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

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Busy times around the Bushman household.

I got a new niece just two days ago and we've been hosting and attending parties.

I've been offline for the better part of the last two days and am just now sitting down to write as things return to "normal" around here.

Apparently some whack-a-doo tried to blow up a plane flying from Amsterdam to Detroit and was apprehended by the passengers and crew. That'll snarl those of you planning on flying home in the next few days.

We got blasted with snow and ice and then warmer temperatures and rain followed by rapidly dropping temperatures that turned all that water into ice.

For Christmas, my wife and I got each other this basement project. When it's all done, I suspect it'll cover all future birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmases. :)

I would just like to repeat something I said just the other day in my 1000th post. I really do appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to read what I've taken the time to write. I hope you pick up something useful every now and again and if you're not learning something then at least you're being entertained. Hah!

Thanks for reading,


Monday, December 21, 2009

New Firestarter Idea

I'm working on a new firestarter idea today.

I'll take what I learned at George and Angie's medicinal plant class and combine it with my love of firestarting prep.

I'm going to melt some paraffin in a double boiler and add some oil (olive probably) to make a slightly softer consistency and then add that instead of Vaseline to some cotton balls and jute twine to see how it works.

The wax dipped cotton balls I have used in the past work okay but they're so darned hard and the cold weather doesn't make then any softer. Combining the oil should make something more like a salve than a hard wax and, if it works, I might try to make a combination with beeswax and olive oil down the road that could be poured into a pill vial, cooled, and used in the field as a salve or a firestarter.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

UPDATE: I dipped the cotton balls in the paraffin/oil mixture about half-depth and immediately set them on a piece of wax paper to dry/cool. Once they were hardened, I put them in a pill vial.

I just took them outside to do some testing. It's currently 29 ° outside and the wind is blowing. I set one down, pulled some of the uncoated fluff, and lit it with my firesteel. One thing I had forgotten about waxed cotton balls, they need some special treatment. The fluff burned until it was burned up and the cotton ball went out. There was still more than 3/4 of the cotton ball left so I stomped on it and flattened it out. Then I kneaded it until I had some fibers and hit it with the firesteel again.

This is where I learned an important lesson about the Going Gear firesteels. Those molten globs that come off are burning at 5500° for long enough that you'll want to avoid getting any of them ON YOUR SKIN! I'm sporting a nice little spot burn now where I flicked a bit of the flaming metal on myself.

The cotton ball lit right up and burned with a strong, useable flame for the next 8 minutes and 57 seconds before it began to flicker and then burn out completely at 9 minutes and 16 seconds.

While it was burning, I lit another one after stomping it and set it down on a thick sheet of ice to see if it would continue to burn when wet and it also went right up. For the next three or four minutes it burned brightly and I could hear the ice sizzling and then abruptly the flame went out. There's some cotton ball left to burn later but the test was completed.

So, they burn longer than the Vaseline cotton balls but if you're on soft ground or snow you might have a hard time getting them prepped for lighting. That seems like it could be problematic when you're cold and needing warmth, light, and comfort.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Old Injuries

Several months ago I took a pretty good fall after tripping over an open cabinet door. I was pretty sore the next couple of days but we quickly laughed about how it sounded like the house was collapsing when I so gracefully went down.

The problem is, I'm still suffering a bit in my left wrist. I suspect there's some more serious damage that has affected bones or connective tissue (or both.) On top of that, there's numbness in the pinky and ring finger on my left hand.

What does any of this have to do with the blog? Well, it's compromising my ability to hold a knife and it's also made it very difficult to do much typing and I'm making lots of typos.

The numbness presents a couple of opportunities for me though. I've got to try some new knife handles to see if I can find something that takes advantage of my hand strength in the thumb, index, and middle finger more than the full grip. Maybe a traditional handle like on a leuku.

I've got to go get it checked out but it'll have to wait until after the holidays and, frankly, there's little rush now because if a bone was broken it has had plenty of time to heal wrong and will probably need to be rebroken.

I'll sure be glad to be rid of the numbness though.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, December 10, 2009

1,000 Posts!

This is my 1,000th post on this blog since I got started.

Seems hard to believe how much has changed and how much has stayed the same.

I still remember the first days when I had 3 hits per day.

