14 Nov. 1979|
How to live in the woods without getting caught,how to make a park bench out of fondant,exotic woods list,walking desk plans - Test Out
We feel sure that this collection of articles will prove of value to many men and boys who are interested in living in the woods and no one will be more happy than Mr. The first camp I remember making, or remodeling, was an old lumber camp, one side of which I partitioned off and floored. But that was not really a wilderness camp, and while I realize that in many of the trapping districts where it is necessary to camp, there are often these deserted buildings to be found, those who trap or hunt in such places are not the ones who must solve the real problems of camp building. On first thought the fireplace seems the proper thing, for it can be constructed in the woods where the camp is made, but a fireplace so made may or may not be satisfactory. The good points of the stove are that it can be made by anybody in a half day's time; it does not smoke the camp, does not black the cooking utensils, gives the maximum amount of heat from the minimum quantity of fuel, and will not give out or go bad unexpectedly in the middle of the winter. Having decided on which part of the country is to be the centre of operations, we look for a suitable site for our cabin.
On the spot chosen for the camp we now place two of the long logs, parallel with each other and exactly ten feet apart. Before going farther now we must decide just where we are going to have the doorway of our cabin.
When the walls have been raised to a height of about six and a half feet above the floor sills we commence work on the gables. Before completing our roof, in fact when the first layer of scoops are placed on, we must make provision for our stove pipe, for it must have an outlet through the roof, and the location the stove is to have in the cabin must be determined.
A roof like this causes a lot of work, in fact as much as the remainder of the camp in some cases, but if carefully made it is a good roof, warm and waterproof. To complete our cabin now we need only a door, a window, and something to close the cracks. Our stove completed and in working order we next turn our attention to the bed, since it ranks second in importance.
We cannot be long in the woods until we realize the need of some means of securing our food where it will be inaccessible to woods mice. We have now found that it is necessary to have some means of preserving our food from the ravages of mice, and profiting by experience we do not waste our time on theories, but set to work to make a tight wooden box.
If we are not by this time too tired of making boards with an axe, we will make a wooden tub in which to wash our clothes. Behind the stove we nail a slender pole, horizontally, onto wooden pins driven into auger holes, so that the pole is parallel with the wall and about six or eight inches from it.
The above is the actual camp outfit and does not include personal belongings, such as guns, traps, toilet articles, compasses clothing, snowshoes, etc., things which are used more on the trail than in camp, and while necessary in our business cannot rightfully be considered a part of the camp equipment.
This, and the preceding chapter, describe what to my mind is an ideal camp for two persons and a perfect equipment for same. That foods for outdoor men should differ from those eaten by people who work indoors may appear strange to some of us, but it is a fact that foods of the same class are not, as a rule, practical for both outdoor and indoor consumption. But with the outdoor man, by which I mean woodsman and others who are employed outdoors and do their own cooking far from a base of supplies, the conditions are altogether different. Breakfast in the woods is usually an early meal, in winter being invariably eaten before daylight, and this requires either quickly prepared foods or very early rising. Considering the first requisite, light weight and little bulk, we may include in our list as meeting these requirements, all kinds of dried fruits, vegetables, and meats, tea, coffee and condensed foods. Not only does the woodsman have to consider cooking and eating in camp but he must think as well of the many days that he will spend on the trail and there his food must be of the most condensed, light, nutritious and otherwise perfect form. A man can depend to some extent on game and fish, but if he is going far back into the wilderness where he cannot retreat in a day or two to civilization and a source of food supply he should be very sure that the game and fish are actually found in the place where he is going, that such game and fish will be available at all seasons, and that there will be no uncommon difficulty in securing it. Coming now to the matter of keeping qualities we find that any of the evaporated, dried or condensed foods on the market meet all requirements. Nutrition in foods is a quality which needs but little expenditure of gray matter if one does not attempt to live a long period on an unvaried line. What has been said on the subject of nutrition in camp foods will suffice for the fourth requisite — perfect balance and lack of injurious elements. Within the borders of civilization, and especially with those people doing office work or following any indoor occupation which does not require plenty of bodily exertion, constipation is a serious menace, in fact I think it is the cause of many ills which are generally attributed to other sources.
Tea and coffee are used extensively in the woods because they are very refreshing to tired travelers. This is not an article on packing or otherwise transporting outfits into the bush, but I wish to say this in regard to packing foods, that all packages and containers should be as light as possible consistent with strength and durability. To give a list of foods which are suitable for steady diet in the wilds is easy, and it may be a perfect list, well balanced, nourishing and having all the other desirable qualities, yet it may not be satisfactory for general use. The foregoing is my standard list on which I have based many a purchase of supplies, and while I vary quantities sometimes, and add luxuries now and then, the list alone, just as given, makes an excellent one for real woods trips. In the following I have cut down the quantities of some articles and added the equivalent in other goods, thus giving greater variety and making a ration that is less apt to grow tiresome in time. I think the above list will be more generally satisfactory than the first, but if the camper has preferences in regard to the kind of food selected he may use these lists only as a basis on which to figure.
Some of the above-named foods can be cooked satisfactorily only in the permanent camp, while others are suitable for use in camp or on the trail. Judging from my own experience it is easier to choose good camp foods than to know which to use from the list for a meal and how to prepare them. In the lists which I have given I have purposely refrained from naming the many prepared and condensed camp foods, because my experience with most of them has been limited and many of them I have never even tasted.
Most fires to-day are started by means of matches, so, as a starting place we will first consider the match.
I believe the first matches to come into use were made of a sulfurous compound and such matches are still used in large quantities in Canada. Of course the woodsman will carry with him on his sojourns from camp only a small quantity of matches and at least a few of them should either be so treated as to render them impervious to water, or be carried in a watertight box. It is an easy matter to light a match; but to start a fire is something different, and to build a fire when the wind is blowing is often difficult. When a match gets wet, if the head is not so much softened that it rubs off the stick, there is hope.
There is no right or wrong way to make a fire unless it is to be used for some special purpose, in which case we must know how the fire is to be used and build it accordingly.
For frying, baking, etc., I find an arrangement of two small green logs, flattened on top and bottom, and placed side by side about a half foot apart, the most satisfactory thing for holding the utensils securely. Almost everybody who camps for the night builds a campfire, in fact, without it a camp would seem far from complete, even though the night is a warm one. There are a lot of little helpful wrinkles regularly used by woodsmen that can hardly be imparted to the green-hand because of their number, their insignificance, and the fact that each must be adapted to the prevailing condition, but they immediately brand the user as an old hand at the game. The regulation method of building a fire for heating an open-camp is to place it against a large green log, or against a ledge of rock, a wall of stones built up artificially, or a pile of short green logs resting against two stakes which have been driven at a slight incline. There are various woods that answer well for kindling and the camper must always find something that will be good for this purpose. There is one more woodcraft trick that I think everybody who goes into the woods should know. In building any kind of a fire the camper should remember that flame naturally moves upward, so that the wood should be lighted from beneath.
