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Outdoor Living Hosted by Robert Burris


Outdoor Living Hosted by Robert Burris

This group is for the outdoor enthusiast. Whatever gets you outside is the topic. Discuss gear, trips, cool things you have seen or done. New ideas, or ask questions. If you are knowledgeable about something share it by posting a discussion about it.

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Location: One step out your door.
Members: 101
Latest Activity: Nov 23

Discussion Forum

Outdoor Gardening

Started by Sue OldsWidow. Last reply by Jan Carter Nov 14. 137 Replies

Lots of things to do in the spring, one is knowing when to plant and when to wait.May 10th is my last frost date, passed down from my grandmother. She said you plant something that comes up before…Continue

Predicting Weather.... Folklore or Truth?

Started by Steve Hanner. Last reply by Jan Carter Nov 5. 28 Replies

We own a giant persimmon tree, 25-30 feet tall. Every year out come persimmons and some years double.  Legend has it that if you open a persimmon and take out one of the seeds, you are on your way to…Continue

Tags: spoon, fork, knife, persimmon

How to prevent, recognize and treat snake bites

Started by Jan Carter. Last reply by Jan Carter Jul 23. 11 Replies

Our slithering foes will soon be out and aboutAlthough nearly 8,000 people are bit by venomous snakes each year, there are usually no more than eight deaths. However, this should not lead backpackers…Continue

Tags: treat, snake, bites, and, recognize

$500 a Day Fine for Vegetable Garden

Started by Jan Carter. Last reply by Jan Carter Jul 14. 1 Reply

Jason and Jennifer Helvenston of Orlando, Florida decided to plant a vegetable garden, on their own private property of 20 years. They had to plant it in the front yard as that was the best spot for…Continue

Tags: too, big, government, gardens, vegetable


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Comment by Jan Carter on November 23, 2015 at 20:47

conundrum:  We have lots of osage orange but I never see it as firewood LOL

Comment by Howard P Reynolds on November 23, 2015 at 7:27

The top 3 woods are hard to find in PA, and of course, we have no Elm, (Dutch Elm's disease) but most of the rest are available.

Comment by Jan Carter on November 21, 2015 at 18:39

Here are two charts showing the weight and available heat content of one cord of firewood of various species, the first sorted by heat value, and the second sorted alphabetically for easy lookup. The heat value measurement used is the British Thermal Unit, or BTU, which is defined as the amount of thermal energy it takes to raise one pound of water one degree F. One MBTU = one million BTUs.


Comment by Jan Carter on November 21, 2015 at 18:38

Comment by Charles Sample on November 15, 2015 at 1:25

Just some anecdotes from my past showing how things used to be different.

I graduated from a rural school in SE Missouri in 1964.  Pickups with a gun rack in the rear window were almost standard procedure in those days.  They were driven onto school property pretty much daily with rifles and/or shotguns in plain sight.  Some of those trucks probably had pistols in them too.

An incident that really shows the difference between now and then happened one day.  My mother was one of the teachers and was keeping study hall when this happened.  We had this kid who was a smart alec and a show off.  He had heel taps on his shoes (anybody remember those?)  He got up and clanked to the small library that was in one end of the study hall.  He picked up a magazine and rolled it up.  He was strutting back and forth and just generally creating a disturbance.  My mother went up to him, took the magazine from him, and told him to go sit down.  He smarted off to my mother.  Bad idea.  Whack!  Without thinking she smacked him in the face with the magazine.  He said, "Don't you hit me with that magazine!"  Whack, whack!  He got it two more times.  She then escorted him to the principal's office.  That was the only time I ever heard his voice from outside his office.  From inside the study hall with his office door closed I clearly heard him say, "The next time a teacher tells you to do something, you do it!"  What happened to my mother?  Absolutely nothing.  She told the principal she did it without thinking and thought she ought to apologize to the kid.  The principal said, "Don't you dare."  I told my mother if she did apologize to the kid I would probably have to fight him.  After the incident, at least as far as behavior, the kid was a model student.  After the incident his family and my family were still good friends.  And no one wanted to sue the school or beat up the teacher.  In fact I am sure the kid got into even more trouble when he got home.

