Posts Tagged With: survival

A day at the cabin (part 2) FIRE!!!

After some post-lunch chill time, we got down to completing some challenges: making fire. No, not with a lighter or matches. Old School methods: the Ferro Rod and a Flint and Steel kit.

Every other month, I receive the APOCABOX


2 of my 3 boxes (so far)!

from Creek Stewart. Creek is a Survival Instructor, Survival Host and author, as well as running the Willow Haven Outdoor center in central Indiana. Just FYI, I’ve never met him and have no affiliation with him, except to receive the box I mentioned earlier.

There are literally hundreds of subscription boxes out there, but  we can’t get a lot of them in Canada. Why not? They include firearms parts and accessories which are mostly restricted here.

Besides, when SHTF, and batteries run out, lighters die and gasoline gets extremely scarce, how do you plan to stay warm, build a shelter and feed your family? Trust me, having the upper receiver for a weapon you can’t legally own, or a thirty round magazine will not help you.

On the other hand, good old fashioned knowledge and know how will get you a lot further along.


Flint and Steel, Ferro Rod

This month’s APOCABOX (February 2017) is titled IGNIS, and is all about fire making. The December 2016 box was titled TAIGA, and was based on Russian trappers and hunters, and featured the tools and kit they use to hunt and survive (it even included a non-commercial trapping hatchet, based on Russian design). Pretty cool, USABLE gear in every box.

We started out by me finding, then clearing out the fire pit while somebody stayed warm and cozy in the cabin, reading in her Adirondack chair. How did that happen?


It’s cold out, and there are Eastern Coyotes after me!

Next, we charred the char rope (furniture piping from a craft store) that came in the Flint and Steel kit, in our cook stove.



Charring the char rope

Neither of us had done this before, and I admit, I think I cocked it up a bit by opening the tin to look at it, which made it far more brittle and less likely to catch fire. It was the same colour as depicted in the demonstration video, but not as robust. I now know for next time.

With the Ferro Rod, all we had to do was scrape the black matte covering off before striking. In the early 1900’s, the  Ferro Rod was created by an Austrian inventor, while percussion fire-starting has been around since the dawn of time. From the Iron Age forward, Flint and Steel (until matches and lighters) was the most common method of creating sparks.

I was going to upload videos of this fun, but I’m using the basic (free) package, which does not support videos. Don’t worry; if you want to watch us light fires, you can see them on  my YouTube Channel. It’s brand new, and will deal with things talked about on this blog.

Stay safe, stay tuned, and most of all, get out there! Adventure Awaits!!!!!!


Categories: Cabin, Hiking, Knowledge, Learning, Off grid food, Respect the Old Ways, Science, survival | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A day at the cabin (part 1)


On the way in!

Sometimes, in the dead of winter, you get 2, 3 or 4 really kick-ass days that let you know that the world isn’t freezing you to death. You know the ones; where, after a week or more of relentless snow dumps, rotated with ice storms and more snow dumps, you get a forecast of “Holy Shit, it’s gonna be 7° C (which in real terms is almost 45° F), so we should go to the cabin and chill and stuff”.

It’s like falling in love, or seeing Guided By Voices play live as often as you want, hanging with Bob, Doug and the lads. It’s pretty freaking amazing.

Side-note: Nobody asked me if I wanted to switch from Imperial to Metric, and I’m still traumatized by the whole event. Would you prefer to hear it’s 17° or 64°? I know which I prefer. Metric blows goats. The warmer it is, the higher the numbers should be, FFS!!!!!! Anyhow.

This weekend is one of those wickedly brilliant times. Family Day weekend, 19 Feb 2017.

We had originally thought of taking the dogs with us, spend the night, have a blast. But what we did not know was the condition of the way into the cabin once we got to the end of the cleared road. It’s a 2km hike in, once you stop at the school bus turn-around circle. In lots and lots of snow.


Riding the snow-shovel down a hill on the way into the cabin.

Sure, it’s sometimes packed down by ski-doos or ATV’s, but ya never know. So we left the amigos behind today, and made a half-day trip of it for us. Just to see the Burrow, tell Her we loved Her, and to attempt a few challenges.

Don’t get me wrong here; the cabin is just that, a cabin. Not a beach house with hydro and running water. It’s completely off-grid, as are the other cabins around us. It’s a brilliant adventure, even when we can drive in via the goat paths that lead to Her. But today, after all the crazy weather of late, we did not know if the dogs could actually walk through whatever snow was there. A Bassador, short and stocky, a Lurcher with long, spindly legs, and a Spanish Galga; same legs as the Lurcher. It might have been a total disaster.