The most common way of building a fire among savages who have not adopted the ways of civilization is by means of a bow, spindle and block. This way of making fire has been exploited by writers on woodcraft subjects; but the reader should not be deceived into the belief that if he becomes lost in the woods and night coming on finds him without matches, he can build a fire by this means. The materials needed for making a fire are the bow, spindle, block, tinder, and a shell, a stone with a small cavity, or other similar object which can be used as a bearing or cap on top of the spindle.
The bow, about two feet long, may be made of hickory or any springy wood, strung with a stout, hard laid twine. To use the outfit the operator cuts a V-shaped notch about three-quarters of an inch deep in the edge of the block. To the unfortunate who is cast away on a desert island, like the hero of fiction, this latter method of fire making is the most promising, for he usually has some steel object, even if only a pocket knife and a piece of his coat lining picked into shreds may answer as tinder. But the easiest of all ways to make a fire without matches is by means of a magnifying glass or other lens. The safest and most convenient way of all is, of course, to carry matches, and to have a portion of them in a waterproof box. There was one time that I well remember when that box of dry matches was to me about the most valuable thing in the world. Fire is as useful to the modern woodsman as it was to the prehistoric man and in the far north it stands between him and death when King Boreas reigns. Burning oil can be extinguished by smothering with woolen blankets, or by throwing sand on it. While fires in settled communities do the most damage, a dry season may see many destructive forest fires.
Ordinarily he can feel sure of this only when he has completely extinguished the fire by pouring water upon it. One of the first things to learn is that blankets, no matter how good, are not "warm," they don't generate heat. Suppose you are sleeping, or attempting to sleep out of doors on a night so cold that the trees pop like pistols.
It has always been my belief that wool loosely woven, so that it forms a soft, thick cloth, is a better heat retainer than the same quantity of wool tightly woven, so that it makes a thinner, tighter and harder material. Now it is not difficult to get together a quantity of blankets that will keep a man warm on the coldest night, but the trouble will come when he wants to transport them. Woolen blankets are good, in fact the best thing made, for camping in spring, summer and fall. The blankets we buy for use on the bed are double, but for camp use single blankets are preferable. One of the best blankets for camping purposes that I ever owned was a square horse blanket, from which I removed the trimmings. But when zero weather is to be contended with woolen blankets must take a back seat for the Indian's kind, woven from strips of rabbit fur. These blankets are usually wider at one end than at the other, so that there will be sufficient width to wrap around the shoulders of the user and yet no more material, bulk and weight than necessary.
I fancy I hear somebody asking how this species of bedding is to be kept dry in rainy weather. Kreps has written many articles on various subjects connected with hunting and trapping and this little booklet is a collection of Woodcraft articles from his pen.
Kreps if his work helps brighten the life of trappers and hunters, in whom he is always interested. It is something altogether different when we get far into the deep, silent forest, where the sound of the axe has never yet been heard, and sawed lumber is as foreign as a linen napkin in a trapper's shack. If we know the principles of proper fireplace construction we can make one that will not smoke the camp, will shed the proper amount of heat, and will not consume more fuel than a well-behaved fireplace should, but if one of these principles be violated, trouble is sure to result. We will place it on the south side, for we like to have the warm sun rays come in when the door is open, and if placed on the north or west sides it admits too much cold.
Before building the wall higher we will lay our sills for the floor, for it is difficult to get these cut to the proper length and fitted in place after the walls are completed and the timber must be brought in through the doorway. Round by round the logs are notched and fitted into place, until the walls have reached a height of about four feet. These are constructed by placing a full length log across the end, a shorter one on top of this, continuing thus until high enough. I have no doubt that camp roofs have caused more gray hairs for woodsmen than any of the other problems they have to solve.
A hole 12 or 14 inches square is left in the roof, by using a few short scoops, and this hole is covered with the sheet of tin we brought for the purpose, and a slightly oblong hole is cut in this for the stove pipe.
It must be well mossed or snow will sift in, and the lower ends of the troughs, from where they cross the walls, should be cut deeper than the portion above. If necessary the flooring may be postponed for a few days, but we may as well finish it at once, so we clean out the chips and commence laying the floor.
For a door we split cedar or balsam wood into planks, which we place on edge in notches cut in a log, and hew down smoothly on both sides with the axe.
Since our logs were of a uniform size and have been well notched down there are no large cracks, and no blocking is needed.
It has taken much hard work to build it, but it is worth the effort for it is a comfortable, home-like camp.
Sometimes through press of more important work, such as getting out a line of traps while the season is yet young, the trapper may well neglect these touches of comfort, and the simplest of camp furnishings will answer until a stormy day keeps him indoors, when he can make good use of his time in making camp furniture. The preceding chapter saw our cabin completed, that is the walls, roof and floor, all that can really be called cabin, but much more work will be required before it is really comfortable and ready for occupancy.
Nothing else adds so much to the cheerfulness and home-like aspect of a camp as a properly enclosed, well behaved fire, which warms up the room, enables us to cook our food indoors, and dispenses the gloom of night by driving the darkness into the farthest corners. I have made a number of camp stoves by riveting together four sections of new, unbent stovepipe into a square sheet, bending this into proper shape, fitting ends, and cutting holes for cooking utensils and for the pipe.
We set it up in the box-shaped opening left in the floor and fill around it with sand to a height of six inches, also fill the inside to that height. We set an upright post four inches thick and three feet long against the sidewall about five feet from the end of the room and nail it firmly in position. Many trappers think a table too much of a luxury and accordingly dispense with it, but a home camp is far from complete without it and it is an easy piece of furniture to make.
This we will make from a hewn log, half round, and in the round side near each end we bore holes for the legs.
These little creatures are a serious pest and can soon ruin a bag of flour or a side of bacon if they are able to get at it.
If it were a time of the year when bark would peel we would make a frame of poles and cover it with bark.
The furnishings which we have so far brought into our cabin may be considered as coming properly under the heading of necessities. We have come into the woods for the fall and winter, and while we will go out occasionally for supplies of food, our outfit is supposed to be complete, and in it are all the articles needed for an entire winter's stay in the wilds. Even some of the articles mentioned, for instance the two small frying pans, are more for use on the trail than in the home cabin. The camp site described could not be improved upon, and it is seldom that we find all of the requirements in any one place, yet the description is that of one of my own camp sites, and except for the size of camp and a few details of furnishings and outfit, also describes one of my cabins, one which I constructed and used while trapping in Canada.
The requirements of people who work in the open air differ but little from those of the indoor workers, but it is mainly the source of supply that necessitates a different class of foods.
Perhaps the outer has carried his food a long distance on his back or it may have been brought to his camp in a boat or canoe, or by team over a long and rough road, or even packed on horseback from 50 to 100 miles into the rough mountains. Fresh vegetables and fruits are excluded from the list, for they are heavy and bulky and fail also in the second requirement, for they freeze easily in cold weather and sometimes do not keep well when it is warm. He must therefore take with him to his home camp sufficient of this quality of food to fill his needs when he makes his long trips away from camp over the trap line or elsewhere, but always carrying with him his equipment and food for the trip. Some kinds of big game animals migrate periodically or spasmodically; fish are sometimes hard to find in winter, and the hunting equipment may for one reason or another go wrong.
