No great story is complete without a healthy dose of conflict woven into the narrative. Whether you believe in a higher power, cosmic karma, or plain-old blind chance, it is undeniable that this conflict always seems to find its way into this novel we call life. Thus in life, as in every great novel, while this conflict may create a fair amount of discomfort, it is an essential ingredient in the creation of something worth reading (or living for that matter). That being said, allow me to tell you a story….
~The preceding tale was based entirely on actual events~
- 2 LB Venison Sirloin Roast, coated with fresh coarsely ground black pepper
- 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
- 3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 4-6 green cabbage leaves
- 1/4 cup of dry red wine
Like the original recipe, I layered the carrots and potatoes along the bottom of the slow cooker in order to create an elevated platform for the protein (as any delicious cut of wild game should be held above all other food alternatives…kidding…..but really though…). The roast was placed on the veggie platform, which then got a quick shower from the measured wine portion. Lastly, the cabbage leaves were nestled around the roast like a cozy nutritional blanket. The slow cooker was set to its high setting and allowed to cook undisturbed for four hours. The resulting smells and flavors are best explained by a common phrase used by a hero of mine , Ted Nugent: “Perfect”.
On February 1, 2003, Martin Spurlock initiated a challenge in which he consumed nothing but McDonald’s meals three times per day for thirty days. While he almost died in the process, this idea provides some promise in the way of self improvement and an adventure hidden in the daily monotony that can occur as we set routines for ourselves. To further that idea, a TED speaker challenged his audience to try something new for 30 days. He recommends trying something that you have always wanted to do but never took the initiative to begin. (the link to this video can be found on the previous post: “I’m Back”)
So here we are, February 1, ten years later. It is bitter cold, football is nearly over, and I am bored. Thus the beginning of my first 30 day challenge. How many of you open your freezer and immediately need to dodge an avalanche of frozen peas and prefab meatballs? How many of you have an additional chest freezer that is unusable because every square inch is filled with breads and ravioli and unrecognizable mystery meat? Yet we still go to the grocery store every week. Our pantries fill with pastas and rice, our cupboards with dusty cans of tomatoes and green beans, yet we find ourselves in line at the local food market over and over and over again.
And what happens when the power goes out? On October 28th, 2012, Hurricane Sandy turned the lights out on the ThriveOutside homestead. Two full freezers sat helpless as the protective cold seeped away from the roasts, fillets, and steaks of adventures past. Countless bulk-store purchases withered and were consumed by the darkness. Four days later, the power returned and the loss was evident. So while it is comforting to have a stash of frozen goodies in case of a rainy day, those rainy days could prove to be overwhelmingly destructive.
The Challenge: Prepare, cook, and eat only what is provided by the freezer(s), the pantry, the cupboard, and the great outdoors for 30 Days. No trips to the local grocery store, Sam’s Club, or the convenient mart (except for bud light….lets not get crazy here….) The goal is to not spend a single penny on food. Everything consumed will be provided by the bounties of chez moi and notre mère la Terre. (www.bing.com/translator ….you’re welcome)
Well, thats it…I’ll keep you posted with pictures and progress as this journey commences. Wish me luck!
Hello everyone. You may have noticed over the last ten months and twenty-some-odd days that thriveoutside fell off the face of the planet. First, allow me to apologize. The very things that I preach about via this blog were abandoned by its author as life threw a few curve balls his way. I stopped enjoying the beauty that surrounds us. I stopped trying new things and going on new adventures. I planted myself on the sofa and became the person that this site denounces…a jaded couch potato. For that, my fellow lovers of life, I apologize. It ends today.
- Continuation of the Total Outdoorsman Personal Challenge
- A combination deep-sea / fly fishing adventure in the Florida Keys
- The creation of an intensive produce garden in the name of self-sufficiency (and how to earn a little cash as a bonus)
- Seed Saving
- A backpacker’s review of the LL Bean microlight fs-2 tent
- lot’s of kayaking, backpacking, and exploring adventures
If you are reading this as a one-time follower of ThriveOutside, thanks for checking back and for sticking with me. If you’re a new visitor…welcome, it should prove to be a refreshing place to visit. Until next time, happy Friday, thanks for stopping by, and get your butts outside and enjoy life this weekend!
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” ~ Confusius
With my birthday rapidly approaching, I realized it was that sacred time again in which I get to pick out my traditional “gift-to-me item.” This year, I decided I needed more firepower in my pocket. For the last two years, I have carried a Spyderco folding pocket knife as my utility tool of choice. While it served it’s purpose gallantly, it was clearly time for an upgrade. After a bit of research and some quality time with amazon.com, I decided on the Leatherman Skeletool (pictured right). The text that follows is my first impressions and use review after five days of regular carry.