We hit the road, drove for an hour, with a coffee pit stop, arrived at the stopping point for wheeled vehicles, geared up and headed forward.


That’s a lot of snow for a plastic kid’s shovel!

Another side-note: I’m recovering, still, from a mis-diagnosed broken ankle from over 2 years ago. 2 surgeries later, I’m just recently at 8% Dorsi-flexion….which is at the bottom level of normal human walking range. My PT consists of (trying to) walk like a normal person; without limping. Fun. Not. Snowshoes however, make life a whole shitload easier.

We managed the entry hike in 45 minutes (I think it’s mostly more downhill than on the way out).


Yeah, that’s the BBQ! Sigh.

Once we actually made it to the cabin proper, we stripped off snowshoes and jackets, and got down to the fun task of shoveling the accumulated snow from the steps and part of the deck, so we could actually get to the door and open it. Trust me, it was a bit of a chore!

Once enough snow had been cleared away, we greeted the Burrow as we usually do, with compliments and expressions of love.

We chatted with a few neighbours who either skied in or walked in, and got the 19th century cook stove going….after I had to dig out the chopping stump to build up our firewood supply for the day, dig out the fire pit for a couple of really cool and uncommon fire-starting challenges (more on that in part 2) and my partner snow shooed a path to the outhouse. Good times!


Re-hydrated gruel!

We had lunch, a first test of a real dehydrated meal (we have made jerky, dried apples, kale chips, dried peppers, etc; but never anything substantial). It rocked. Dehydrated ground pork, corn, chickpeas (garbonzo beans), rice and separate salsa to add flavour.


Dried Gruel!!

Yes, the video I watched showed how to make everything together in the dehydrator, but I  didn’t totally trust the presenter on his YouTube channel. No I won’t name him, or others who give shit or dangerous info, in this post. That is a totally different blog post. Just be careful what you learn from YouTube. Lots of dangerously stupid people have computers……

Lunch consisted of 2 home-dehydrated beef jerky (bottom round roast) flavours, spicy and curried, dehydrated Mexican, cheese, dehydrated apples, trail mix, chocolate and water. Nothing spectacular, but frigging amazing.


The sides.

As it’s February in Canada, water for dish-washing was provided by melting snow in the over-sized kettle. Gotta love simplicity. Dishes were washed in the main room, where the stove is, giving us a bit more warmth. Water was disposed of outside in the snow, away from the cabin, and certainly not down the sink as we do in good weather. No point in messing around with a frozen septic bay, is there?

With the fire dwindling in the stove, we got dressed again, to head out and commence our fire-starting challenges, which will appear in A day at the Cabin (part 2). Prepare to be amazed and amused, folks, because now is when everything gets pretty damned wicked.


Curious? You should be!





Categories: Cabin, Cabin food, Camping food, Jerky, Knowledge, Learning, Off grid food, Respect the Old Ways, survival | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The day the Gatineau Line fell (part 1)

(Ported over from a page on this blog in 2015, when I had no clue how to blog properly)

It all starts somewhere. Some event that brings chaos and other big words. Take this as you will, but remember, a metaphor is no replacement for being even remotely prepared. You are the first responder for your family. Keep them safe.


The Day the Gatineau Line Fell (Part 1)

Shit. It never fails. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, they did. My cell rang bedside, 0240, 16 October 2015. “Really? WTF”, I thought.  The number was vaguely familiar, but when I heard my supervisors’ voice and her statements, I wished I never answered the call; but if I hadn’t, you would not be reading this:

“Bob”? “Yes, Diane, uh, wait one, ugh, what’s up”? Long pause. “Bob, you know your interest in odd shit; undead, camping, homesteading, prepping, and, um, fuck me, uh, zombies”?  WTF, AGAIN? “Yes, Diane. Why a call now, at this time of night? I have enough problems with the Frat House behind me”.

“Bob, there seems to be a problem just over the river in Gatineau”. “Nobody seems to be able to put a name to it, but it looks like you were right, in some messed up way”.

I had yet to clear cobwebs; trying to maneuver a dog off my one good leg while trying to not wake my partner. “Ma’am, why are you calling me? No-shit answer, please”.