Bacon, cured for winter use, may not remain in a perfectly sweet condition, and it is well to make sure before purchasing that the meat is well salted and smoked. By taking a variety of foods and changing the menu frequently danger from lack of nutriment is reduced to the minimum. In the woods it is somewhat different, for the long tramps and other violent exercises tend to keep the bowels open, but it is not so with all men, and especially with those who hail from the city. On a long trip into the bush the outfit is sure to get a certain amount of rough usage; a pack strap may give way or the packer may stumble or slip and down goes the pack. Individual tastes do not all follow the same channels and there are no end of people who could pick from any list of foods that I might give a number of articles which they cannot eat or which are not received kindly by their respective systems.
When making long tramps away from my cabin and camping out at night by the side of a fire I like to travel as lightly equipped as possible without sacrificing comfort, therefore I carry very little camp equipment and especially few cooking utensils.
On stormy days, or when for any other reason the camper is spending sufficient time at the main cabin, he can cook such foods as beans, split peas, rice, game, salt pork and dried fruits, also can make good use of the maple syrup and other luxuries.
While I do not advise making much allowance for them when purchasing supplies the man who goes into the wilds to camp should avail himself of any opportunity which offers to secure game and fish for his use, but he should, of course, never kill more than is needed, and unless driven to it by hunger should not kill protected game out of season. The food which has been transported over so many miles of rough trail by the hardest kind of toil should never be wasted. They are generally considered superior to ordinary parlor matches for woodsman's use, but I cannot see that they possess any advantages whatever. They are convenient for carrying and get their name from their refusal to light when struck on any surface other than the side of the box in which they are packed.
It sometimes happens that the traveler in the woods gets caught in a drenching rain, or he may fall into the water, and unless some provision has been made for keeping the matches dry there will be no more smokes or tea until he gets back to camp.
They may be dipped in melted paraffine, which will keep them perfectly dry, and when the protecting wax is removed they will be in first class condition.
But it is essential that we have some arrangement whereby the cooking utensils will be held steadily and securely. Between these logs a small fire is made, and there is no danger of the food spilling into the fire, or the handles of the utensils becoming so hot that they have to be moved with sticks.
The fire burns best when there are two short pieces of wood placed crosswise on the ground on which the fuel may rest and leave an opening for draft beneath. They also burn to embers and hard wood therefore should be selected when a bed of live coals is needed. Dry white-pine and cedar shavings and splints light readily from the match, but dead "fat" pine is much better.
While the woodsman invariably carries an axe with which to cut firewood, there may come a time when he has no axe and is obliged to camp out over night.
While any boy scout can demonstrate the method and can produce fire in a very few minutes, he can do so only by having prepared the necessary materials long in advance. A mussel shell is the best natural object for the purpose, as it is light and has a hollow side which is smooth and makes an excellent bearing for the spindle end. The spindle, of any of the favorite woods, should be about sixteen inches long by three-fourths or one inch in thickness.
On the flat side of the block at the apex of the notch he then makes a small hole with the point of a knife as a starting place for the spindle.
When this country was first settled they were unknown and fires generally were made by means of flint and steel. A reading glass, if the sun is bright, will produce a fire almost as quickly as it can be made with a match, providing, of course, that it is used the right way.
Let him remove the bullet from a cartridge and substitute a small bunch of dry tinder; shredded dry cotton cloth is as good as anything, and loading this cartridge into the gun, fire it into another small pile of tinder and blow the smoldering pile into a flame. That was the time when I broke through the ice of a lake in the northern wilderness, far from camp, and my clothes froze stiff before I had gone a hundred paces.
They will ignite only by friction on the preparation found on the side of the box in which they are purchased.
Burned matches should always be placed somewhere where they cannot possibly ignite anything in case a little fire still smolders in the burned wood. Likewise make sure that no rubbish is thrown near the stove or fireplace and that there is no danger of fire dropping out onto the floor. Gasoline especially is very dangerous, not alone through the fact that it is very inflammable but even more so from the fact that the fumes of gasoline explode with great violence. Such conflagrations destroy the forests and kill game and song birds, besides being a menace to settlers.
Wrap a jar of water in the warmest, thickest, softest woolen blanket you can find and place it out of doors over night in a zero temperature and see what you have in the morning. You are wrapped in a pair of woolen blankets and it is only this wrapping that is between you and the frosty, chilling air.
A little cotton may do no noticeable harm, if properly used in conjunction with the wool, but it certainly does no good, and it really decreases the warmth of the blanket in direct proportion to the quantity used, therefore I say the best blankets are made of pure wool. I have slept out on nights when it would have required a half-dozen or more of the heaviest woolen blankets made to keep me near-comfortable, but a bed of this kind would have made a pack that would discourage a bush Indian. As long as the spirits do not go lower than 10 or 20 degrees above zero and a fire may be kept burning all night a pair of Hudson Bay blankets are hard to beat.
They should be of generous size, for a white man cannot sleep comfortably if he must draw his knees up against his chin.
Blankets made of cotton are cold to the touch, and do not retain the heat of the body as well as those made of wool.
I believed firmly that I couldn't afford to buy woolen blankets, so I used a pair made of cotton. It is easily folded to fit the pack, and when properly arranged it forms a pad which protects the back of the packer from the corners of the cooking utensils and the ever-gouging steel traps and other hardware.
They are woven from the skins of the snowshoe rabbit, or varying hare, cut into strips for the purpose.
Indian has secured enough skins to form the desired blanket she makes a square frame of poles, about the size the finished blanket is to be, and fastens around the inside a piece of heavy twine. I find it most satisfactory to double the blanket lengthwise and loop a cord through the edges across the foot and a third of the way up the side, thus fastening the edges firmly together and making it somewhat like a sleeping bag. If it is warm enough for rain a rabbit robe is not needed — that is the time to use the woolen blanket.
At that time large and small game of the various species common to Central Pennsylvania was plentiful in the neighborhood of his home. Then I learned the value of a double wall, with an air space between, a sort of neutral ground where the warmth from the inside could meet the cold from without, and the two fight out their differences. But the timber is there, and the trapper has an ax and the skill and strength to use it, so nothing more is really needed. We will remove the handles from the saw and bind over the tooth edge a grooved strip of wood. Moreover, it is difficult to make a neat and satisfactory fireplace without a hammer for dressing the stones, and a tool of this kind will weigh as much as a sheet iron stove, therefore it is almost as difficult to take into the woods.
While the stove itself is not now to be considered, we must know before we commence to build what form of heating and cooking apparatus will be installed.
