Monthly Archives: December 2014

Another Foraging Resource – Eat the Weeds

by Woodsbum

Although I am one heck of a hunter, fire builder, shelter constructor, decent at tracking (how I recover game due to color issues with red on green), fisherman, and all around outdoors guy I do have a problem with foraging. This has been one area of my training that I have really been lacking in and I know it. Unfortunately, I also have no one that I hang around with in real life that is capable of pulling me along and training me. It has really become a lost art and difficult to learn on your own. This is why I buy so many foraging references and am constantly on the lookout for good references. Since I found another place that I have been creeping around in hopes of learning a bit, I felt compelled to include it here for my own future reference…..  If you find it helpful then I am also happy about that.

Eat The Weeds is a blog by Green Deane that I stumbled across a few days ago. He also has a YouTube channel that you can head over to if you so desire. It is really very good and well put together. The only problem is that he assumes that you have a starting knowledge of botany and plant identification. It is actually getting to the point where I am thinking about taking a few plant identification classes at our local college to get me started. This would be an expensive way to overcome the knowledge deficit that I have regarding greenry, but it might be the most beneficial considering. I will keep you updated if I decide to take that path.

I am also waiting to get my “acceptance” email from his forums. I hope to be granted access to that section of his site fairly soon so that I can start hitting up those bubbas about plant identification resources for us “filet and release” types.

Green does offer classes at a reasonable price, but you have to be in Florida to attend. That really does not do me any good considering I am on the entirely opposite side of the continental United States. This also doesn’t take into account the fact that the plant life down there is going to be much different than what we see up here.

As I get more information or resources, I will post them here on AOD. If you have any suggestions or good places for me to check out, please add a comment.

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Collapsible Grill or Pot Holder

by Woodsbum

Especially during the spring and fall months, I tend to spend a lot of time in my garage making things. Here is one of my creations that didn’t take that much to build, but is VERY useful when out bushcrafting/camping. It is a takedown grill that also turns into a pot holder for use over your campfire.

Here is a good look at my contraption:

My Pack Grill

My Pack Grill

As you can see from the picture, I made loops at the end of each of the cross pieces as well as a loop and hook on the end of the longer side pieces. This allows me to adjust the spacing, location or even take the entire thing apart for transport.

Here is a picture of it for use with a pot:

Hooked at the end to hold a pot

Hooked at the end to hold a pot

This is how it looks with a tea pot on it:
Making some tea

Making some tea

As a grill, it works quite well. I have used it to a large degree as a way to cook steaks and brauts, but I am sure it will work for any number of things you could cook on a grill. Here is a good picture of how it looks cooking some nice slabs of steak.
Cooking some steak

Cooking some steak

To make this, I just fired up a blow torch and bent the ends of the round stock metal into the desired shape. All told, I think I have less than an hour in the whole thing. This includes cutting my transport/carrier.

For transport, I actually carry it in a PVC pipe with caps that I just tie onto the side of my pack. I did this for transport so that I didn’t have to even clean the grill before I put it away. I could just burn off the extra food that was stuck onto it and then just slide it into the pipe after it cooled off.

Remember that anything you can think of as possibly useful in the bush can probably be fabricated in your garage. Just take some time and play around to see what you can come up with. All told, I love this little grill and wonder all the time as to why I didn’t build one earlier in my life. It would have saved me a lot of hassle with the Weber replacement grills that I used to carry.

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Impromptu Bow and Buck Saws

by Woodsbum

A while ago I was asked about the use of saws while bushcrafting. I carry a very nice buck saw that I picked up from a vendor at You can see it here. Many times, however, carrying the extra weight of a complete buck or bow saw is not a viable option. Instead you can carry the blade or cutting portion of the saw and make your own frame for it. Here are a couple examples of how to build your own bow saw and buck saw while out in the bush.

The first real “secret” to building field bow saws is making sure that you get some wood that either already has the natural bend to the shape or to get some nice, green wood that will bend without breaking. Either way you need something that can take the bow shape but is strong enough to not bend too much while under use. As you can see from the picture, it is preferable to make some notches in the ends of the wood to allow your saw blade to remain stationary while under load. The easiest way is to use your saw blade to make some slits and then use your knife to remove the chips. In the case of the saw I have pictured below, I was able to just slide the rings over the branch and rest them into the notches.  I like using snare wire to keep things in place, so that is why you see the wire around the ends of the saw blade. This isn’t necessary, but it is more standard practice for me than anything else.

Impromptu Bow Saw

Impromtu Bow Saw

In this instance, I took a dead branch that was still just green enough to bend and not break. The saw blade is one of those “survival” saws that come in a kit. Although using it is kind of slow compared to other saws and methods, it definitely works.

