Saturday, November 27, 2010

bacon rock and bush nuts

My obsession with bigfoot has led to many strange hobbies. If I didn't get so jazzed up about this crap I probably wouldn't have taken my first ninjutsu lesson back 2004. I certainly wouldn't have been psyched enough to ride a moped a few thousand miles and let's face it, my life would of been a little less zestful. While the martial arts training and moped riding are currently taking a vacation, the wilderness/bushcraft skills have not. Thanks to "squatchin" I find myself in the woods with buddies quite a bit.

Luckily for me a have a couple sweet bro's I can call with a few minutes notice to go out to the wilds! We try to get out at least one weekend a month all year long. The destinations are almost always remote and the nights are weird and filled with frolic!

partial rag tag crew

I try to learn a new skill with each trip and look up what I did wrong later. Like most people these days I learn a lot from the internet and books. This of course has led to many, many mistakes. I've cut off a bit of my thumb, ate poisonous mushrooms, gotten lost, fallen into water, not wiped my butt properly, and eaten a few bad meals. The last one being steak with a gracious sprinkling of dirt! When I saw that my favorite bushcraft supply company bushcraft northwest was having a two day course on outdoor cooking I knew I was obligated to sign up!

Mike, Me, Ryan, and Elliot. photo by Rick

Mike and Rick are Bushcraft Northwest's two instructors. Mike has been using these techniques in the field as a biologist for a number of years. I first stumbled on his skills from an unusual tarp setup video he has on youtube. I've been keeping tabs on him ever since and he always seems to be working on something innovative for the bushcraft field.

Mike Lummio

While Mike teaches most of the camp skills, Rick uses his special forces medical experience to add to the theme of each course. Since the topic was food, he covered problems that can occur with poisoning, choking, diarrhea, parasites, burns, cuts, mouth pains and all other potential problems that go with camp cooking.

Rick Sexton

part of Rick and all of a yukon stove

After an overview of the trials and tribulations of outdoor cooking we dived right in with some hands on experience gathering wild onions, spices and herbs. Mike also showed what woods were more sustainable to use and the best way to harvest them so they grow back better the next season! With that we cut some branches for various cooking contraptions like the burtonsville rig and a cooking tripod.

burtonsville rig. photo by Rick.

Exploring a variety of old school cooking techniques Mike proved how ridiculous it was to lug in a pile of pots, pans, grills, stoves and everything else you might think necessary for wilderness food parties.

Finnish stove. Rick photo!

We cooked eggs by puncturing a hole in the top and putting them right in the coals of the fire. The bacon was cooked on a stone slab that sat in the fire for hours. What better way to enjoy a Cornish game hen then by shoving a red hot rock up its butt with a smidgen of crushed juniper berries, then roasting it over a grill top made of woven bark and green sticks!

bacon rocks!

you still might want to pack in that dutch oven if you want to try some of
Mike's world famous
"bush nuts"..........the best donut on a cold winters night!

Salmon cooked the traditional native northwest way, splayed out with green sticks over the fire and also directly on the coals on a cedar plank.

Trying to summarize the weekend in a blog I realize just how much we covered out there and how much I'm going to have to leave out. Besides, I wouldn't want you to read this and think you know it all now and don't ever need to ever go out and learn from someone in person. Trust me, not doing so eventually always leads to bloody thumbs, sandy food and mudd butt!

cold snowy night, hot bitchin' meals!