Nearby is a stretch of burned land covered thinly with second growth saplings, and near the edge of the evergreen forest in which we will build our camp stands plenty of dead timber, tamarack, white spruce, and a few pine stubs, all of which will make excellent firewood. If it were to be used merely as a stopping camp now and then it should be much smaller, for the small shack is easier warmed and easier to build. Then we place two of the short logs across the ends and in these we cut half-round notches directly over the places where they rest on the long logs, and almost half through each piece. Then we make a window boxing of planks and fasten it in the wall in the same way we did the door frame. This is best done by setting a pole up in the end of the camp exactly in the middle of the end wall, the top being just the height of the proposed gable.
If it were early summer when the bark could be peeled from cedar and spruce trees we would have no trouble, but bark is not available now. The edge of this hole we turn up with the hammer, which makes it waterproof, and when finished it is such a size that the pipe makes a snug fit.
If this is not done the ice which forms in the ends of these troughs will back the water up until it runs over the edges and down the walls of the cabin.
Then we straighten the edges and measuring our door frame carefully we fit the boards into the opening, binding them all together by nailing across near each end a narrow board.
From these we make a frame that will fit inside the window boxing, and make the strips of this frame flush at the corners by cutting away half of each. The cold winter winds may howl through the forest and the snow may fall to a depth of several feet, but here we can live as comfortably as woodsmen can expect to live in the wilds. A bed and a stove or fireplace are the only absolutely necessary furnishings to start with, if other work demands immediate attention.
Providing the camp with suitable furniture and adding conveniences and comfort is the next step, so while we have time and there is nothing to hinder the work we will push it along. While doing this we must see that the stove stands perfectly level, and that the pipe hole is directly beneath the hole in the roof. Then at a height of about two feet from the floor we fasten to the wall another four-inch piece, this extending in a horizontal position from the post to the end wall.
The only way to keep a bough bed in good condition is to replace the bough filling occasionally with fresh evergreens.
It should be placed on the south side of the cabin before the window, so that we can get the advantage of the light. These are bored at such an angle that the legs will stand about 20 inches apart at the base. In an effort to place my flour where they could not reach it I suspended it from the ridgepole with a piece of codfish line, but the nimble mice went up and down that cord like monkeys.
But this is impossible now, so we split boards from balsam and cedar and hew them flat and smooth.
But there are many little extra pieces that may be added which may be called luxuries at first, but through use they become almost indispensable. The following are the articles which we have brought with us as camp outfit: Two rabbit skin blankets, two large all-wool blankets, one large and one medium enameled kettle, two tea pails, one water pail, one large frying pan and two small ones, with sockets for handles, three enameled plates, two enameled cups, two table knives, two forks, two table spoons, two tea spoons, one reflecting baker, one wash basin, one small mirror, four towels, one alarm clock, one small oil lamp (bottom portion of a railroad lantern), three small axes with long handles, one cross-cut saw, one hand saw, two flat files, two sharpening stones (pocket size), one auger, one hammer, assorted nails, a dozen small bags for holding food, a small box of medicines, and a repair kit, consisting of needles, thread, wax, scissors, awl and small pliers. We might add to this the quality of being quickly and easily prepared, for, while this is not required in all of the food, it is necessary for all outdoor men to have a number of articles which may be prepared on short notice.
He has had a long, hard journey, perhaps having had only a lunch since daybreak, maybe not even that, and the cold, along with the exertion, has given him a marvelous appetite.
To make up for the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables we must take plenty of the dry kind, and it is also a good plan to have in the outfit a bottle of vinegar or fruit juice — lime juice is an excellent tonic for use in the woods and is a sure preventative of scurvy.
For instance, the capsizing of a canoe may mean the loss of the only gun or all the ammunition in the party, and even a broken gun mainspring may cause great hardship. Butter may become strong unless the weather is cold, but I have found that first-class creamery butter will keep nicely for a period of two and a half months in fairly cold weather.
Even the seasoned woodsman should not trifle with anything of so serious a nature, for even to him chronic constipation may come as the result of a steady diet of white flour and other constipating foods. With but few exceptions, then, everything which will not stand a reasonable amount of rough handling has no right to a place on the outer's list. It will be noted that the total weight is nearly the same in both; but the second allows for a more varied menu. If he kills more than he can use at the time and the weather is too warm to keep it without curing he should dry the meat and he will find it an excellent article for lunches and when camping out. The saving habit is a good one to grow into and it can be practiced as well in the woods as in our own homes.
Many a life has been saved by a match, and many millions, yes billions of dollars worth of property has been destroyed by the same insignificant little stick. They are just as difficult to light as parlor matches, if not more so, just as easily blown out, and just as susceptible to dampness. But this very quality makes them unfit to light a fire in a wind if one must hold in his hand the match-box as well as the burning match, for he cannot "cup" his hands perfectly. I have a kodak tank developing outfit, the metal tank of which is excellent for holding matches. Sometimes more serious consequences may follow such negligence; for instance, the traveler may break through the ice and without a fire may freeze to death. It is somewhat difficult to open, especially when one's hands are cold, but for all of that it is the best thing I know of, and as its contents are to be used only in emergency cases the woodsman may be content with the box as it is. But we must always take into consideration the strength of the wind, whether the fire is for boiling, baking or frying food, and whether a quick or slow heat is wanted, for each and all call for a different kind of fire.
The most common practice is to place the kettle or frying pan on top of the fuel, shifting the wood about until the utensils set level.
For a single utensil, like a frying pan, I find two straight-sided stones placed the right distance apart, fully as good as the logs, and only a few embers from the camp fire will be needed for the cooking. I refer to such things as the manner of placing wood on the fire, handling embers, moving cooking utensils, etc. Two shorter logs are then placed across the ends and another five-foot log laid lengthwise on top.
Green wood is best for holding fire; but it must be mixed with good dry wood, or it will not burn well. Of the soft wood dry pine and cedar burn freely, but are consumed quickly, leave no embers and make a lot of smoke.
Pine knots, remaining after the log has rotted away, when split are heavy and yellow with dried pitch and if split into splinters will burn like oil. He should also remember that the wind drives the fire forward and should light the wood under the windward side.
By striking glancing blows with a steel object along the edge of a piece of flint, showers of sparks were thrown into a little pile of tinder to be blown into a flame by the fire-kindler.
In the absence of a reading glass, a watch or compass crystal, an eye glass, the lens from a field glass or camera, or even a bottle, may be used for concentrating the sun's rays onto a pile of tinder and thus producing a fire. I always, when in the woods, carry matches in a waterproof match box, and I never use them except in emergency, carrying my regular supply loose in a small pocket. If one of these matches falls on the floor it is harmless since it cannot light accidentally and thus cause a fire. It should never be used in a house where there is a fire or a lighted lamp, and a fire should never be lighted in a room where it has been used until the fumes are completely cleared from the room.
This country suffers great losses through forest fires, many of which could be prevented by an observance of the rules already given, especially those relating to smoking. No, there is no warmth coming from the blankets, but the warmth comes from the human body and the purpose of the blanket is to retain this warmth, to prevent its escape. But inside of those blankets your body is giving out heat waves, the air on the inside becomes warm, and you are comfortable.