When making a buck saw, the hardest part is getting the middle branch to stay put under stress. If you don’t notch or drill your holes correctly, that middle brace will squirt off to the side and collapse the whole saw in upon itself. The best way to keep that from happening that i have found is to ensure you drill holes and use some sort of a pin. What I did on the saw below was a little different. I cut the notches for the cross brace and carved in some pins to insert into the holes I carved into the upright braces. This gave me both a solid up and down stability and a twisting stability from the pins. I have also seen holes drilled and dowels carved. This also works, but I was using a large knife and didn’t have a decent carving knife or a drill to use. To tighten up the whole saw frame you can just use some 550 cord or such and wind it up with a stick like you see below. It works quite well and when the cordage stretches you can take up a few more turns on the cord to tighten things right back up.

Impromptu Buck Saw

Impromptu Buck Saw

The easiest part is the slit for the saw blade. As you can also see, I again used snare wire to keep the blade on. This is just something that I do and have found works quite well. Since I have rolls of snare wire and carry a roll to the field with me in my survival kit, many field projects find themselves completed with the aid of snare wire.

Next time you are in the field and want to so some fire preparation do yourself a favor and make a saw frame. With some practice and testing you can come up with a great design that works well for your needs. In case you were wanting a step by step build of the buck saw, I have embedded a video th assist you. Again, it is quite easy and works very well.

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Krampus – Little Known Way to Terrify Children!!

by Woodsbum

In the spirit of both the Christmas season and our “back in the day” philosophy here at AOD, I thought I would do today’s post on this little known holiday character. I say that he is little known because I am a bit of a trivia buff, but never heard of him until I saw someone dressed up as Krampus that showed up to the bar during a Santacon. His costume was really incredible and even though he was a regular at the bar I barely recognized him. This got me to wondering: How did I miss this whole Krampus thing and who the heck is he?

When I got to work the following week, I asked one of my coworkers about Krampus. He knew exactly who this guy was and his history. Again, how could this be that I had never heard of him? Come to find out I was also in the dark about this whole “Santacon” thing as well and he knew all about that. I guess I was REALLY uneducated about the whole holiday festivities thing so now I felt the need to do some research.

I got a lot of information from the website and here is some history of the guy:


The Horned Devil, also known as KrampusKrampus is the dark companion of St. Nicholas, the traditional European winter gift-bringer who rewards good children each year on December 6. The kindly old Saint leaves the task of punishing bad children to a hell-bound counterpart known by many names across the continent — Knecht Ruprecht, Certa, Perchten, Black Peter, Schmutzli, Pelznickel, Klaubauf, and Krampus. Usually seen as a classic devil with horns, cloven hooves and monstrous tongue, but can also be spotted as a sinister gentleman dressed in black, or a hairy man-beast. Krampus punishes the naughty children, swatting them with switches and rusty chains before dragging them, in baskets, to a fiery place below.

Krampusnacht (Night of Krampus)

Krampusnacht: Night of KrampusKrampus is celebrated on Krampusnacht, which takes place on the eve of St. Nicholas’ Day. In Austria, Northern Italy and other parts of Europe, party-goers masquerade as devils, wild-men, and witches to participate in Krampuslauf (Krampus Run). Intoxicated and bearing torches, costumed devils caper and carouse through the streets terrifying child and adult alike. Krampusnacht is increasingly being celebrated in other parts of Europe such as Finland and France, as well as in many American cities.

Krampus’s Ancient Origins

The European tradition of guising and mumming The European practice of mummery during the winter solstice season can be traced back tens of thousands of years. Villagers across the continent dress up as animals, wild-men and mythic figures to parade and perform humorous plays. This ancient guising and masking tradition continues to this day as the primary source for our modern Halloween with its costumes, trick-or-treat, and pagan symbolism. Among the most common figures in these folk rituals were Old Man Winter and the horned Goat-Man — archetypes now found in the forms of Saint Nick/Santa Claus, and the Devil (‘Old Nick’), aka Krampus.

Santa the Punisher?

Santa can be very frighteningIn 19th century New York City an American St. Nick emerged in the form of Santa Claus. Although based on the Dutch Saint Nicholas, Santa incorporated more elements from pagan winter solstice customs. He relinquished his white bishop garb for a red suit, traded his horse and staff for a sleigh and reindeer, and moved his franchise to Christmas Eve.

Santa's identity crisisSanta also tried to take over the dark companion’s job of punishing the naughty, but his New World temperament was apparently unsuited for the task. As Santa neglected and abandoned his punishing duties, American kids lost all fear of Santa and his lumps of coal. Thankfully, in the 21st century, Krampus has arrived in this land of spoiled and dissatisfied children to pick up the slack.

