[Information about the books and classes by Christopher Nyerges can be found at www.SchoolofSelf-Reliance.com]
Many years ago, when I was still in high school and beginning my earnest study of botany, I got a phone call from friend Joe Hall. Joe and I were both interested in wild foods and herbs, and Joe told me that he’d located a patch of horehound. I’d read about horehound, I’d heard about horehound, and it supposedly grew all around us. Yet, I’d never knowingly seen the plant. I hopped on my bicycle and within 30 minutes I met Joe just north of Pasadena’s famous Rose Bowl. He was squatting next to a small inconspicuous plant, and I eagerly got off my bicycle and … Read More
Spotted Owl of the Ojibway Nation checks out a potted Aloe vera plants
Some experiences with the Remarkable Aloe Vera Plant
[Nyerges is the former editor of Wilderness Way magazine, and the author of 14 books, including “Guide to Wild Foods,” “How to Survive Anywhere,” “Foraging California,” and others. He leads regular outdoor field trips to identify edible and medicinal wild plants. He can be reached at www.SchoolofSelf-Reliance.com or Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041.]
Sometime in late 1978, my mother shared with me an experience she had with the Aloe vera plant. My mother, Marie, was a Registered Nurse who worked at a Pasadena retirement home as the staff nurse. About three months earlier, a housekeeper who … Read More
I thought I’d announce my new Kindle book to Dirttime. (Even Dude likes it — see below)
“Squatter in Los Angeles: Life on the Edge” is the true story of my year and a half as a squatter in the Highland Park district of Los Angeles. This book is not intended as a how-to guide, nor is it meant to encourage anyone to break any laws. It happens to be the true story of what I did during a very influential time in my life. I learned how to get more for less, and I realized – just like Thoreau at his pond in the woods – that we can live quite well and fulfilled if we attempt to differentiate … Read More
Besides being a fantasy, the Feral Woodsman life has a strong appeal that is the very essence of man. We go back to the DNA trapped within us, always lurking just below the surface. I feel it is the knife that draws us, tugging at a place from the distant past of being armed in order to eat or for defense. That’s why big blades are so popular, a primal call if you will. From the first stone blades, to the steels, this is an ancient weapon that all of our ancestors were at one with. From there, it was a simple step to an armed spear head, beyond just a sharp point.
If, by chance, you have ever carried … Read More
It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to find land where one can practice true woodcrafting without breaking some sort of law. And depending on the state, or region of the state, one is remanded to practicing in their backyards. Of course, depending on what you are doing that also seems to break local codes and laws as well.
One of the most prophesied philosophies in the outdoor world is LNT (Leave No Trace). And while on the surface it looks and feels like it is all good and well in candy land and it is a way to preserve the natural outdoors, is it really doing what it hopes to accomplish? Many would say yes, but this article from Masterwoodsman.com delves … Read More
The world as we know it can change in a heartbeat. It is a minefield of dangers you can step in at any time. If you are at least prepared to know it could happen to you, then you are one up.
Over the last several years the news has been full of information about being prepared. The fact is people put off getting themselves in a ready position. Often times there is warning, such as inclement weather, but what if there is no warning, what then? Seeing people line up in grocery stores is nearly the same as being a refugee, but it is something that is avoidable. You never want to put yourself and your family in that … Read More
Doom and gloom seems to be a theme touted and bandied about by many “survival” gurus”. It is a scare tactic by many who seem to think they are on to something new.
In my lifetime, fear mongers have not changed their dooomsday chant. A few names have changed, from the Russians are coming to the Koreans are coming to the Chinese are coming—name your favorite country or enemy like the terrorist flavor of the day.
The threats seem real, especially for third world countries in the midst of war and famine. For us, the thought is a terrifying one, if you are easily taken in.
Threat of terrorist groups will not take on a whole country, but will chip … Read More
Classic camping is “smoke from a distant fire”, a feint wisp at first, but once you get a face full it will cause a sickness with no cure.
The distant fire becomes a fire in the belly and knows no boundaries. It will seep into every camping experience as you begin to use traditional camping gear. The fire becomes the center of your camp—cooking in a billy or a dutch oven—placed in front of your Whelen lean-to, Baker tent, or other traditional shelter, like a Baker tent. It is a throw back in time to real camping without the use of nylon. The sound of wind flapping a loose piece of cloth is unlike the flat, sharp rustle of nylon.… Read More
Many of us dream about one day just checking out and heading into the hills to live a life of the mountain man. Others often live with the nagging question “I wonder if I could really stay out there for an extended amount of time and live by my wits?” Most will never get to realize their dream, while others will drop out before they start. But there is one person who had this dream and finally one day was able to realize it, putting himself to the ultimate test—heading into the Alaskan Wilderness with no food and foraging, hunting and fishing his way through 70 days.
Bruce “Buck” Nelson, a retired Alaskan Smokejumper had for a very long time … Read More
A lot of interest has been going on surrounding the subject of traditional camping, using the gear and methods from the “Golden Era” of camping, (1880 to about 1930, give or take). Part of the fun is tracking down the gear and using it in the field. Some you can still buy new, but you can still find used quality stuff—lanterns, tents, and packs. The challenge is in the small details. It is always an on going search to find the most authentic gear no matter how mundane or how little it will be used.
Grounding oneself into the traditional life style will teach you basics that seem to be missing in today’s camp craft. I hate to even think … Read More