BANNOCK THE BREAD OF ADVENTURERS

Up in the North Country the seventeenth-century French-Canadian voyagers opened up the wilderness from the St. Lawrence River to northwestern Canada with their trapping and trade operations. These great canoeists traveled vast distances on light rations. One of their main staples was bannock, a simple bread of European and Native American descent.

The European version of bannock is said to have originated in Scotland and was made traditionally of oatmeal. The Native American bannock of pre-contact times was made from flour ground from natural substances gathered from the woods such as acorns, cattail heads, plant bulbs or corn. The first European explorers brought their version of bannock with them and between the two cultures bannock was the bread of the wilderness. The French voyageurs called it “galette”, the Scotch bannach, others called it bush bread, trail bread, fry bread and grease bread. Bannock, from the Scotch word, stuck. 

From early history until today those who spend much of their time in the backcountry depend upon this simple but delicious bread. I learn to love bannock while exploring the Arctic where it was a staple of every meal. I brought the modern bannock recipe back to Alabama to cook in my home. It became a hit with all who tried it and remains a favorite in my house and when I am in the backcountry.

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THE MODERN HOME BUILT FOR SURVIVAL

“This is not a home built for survival!” a disappointed friend in the survival writing community exclaimed as we drove into the front yard of my new home. “It’s a nice modern home in a beautiful rural area”, he continued, “but no bunker, no solar panels, no cistern barrels, and it’s not hidden away in the woods.” I could sense his disappointment that I didn’t live in a fort miles from the nearest pavement.

Far too many people new to living the preparedness lifestyle think that the modern home designed for survival has to be a remote fortified mountain man’s lair that looks like a junk yard. When my wife, Sofee, and I decided to build our new home in a rural area with the design being weighted towards surviving our local threats – long hot summers, winter ice storms, tornadoes, long power outages, and possible long periods without going to the super market – we also wanted comfort and modern conveniences when they were available. We wanted a secure homestead with room to grow our own food, have a small private shooting range and entertain outdoors. Sofee was the chief designer and she designed a home that accomplished all this and more.

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JENNY

Jenny was a pretty little girl. Her long blond hair hung down over shoulders and her eyes sparkled with life. They were as blue as the sky. She was a skinny little ball of energy, doing everything with enthusiasm.

At school the girls picked on her because she was poor and they called her a Tom boy as she chose to hang out with Chipmunk, Punky and I to talk about huntin’ and fishin’ rather than playing with the girls. The days she was in school, she was one of the brightest students in our class. But many days, especially during the rainy days of winter, she missed school because the old rundown house she lived in was down a long rough lane that would flood if there was much rain. She couldn’t get out to catch the school bus.

Jenny’s dad was a sharecropper who would become a full time trapper and woods roamer as soon as the crops were harvested in the fall. The old sharecropper house they called home was papered in old newspaper and it was heated with a large wood-burning cook stove. They were poor but Jenny never let that hold her back. She was a woods girl and proud of it.

One cold, windy, December day, Chipmunk, Punky and I were sitting on the sunny side of the school, out of the wind, during recess planning a squirrel hunt for the following Saturday. It was to be a contest to see who could get the most squirrels.

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SCOPED RIFLE SIGHT-IN MADE EASY

Sighting in a new scope on a rifle or slug shotgun can be an intimidating chore. You probably imagine yourself spending an afternoon at the range, shooting up a box of ammunition, and returning home with a sore shoulder.

Believe it or not, you could probably zero in your scope with just six shots or less.

The most frustrating part of sighting in a scope can be just getting your shots on paper. If you don’t know where your rifle is shooting, you don’t know what adjustments to make.

You can eliminate that aggravation by using a collimator or boresighter, an optical device that enables you to put your bore and scope in approximate alignment. Collimating your rifle in this way probably will not put your bullets in the bull’s-eye, but it will put your bullets on the paper.

Boresighters are available from several optics manufacturers, including Leupold, Bushnell, Cabela’s, Laserlyte, and Simmons generally in the $69 to $200 range.

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