Archive for December, 2009
Ernest Henry Shackleton was born at Kilkea House, County Kildare, on February 15, 1874. The Shackletons came originally from Yorkshire. The founder of the family was Abraham Shackleton, a Quaker, who moved to Ireland early in the eighteenth century and started a school at Ballitore, near Dublin. Henry Shackleton, Ernest’s father, was Abraham’s direct descendant in the fourth generation. Henry tried to enter the army but his poor health prevented him. Becoming a farmer instead, he settled in the green, fertile, rolling fields of County Kildare at a place called Kilkea. Ernest’s mother, born Henrietta Letitia Sophia Gavan, married Henry in 1872, bringing a touch of Irish blood into an otherwise pure Anglo-Irish lineage. Ernest’s birth happened to coincide with the disastrous potato crop failure, so much a part of Irish history. This meant an agricultural depression and difficult times for farmers. Henry Shackleton was a survivalist and therefore abandoned his farm before it was too late. At the age of 33, Henry left his farm to Trinity College in Dublin and started a new career in medicine. In 1884, Dr. Shackleton crossed the water and settled in England. It was in suburban London that Ernest Shackleton spent the remainder of his boyhood years. Ernest’s mother became mysteriously an invalid and remained so for the last forty years of her life. Dr. Shackleton, with help from his mother-in-law and various female relatives from Ireland, raised Ernest and the other children.
Candles have cast a light on man’s progress for centuries. However, there is very little known about the origin of candles. Although it is often written that the first candles were developed by the Ancient Egyptians who used rush lights, or torches, made by soaking the pithy core of reeds in molten tallow, the rush lights had no wick like a candle. It is the Romans who are credited with developing the wick candle, using it to aid travellers at dark, and lighting homes and places of worship at night.
Like the early Egyptians, the Roman’s relied on tallow, gathered from cattle or sheep suet, as the principal ingredient of candles. It was not until the Middle Ages when beeswax, a substance secreted by honey bees to make their honeycombs, was introduced. Beeswax candles were a marked improvement over those made with tallow, for they did not produce a smoky flame, or emit an acrid odour when burned. Instead, beeswax candles burned pure and clean. However, they were expensive, and, therefore, only the wealthy could afford them.
Colonial women offered America’s first contribution to candle making when they discovered that boiling the greyish green berries of bayberry bushes produced a sweet-smelling wax that burned clean. However, extracting the wax from the bayberries was extremely tedious. As a result, the popularity of bayberry candles soon diminished.
Is this an American thing, or do folks elsewhere do it too?
It’s called bean hole cooking, because baked beans are what most people do in them. But it’s useful for a lot more than that…..
The basic idea is to dig a hole at least 2 feet deep (3 is better, 2 1/2 feet is a good compromise if you’re lazy), and half again as wide as your Dutch oven, and burn down firewood in it until you have eight or ten inches of coals.
When the wood is pretty much burned down, you prep your Dutch oven with layers of pre-soaked northern white beans, sliced onions, and salt pork (or bacon), then pour a mixture of hot water, molasses, maple syrup or brown sugar, salt, black pepper and dry mustard to cover the beans well. That’s a typical baked bean recipe, anyway; there are probably as many recipes out there as there are people digging bean holes.
This was recently posted on a Bushcraft forum I frequently visit. Although not related to the subject of Bushcraft in any shape or form, it made me laugh so much I thought it was well worth sharing with you.
Just try reading this without laughing till you cry!!!
Pocket Tazer Stun Gun, a great gift for the wife… A guy who purchased
his lovely wife a pocket Tazer for their anniversary submitted this:
If the water you find is also muddy, stagnant, and foul smelling, you can clear the water–
• By placing it in a container and letting it stand for 12 hours.
• By pouring it through a filtering system.
Note: These procedures only clear the water and make it more palatable. You will have to purify it.
To make a filtering system, place several centimeters or layers of filtering material such as sand, crushed rock, charcoal, or cloth in bamboo, a hollow log, or an article of clothing (Figure 6.9).
Winter is a wonderful time of year for a holiday, but while the dry air may mean that you feel the cold much less than with equivalent temperatures in the UK, it’s nevertheless important to dress properly in order to make the most of your holiday in the snow. When you are out and about enjoying your activities, whether you are dog sledding, ski touring or tobogganing with the kids, dressing appropriately is the key to enjoying your winter holiday.
In this article we outline some basic advice for dressing for the cold – it is not necessary to spend a fortune on specialist equipment to keep warm, though good quality outdoor clothing will almost always perform better and last longer than budget-priced gear, so why not treat yourself to some new kit before you set off?
Rainwater collected in clean containers or in plants is usually safe for drinking. However, purify water from lakes, ponds, swamps, springs, or streams, especially the water near human settlements or in the tropics.
When possible, purify all water you got from vegetation or from the ground by using iodine or chlorine, or by boiling.
Purify water by–
• Using water purification tablets. (Follow the directions provided.)
• Placing 5 drops of 2 percent tincture of iodine in a canteen full of clear water. If the canteen is full of cloudy or cold water, use 10 drops. (Let the canteen of water stand for 30 minutes before drinking.)
• Boiling water for 1 minute at sea level, adding 1 minute for each additional 300 meters above sea level, or boil for 10 minutes no matter where you are.
Once upon a time, when the Field-Mouse was out
gathering wild beans for the winter, his neighbor, the
Buffalo, came down to graze in the meadow. This the
little Mouse did not like, for he knew that the other
would mow down all the long grass with his prickly
tongue, and there would be no place in which to hide.
He made up his mind to offer battle like a man.
“Ho, Friend Buffalo, I challenge you to a fight! “he
exclaimed in a small, squeaking voice.