The saddest news first. I'm sure you have read that Ron Hood passed away in his sleep. He left his wife Karen and son Jesse and I want everyone to pray for them. What a loss. I have a few things in common with Ron and only meet him once back in the early 80's at a rendezvous type of deal called Rabbit Stick. We got to chat a little and we both found out we are veterans of the same military unit. I served later than Ron and never met him in service. We were a very closed mouth organization and Ron has written a little about it on his website. Hey Ron! ASA all the way, brother and we will surely miss you! Rest in eternal peace.
I have finally settled in and am dealing/dealt with a few bumps in the road as far as my health. Its been a very busy spring and summer. Summer here in the valley is not very pleasant. 110 in the shade sucks no matter if its dry or humid. But, I can always go up to the mountains and cool off. We got a record breaking snowfall this year and it isn't going to melt off before the next snow season begins. From 11,000 to 14,000 feet there is still a lot of snow and the waterfalls and creeks will run all year. The local river just 10 minutes bike ride north of me is running fast and freezing. Already several people have died from being careless in the rivers coming down from the Sierra's. That water is very fast, very deep and freezing cold. Even in 102 degree heat I could only stand in the water ankle deep for a few minutes until it was down right painful cold. The farmers sure need this water and as long as the idiots in government stop fooling around with "allotments" the crops and farms should be very good this year.
I've noticed the big Himalayan black berries are doing just fine and I've seen some berries at least an inch long and half an inch across. Tasty! Too bad they are an invader. They do push out the native plants and are extremely painful plants to deal with. They have many sharp thorns and cutting them out with a machete or such is no fun even with the best of heavy leather gloves and riding chaps to protect your legs. The difference between them and the native black berry is this: Native has a three leaf cluster, soft thorns, and a round stem. The berries aren't as big as the Himalayan but just as good tasting. The Himalayan has a 5 sided stem, leaves in clusters of 5 and hard, painful, backward pointing thorns that remind me very much of my cat, Nutcat.
There were some new books (at least new to me) at Borders. I picked up a copy of: "Native American Hunting, Fighting, and Survival Tools by Monte Burch ISBN 978-1-59921-093-3, Bug Out by Scott Williams ISBN 978-1-56975-781-9, Wilderness Survival Handbook by Michael Pewtherer ISBN 978-0-07-148467-1, and the DK Survival Handbook by Colin Towell ISBN 978-0-7566-7011-5. The book by Burch is a good guide to constructing various tools and weapons and does a thorough job explaining most of them. It leaves a few things out but that's why there are other books on the subject. I give Monte an A+.
Bug Out by Williams is an interesting book and I was surprised to see that he and I agree on some common ground such as: stay the hell away from National Parks in a SHTF/TEOTWAWKI scenario and the national forests are a fine place to seek cover. He goes into detail about the areas of the country which he has broken down into 8 regions. I like his thinking on survival and "bugging out". He gets an A+ from the Ronmeister.
Wilderness Survival Handbook:Primitive Skills for Short-Term Survival and Long-Term Comfort. The title says it all. I love practicing primitive skills and this book explains a lot of them that I'm very comfortable with and a lot of new twists. It has a good selection of modern survival/camping topics as well. Another A+.
I was very pleasantly surprised when I picked up a copy of the DK Survival Handbook at my local Costco. Just reading it for 10 minutes told me that the writer was not a poser like some out there. He knew his beans and how to cook them. It covers a lot of ground and as with all DK publications its heavily illustrated and the pictures and drawings are first class. And to top it off, its a licensed product of the Boy Scouts of America. I like these kinds of survival books because they relate to camping and hiking as well as extreme survival. Another A+. I think the reason I have been into survival and preparedness all these years is the primitive skills aspect I love so much. Survival skills have a lot in common with primitive skills. I do enjoy using and relying on modern tools and technology, but knowing how to do some of it the "old fashioned way" is a kicker. What a thrill to pick up a tree limb and a rock and make something both useful and beautiful. And the fact that nameless thousands have been doing the same thing for thousands of years boggles the imagination. To them it wasn't survival. It was thriving.
Also a warning: there is an author out there who writes some really dangerous crap posing as survival information. Things such as "all poke weed is edible" which is a deadly misconception. The very first growth not exceeding 2-3 inches and showing absolutely NO purple on the stem is safe. I don't even mess with it even tho its common just about everywhere. Some people love collecting and eating it. More power to them. My choice:why risk it? He's written some other eyebrow raising things like cannibalism in a survival situation. That's just plain wrong. Period. I'll eat a damn raw rat before I even think of dinning on my fellow man. Any way I don't need a law suite but I have written about this character before on this blog. He even has a cute little knife with his moniker and its about as useless as his books.Posers..........