Krampus Cards

Krampus cards expressed the spirit of holiday revelry While Santa Claus expanded shop and sold products in mid-1800s America, the holiday card craze exploded in Europe.
Naughty Krampus postcards were all the rageIn Austria and other parts of Europe, countless season’s greeting cards featured Krampus, often emblazoned with the phrase “Grüß Vom Krampus” (Greetings from Krampus). While the lurid images are suffused with a modern sense of the comic and the surreal, they still resonant with mythic power and primordial horror.
Naughty children encounter KrampusAnd with Krampus representing the naughty side of the season, the sexy subtext is hard to ignore in these often very cheeky cards. A century later, the brilliance of these magnificent works of pop art is now gaining global recognition.

Krampus in America

BLAB! Magazine curator Monte Beauchamp reintroduced Krampus cards to America nearly a century after their heyday. His art books are the definitive works showcasing Krampus and other Devil-inspired greeting cards. A collector’s market for Krampus cards has grown as the figure of Krampus pops up across the cultural landscape. Krampus has been featured on Adult Swim’s The Venture Bros and the CW’s Supernatural; in 2009, Krampus visited the The Colbert Report and had Stephen shaking in his Brooks Brothers’ suit. Over the last decade, Krampusnacht celebrations have sprouted up in U.S. cities such as Portland and San Francisco.

A New Spirit of Xmas?

The hunger for a darker Xmas holiday has made the evil Santa Claus character a staple of pop culture, as seen in movies such as Rare Exports, The Nightmare Before Christmas, books such as Dean Koontz’s Santa’s Twin and many others.
A resurgence of Saturnalian rituals and animistic practices during the winter season is evident in Santarchy, a flash-mob phenomenon started in 1994 on America’s west coast now enacted in many countries including Korea, Norway and Ireland. On selected days in early December, large crowds of costumed Santa Clauses descend en masse on public squares and shopping centers to confound, amuse and frighten spectators.

Krampus is back!!A new appreciation of ancient traditions that smoulder in the dark recesses of holiday revelry continues to rise around the world. Krampus, with his horns, hoove and tongue, embodies this revived spirit of the Xmas season!

Krampus Through the Ages

  • 2000 BCE Enkidu appears in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the earliest known appearance of a ‘Wild Man’ in literature.
  • 600 BCE In the book of Daniel in the Old Testament, King Nebuchadnezzar is punished by God for his pride when he is turned into a hairy beast.
  • 217 BCE Saturnalia is introduced as a winter celebration in Rome, marked by gift giving, wild parties, and a reversal of the normal social roles of slave and master.
  • 4th Century CEDue to Roman influence, many Germanic tribes, such as the Goths and Vandals, convert to Christianity; their pagan traditions survive in small villages in the Alps where the Church cannot penetrate.
  • 1250 CE King’s Mirror, a Norwegian text, features a Wild Man character who is described as being covered in hair.
  • 17th Century CE ‘Knecht Rupert’ appears as a figure in a Nuremberg Christmas procession.
  • 1810 CE The Brothers Grimm began publishing stories of Germanic folktales, marking a resurgence in Germanic pagan folklore.
  • Early 19th Century CE Holiday postcards from Austria, Germany, and other parts of Europe feature holiday greetings Krampus and other companions of St. Nicholas.
  • Early 19th Century CE Germanic and Dutch immigrants to the US popularize ‘Pelznickel’ traditions in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and as far west as Indiana.
  • 2004 CE Blab! Magazine curator Monte Beauchamp publishes Devil In Design, a collection of vintage Krampus postcards from the turn of the 19th century. This book marks an increase in Krampus’ popularity in the English speaking world.
  • 2004 CE An Adult Swim show The Venture Brothers features Krampus during a Christmas special.
  • 2007 CE The American television show Supernatural features an evil Krampus character.
  • 2009 CE American satirist Stephen Colbert is visited by Krampus on his television show The Colbert Report.
  • 2013 CE Krampus comes to the popular American television show Grimm.
  • 2013 CE Krampus featured on the popular animated television show American Dad.


After seeing this timeline, I realized why I had never heard of this guy. It wasn’t really until 2004 that he reemerged into popular culture and I don’t watch or read anything on this list. I do find it interesting that Americans have suddenly started looking back to older traditions and history as of late, not for educational purposes, but as a way to inject new blood into our entertainment. TV shows and movies based in history, documentaries, and reality shows based upon primitive needs are all now the rage. I guess that dusting off an old Christmas devil would just fall right in line with this trend.

