Posts Tagged ‘arizona’

This last weekend I took the Complete Survivor Class from Ancient Pathways.  I picked up a whole series of skills to practice. Notice I said “practice” because, good lord, just cause I did these things once doesn’t mean I am actually competent at any of them.   We set traps, snares, tracked, snacked on plants, made jerky and stared at a whole lot of poop.

The class had many manly men and two lovely ladies.  I think it is fair to say that I was generally the least competent at just about everything.  Except for smoking bowls, this I was good at, and by smoking bowls, I mean making a bowl out of fire.

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One of the first things we learned that weekend was to whittle out a spoon. Which was handy as I had forgotten to bring a spoon, and only had a fork and knife. My spoon was incompetent. I routinely watched, for the rest of the weekend, as people whittled out far superior spoons and then pitch them in the fire.

I was a bit nervous at the start of the weekend.  First, I wasn’t sure if I was in the sort of shape to survive such a thing.  Second it snowed the night before in Flagstaff.  I was not expecting snow in mid-May in Arizona.

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This had me concerned.  In assessing my clothes the first cold morning of the class I realized if the cold held I would not be able to stay warm without looking perfectly ridiculous.  First rule of survival is PMA (Postive Mental Attitude) which is hard to do when one doesn’t look good while doing it.  O.K., maybe the first rule is only the PMA part and I just added the looking good part.

The warmest thing I had was a thick wool poncho that I had bought years before in Mexico.  I was planning on using it for a blanket.  I have only worn it on stage for comedic relief,  and I am sure the ex-military men would have met it with scoff.    Luckily for me, things warmed up.

The first thing after setting up our tests was a walking tour of the property.   Tony Nester, our instructor, pointed out the various rat and mice nests around.  Of course, I had set my tent up right beside a big pack-rat’s nest.   Once he pointed it out, it was bluntly obvious.  I never moved my tent.  I figured if I had gophers in Phoenix, I could share space with a pack-rat.

Below:  My tent and pack-rat nest.

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The weekend was simply packed with new knowledge and things worth mulling over.   Here are all the shots from the weekend. As I reflect on lessons learned and go over my half-filled notebook, I will be making a series of posts about this weekend.

As I been getting the garden ready, I been debating how I should landscape for the Apocalypse.

My front and backyards have already got some things going for them.  I have bougainvillea plants under two of the front windows, good for keeping the marauders out.

There is a large pine tree in my front yard.  This will be great if I ever need wood for burning.  Also the pine needles are great for the compost pile.  I never water this tree.  I think the roots have run underneath my neighbor’s yard.  She waters her grass every day.

I have two orange trees in the yard.  One of these trees I never water, and weirdly enough it is the one that does much better.  I have three aloe vera plants in the yard.  Good for medicine.

My backyard has a lot of bermuda grass.  I also never water this grass but it just keeps on growing.  The bermuda grass was there when I moved in.  I have never really encouraged nor discouraged its growth.  My orange trees, cacti, and mesquite trees have grown despite the fact that bermuda grass has.  I been debating is bermuda grass good or bad?

On the plus side, It grows on its own without me trying to help or hurt it.  It is good straw for adobe bricks.  It could be used to goose the solar still.

On the negative side it is not good for the compost pile and is bad for garden.

Below:  My front yard.

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