I "found" the Fallkniven F1 on this blog and really learned to fine tune the Eriksson 510 here too. I've met many great folks and have had many great discussions on varied topics with you. There have been contests, potential pass-arounds, and the occasional tutorial. I've taken you with me hunting, fishing, and to Briar Patch for the Primitive Skills course.

Heck, since I started writing, I've had one new niece and one new daughter. I've moved out of an old house and into a new one.

I still find it hard to find the time to write every day and some days it's just hard to find inspiration to write so I'll apologize for those uninspired posts you've surely read from time to time.

Going forward, I'll keep plugging away finding things to write about for you as long as you'll continue to come and read. There will assuredly be more gear coming through the door for testing and review. There'll be more trips. There will be some bigger and better contests. There will be pass-arounds as soon as we figure out the format. I'll keep shooting pictures for you too.

I write it at the end of every post but be assured it isn't just lip service:

Thanks for reading,
(I wouldn't be doing this every day if you weren't coming back to see what I'm writing.)


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Storm's Comin'

Today's the day.

Our first real snow and it's supposed to be a real whopper. They're predicting between 7 and 11" of snow to fall between this morning and this afternoon.

Traffic was bad in the warm and dry. I can only imagine how awful it'll be once the roads are clogged with snow.

We're going to hunker down today and whip up a batch of venison chili. Mmm...

Unless we get absolutely pounded tonight while I'm sleeping, that was the biggest overestimation of a storm I can remember. We've gotten about 1" so far and the snow is NOT still falling. What we've got is wet but I'm not too impressed with the accumulation. (Let's see if this bites me in the backside though...)

Thanks for reading,


Monday, December 07, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday!


Saturday, December 05, 2009

Favorite Knife Quick!

What's in your pocket right now? Is it your favorite?

I've been using the heck out of this one:

It's not so shiny any more. As a matter of fact, it's taken a fantastic patina from use.

It was the knife around my neck during both the basement and garage clean outs. It was the one I grabbed to cut up meat for lunch the other day. It's the one I use to break down boxes. It's also the one I use to carve spoons.

Has it replaced the F1? Maybe.

Probably not though. The F1 is fantastic and I've put it through a lot. The 510s no slouch though and for about 10% of the price it's a superb value.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Pass Around

I've been watching Ray Mears' newest series Northern Wilderness and have ordered Hearne's book from

With the website project and the basement project I don't have time to give it a read yet. I'm thinking about passing it around if you guys want to give it a read.

If there's an interest, I'm going to send it to Ranger Squirrel first since he's the one that pointed me to the videos. Then he can read it and send it on to someone else.

I just ask to get it back by the beginning of April when I might once again have some free time.

Let me know,


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

American BushGeek?

Along with my obligations as a Tiger Den Leader and member of several boards I have the basement project and all the subsequent clean-up that has been required. That wasn't enough for me though.

I've also taken on the task of designing, planning, and coding a full-featured website that will integrate every facet of the community and the organizations that help the community to run. We've been talking about it since July 4th but I'm finally getting the project rolling and have been given until the end of the first quarter of 2010 to have it up and running.

I believe I've mentioned before that I'm a former keyboard cowboy so the project itself isn't daunting in the least. The problem that confronts me is the new languages I have to learn. It shouldn't take too long but it's going to take some time and focus I just don't seem to have.

More Mountain Dew and less sleep for me for the next several months.

The good news for you, dear reader, is that I'll be bringing those skills back to this blog and I hope to be able to roll out some really neat new features for your enjoyment.

Sarah's sitting in her high chair eating some Rice Krispies and clapping so she must be on board with the project now. :)

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Today it Starts

Today's the day.

Permits have been filed.

Materials are being delivered in just a few minutes.

Workers will begin showing up shortly.

The cleaning is all done. Not only has everything been put in its proper place but all the bins have been stacked in the middle of one part of the basement so everybody can move around them to work on framing, plumbing, and electrical.

It's going to take all winter to complete but when it's finished it will (hopefully) be worth the headaches and heartaches.

My Man Room has been removed from the plan but now it's more or less going to be a Man Basement! Deer heads, mounted fish, caribou rugs, guns, knives, and axes galore...

I can't hardly wait. :)

Thanks for reading,