It does make me wonder what other little tidbits of interesting historical tradition that I have been missing out on. Maybe I could discover something fun like the Arbor Day Oak Tree Explosion were we use 100 lbs of gun powder to turn a large tree into toothpicks at the stroke of noon so we get another day off work? How about the Groundhog Day Puma Stalk where everyone dresses up like a mountain lion, goes from bar to bar eating wild game and drinking large amounts of whiskey? That sounds like a good one. Ohh…  It would be AWESOME if there was some traditional festival based around a parade where all the floats carried beer on tap and passed out shots of Apple Pie Moonshine to all the spectators!!! Yeah!!!

Time to hit the Google!!!!

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Australian Dad Survives the Bush – Why I say you should always be prepared

by Woodsbum

I stumbled across an article that discusses how a father and his two young sons survived 10 days in the Australian Outback. Apparently he was taking back roads as a scenic route with his sons and they somehow missed a turn and got stuck. They then spent 10 days surviving until someone came by and saved them.

Here is the article:

A 5-year-old boy and his 7-year-old brother were recovering in a hospital Monday after surviving with their father for 10 days in the Australian wilderness with little food and in weather conditions that ranged from stormy to scorching.

Their ordeal began Dec. 11 when dad Steven Van Lonkhuyzen took a wrong turn during a family road trip and then got his four-wheel-drive vehicle bogged in mud. The family was rescued Sunday after farmer Tom Wagner went searching and found them in the remote Expedition National Park.

“They were pretty hungry by the time I got to them, and pretty happy to see me,” Wagner said.

He said the younger boy, Timothy, kept asking him if he had any eggs, while the older one, Ethan, appeared dehydrated. He said the father had given the limited food he had to his sons, who themselves had gone with little or nothing to eat for a week.

“Luckily it rained,” he said. “Otherwise they would have perished.”

Queensland Police Acting Superintendent Mick Bianchi says Van Lonkhuyzen had planned to drive from his home in Brisbane to Cairns using an inland route.

“Quite simply, he took a wrong turn,” Bianchi said.

He said the boys were getting their strength back after their ordeal, during which temperatures rose to about 38 degrees Celsius (100 Fahrenheit). The boys were both listed as being in a stable condition at the Taroom Hospital.

Bianchi said the family had limited provisions but luckily it was stormy at times and they were able to collect rainwater in a plastic container. He said the father had tried to attract attention by laying out high-visibility items around his vehicle and lighting fires. He said Van Lonkhuyzen made the right choice by staying with his vehicle.

“They were very trying conditions, and it would have tested the family’s relationship,” Bianchi said.

He said the father attempted to establish routines with his children and keep them occupied.

He said there was little or no cellphone reception in the park and so the trio hadn’t been able to contact anybody. Bianchi said the boys’ mother had raised the alarm when the trio didn’t arrive at a friend’s home in Cairns.

He said the national park is not usually visited at this time of year because of the extreme weather conditions.

One of the first things I would like to point out is that the father put his sons first and gave them what food that they had brought with them. This was very noble and I am always happy to see parents who behave in such a selfless fashion. Kudos to this guy for his sacrifice and how much he loves his kids, especially since this didn’t kill him and leave his sons to fend for themselves. In the bush water is life, but calories are king. If you intake food without enough water you will not be able to digest the calories. If you don’t have enough calories for your body to function, you might not be able to do the work required to gather and purify the water needed to survive. It is a slippery slope. You have to eat enough to be able to do the work needed to keep alive so giving all your calories to someone else might have actually killed them all…..

Second thing I would like to point out is that you should ALWAYS have several days of rations on you when you travel. I don’t care if you are going via Interstate or down the Pacific Coast Trail. You should always have several days of food with you. Foraging/hunting can and will extend those meals if you get stuck, but having those calories available to give you the energy to: build shelters, gather firewood, create some sort of signaling system for rescue, finding and purifying water, etc. If you don’t have the energy to do those things, you may not pull through.

Last thing I will mention is the fact that they did not have enough water with them. If it had not rained, they might not have survived. Depending upon the weather or ground water to keep you hydrated is not a good idea unless you live some place like Western Washington where even the slugs wear rain coats. Most places do not have enough fresh water that you can purify within 1 mile of every place you could ever imagine like Western Washington does. This being said, also keep a way to purify or distill your water. If you live near the ocean distilling sea water will provide you will drinkable water so learn how and bring the supplies. If you live other places you should bring a water filtration system as a way to make any water you find drinkable.

These things are really second nature to those of us who spend as much time in the woods as we can. Knowing how to live in the woods versus surviving an outdoors mishap is really the difference between bushcrafting and being a survivalist. Like Mors Kochanski says, “The more you know, the less you carry.” Learn as much as possible and carry the right equipment.

Again, I am really glad that they made it through and did so well. It really is awesome and I bet the kids learned a TON due to this extended camping trip.

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