Very long pause. “Bob, from what Higher has shared down to us, there seems to have been some sort of outbreak; I don’t know what, but our channels tell us that people are not dying after being shot by police; worse yet, hospitals are reporting folks who are VSA, yet get up to attack staff”.  Heavy Silence.

“Bob, we are calling a Fan-Out, all pers to report to the office” “Gatineau Police, Ottawa Police and the RCMP have requested Canadian Forces assistance, Aid to Civil Power”.  A very long pause on my end. Very damn long. “Bob”? “Bob”? “This is an order from on High”. My reply was simple; likely even ingrained from the age of 12. “If this is what you describe it as, and if this isn’t some kind of joke, and IF it’s what I think it is, going into the office is the worst thing we could do. Let Higher set up a response team in Petawawa. It’s 2 hours away; it will give them and us a chance”. Pause. “Diane, if you or I go into the office, we’ll be dead in less than 12 hours”. “All it takes is one person who’s been bitten, IF this real, and the entire building is lost. Hell, the office is less than 10 minutes away from Gatineau, we have no way to defend ourselves; it’ll take days for the Chain of Command to issue us our weapons and appropriate ammo. Jeez, we are not a line Unit”.

“Give me an hour to get my shit together, dress, check bus schedules, see what the News has to say and let Stephanie know what’s up, then I’ll get back to you”. A very pregnant pause from Diane, then “Is it possible?” “Is it real”? I told her I didn’t know; I’ll get in touch in an hour.

I never spoke to her again. I tried over the next few hours and days, both cell and work phones. Nothing.

You do the math.

I swung my messed up leg out of bed, checked CBC News, and didn’t like what I saw. Shabby video footage, from reporters, choppers, people-on-the-street. All the same. None of it good. I checked CTV News. Same, but different footage. Footage of people apparently rioting. Footage of people attacking everyone else that wasn’t like them. The last CTV feed I saw showed a woman being bitten, screaming, being attacked by more people who did not appear to be behaving normally. The camera-person rushed in for a closer shot, and the light of the camera or breathing, or noise caught their attention. The very last scene showed teeth, heralded screams from the camera operator, then snow.

I shook Steph, gently, then more so. She looked at me with sleep confusion, blurred and blundered; “wha, ugh, hey, what, why”?

I replied simply: “Check your phone news feeds. Looks like an outbreak of some kind in Gatineau; people are biting one another, dying and getting up again. This is for real”.

Her reply, simple and perfect: “Seriously”? “You serious”? “Your hobby real”? “Shit”.

I kissed her quickly as she got out of bed and stumbled off to the john. Damn well figures. Something I’ve thought about, readied myself for for years, studied via pop culture and fellow fans, discussed over many beers long into the morning actually happens; not far away, not to be watched from a great distance via CNN or CBC or BBC or Al Jazeera, but right literally in my backyard. Less than 45 minutes away, depending on traffic.

I swung back to my side of the bed and reached for my crutches. Of course it has to happen now, when I’m a tripod, waiting another couple of weeks to see if I can start standing again, then the slow process of learning to properly walk, move and eventually run, hopefully. All because the Military medical system missed that I was walking on a broken ankle for a year.

So, despite everything I knew, thought I knew, and the steps I had taken to ensure we had some semblance of a chance in case of a disaster or emergency, I was no longer an asset. I was a liability, something to slow everyone else down.

That’s not even the worst part. My son lives an hour and a half south of Ottawa. I can’t drive right now; drive like I need to, to get him, fight like I need to, to protect him.  I can’t even properly protect my current location, can’t drive, can’t contribute, except for words. I can’t get to family or friends in various areas near Ottawa. Not alone. I just seriously hope folks I know were listening when I shared tidbits of “odd info” and Zombie related lore. Because right now, we are all we have. We are survivors, as long as we can get our shit together.

Echoing Steph and her perfectly simple musing of not even two minutes ago, “Seriously”?

More to come…..if I’m not bitten. Stay safe, Ottawa. God save you, Gatineau.

Categories: wwz, zombies, zombocalypse | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Food variables: Eating made fun while wasting far less (than we used to).

2016 wasn’t a good year, for myriad reasons. I won’t delve into that. One good thing that happened though, was that we purchased a Dehydrator from Cabela’s in Ottawa. No, it’s not a super-top-of-the-line Excalibur, but a higher-mid range Cabela’s store brand. It retails for about 225$, was on sale for 150$, but with the staff discount offered to first- responders and military over the 11-13th of November, it came out to 119$. Can’t complain about that!


