American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Field Trip

Yesterday my daughter's Kindergarten class went on a field trip to the local nature center. I was one of the chaperones for the outing.

Laura impressed the teacher and all the other chaperones when she explained that the weasel changes from brown to white in the winter in order "to better camouflage itself from predators." The looks I got were priceless. She could not only say it but she could explain it. Some of the lessons are sticking.

We saw some fresh coyote tracks along the frozen banks of the river. We identified distinct squirrel and rabbit tracks going to and from a small open water hole. We found a dead Canada Goose in pieces--probably a coyote kill. We discussed how deer, snakes, raccoons, and squirrels make it through the winter.

The kids came back to the nature center for hot chocolate and a review of what they'd heard and seen. I think they all had fun and I had a blast. If I hadn't already been signed up to chaperone the next one of these trips I'd have signed up on the spot yesterday.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, January 26, 2007


That's the word to best describe what's going on here.

Sick kids, busy schedules, and lots and lots of birthday parties have left me little time to get outdoors.

I'm having a tough time kick-starting this year.

Sorry for the complete lack of updates.

Let's see if this coming weekend will help me to change that. I'll try to get out to The Sanctuary for a few hours to get my head back into the wilderness frame of mind.


Monday, January 22, 2007

The silence

There I was in the darkness of a January night, thinking about the day, the weekend, and the week preceding it. I had been playing around with my new owl call to see just what sort of response I could get out of it.

Suddenly, there was an explosion of motion and noise and a flock of Canada Geese took off from the river directly behind my house. The honking, the flapping, and the splashing combined to make a massive sound when the rest of the world seemed to be asleep.

I don't know if it was my owl call that spooked them or something else but the silence, broken by the sound of the geese, was immediately returned to absolute silence.

It was nice.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, January 19, 2007

Thinking about building one of these

Cabela's Hawken Rifle Kit

Cabela's offers the unfinished Hawken Rifle in both .50 and .54 with solid brass hardware, adjustable double-set triggers, and a 29" octagonal barrel. I suspect it'll be darned heavy.

I envision the Hawken with oil-rubbed brass, a dark stain on the wood, and lots and lots of hand rubbing to bring out the grain and give the stock that old-world look and feel. The barrel will need to be blued and I'll investigate just how the Hawken brothers would have done it in the early 1800's to try and get something similar.

I've had a fascination with the mountain men for quite some time and, as many of them would have carried Hawken rifles, this will allow me to better experience some of the same things they would have experienced on a hunt.

Saving my pennies...


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hydration Tech, Inc. X-Pack

Here' s an interesting idea in water filtration/purification I read about yesterday here:

and here's the manufacturer's website:

and it looks like Cabela's has them for about half the price of the other Internet retailers here:

All in all an interesting product. It uses forward osmosis (FO) to filter out all the bad stuff and if you read the review on you'll see just what it takes to choke out the filter.

The upside is that's it's dead simple to get potable water from really nasty stuff. The downside is the lifespan of the product--only 10 days. It's a bit slow to process but you could load the dirty water into the unit, throw the unit into a backpack, and it'd be ready to drink when you got where you were going.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Over the years we've been contacted by charitable organizations asking for donations of time, money, or material. Some of these organizations, as you probably know, are picky when it comes to what they will or won't pick up. I have found two that I use on a monthly basis as they're picking up what I'm donating and, between the two of them, cover everything I've got to donate.

As the kids get older we give away their high chairs, cribs, clothing, etc. We give furniture, electronics, videos, DVDs, and music, and clothing.

More than four years ago I left my job and became a stay at home dad. Since that time I've really dedicated myself to outdoor pursuits like fishing, hunting, hiking, and camping. My wardrobe reflects that change and my donations do too. It began with giving away all those suits I hoped never to wear again. The next donation was lots and lots of dress shoes, dress shirts, and ties. The more time that passes between that life and this sees my closet become less and less "normal" or "suburban" and more what you'd see in the home of Nessmuk, Kochanski, Kephart, etc. (Or at least what I'd imagine their closets would look like.)

There's lots of wool, heavy canvas material, insulated pants, heavy boots, wool socks, etc. For the summer there are lots of lightweight hiking/fishing shirts and pants. Oh, there's a growing collection of hats too--Tilley, Filson, Jimi Black's, etc.

Here's the rub:My wife is still a professional and has professional events with her peers and I am obliged to go along. The last "casual" event saw me dressed, in her words, in my "lumberjack outfit." See, I don't have any more "normal" clothes and the chamois L.L. Bean shirt is the dressiest in my closet. I have khakis but they've got cargo pockets on the legs. I have shoes but they've got lugged Vibram soles. All of my socks are wool.

Perhaps I've given away too many remnants of my past life...ah well, the folks that picked up that part of my former life sure appreciated it.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Still crazy

It hasn't slowed much around here. I'm still running like a madman most of the time.

I did, however, see a new knife recently that has my attention. It's the Bark River Canadian Sportsman. This knife was originally slated as a filet knife but I see it has become so much more.

I see the Canadian Sportsman as a do-all fish/fowl/game processor. I'm going to be getting one in my hands to give it a try. I do still get into the kitchen and I've been cooking the fish and fowl that I've harvested in the past year.

Click the JRE Industries link to the right and check out the aftermarket sheath they've done up. Wow! Having seen it I no longer concern myself with what comes OEM with the knife.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Cold with no snow. That's what we've got here right now.

That's fine for a guy with a larger collection of wool garments than the local flock of sheep but I LIKE SNOW TOO! I have a brand new pair of snowshoes that arrived shortly after the massive snowfall of early December had melted away.

Having cold with no snow does have an upside however. It means the ranges where I shoot clays will remain open.

Yes, I suspect you'll be hearing lots more about me shooting this year. I am hopelessly addicted to the pursuit of breaking little orange targets as they move through the air and on the ground. I am getting better at it but am still not in the same league with some of the guys I shoot with.

Last weekend I hit 15/25 four times but the guy that shot a round with me hit 24/25...and was a bit disappointed.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, January 08, 2007

New knives, new guns, new year

This year has been very busy so far. Yes, it means I haven't had much time to get online to update the blog. I hope to change that going forward.

The new exercise routine seems to be stumbling already but I'm ready to get back on that wagon today and begin the slow march toward fitness and much-improved endurance.

I received a new folding knife from Jim Krause of Missouri with the new CPM 154CM steel, Titanium liners, and giraffe bone scales. The knife is a thing of beauty and should hold up well to everyday use. I'll be doing a more thorough write-up in the coming days.

Over the weekend I managed to shoot not one but two new guns. Well, they're not really new guns but they were new to me. First was my Grandfather's Winchester Model 37 shotgun. I cleaned and oiled it before I headed to the range and picked up a couple boxes of shells. I fired it once just to make sure the firing pin worked okay and the second shot was at a rabbit (the clay kind thrown from a machine) and I dusted it. That means the gun's got good luck as a hunter and shooter.

Second was my father-in-law's L.C. Smith side-by-side which I used to shoot four rounds of 5-stand (25 targets) yesterday. I recorded 15/25, 15/25, 15/25, and 15/25 for the four rounds. Not my best shooting but certainly my most consistent good shooting to date. I'm really liking shooting with "Elsie" even though she kicks pretty good. A slip-on recoil pad should increase the length of pull a bit and make the gun more tolerable for the long shooting days. We'll see if I can't improve on yesterday's performance before I have to return Elsie to her proper owner.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

We're home. Long trip. Lots of adventures.

New Year.

Lots to do in 2007.

Let's get started.