- Size – the skeletool is almost exactly the same size as my folding knife (see picture at bottom), and weighs just a bit more.
- The capabilities – The skeletool includes only the essential tools you will need on a regular basis, unlike the more traditional Leatherman multitools that were the equivalent of McGuyver’s knife on steroids.
- The knife – the knife blade is easily deployed with one hand without opening the rest of the tool. This feature makes the blade just as convenient as a traditional folding knife. As an added bonus, it is RAZOR sharp out of the box.
- The bottle opener – now you have an excuse to carry the single most useful tool in your pocket without feeling like a weathered booze hound.
- Screwdriver bits – Total time it took me to loose my first bit: Three Days. The interchangeable bits are very handy, except that they are a unique size. This means that every time you loose one, you can’t simply run down to the hardware store and spill 25 cents. Leatherman does offer an expanded driver set that is compatible for around $35.00…..I see many of these being purchased in my future.
- No file – The one tool that I found myself using repeatedly on my traditional multitool was the metal file. I used it for sharpening fishing hooks, removing burs, and many random metal-forming tasks all the time. I realize that few people would use this tool consistantly enough to add the required weight to the skeletool, but I will miss it.
The Bottom Line
Whether it’s your birthday, a holiday, or just a day that you feel you should do something nice for you, do yourself a favor and go pick this little hotrod up. You won’t be sorry (You may actually catch yourself searching for an excuse to pull it out of your pocket.
Whether you enjoy beating the bushes in hopes of flushing a covey of quail, hiking through the opens plains in search of cackling ringnecks, or simply enjoy transforming fluorescent flying disks into fluorescent flying powder, you can do it better by getting your grip right. The manual relates the proper grip to the way you handle a common household item. Using the grip pressure instructed, this is what I noticed:
- The gun shouldered in the correct position naturally
- My usual sight tremors disappeared
- It seemed much easier to sweep the target and continue with my follow-through.
The moral of the story is this: after taking the book’s advice, it became clear that I have been holding my shotgun wrong for twenty years.
For the sake of dedicated journalism, and to provide you, the reader, with an all-inclusive reading experience, the obvious way to complete this skill was to rush out and buy the first pointer puppy I could find…
This is mistake number one that people make in the pursuit of bird dog perfection. Sure, skills can be taught…to a point. A key aspect of a rock-solid hunting dog, however, is rock-solid genetics. Don’t simply glance in the classified ads until you stumble upon a batch of puppies that will work. Do your homework, ask the gun dog community, and set yourself up for success.
This is one of those skill challenges that you only get to try out every 10-15 years (hopefully). That being said, my father’s two-year-old German shorthaired pointer, “Nikka” (pictured above), provides a means for me to evaluate her training against the tips suggested in the Total Outdoorsman Manual (TOM).
As I just stated, step one of our process was locating a quality breeder. Nikka came pre-packaged with a long list of championship bloodlines and a guarantee from this breeder. Step One….check.
Aside from genetics, the rest was up to us. When comparing the steps we took in creating the Michael Jordan of bird dogs to the ones that the book suggests, the approach was very similar.
[At this point, it’s a good time to let you, the reader, know that these posts will be a review of the tips discussed in the book, not a summary of them. As much as I would love to tell each and every one of you exactly what I am doing, I have this sinking suspicion that Field and Stream, as well as the authors would define me doing so as plagiarism. Since their lawyers are probably much more robust than mine, I’ll leave it up to you to buy the book if you really want to follow along. I would recommend doing this anyway, as the book’s pictures and asides from the author are worth the purchase price alone, not to mention the wealth of useful, intriguing, fun information]
To put our strategy into a few short path marks to ensure you are moving in the right direction: If your pointer puppy is less than a year old, is familiar with the sound of a .22, a 410, and a 20 gage, has tasted feathers, and you are familiar with the concept of positive reinforcement to encourage desired behaviors, your headed in the right direction. For a more detailed, step by step guide, check out the TOM and give their method a try.
In our case, Nikka participated in the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association’s natural ability test a few days after her first birthday. Not only did she receive a prize I perfect score, but she also pointed a bird in which the judges’ claimed didn’t exist in a wide-open field containing one small tuft of grass. As the judge sarcastically kicked around at the open ground, he chuckled at the notion that Nikka was pointing at nothing. Much to his surprise, a quail blasted out of the grass and did a quick fly-by of his head. He didn’t chuckle much after that.