The beast with apples drying.

Now, all I had to do was figure out how to use the damn thing!! It turns out that we had a Trail/Camping cookbook that was heavy on dehydrating. We thought it was just full of fun new recipes to make ahead of time, or variations of good old standards. What it held was a treasure-trove of info.

The dehydrator sat in the basement, out of the box and all ready to go until 1 January, 2017. We got our big-kid pants on, and while my better half was walking the dogs, I sliced up some apples for a test run. After verifying with the Trail cookbook, everything was a go (next time I’ll peel the apples so they dry better, and increase the heat a bit – the Trail cookbook says to dehydrate EVERYTHING at 130°F, except herbs, which are done at 110°F).




Who knew kale could be so much fun?

The apples were going along nicely, so I upped the game to kale chips. Yes, kale. We made a commitment to start juicing again in 2017, to get our energy and health levels back up. No point in having something that just collects dust, is there? Buy it and use it…but I’m not advocating a disposable economy, where we buy a new wardrobe every two weeks, even though the other clothes are perfectly fine. I suppose you can blame social media, corporations and the sheeple mentality for that.

Kale leaves ripped off stems, rinsed, dried with towels, sprinkled with olive oil, salt, pepper and a bit of Slap Ya Mama seasoning from New Orleans (hard to find in Canada, but easy via Amazon), and into the dehydrator. A few hours later (about 4), we were happily munching away on kale chips (a bit too much salt) and apple slices that were almost ready (in the end, the apple slices didn’t quite make it; the skin being left on inhibited the dehydrating process, but we ate them anyhow).

On the 2nd of January, we tried to make juicer-pulp crackers from the remnants of our morning juice. The idea is solid, but we lack experience. We spread the pulp out and put it in the machine, and several hours later, removed and bagged the cracker-like mass. By the next morning, it was a soggy mess, as we did not get the thinness equal all over, so some areas were still wet inside, which rehydrated everything. Live and learn!

On the morning of the 3rd, I got damn good and brave. I’d gone to Costco and picked up a package of sirloin tip steaks. I then got me a fierce hankering for jerky. Enlisting the help of Google and YouTube, I learned how to (safely) make jerky. Did you know that only cooked meat should be dehydrated, UNLESS it has been properly cured and spiced in a brine or cure that contains NITRITES, or cooked until the interior temperature reaches 160°F?  Nope, neither did I. Some/most brines require a 24 hour marinade process. Some cures are rub-and-go. I’ve done the rub-and-go Red Pepper Dry Rub & Mix by SmokeHouse.



The first Jerky batch before….

Sirloin sliced, home-made marinade applied and then popped in the oven at 170°F for an hour or so to bring internal temp up to 160°F, then into the dehydrator for 6 hours. Damn, that was the longest six hours of our lives! Needless to say, that small batch of jerky didn’t survive 24 hours in the house.










…And after. Damn good!

Between 1 January and today, 8 January 2017, we have dehydrated kale, sirloin tip steak (side note: a package of 4 rather large steaks will run you about 18-25$ at Costco. Based on the average price of 7.00$ for a large bag of jerky found in most stores, our 20$ steak investment provided us with the equivalent of 160.00$ of pre-made, store-bought jerky. Just saying; the dehydrator has already paid for itself.), apples, juicer-pulp crackers (second batch in right now, and this time I used a rolling pin to create equal thickness) and bell peppers. I bought a big batch of peppers (8 large peppers) for 2.50$ at Farm Boy, from the reduced produce section (not a damn thing wrong with them, except for a few wrinkles). I had a massive tray of peppers that dehydrated down into a medium Tupperware container, now in the pantry. The idea is to add them soup or stew in the near future, but we keep nibbling on them.

The peppers, before and after:



2 types of nitrite based rubs/brines. We have used the top one, dry rub (spicy!!) so far.

We used to get rid of a fair amount of food, because we forgot about it, or didn’t have all the ingredients for a particular dish. Now, that’s irrelevant. If we lack something that moment, or it seems to be getting a bit wrinkled, we dehydrate it and use it later. So yeah. It looks like 2017 is going to be a whole lot better than 2016 (which can kiss our collective asses goodbye).



Categories: Cabin food, Camping food, Dehydrator, Food | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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