No, you can't carry with you enough woolen blankets to keep you comfortably warm when traveling the northern trails in midwinter. But when the temperature falls lower the shivering spells preceding each "fire-fixing" become too frequent and the cat-naps too short.
What is more, the blankets should cover his head as well as his feet, so they should be a foot and a half longer than the user's height. In addition to this they have the bad fault of not being as nearly impervious to sparks as woolen blankets.
If the packer has no pack cloth he can use the blanket for this purpose, although it is none too good for the blanket.
The animals producing these skins are found in almost incredible numbers in most of the wilder parts of Canada, as well as in parts of the northern States. Then sewing the end of a fur strip to the cord at one of the upper corners she weaves this strip across the end of the frame by looping it around the cord in a succession of simple loops, using her finger as a gauge to make the mesh a uniform size. I used to roll mine into a package measuring about 10 inches in diameter by 20 inches in length, and this could be placed in the bottom of a common packsack. Kreps is an accomplished artist as well as writer, and the illustrations in Woodcraft are reproduced from his sketches.
This makes it safe to carry, and while still somewhat unhandy it is the best we can do, for we cannot shorten its length. Then there is one or two days' work, perhaps more, in making the fireplace and chimney, with the added uncertainty of its durability, for there are only a few kinds of stones that will stand heat indefinitely without cracking. In the forest itself we find straight spruce trees, both large and small, balsam, and a few white birches, the loose bark of which will make the best kindling known.
I have used camps for this purpose measuring only six and a half by eight feet, and found them plenty large for occasional use only. After cutting these notches we turn the logs notched side down, and these cuts, if they have been properly done, fit snugly over the long logs, thus binding the four pieces together and forming the first round of the walls. About two or three feet from the corner we will cut out a section from the top of the log, making the cut four inches deep and two and a half feet wide, the bottom being hewn smooth and the ends sawed down square. These are bedded into the ground in the cabin, one along each side wall and the other in the centre. The ends of the logs are butted against the window frame and fastened with large nails, driven through the planks into the logs.
From the top of this straight pole, poles are run down to each corner and these give the slope of the gables, also of the roof. About the only style of roof that we can make now is what is called a scoop roof, made from split logs. The whole thing is so arranged that water cannot run under from the top, but this is difficult to explain. It may even be necessary occasionally during the winter to clean the snow off the lower edge of the roof and clip the ice from the troughs with a hatchet. In the end of the camp where our beds are to be we leave them in their natural round state, merely flattening them on the underside where they rest on the sills, to make them fit and lie firmly in their places.
We also place a strip diagonally across the door from near one corner to the opposite, to stiffen the door and prevent warping. Then at the proper places we fit our lighter cross strips, sinking them into the wood at the ends, and fastening with small nails. That found growing on rocks and logs is best, for it does not dry out and shrink as much as marsh moss, and there is an abundance of this near at hand.
We now place this on the floor of the cabin and measure off from each end 17 inches, then on each edge at the 17-inch mark we make a three-inch cut. Then we set up a corner post at the foot of the bed, placing it five feet from the end wall and nailing the top securely to the roof binding pole. When we kill some big game animal, a deer or caribou, we will dry the skin and place it on our bed, hair side up, for this will make the bed warmer and softer.
We will stand up two posts of the proper height about two feet from the wall and six feet apart. The legs are made of two-inch sticks whittled to fit the holes and driven in, the lower ends being cut off afterwards at the proper length to make the bench stand firmly, and at the right height. For the ends we make these boards two feet long and fasten them together by nailing strips across the ends of the boards after they have been placed side by side with the edges fitting one against another. On the walls we will build shelves and we find them very useful places for storing odds and ends. Our snowshoes we suspend from the roof with snare wire in the coolest part of the camp, so that the mice cannot eat the filling or the heat make it brittle. In order to keep the bulk and weight down to a reasonable level all bulky, heavy, watery foods had to be eliminated.
On such occasions every minute that can be gained in cooking a nourishing meal is that much to the good. Of course a resourceful and expert woodsman would not starve even if turned adrift in the forest without food or gun, but few care to make the experiment or to risk going hungry. With fresh meat occasionally the foods which I recommend will meet all requirements in this particular. In the lists which I give the foods most harmful in this way are wheat flour, especially when used in baking powder bread, cheese, rice, beans and peas. Coffee injures the nervous system directly, while indirectly it works on other organs, and tea is injurious to the stomach, also the nerves. The exceptions are a few articles which when taken in small quantities must be put up in glass and these few foods are pickles, vinegar and others of similar nature.
Nothing should be taken if put up in wooden boxes or other containers having sharp edges or corners, but all such articles should be removed and placed in the cloth sacks.
While a life in the open air with continuous physical exercise from before daylight until after dark develops an appetite in any man, with some men their appetites seem absolutely insatiable and they consume enormous quantities of food. Here, for instance, is a good menu for a day when the hunter or trapper wants to make a journey away from the main camp, returning late in the afternoon. But what I wanted to get at is this, that many animals which are seldom considered as fit for food and are generally thrown away or used for bait are really fine food and by using them there will be less need of violating the game laws.
It is on one hand one of the greatest providers of comfort that science has produced, and on the other the most powerful destroyer known to man. They are noiseless, which is in their favor, but they throw off disagreeable fumes when lighted. This is worth remembering, for out of doors, there is nearly always enough wind to make trouble when building a fire.
The cover locks on by a partial turn and is watertight, while the tank holds enough matches for a whole winter's use. I have seen match-boxes made from brass shotgun shells which were practically waterproof if kept tightly closed, but sometimes it is difficult to remove the cover. It is about the most unsatisfactory method, outside of holding them by hand, and many a meal has been upset into the fire simply because the cook would not take the trouble to provide a suitable place to prepare the meal. It is the knowledge of how to do such little things as this that makes the work of the expert look so easy and run along so smoothly, while Mr. The fire is built between the two bottom logs and directly under the one which has been placed on top.
An old pine log is often in the same condition, and if the camper can find any wood of this kind he should take some to camp so that he will not need to hunt about for a suitable wood for starting a fire.
Sometimes he can find a place where one tree has fallen across another, or if not, perhaps he can throw one over the other, and at the place where they cross he should build his fire. The finest kindling should be placed first, then finely split dry wood on top, coarser wood on top of this, etc. To get wood into the proper condition for fire making by the friction method requires the selection first of the proper kind of wood, and then a thorough drying indoors for weeks or even months. Then, giving the string of the bow a turn around the spindle he kneels on the block, places the point of the spindle on the mark at the point of the notch, places the shell over the other end, and throwing his weight upon the spindle he works the bow back and forth quickly and steadily. It is said that for an expert the trick was not at all difficult, and that fire could be produced very quickly; but it is obvious that very dry materials were necessary. If you are skeptical as to the heat caused by a concentrated light ray, just hold a reading glass a few inches above your hand and turn the glass towards the sun so that a tiny point of intense light is thrown onto your hand and you will be surprised to see how quickly it will burn a blister. We could not exist more than a few days without water, yet floods destroy each year millions of dollars worth of property and thousands of lives. If they fall into the hands of children they are also harmless as far as starting a fire is concerned.