Another interesting thing about this school.  We had a smoking tree.  If the high school kids wanted to smoke, they had to go to the smoking tree during lunch break.

Fast forward to about 1970.  I was then working as an engineer in Lexington, KY.  We had an intern who was an engineering student at the University of Kentucky.  He had to give a presentation in I believe a public speaking class.  His presentation was on gun control.  He borrowed my M1 carbine and with permission brought it into his class to use as a visual aid in his presentation.

Comment by dead_left_knife_guy on November 15, 2015 at 0:15

Nice article to read, though the educational aspect was quite romanticized -- no doubt written by someone that wants to learn in ways that they too were not taught in school.  I doubt school was ever about learning the ways of the land & how to use tools tools to survive & thrive on that land -- those were things left for outside of school.  Knives were more a part of daily life in cultures past that were not prepackaged & complete with easy-open tear strip.

As a kid in high school in the suburbs in the 1980's, I can say with complete certainty that being caught with a knife in school would've meant suspension at the very least, even with my status as an honors student.  Things may have gotten worse since then, but the sky hasn't suddenly fallen.

Hopefully the back-to-the-land movements, mixed with parents that were raised on video games & violent movies, will lead to a tempering of whatever hysteria has hit in the past.  

Problem with hysteria is that there is always a new one to deal with (kid labeled as a terrorist for building a clock, for example -- they didn't even evacuate the building, something you would do if you were a school administration that believed there was a bomb in the building, but I digress).  

There's always been something some group has been afraid of, at least since I can remember, & definitely before (switchblade ban, something of which all of us here are acutely aware)...

Comment by Jan Carter on November 14, 2015 at 19:34

I thought so Howard,  I wish more schools AND parents would realize this

Comment by Howard P Reynolds on November 14, 2015 at 10:12

Good article, Jan.

Comment by Jan Carter on November 13, 2015 at 19:45

another article I liked

There’s a reason we chose knives and wood carving as the topic of our first Trackers Earth book.

A knife is an incredible tool for the forest craft we do at Trackers. You can use your blade in profound ways, from making feather sticks for lighting wet wood in the rain to carving fish hooks to feed yourself. My knife has cared for my own life and comfort many times.

That’s why it feels strange to hear that some people think of knives only as weapons to be feared. Schools suspend kids for stocking a car safety kit, forgetting about the pocket knife their grandfather gave them, bringing a spork to eat lunch with, shooting an imaginary arrow and making a clock.

I understand the very real safety issues schools have to deal with. But I also believe one-size-fits-all policies play into fear and rarely lead to good solutions. Our schools, even our culture, can lack the nuance gained from interacting with the physical world.

We’re entering an era when education only allows children tools used for abstract thought. No carving tool is allowed, but a tablet computer is required. We have dramatically changed the definition of “normal” for childhood. It has become normal to steal cars or shoot people in video games, but it’s no longer normal to carry a carving knife to whittle with.

On top of that, kids get shorter recess and more homework. They’re no longer allowed to play at the park on their own, or even climb trees there. Connecting with the physical world has, in some ways, become illegal in our schools and irrelevant in our lives.

But for some kids, I have seen that shift with powerful results. I’ve watched them use knives to gut a trout they caught for dinner. Afterwards, they cooked those fish over a campfire they started with the bow drill they carved. They even ate stew with spoons they whittled. I feel fortunate to witness many of these small but profound interactions with the forest, the cold, sunshine, the earth and the out of doors.

With a knife and other tools (even of stone, bone and wood), the essentials of life don’t come from an ethereal cloud. They come from paying attention to Nature, to things not just human-made. Through intelligent use of tools, including knives, schools can empower kids to interact with life: making and learning with their minds, hands and hearts.


Comment by Howard P Reynolds on November 9, 2015 at 12:00

Thanks, Tobias.  I enjoyed the comments posted at the bottom of the article as well - local folks stopping by Richtig's forge to chat, buy a couple knives, or deliver some scrap aluminum during WWII.


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