Tuesday, December 09, 2014


Ghee,better known as clarified butter here in the West, has been on my project list for some time. Since sourcing organic butters from grassfed cows here in the North is difficult and expensive I opted to buy ready made ghee.

Stumbled upon the Purity Farms product on I-Herb at a decent price. The shipping was reasonable and the ghee arrived well packaged from the US in a couple days.

I am a butter eater so trying ghee has always been on my radar both for the concentrated flavor and health benefits touted by Ayurveda. Ghee is butter that has been heated until the water, milk proteins and impurities have been removed leaving a pure healthy fat.

Looking forward to incorporating ghee into my diet using it in cooking due to its high smoke point, over vegetables and in my tea(po cha) and coffee following Himalayan tradition and the more recent Bulletproof coffee so popular in paleo and primal nutrition.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Weekend Project-Survival Shelter

For no reason other than putting theory to practice I decided to build a quick survival shelter. Armed with some cordage, a kukri and my Condor bushlore knife I began to create a basic survival shelter out of deadfall materials, a few alders and some pine/spruce branches.

Having found a suitable spot under a group of fir trees that offered a level soft bed of needles and moss I orientated the shelter facing Southeast so I get morning and afternoon sunshine through the trees.

A basic 45 degree lean-to design I created the initial frame intending to cover it with wood and branches to create a "debris" shelter. Using a heavy duty drop sheet I modified my plan and create a waterproof design for the coming winter. A tarp would be a more durable choice but the drop sheet was larger, clear and cheap.

Once the frame was covered with the drop sheet I added boughs followed by an assortment of debris; deadfall branches, sticks, leaves and pine needles. The end result was a natural camouflage that blends in seamlessly with the surroundings.

Unfortunately I miscalculated the weight of the debris and had to add a Y shaped support to the front. I may now consider adding a partial front to further support the structure while adding some additional protection from the elements.

In total it took about four hours to complete the shelter.
Update - I decided to add a partial front to the shelter since adding the Y support.I built a frame from alders ....picture a classic window frame....than lashed it to the Y support beam with some cordage. I then weaved in spruce branches along with some alders. The nice thing about it is the partition is a modular design- by untying it can be removed in one piece. It was simple to do and took about an hour to create. I may opt to do the same for the remainder of the shelter to have the option of turning the shelter into an enclosed hut.
Update- I decided to create another screen that would enclose the shelter.A modular design it can be lifted away to open the shelter. It offers some options including a portable wind break and if I add a couple Y supports it could easily be used as a canopy extending from the ridge pole of the shelter.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Weekend Project - Hobo Stove

Anticipating a winter of snowshoeing woodlands I wanted a way to create a small fire in the snow and wet without going to the trouble of clearing and creating a camp fire. A method that is quick and portable.

Enter the hobo stove. I could carry a portable gas fired stove but wanted something light and simple that could burn materials found in nature. Made from a soup can with a tuna fish can as a base. Air holes drilled and punched to feed the stove from bottom, sides and top.

A coat hanger used to create steel bars to create a grill to support a cup or small pan to boil water for a brew up or to make soup or noodles.

All able to be stored inside the larger can with little weight and capable of going inside a backpack . Cheap, portable and effective.