Campers are also responsible for many fires of this kind by failing to extinguish camp fires, or by building them in places where rubbish abounds.
Suppose again that the blankets are not the right kind, they will not retain heat, and as a consequence you become cold. Now think it over and it will become obvious that either a man cannot be comfortable in the woods during zero weather unless he has a way of transporting his camp duffle other than by back-packing, or he must find a lighter, warmer blanket than can be made of wool. Now a man of the trail does not sleep with his feet towards the fire like the pioneer scout of border fiction, but he lies by the side of the fire, where he will get the benefit of its heat, and sometimes he rolls closer than he should for safety. I awoke to find a decidedly warm feeling about my knee, and on hasty examination found a large section of one trouser leg burned away and a hole in the blanket over a foot in diameter. If it gets wet it is easily dried without danger of burning, and if it does not get thoroughly dry it is warmer still than a cotton blanket. These blankets, or robes as they are sometimes called, are so loosely woven that a man can put his fingers through anywhere, yet for their weight they are the warmest bedding I know of. There it formed a soft pad for the back and the heavy articles were thrown higher up in the pack, where the weight should be, if weight is ever really needed in a pack. In the north, where these fur blankets are needed and used, the weather turns cold in November, remaining so until March or April, and during this time it is considered remarkable if it ever becomes warm enough to rain.
As he grew older he visited various parts of the United States and Canada, and being a keen observer, picked up a vast amount of information about life in the woods and fields. While an axe is the only tool necessary, when two persons work together, a narrow crosscut saw is a great labor-saver, and if it can be taken conveniently the trappers or camp builders will find that it will more than pay for the trouble. For the window, we will take only the glass — six sheets of eight by ten or ten by fourteen size. On the other hand the fireplace renders the use of a lamp unnecessary, for it will throw out enough light for all ordinary needs.
Within three rods of the stream and 50 yards from the burn is a rise of ground, high enough to be safe from the spring freshets, and of a gravelly ground which is firm and dry. But this cabin is to be our headquarters, where we will store our supplies and spend the stormy days, so we will make it ten by fourteen feet. Then we cut one of the balsam trees and saw a section from the butt the length of the proposed doorway. They must be placed at an even height and this is determined by means of a straight ten-foot pole, which when placed across these logs should rest on each. But before making the window frame the size of the proposed window must be determined, and this is done by measuring the width of the glass and making the proper allowance for the sash. The logs are then cut off on an incline at the ends to conform with the line of this pole, and are fastened one on top of another by boring holes and driving wooden pins into them. We must find a straight-grained, free-splitting wood for this, and of the woods at hand we find balsam the best, so we cut balsam trees about eight or ten inches in diameter, and make logs from the butt of each, about seven feet long, so that they will reach from the top of the ridge-pole to the walls and extend a foot beyond. But when the floor has grown at this end to a width of about four feet we adopt a different plan.
Hinges we make of wood, fasten them together with a single large nail through each, and fasten the door to the wall. Grooves are then cut in the strips and the frame itself to receive the sheets of glass, which are put in place and fastened with tacks.
We gather a few bags of this moss and with a piece of wood we drive it into the cracks all around the walls. This we do by holding the sheet metal on a block or flat topped stump, placing the corner of the axe on the metal at the proper place, and striking on the head with a billet of wood. In line with this against the end wall we set up another three-foot post and spike it solidly to the logs of the wall. On this I placed my food; but even here I found it was not safe, for the mice dropped onto the platform from the roof poles. The boards for the bottom and sides are made three feet long and these we nail to the ends.
A small shelf is placed on the wall near the stove to hold the lamp, and another similar shelf for the same purpose is placed above the left end of the table. Then, after we have made it as tight as possible by nailing we will gather a small quantity of spruce gum and run it into the cracks from the inside by means of a hot iron, in much the same way that we would solder tin plate.
Such foods as would freeze in cold weather, decay, become rancid, or otherwise spoil if kept a long time without special care, had to be kept out of the list. But short-order meals are not the thing for regular fare, for in time they will ruin any stomach.
The foods most valuable for offsetting the bad effects of the above are the dried fruits, especially prunes, and cornmeal. Taken in reasonable amount these drinks will do no harm, but they should never be used to the exclusion of water.
If any other less breakable container can be found for these it is better to use it, but if these foods are in bottle same must be carefully packed to prevent breakage. It is therefore difficult to give a list which may be taken as an accurate guide and approximate quantities only can be given, these being in the present time based on what I consider a normal woodsman's appetite.
He rises early in the morning and prepares breakfast of coffee, pancakes, maple syrup and bacon, or, perhaps, has fried venison, moose or caribou steak. Among the animals which are trapped and may be used for food are bears (when killed in fall or winter), muskrats, raccoons, opossums and beavers. There are various kinds of matches, each having properties peculiar to itself, but we will compare only the most common kinds and judge them from the woodsman's standpoint.
They are reliable matches for the woodsman, although I would take parlor matches in preference. Another fault of the safety match is its small size; it is apt to be entirely consumed before the fire can be started. The simplest way of suspending a kettle over the fire is by hanging it from the end of a stick which has been thrust into the ground at an angle of about 20 degrees.
Then pieces of green wood are stood up against one side so that they rest against the top and one of the bottom logs. Standing dead trees are always drier than those which have fallen, unless the fallen trees are held up sufficiently above the ground to keep them well dried. Green pine, cedar, fir and tamarack burn slowly and require much dry wood to help keep them burning. In the north where there is little pine timber such kindling is scarce; but nature has provided an excellent substitute in white-birch bark. Then when the logs burn through he can move them and either keep shoving the ends into the fire as they burn away, or perhaps cross the pieces again and burn them into shorter and lighter pieces which can be handled readily.
The heavy wood should never rest too much on the kindling or the latter will be crushed down into such a dense mass that it will not burn and the wood must never be placed so that the sticks fit closely together; a criss-cross style is much better. Only certain kinds of woods are really good for the purpose and among these kinds cedar, balsam and Cottonwood seem to be the best. The block should be an inch or a little more in thickness and of any width and length found convenient, but it should be large enough to be easily held down firmly with the knees when in the kneeling position assumed when working the drill. The spindle, revolving rapidly, bores its way down into the block, the dust which is worn from the block and spindle filtering down through the notch among the dry tinder. A pipe may be lighted that way very easily, something that is worth knowing if one happens to get caught in the woods without matches and with a magnifying glass in his pocket. Electricity is, perhaps, the most useful power in the world and we have grown so used to it that to give up its comfort, which we derive in the form of light, power and heat, would be an awful hardship, and yet electricity is the most dangerous and deadly element known. A camp fire should never be made except on a spot of clean ground and if necessary a spot should be cleared before building the fire, digging away the vegetable matter on the surface, if need be.
