Archive for January, 2011

Here are some arrows I made recently.  The padded one is for bopping deer on the butt.  That way I can practice hunting all year long as there is no season on harassing wildlife.  

Read Full Post »

I’ve had many sit spots over the years and for some reason this one might be my favorite.  It is in a little park in the middle of Fort Worth, TX.  The view is just right and I’m near a trail but hidden from it.  Having the pond there attracts a lot of wildlife but more than anything, this spot just feels really good.  Sometimes it seems like a certain sit spot has everything but it never feels quite right.  This is a good one.

My favorite skill to practice right now is the art of trailing.  This is the skill of recognizing a fresh trail and following it to the animal.  It is an amazing skill and seems unbelievable at times which makes it so fun to learn.  When I start to see trails and tracks that before wouldn’t have caught my eye it is very exciting.  I think this skill pushes the core of human potential.  We evolved to track and process millions of bits of information through our senses and synthesize it into feelings and meanings all in a glance.  Everyone needs to feel the joy of this taking place in their brains because our species worked hard for thousands of years to develop this ability.

My routine for practicing trailing is to make a clear track, then walk in a big loop back to this track.  Then I follow the trail very meticulously looking for every single track and disturbance.  Once I make it back to the start I follow the trail again but this time I keep my head up and look as far down the trail as I can and move as fast as I can along the trail while still seeing the tracks.  This last part is the goal and eventually I’ll abandon the first meticulous pass.  This is the exercise recommended in the book Practical Tracking.  A great book about learning to trail dangerous animals in Africa and North America.  Can you see the trail in this picture?  It follows the right side of the road for a bit the move across to the left side.

Read Full Post »

Small arrow head

Read Full Post »

Here is another excerpt from Tending the Wild:

“Although native ways of using and tending the earth were diverse, the people were nonetheless unified by a fundamental land use ethic: one must interact respectfully with nature and coexist with all life-forms.  This ethic transcended cultural and political boundaries and enabled sustained relationships between human societies and California’s environments over millennia.  The spiritual dimension of this ethic is a cosmology that casts humans as part of the natural system closely related to all life-forms.  In this view, all non-human creatures are ‘kin’ or ‘relatives,’ nature is the embodiment of the human community, and all of nature’s denizens and elements – the plants, the animals, the rocks, and the water – are people.  As ‘people,’ plants and animals possessed intelligence, which meant that they could serve in the role of teachers and help humans in countless ways – relaying messages, forecasting the weather, teaching what is good to eat and what will cure an ailment.’

This view of other life as related, equal, and highly intelligent is what Enrique Salmon (Raramuri) calls a ‘kincentric’ view of the world.”

Read Full Post »

The curve on this one is too open so it doesn't fly very far.

Hit a tree with this one.

Non-returning boomerangs or hunting boomerangs are said to be the preferred small game hunting weapon in open grassland areas.  Even over the bow and arrow.  This is because they can fly for over 200 yards in a straight line floating at 3′ above the ground.  And they are very deadly.

I’ve only made these two so far but I plan on making many more.  Like so many of these primitive skills simplicity meets a very high level of complexity.  What is simpler than throwing a stick at a rabbit for food?  But to make one of these fly in a straight line for 200 yards is a real feat of aeronautical engineering.

There are a few important parts to making one of these.  One is that you want the heavest wood available.  I used Red Oak for the first one and Live Oak for the second one.  The Live Oak is heavier and works much better.  In southern California Dunn Oak is the preferred wood.

You also can’t fake the curve.  It has to be from a branch growing in that shape or a green branch that is heated and bent.  If the curve is carved out of a board or a thicker log then it will cheat the grain and end up breaking.  Also the curve needs to be sharp enough so that the boomerang doesn’t flip over as it starts to slow down.  The final, important part is the cross section.  I’m still not sure how it should be but I know its important.  Some say lenticular, others say flat on bottom curved on top, and others swear that it should be flat with a slight curve at the edge.  I have yet to find my preference.

The cuve on this one is good and it flies pretty well.

Read Full Post »

Use Nature

One of the biggest misconceptions I hear is that to save the environment we need to leave it alone.  This idea would be bizarre to a native person because they understand that its through our use of nature that we learn to respect and care for it.  Consider the difference between a person who lives in the city and goes hiking on the weekends versus a person who is required to feed, clothe and shelter themselves indefinitely off of 100 acres of land.  The first person appreciates nature from a distance while the second is inseparable from it.  They know each plant and animal that occupies the land like members of their own family and they are deeply grateful for how their deaths allow life.  This is the level of nature connection that is required for humans to live sustainably on Earth because it is the truth of our interaction with the natural world.
I’m reading an excellent book about indigenous land management called Tending the Wild – Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources.  Most people don’t realize that natives were the masters of permaculture.  Here’s an excerpt from Tending the Wild:
“Growing alongside the many kinds of crop plants were a variety of native herbs and trees.  Insects buzzed and clicked, and birds chattered.  The land smelled good and radiated beauty.  The farmer was using the land quite intensively, yet much of the natural plant and animal diversity remained.  He explained to me the importance of diversifying crops, using locally available resources, retaining overstory trees, and planting vegetation that harbored beneficial insects that would feed on the ‘bad’ insects.”
It is important to realize that many plants actually rely on human harvesting for continued growth and reproduction.  This is why I think learning about wild edible and medicinal plants is one of the best things a person can do for the health of the land they live in and their own health.  I also think that hunting is one of the most beneficial things that can happen on a piece of land when it is done in the right way.

Read Full Post »

Been working on a few things before I leave for San Diego on Sunday.  I’ve mostly been working on this Moose hide.  Several things have to happen for an animal skin to turn into soft leather but when it’s done right, buckskin is softer than any leather you can by in a store.  First everything has to be scraped clean, the hair, flesh and a layer under the hair called the “grain”.  The grain is the shiny part that you see on commercial leather.  Next the hide has to be soaked in lye to remove the glues inside the skin, then it is soaked in an emulsified oil solution and then as it dries out the fibers have to be stretched.  Finally if you get some smoke into it it will turn brown and stay soft even if it gets wet again.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: