Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Grandkids Loved It!

I wrote my first children's book. Its only 30 pages and each page has a photo, nearly all of them from the trail camera installed near here by my friend. I child tested the text and combination by sending  the file to my daughters. Looks like thumbs up. Course, maybe they were just being nice.

Wild Neighbors
Its only 99 cents at

Hi Mom, I just wanted to write and tell you thank you so much for the children's book you sent. It is a huge hit in our house!!! B**** loves the animal pictures, and so does I****. We've been very busy and have had company this whole time, but we've been talking about the pictures and the camera, and she would listen to me read the book and look at the pictures ten times a day if she could! That was a neat idea for the kids.

Awesome, Mom! I can't believe all those great photos! And you have a good, informative story line there too. :) I will show B**** when he wakes up. Do you think you might print these on hard copy, or is that alot of work and/or expensive? Very creative, as always.

Hi Mom,
S*** and C**** loved the book and all the pictures. We were amazed at all the wildlife you have so close to you.

And another  review  came in:
I down loaded Wild Neighbors and both me and my kids loved it. The pictures David took are terrific and it is amazing the variety of wildlife in your backyard!--Flo

It was fun creating this work, my family lives across the country. Thank god for internet.

(I blocked out the kids names, just because.)

Friday, November 25, 2011

What Next, Water Outlawed?

This nice old man who makes Polar Pure for backpackers, campers and travelers is being shut down because the DEA says his product might be used by meth cookers.

"But federal and state drug enforcement agents are coming down hard on Wallace's humble homemade solution, which he concocted to help backpackers purify water.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and state regulators say druggies can use the single ingredient in his "Polar Pure" water purifier -- iodine -- to make crystal meth."

Ok, people that cook meth use a lot of stuff. I bet they even use water. Hope they don't outlaw that stuff too.

I saw a link posted on facebook, followed it at:

Its a great read.
I use iodine on rare occasion. Will I soon have to sign for it? Seriously, what is happening to this country when a nice couple like these can't even produce a well know, well liked beneficial product .

Surely there's got to be a way the feds can adequately legislate this. I digress.

Please don't take my water away, don't call me collateral damage in the fight against these shitheads who cook meth.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The New Streaming Movie Box

If you've never heard of Roku, you're not the only one.

Until just a few months ago, I woulda swore it was a Japanese dish, or stir fry or something.

Turns out, this little contraption sells for just Fifty bucks and can be plugged into any t-v. It comes with its own remote which enables you to open up a whole new world.

I don't make a cent writing this, so its totally unbiased. My guy just bought his second one so that the t-v on the table, the t-v in the bedroom, and the t-v in the living room all have access to 350 channels. Now, its true, some of the channels you have to subscribe to, like Netflix or Hulu plus. But there are tons of channels that are free, everything from food and games to news and foreign language.

Its pretty cool, because now instead of paying for a separate satellite receiver in the back room so I can watch a chick flick while my dude is watching baseball, I can just fire up the roku device and pick out one a hundreds on netflix, or if there's something on digital video you want to see.

Course, my pc gets netflix also, but it doesn't have the 42 inch screen.  is the web address

When you're watching something like Breaking Bad, the bigger the screen, the Badder it Breaks.

Yeah, what he said.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Potato Research and the Wikipedia

I absolutely love Wikipedia. In one place you have tons of information, links, photo, history and bibliography. I was researching potatoes for a survival test project and was not disappointed.

This is my garden in spring. We had a marvelous crop of tomatoes.

One thing especially caught my attention: growing them in a bag.
The garden here has been put to bed, and now leaves are being layered to create more depth and looser medium.

I still don't think its loose enough for potatoes. Check out the photo of the potato bag set up at:

My grandparents grew tons of potatoes. I remember picking them out of the soil when the harvest was ready. They'd turn the soil to expose the spuds, making it easier than with a shovel.

The bag thing would be wonderful. I'm getting a potato tomorow, and letting the eyes grow out.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Black Death Movie Review

I watched the 2010 movie, Black Death, this afternoon and was amazed by the artistry. Its a dark film, a horror flick which takes 1.5 hours to unfold a disturbing tale of bubonic plague in 1348 England.

The producers give us the whys and how of revenger and torture at the hands of the Church and conterculter village. We see everything from guttings to drawn and quarter, burning, and torturous elements of water.

Not to worry, most of the imagery is suggested and not as graphic as some new movies, like Walking dead where flesh is eaten in rubbery fashion.

Anyways, I enjoyed it and felt it was poetic in revealing the maniac passion humans have had for religion.