And remember that there is no such thing as cold, for what we call cold is merely an absence of heat, and we call it cold for convenience. You sit up, replenish the fire and swear to yourself, but you don't know why you can't keep warm. With such blankets a man can lie on one-half and pull the other half over him, and by suddenly elevating his pedal extremities he can drop the lower edge of the blankets under them, while the upper part can be drawn tightly around his head and shoulders.
I then decided that I could afford woolen blankets and have stood by that decision ever since.
Many a morning I have found my nose almost frozen when I awoke, but otherwise I was perfectly comfortable; the reason being that my nose was the only part of my anatomy not enveloped in the rabbit skin blanket.
The rabbits are taken in snares, case skinned, and the skins are cut into strips while green.
When she has made such a row of little loops all across the top of the frame she passes the fur strip around the side cord a few times and then starts another row backward, looping the strip into the row of loops already formed. Between each sheet we place a piece of corrugated packing board, and the whole is packed in a case, with more of the same material in top and bottom. This is the spot on which we will construct our cabin, for here we have good drainage, shelter from the storms, water and wood near at hand, and material for the construction of the camp right on the spot. There is just one spot clear of trees where we can place a camp of this size, and we commence here felling trees from which to make logs for the walls. When the logs are placed in the walls we try to select timbers of such a size that one round of logs will come within about three inches of the top of the window boxing, and the next log is cut out to fit down over this window and the frame is nailed fast to this log. When both gables have been raised to half their height we cut two 17-foot binding poles, each six inches thick in the middle, and notch them into the logs of the gables. These we split through the centre and hollow out each in a trough form, by cutting notches in the flat side, without cutting the edges, and splitting out the sections between.
We now hew the poles straight and smooth on one side their entire length, and flatten the underside where they rest on the sills, also straighten the sides so they fit up snugly against one another.
Then on the outside we hew the ends of the logs until they are flush with the edges of the door frame, and nail a flattened strip along both sides of the doorway. The window is then placed in the wall and secured by nailing narrow strips of wood against it.
We also keep a small quantity of this moss in the cabin, for no matter how firmly it is driven into the cracks it will shrink and become loose after awhile, and this must be tightened and more moss driven in. Then we place a straight edged strip of wood across the end on the 17-inch mark, and standing on this wood we pull the end of the metal upward, bending it to a right angle.
The pipe is five-inch size and we fit it with a damper for that is the way to regulate the draft and keep the heat from going up the pipe.
Then we cut notches in these two latter posts two feet above the floor and into this we fit and nail fast a four-inch cross strip. From the tops of these posts to the wall we place flattened pieces of wood and secure them by nailing to the wall and to the posts.
Perhaps when a stormy day comes we will make a couple of chairs, but for the present at least these two benches will serve very well. The only way I found that was perfectly satisfactory was to make a tight box with a well fitted cover in which to keep the food supply. A wash basin can be made in the same way, but we have a tin basin in our outfit so we'll not need to make one. If there is game to be had it should, of course, be secured, for fresh meat is a great relief from the everlasting bacon and bannock and it tends to neutralize the constipating properties of such food. While potatoes and other fresh vegetables are prohibited because of weight and bulk they are also eliminated from the list because they freeze in cold weather. Fresh meat and onions act as laxatives also, but too much of any of these foods may cause the system to fortify itself against them and their good effects are reduced greatly.
Eggs are the most unsatisfactory of all foods for transportation into the wilds, for they are easily broken, cannot be kept during cold weather and spoil quickly when the weather is mild.
Note in the following lists quantities intended for one man one month's use and if the lists look good they may be used for a basis on which to figure the amounts of food required for the length of time. It will be obvious then that if the camper follows my plan he must base his quantities of these articles on the proportion of time which he believes will be spent on the trail or camping out. Immediately after breakfast he places over the fire a kettle of beans with a piece of salt pork and he boils this until he is ready to leave camp, which may be an hour later. The parlor match then is the match for the woodsman, and he should have a bountiful supply when he turns his back on civilization. In all cases the man should turn his face towards the wind and as soon as he strikes the match, form a cup of his hands and thus shelter the burning match. This forms a roof over the fire and the cooking is done over the open front, between the logs. Wood cut on low, damp ground is not as good as that found on higher places and usually pops and throw sparks into the blankets, which make it objectionable.
White birch is excellent for camp-fires; dry or green and dry tamarack is one of the best of camp-fire woods.
The loose bark hanging to the tree trunks contains an oil which causes it to light readily from the match and burn with a bright flame and a hissing noise. These are all simple little rules and easy to remember, but it is necessary to know them that camp-fire troubles may be avoided.
An increasing heat develops from the friction of the dry wood, and soon an odor of scorching wood will be noticed; then a thin wisp of smoke arises from the dust in the notch and this grows stronger, after awhile the smoldering fire itself is visible in the dust which has accumulated in the notch and about the base of the spindle. Likewise the camper should be certain that there is no danger from the fire spreading before he leaves it. I couldn't believe that it was so cold until I emerged from the folds of the covering to kindle a fire.
Thus she weaves the strips of fur back and forth across the frame until the robe is finished. Then to make a really pleasant camp a window of some kind must be provided, and for this purpose there is nothing equal to glass. This makes a package which may be handled almost the same as any other merchandise, and we can scarcely take into the woods anything that will give greater return in comfort and satisfaction. With the crosscut saw we can throw the straight spruce trees almost anywhere we want them, and we drop them in places which will be convenient and save much handling.
Then we split through the centre with the axe and a pair of wooden wedges, and hew the two halves into two smooth planks. The same thing is done when the top of the door frame is reached, and this gives a greater degree of rigidity to the walls. These logs or poles not only give more stability to the gables, but they also make a support for the roof, and are a nice foundation for a loft on which to store articles after the camp is finished. We place a layer of these the entire length of the roof, hollow side up, and notch each in place so that it cannot slip or rock. At the place where the stove is to be placed we leave an opening of two and a half by four feet, and around this place we fasten smooth pieces of wood about four inches thick, so that it makes of the opening a sort of box. This is not absolutely necessary, but it gives the doorway a more finished appearance, and increases the rigidity of the wall. As a window at its best is apt to admit a lot of cold air it will pay well to spend some time at this work and make the window fit snugly.
The other end is treated the same way and this leaves the metal in the form of a box, three feet long, 17 inches high, and 14 inches wide, open on top and at both ends.
We now have the foundation for our bed and we make the bottom of straight, smooth poles, nailed fast to the horizontal ends.
Not only that, but the entire outfit of food must be "well balanced," that is, it must have about the right proportions of the various food elements required by the human body. It is possible for one to live indefinitely on fresh meat and fish alone if forced to it; but the civilized appetite does not accept gracefully any such radical departures from what has now become the natural line of food.
If the time so spent will be limited he can cut down slightly on the amounts of these foods and add others more to his liking if he wishes, but, on the other hand, if he expects to do much camping out he must increase the quantity of such foods as can be used on the trail.
While the beans are cooking and he is waiting for daylight he prepares the outfit which he will take with him for the day.
