Nature, Exploration, Tools and Weaponry, Bushcraft, History and Related Musings.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Although my experience is not far-ranging, I have sampled ants, larvae, mealworms, small moths, and random flying insects that have been unfortunate enough to find themselves in my drink. This year I hope to expand my palatal horizon by trying maggots and grasshoppers. I don't personally have a psychological aversion to eating bugs, and it seems like an act that any person truly interested in survival should acquaint himself with. In a real survival scenario, do you really want to add the incipient experience of bug-tasting to your list of struggles? The person already accustomed to this six-legged savory experience will be eager for a meal, without the unnecessary hesitation or anxiety.

What follows is a collection of links on finding, preparing, and consuming bugs. Enjoy!

Entomophagy - Wikipedia

Eating Bugs by Ron Hood

Eating Bugs for Survival

Eating Bugs! By Aletheia Price

Insects as Food?!? by Stephanie Bailey

Eating Bugs by Bryan Walsh

Iowa State University's Tasty Insect Recipes

For Most People, Eating Bugs is Only Natural

Eating Insects Kept Injured Climber Alive on Mountain


Thursday, June 24, 2010


The figure-four deadfall is a classic trap that is tried and proven. The concept is similar to that of the Paiute deadfall, but the figure-four has the advantage of using only sticks for the mechanism, and is arguably simpler to construct. Below is an excellent video showing how to construct and set-up the figure-four deadfall. Ron Hood also adds some useful tips to improve the design.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010


The bow offers several useful options to the trap-maker, including the ability to kill medium-to-large prey without supervision in a survival situation, or to provide bolstering self-defense in a SHTF scenario. The following pictures and video illustrate a few general variations of the idea. When time allows, I'll be experimenting with some prototypes of my own. I'll be sure to divulge any successful results.



The lobster buoy hitch is a fast, secure knot that I find myself using in almost any instance where a rope must be fastened to a post, railing, tree branch, or ring. It works well as the "fixed end" of a rope, like a clothing line, where the opposite end is attached with a taut-line hitch, for adjusting tension. The lobster buoy hitch gets its name from the commercial fisherman who use it to tie off their pot strings and buoy markers. Though it first appears somewhat bulky and pretzelesque, this knot compacts well once tightened, and is very strong. Unfortunately, it can jam (especially with certain types of cordage), but in most cases is fairly easy to untie, even after bearing a heavy load. I also use my own "slip" variation, where the working end is formed into a bight before making the last pass through the hitch loop. The knot then remains secure under load, but can be released much faster by pulling the tail of the slip, which collapses the knot. I wouldn't recommend the slip variant for any critical load, but it works quite well for most applications. Here is the lobster buoy hitch:

The Rope People also provide a useful animation of this knot.
View it HERE.





This week's knot is the Zeppelin Bend knot -- my favorite knot for tying together two ropes of similar diameter. This knot is easy to untie, is more secure under a load than the sheet bend, and is incredibly simple. There are multiple ways to tie the Zeppelin Bend. This video shows the method whereby the tyer starts with the ropes' working ends in his hand, parallel, with the ends flush:

There is another method of tying, which might help the beginner to visualize how the knot works, and further ensure success in tying the knot in the alternate manner shown above. This method starts with the ropes' working ends lying on the ground. You can survey the full instructions at Survival Topics. Here is a visual synopsis:

When the knot is dressed, the final product should be symmetrical and look like this:

The Zeppelin Bend is sometimes also referred to as Rosendahl's Bend, since it was the only knot Lt. Commander Charles Rosendahl would trust for the mooring of his zeppelin. In The Complete Book of Knots, Budworth notes that the Zeppelin Bend is "probably the best of a whole trustworthy family of symmetrical bends comprising two interlocked overhand knots. It works even in big stiff hawsers and cables and is suitable for everything from hobbies to heavy industrial use. [...] The knot does not have to be completely tightened before loading; it is secure even with daylight showing through it."

This knot should be in the permanent repertoire of all campers, climbers, boatsmen, and survivalists.



...using only what nature provides.
This is one of the better videos I've seen on the subject. Concise, accurate, and easy to follow. He makes it look so easy!



I'll be posting similar tutorials from time to time, as I find them. Everyone should know a few basic techniques (how to tie a rope to various objects, how to tie two ropes together, how to tie an adjustable/sliding knot, etc.), and various knots come in handy for a variety of reasons and in numerous situations, from survival to work to bedroom fun.

The Monkey's Fist is a specialist knot, used for adding weight to a rope. The knot can simply be tightened into a ball unto itself or a heavy object can be placed inside the knot before tightening. Traditionally, sailors used this technique to render rope suitable for heaving greater distances. The Monkey's Fist can also be employed as a weapon. This knot is fairly time-consuming, and may take a proficient tyer 15 minutes or more to finish (tightening the knot is the lengthy part). It is also possible to leave excess rope on the other side of the "fist," although the video does not illustrate this.