hunting (9)

Kevin Kelly in Mongolia

“…The wildness is a deception. Scattered in nearly every vista of Mongolia are the round white tents of nomads. We know these tent houses as yurts; they call them ger (pronounced gair). They are the primary home to about 1 million nomads. Today’s nomads retain a lifestyle relatively unchanged from that of their forebears in important ways. Living as I do—in a world teeming with smartphones and Wi-Fi, smart TVs and self-driving cars—it is a remarkable thing to travel among them.

The nomads are herders and typically own about 1,000 animals—mostly sheep and goats, but cows, horses, dogs, camels, and yaks as well. You could think of them as ranchers who move their ranch seasonally. They set up their ger in spring for maximum summer pastures, then they move it again for winter feeding. This movement is not north to south as might be expected, but from lowlands to highlands, or even from open valley in summer to hidden hilly nook in winter to escape the wind, which is more punishing than the cold.…”

-Kevin Kelly

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Alaska Native Sea Hunters in Northern California in Early 1800s

Saw this beautiful painting by Bill Holm* last week at Fort Ross. The Russians brought the hunters, most of them from the Kodiak Islands, to hunt sea otters at Fort Ross in the early 1800s. The kayaks were made of sea lion skins, the parkas (said to be waterproof) of sea lion intestines, the hats resembling birds.

“…The Kashaya Pomo called the Alaskans Underwater People because their boats sat so low in the water it seemed as if they were coming out of the sea. The iqyan (kayak) they developed is still studied today and its design is incorporated into modern shipbuilding. The Russians called these skin boats baidarkas.

The Alaskans were expert sea hunters. They honed their skill over thousands of years while living on isolated islands and waterways. RAC sent Alaska Natives along the coast to hunt for otter and fur seal pelts. They traveled great distances by kayak, including the Farallon Islands 35 miles southwest of Fort Ross across the rough open ocean, where the Alaskans stayed for months at a time. Alaska Natives used a spear with a detachable point tied with sinew to an air bladder made from a sea mammal’s stomach. After the animal is speared, hunters track the floating bladder, waiting for the animal to come up for air.…”

https://www.fortross.org/native-alaskans.htm

*Represented by the Stonington Gallery; Also see his book, Northwest Coast Indian Art: An Analysis of Form

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Fort Ross, Recreated Russian Fort on NorCal Coast

Last week Yogan and I spent an hour exploring the Fort Ross State Historic Park, a masterful re-creation of the Russian Fort built on the Northern California coast in 1812. The Russians brought down Native Alaskan hunters who speared sea otters from seal skin kayaks. Most of the hunters came from the Kodiak Islands and their kayaks, spears, and hunting techniques were extraordinary (more on this later).

If you are ever driving up the Northern California coast, I highly recommend going to this site.

Here is the chapel (star of the show), metal shop, and wood shop. Roofing on these buildings consisted of 2 layers of long planks, laid with the cracks in the top layer over the centers of the under layer.

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Making Your Own Knives

When I was at the Mother Earth News Fair in Pennsylvania a few months ago, I bought a handmade knife from a mountain man—a guy who dressed in buckskins and made a variety of hunting, trapping, and outdoor tools. The blade was carbon steel, which I prefer over stainless steel. It’s softer and easier to sharpen, even if you have to care for it so that it doesn’t rust.

He told me that it was a Russell Green River blade, so I tracked it down, and ordered about half a dozen different shaped blades (from Track of the Wolf.com); they’re pretty inexpensive, $9-$10 each. I made the first one in the last few days with some manzanita wood I gathered (and dried out) a year or so ago. It’s a bit crude, but I learned a lot and am going to make handles for some paring and skinning knives.
Perhaps the best way to start would be to buy one of the kits, which include a blade, wooden handles, and rivets. I’d also recommend getting the pamphlet Basic Knife Assembly, by Ryan and Roger Gale.

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West Vancouver Rustic Waterfront Cabin for Sale

“… this is the best waterfront value in the Gulf Islands & only 8 min from Vancouver. 17,000 sq ft lot with 65 ft of WATERFRONT frontage. This rustic cabin is in original condition with lots of life left & an incredible waterfront view. Features include, low bank access to water, rain water catchment system. Private westerly facing lot with deep water moorage option directly in front of property. Can be sold together with Lot 40. Call listing agent for details…”

Click here.

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