Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Family That Shoots Together....

This past Sunday made me smile.  As you can tell from the photo, the whole family went outside and shot our bows.  Even our toddler (for a short time), shot big brothers hand me down PVC bow.  It was a good lesson for my oldest, Thing1.  He was able to see the patience aspect of shooting as well as just shooting for fun.  I was proud to see that he didn't get as frustrated if he missed.  He is sometimes hard on himself, which is ok, but I want him to understand that it's not always about hitting the target every single time.  Sometimes, its just about getting outside.  Sometimes it's about breathing. Sometimes it's about being. I know at his age his mind doesn't think that way, but I hope that he can learn by example, even if he doesn't know that is what he is learning.  It's important to us as parents to try and "model" when we can.  Little eyes are always watching.  I hope our shooting continues.  It's always fun to get outside with the family.
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Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Trip

My winter camping trip was spawned from my buddy, David, who was interested in camping out with the famous "Merriweather" Vordorbruggen.  Who wouldn't want to camp with a guy that cooks June bugs for snacks and adds a salad foraged from your yard.  I upped the ante by inviting the Youtube "Mr. Rogers" of camping, Kenneth Kramm. Dreams do come true. The knowledge between these two could fill books of knowledge, and when the zombies show up, these guys are on speed dial.  Unfortunately,  due to schedules and life, Ken could not make the trip, but what he doesn't know is that I plan on catching him soon on a trip.  So I guess, Merriweather will have to do. Just kidding, it was awesome.

As David and I arrive at the campsite, Merriweather is already hard at work building an oven. 

This guy is a beast.  The oven looks great, and if you are interested in the build, head on over to his Blog: Into the Borderlands

So while the oven was warming up, and bread soon to be baked, David and I set up camp in the young pine forest on the property.  We cleared any "widow makers" (These are trees that could fall under windy conditions and possible kill you while you slept) and set up our camp.  Ice still crunched under foot as the canopy kept the temperatures low.  Great weather to test our gear, and personally great weather to sleep.

After camp was set, we walked the land in search of any small game that dare cross our path.  Of course, David and I were only armed with my recurve bows, so had anything crossed my path, they had a really good chance of escaping me.  Though, everyone else was packing, so any small game might not be so lucky.  However, with the dropping temperatures, no game and no foraged food.  But lucky for us (or just planned out), we had backup.


On return to camp, we put to good use the oven and campfire grill.  All bellies were full, good conversation and a nip of the spirits amongst friends.  My toes began to go numb and I knew it was time for bed.  Everyone had the same idea, I think we were just waiting for someone else to mention it. Everyone crashed in their respective camp gear, though I suspect our host, the "Bus" man, slept the warmest (He had a "bus" camp). 

My gear worked really well, pleased with the build and sleeping bag.  Although my feet did get cold because they slipped off the sleeping pad.  Side Note: Putting hand warmers in your socks are awesome....putting two hand warmers in each sock....bad idea.  I woke up from sleeping believing my feet were literally on fire.  I've never cam out of a sleeping bag so fast.  Lesson learned, more is not always better.

When morning came I was starving, so hungry.  One rule of camping light or backpacking: ALWAYS CARRY TORTILLAS.  If you have it, HEB fresh tortillas.  The breakfast of the lower gods was had: Eggs and bacon breakfast taco and coffee.  I know you are asking "Why lower gods?".  Breakfast of the gods must include an alcohol, mead or cider, I wasn't going that hardcore that weekend.

The trip for us had come to an end as we had to get back home to the family.  Fun was had by all, and I wanted to thank the "Bus" man for his hospitality and his generosity as he gifted his guess with a hand made item. 

Many thanks good sir, I will be honing it and remembering a great trip.
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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Cold Camping 1/17

Welcome back,
All limbs accounted for, did not freeze, so I count that as a success!  My "Texas" winter camping trip went well.  It dropped down into the 20's fairly quickly as the sun went down.  Camping in East Texas has always been one of my favorite locations, as that is where I grew up.  There is something about the pines that calls to me. I

As you can see, there was still ice on the ground in the forest.  My camping buddy, David and I camped at the edge of a young forest near the bottom of the hill.  With the cold air sinking to that area, combined with the tree cover, it remained chilly all day.  It was the perfect area for us to test some gear for cold weather camping.  It's always important to know the limits of yourself and your gear.

I decided to stay off the ground with a hammock set up, you know, the perfect height for wild boar to come eat me. The concern with being is the air is heat loss as air flow all around pulls the heat off. Hence, the DIY Sleeping pad (found on my DIY page) and the zero degree sleeping bag.  David went with the tarp ground shelter.

I slept great!  Although, I woke up early morning to chilly feet to realize I had slid my feet off my sleeping pad. Easy fix, hand warmers in the socks. Toasty Toes!  Except, an hour later me feet were on FIRE!  Use caution my friends.

My Setup:

ALPS Mountaineering Crescent Lake 0-Degree Sleeping Bag (Regular)

Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Hammock

Rolling Fox Tarp Shelter Waterproof lightweight Camping and Survival Tarp Shelter (Cream, 360x280 cm)

And of course it wouldn't be a Texas camping trip without a gun!

 To be continued...

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

DIY Sleep Pad Review

It got least for Texas.  I woke up to 22F.  Quite chilly.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

DIY Sleep Pad Complete

Jan 5, 2017
It's getting COLD here in Texas.  And I mean cold, not 60F or even 40F, it's getting into the 20's in East and South Texas.  Yes, I know all you Northerns are laughing at us, but remember, we do the same when you talk about how hot and humid it is in summer where you are.  So, I'm getting ready for my camping trip, and I am a bit nervous.  I've camped cold weather before, but it wasn't with an new, untested set up.  I am confident I have it set up to keep me warm. It's one night, I can power through.  I just have to call upon my old Scotts-Irish ancestry to help me get through.  Whiskey.  Just kidding...maybe.   So I finished my build of my DIY sleeping pad.  I think it will do wonders, and feels comfy.  You can find the write up on my DIY page.

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Winter Camping

Jan 2, 2017
Happy New Year!
Today I formally begin preparing for my camping trip this weekend.  Yes, I know I'm waiting until the last minute.  I've been watching the weather and it's gonna be cold ~33 F.  So I had to order a sleeping bag because A) my current bag is only rated to ~40 F, which is not cold at all and B) mine is getting old.  I believe I'll be hammock camping with an improvised pad (more on that build later).  It will be a gear test for sure, as I have only tent camped in the cold.  Tent camping and hammock camping are two different beast.  Setup details to come...because even I don't know them all yet
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