The scenery reminds me of a walk along the Chatooga, beautifully photographed. The teeth of our army and monk are yellowed, the dead and dying are grotesque. Very realistic. I hate it when everyone had blinding white teeth in an apocalyptic setting. Really.

The monk is the good guy here, but be advised, the twist at the end is very good.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Path of the Rabbit Under Full Moon

I've finished the third book in the End of Days series.

It is available now at . I should also be available at Barnes and Nobel soon.
Writing it was an incredible experience. I really delved into the post grid down scenario and readers say this is my best work yet.
I'm like the rabbit, whose self preservation is a Look before you Leap variety. The first book in this series, A Measured Response, began at that level. The middle book, Journey North, shows the main character evolving her self defense, until at last in the final book we see a proactive approach.

The Calendar Keeper

The entire series began with the thought: what if the world ended as we know it, with the Grid Down and a few natural disasters to help it along. Living way out here in the wilderness, on top a mountain, how long would it take for us to find out?

The first sign would be no power. That's happened before, for several days at a time, so at first we wouldn't worry.
After a few days, we'd go into town and then there would be rumors, no power, sketchy government interaction. Of course, folks who live in town would know something is up, but perhaps the hoarding and violence would take a while to become widespread.

This morning, having finished and uploaded my latest work, I relaxed in my studio and caught some early photos.

These were taken about seven a.m, just as the sun was rising.

I found this blog to be very inspirational and informative: If you are an aspiring author, run over there and give it a look. She turned me on to the Barnes and Nobel e-book for Nooks and other applications. I am working on my account, making the five books I've written thus far available.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Four Season TarpTents and Question

I used to sew lots of ultralight backpacking gear. One of my most successful designs in terms of weight to square foot living space was the BrawnyTarptent.
This photo of it in Yosemite in winter was sent to me by a very satisfied customer.
The main thing with four season gear is it's ability to shrug off snow, hold up to freezing temperatures changing structures integrity and the comfort level the shelter offers.

Of course, there are always trade offs. This tarp tent weighs 21 ounces and packs to the size of a bag of bagels. One reason its so light is you use your hiking poles or suspend the apex from a branch. Hence, the support of shock corded poles is eliminated along with that weight.

I love this South Col tent. It accommodates 2-3 people, double walled, two generous vestibules, and is free standing.

Its a pretty massive structure and good for base camping. It weighs over 9 pounds. I would use it in severe conditions. Being a dome, it will shed snow, however a person would still have to shake it off periodically if the snow were wet. The poles could conceivably break. I always bring repair sleeves, which are short metal sleeves about 5-6 inches long. In the event of breakage, slip the sleeve (cut from old hiking poles) over the fracture.

In winter a person is tempted to cook inside, out of the wind. Be aware of carbon monoxide and burning issues.

I don't recommend cooking in a tent, and have done a video on that issue. See other winter camping suggestions on this blog.

Dropping a tent usually means dealing with frost, cold fingers, perhaps melting snow. I use a separate set of gloves, or tough it out bare handed so my hiking gloves are dry.
I love a larger than normal stuff sack for silnylon structures in winter so I don't have to fight with the shelter packing up because sometimes the inside is coated in frost.

One technique I've used is bringing an ultralight tarp to configure over my ultralight silnylon tent. It sheds snow, creates a double wall effect and adds enough extra warmth to merit the weight. A 5 x 10 works for me on a solo structure.

As you can see, winter, or four season tents need not be elaborate, just be sure the structure can shed snow and hold up to the contractions of severe cold. If you're anticipating freezing rain, I would definitely go with a tarp canopy, but be very sure to allow fresh air into the shelter.

I heard a woman layered plastic over her tent and suffocated. Maybe its a myth, but its a warning to the wise, cause I'm not going to test that theory.

I have slept under the stars in minus six degrees in northern Wisconsin. Shelter is necessary, just be sure you can still breathe.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Morning of Facebooking

Who says Facebooking is a waste of time?

This morning I saw two things of intellectual interest, read a wonderful poem a friend of mine read, caught up on family photos, posted my one liners and saw this great photo below. I love the download button which lets a person share the photo with others not in their facebook friends.

And because I Like Bankrate, I get messages and articles from them.
This article deals with the question, Should we teach our kids, hell, even Require our kids to learn personal finance in school.

Yes, yes, yes. I'll even take the class. How to buy a home, how to buy a car, how to make investments, how to budget, deal with snooty banks, avoid getting ripped off. There's a ton of valuable information we need that is way more important that advanced algebra. I must admit, anyone taking advanced algebra probably knows enough math to figure out a budget, but learning about all the hidden costs of buying a home would be a safe guard against the epidemic of foreclosures our country faces now.

The air is warming and I'll go enjoy my daily walk in the woods.