness to many a boyhood adventure in the wilds. The rogue floppy shows great promise as a trademark of adventures yet to come.

Luke Skywalker had his Light Sabre, Mors Kochanski has his Mora, and Ray Mears has his Woodlore. If there’s one thing I’ll always associate with BoB (or inspector gadget as he was known in the day) it’s the Trangia field cooker.

It’s a sigil for the man himself - you can get something that’s a little bit shinier, more fashionable, one that maybe boils a little faster, a little lighter, more ‘technical’ even. But when you want one that ‘is what it is’ and will never ever let you down the Trangia is yer man.

For 75 years the Swedish company has been making these simple pressed aluminum and brass field cookers. Cheap to keep, utterly dependable, and with a zero failure rate. BoB and the Trangia are a reflection of each other.

For about 20 of those years BoB has been carting them into some of the most inhospitable places this planet has to offer to heat some of the worst grub served by mortal man. As our mum said “ I have two sons, one eats to live, the other lives to eat”
With that in mind I’m starting a series of posts about trail food too go to feed to a dog.

Thanks for reading

Picture credit and stove review

Monday, 3 December 2007

Hmmm ‘Bushwacker'...........

I’ve been wearing some ‘city camo’ today in an attempt to pass myself off as one of the migrating herds of worker ants that make their way from the dormitory suburbs into the city each morning. I managed to escape the true horror of it all my riding in on my scooter instead of taking the train, but the city is a horrid experience. The whole self-perpetuating madness of it all really struck me, as I watched people try to alleviate the pain of the exercise by drinking £4 ($8!!) cups of frothy coffee which they will later pay to sweat off in the gym. Madness!!

I’ve worked with most of the guys I’ve joined before, so we spent a while chewing over the industry gossip and re-telling war stories for the benefit of the new guys. Well OK, we retold them for our own benefit and the new people got to listen.

On they way back home I reminded myself that I wasn’t immune to the insanity either, as I started to think of all the new stuff I would buy to convince myself that I really am an outdoorsman and hunter rather than another termite working to build the mound.

I owe I owe its off to work I go, I owe I owe it’s off to work I go……..


Sunday, 2 December 2007

Free Money - For What Its Worth

My blog is worth $11,855.34.
How much is your blog worth?

I saw this on the deptford dames blog and trying it out for myself was flattered to see that my blog has a value other than the entertainment it gives me and a few of you. Because the value is derived from the blogs technorati ranking I've just increased the deptford dames worth by mentioning her.

Thanks for reading

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook Joins My Blog Roll

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook has left this comment on a post

Bushwacker: I see it as my goal in life to get those who turn their noses up at game meats to shed their hang-ups and give it another go. If you ever need recipes for whatever it is you bring home this week, I have a fairly monstrous collection of wild game cookbooks and have a few tricks up my sleeve to make the wary drop their guard and pick up their forks...

His blog Honest Food: Finding the Forgotten Feast has made a great start, I'm looking forward to reading more, check him out!

Told you you wouldn't need to buy the papers this weekend!

Dawgs 'n' Hawgs

Mr Rasch continues his outdoor chronicles with a great tale about hunting a giant razorback in the company of some specially bread hounds.
Go on you can take the trash out later, sit for a spell.......

Picture credit: If you thought the skull looked mad read the article it came from!