The porcupine is another animal which may be eaten, although I cannot say that the meat is palatable. When the bushman stops for tea, which is always the most essential and important part of his repast, he builds a fire, then cuts a stick an inch or a little more in thickness and about four feet long, and thrusts it into the ground in such a way that when the tea-pail is suspended from the end it hangs at just the right height above the fire. The roof burns away slowly on the under side and as the sticks burn off they are added to the fire beneath and others placed on top to keep the roof built up.
When traveling in the northern bush during cold weather I frequently carried a bunch of birch bark in the top of my pack, so that if I wanted to build a fire quickly I would not have to hunt for kindling.
The tinder may be any inflammable material which can easily be fired from the burning dust, such as the shredded inner bark of a cedar tree, very dry and fine, mixed with shreds of white cotton cloth.
Color is immaterial — if you fancy the bright scarlet kind buy it, for it will give as good service as a gray one.
With one of these fur blankets I have slept comfortably off and on during an entire winter north of Lake Superior, in a cabin which had the cracks chinked on two sides only, the other two sides having openings between the logs through which I could put my hand, and I never had a fire at night. The method is to trim the open end of the skin, then starting at this end with a sharp knife the entire skin is cut into a single strip about an inch wide by holding it on the knee and cutting around and around.
When the ends are brought up to within about eight inches of the required height a stout, straight ridge pole of the same length as the binding poles is placed on top, and notched lightly into the top log. Between each set of these troughs we will place a three-inch pole, and on top of the pole we place marsh moss. When our floor is completed we nail down along each wall, a pole, which covers the ends of the floor poles and holds them all firmly in place. Now we turn this upside down and in the top we cut two seven-inch holes, as round as we can make them. These poles must all be of about the same thickness to make a satisfactory bed, otherwise some of them will bend or spring while the stiff ones will not. The top we will make of three straight eight-inch logs hewn on one side to the center, and flattened on the other side at the ends. Too much salt pork and other preserved foods, with too little fresh food, may cause scurvy; various articles which are known to be difficult of digestion may cause chronic dyspepsia, while many constipating foods may in a different way lead to the same trouble.
The taking of eggs and food in glass also violates requisite number five, for all such articles require far more care in handling than is practical on the bush trail. Moreover, the man who elects to live on game and fish alone must of necessity go hungry for long periods, in fact may be forced to face starvation when game is scarce and for one reason or another difficult to secure. As an exception to this rule I advise taking a few onions, for in spite of their weight they are a food worth considering. The only way to learn what foods are harmful and which ones are not is by trying them, but this should be done and the results known before going into the woods. By eliminating the crackers and half the salt a couple of pounds of oatmeal and a brick of maple sugar may be added, thereby again increasing the number of items without additional weight and making a good wholesome breakfast dish (oatmeal porridge), or one that can be prepared quickly, also providing syrup for the pancakes — "white hopes," as one of my camping companions called them.
Only a small fire is required, but it should give a clear, steady flame, for the water should be brought to a boil quickly.
This is a good style of fire to reflect heat into the camp and is excellent for use with a metal baker. All that is necessary then is to place fine, dry twigs over the tinder and then coarser wood, and this wonderful feat of building a fire without matches is accomplished. But a white blanket is almost sure to contain all good wool, for it is harder to conceal shoddy stuff that is not dyed. The entire blanket must be perfectly dry before it is removed from the frame, and it must never be allowed to become wet. These must be cut thirteen and seventeen feet long, and as they will average a foot in diameter at the stump there will be an allowance of three feet for walls and overlap, or 18 inches at each end. When these planks are finished we stand the two long ones upright in the place cut in the log and nail them firmly. Then we place over these poles a second layer of the troughs, hollow side down, and over the ridge pole we place a large, full-length trough.
If it were summer now we would line this bunk with bark to keep the balsam needles from falling through, but since we cannot get bark at this time of year we cannot do this. When placed on the supports, flat side up, and fastened by nailing at the ends, we have the table completed. Therefore the woodsman should not attempt to live wholly on fresh meat or to make so much allowance for game that he will suffer from hunger if the game is not procurable.
They freeze as readily as potatoes, but if they are kept frozen until time for use it will not hurt them in the least.
The bushman always carries a small tea pail with him, if only a tin can fitted with a wire bail. The kindling must be properly arranged with the part to be lighted projecting towards the breeze, and sufficiently separated from other objects, so that the fire builder may enclose this part in the shelter of his hands, along with the match, and thus protect the flame until the kindling is fairly lighted. We cut the trees as near the ground as we can conveniently, and each tree makes two or three logs.
We see that they stand perfectly plumb and in line with one another, then we nail the short plank across the top, thus completing our doorway. This latter we must make by hewing a log flat on one side and then hollowing it out, for we cannot find a tree with such a straight grain that we can split a 17-foot length without more or less of a twist.
There are many dishes that are greatly improved by an onion flavor and I am very fond of this evil-smelling vegetable when sliced and fried with steak. He returns about sunset and as soon as he has made a fire he places over it the partly cooked pork and beans.
Often a sheet of bark dropped against the tiny flame will protect it until it gathers strength. These strips of green fur are wound into a ball and placed out of doors, where they will freeze and remain frozen, each day's accumulation being added to the ball until a sufficient number have been secured to make a blanket.
All tall trees standing near the camp site must be cut, and used if possible, for there is always danger that a tree will blow over on the camp some time, if within reach.
On this side, as the walls are laid up, we saw each log off squarely at the proper place and push it up against the door frame, fastening it there by nailing through the plank. The edge of this hole we cut at intervals all the way around, making straight, one-half inch cuts. Ordinary canned goods containing water are tabooed in cold weather, for they freeze and burst the cans, besides falling short in the first requirement of camp foods, namely, light weight. By the time they have finished cooking he has baked a bannock, stewed some fruit or prunes, or made rice pudding. A dry surface on which to strike a match is essential and the woodsman must use his knowledge of suitable surfaces to help him out of his trouble. The notches are cut to such a depth at the corners that the logs fit one against the other and this leaves no large cracks to close. Then we turn these edges up, and we have a stovepipe hole, with a collar to hold the pipe in place. These are the ends of the branches and the heaviest stems are less than a fourth-inch thick. Thus he goes on day after day, varying his menu as far as possible, as well as his methods of preparing the foods.
We now close the rear end of the stove by bending three inches of the sides into a right angle, the same amount of the top being bent down. A very practical idea is to sew a small strip of emery cloth on the inside of the coat, the upper half being loose so that it folds down over the other half and thus keeps the rough surface from contact with the clothing.
When entirely filled we have a soft and fairly comfortable bed, of course not equal to the spring bed we have at home, but then we are not expecting home comforts in the big woods, and we are always tired enough to rest well in a bough bed. Now we rivet a piece of sheet-iron into this end, using for rivets the head ends of wire nails. But the most common scheme is to utilize the trouser leg for striking matches and as long as the clothing is dry it is certainly the most convenient surface for this purpose. Beneath the top of the stove, between the cooking holes we rivet a folded strip of metal; this is to stiffen the top.
Then we turn in three inches of the front of the stove and rivet the corners where they lap.