This is the third and final in the series of posts on the Basic, Must-Have Life Experiences that it would seem unfortunate, to not have experienced.
The list of activities include:
- Riding a Bike
- Building a Campfire
- Shooting a Gun
As previously mentioned, these experiences teach important life lessons and skills related to personal power and self-sufficiency.
The first 3 topics were covered in prior posts.
Let’s now cover the remaining items on the list…
Building a Campfire
The ability to build a fire fulfills some of the most basic of human necessities: to cook, create light and/or heat. Especially, when in the wild or during a power outage.
Whether you start the fire with matches, lighter or a flint and knife doesn’t really matter. If you don’t properly prepare the materials to be burned it simply will NOT happen.
As such, it is suggested that each person learns how to do so.
I have found that the most consistent way to create a roaring campfire is to place the materials in such a way that it forms a teepee. This is done by obtaining and placing the following materials in the order / levels specified:
- Tinder to get things started. This can include crumpled paper, birch bark, dry leaves, etc.
- The next level of tinder which can include small twigs, branches, torn-up pieces of a cardboard box or anything else that is dry and combustible, with a little more “meat” to it than the starter material.
- The final levels of wood consists of increasingly larger sticks and logs that have a longer burn life.
Above all, you must ensure the material is dry and there is plenty of airflow between levels to support a fire.
Once the teepee has been formed it is now time to ignite the tinder at the base. After just a few minutes your campfire should be ablaze!
Our campfire at Moosehead Lake
It is simply mesmerizing to watch a campfire and hear the sounds of nature all around you 🙂
Shooting a Gun
In my opinion every “sane” person should know how to safely handle and own a gun – at a young age. It is an excellent way to teach personal responsibility and the nature of cause and effect.
That is, when you pull the trigger the mechanism will quickly propel a chunk (or chunks) of metal out the barrel. And, depending on the size of the gun and its ammo, you will hear and feel the power you have unleashed.
Yes, guns are dangerous: very dangerous – when mishandled.
So are automobiles, prescription meds, scissors, gasoline and matches.
However, as with all of the above, with proper care and handling the danger is diminished.
Start small: say, with a BB gun. I know, I know – You’ll shoot your eye out.
Not if you follow the basic gun-handling rules, which include:
- ALWAYS assume that a gun is loaded
- NEVER point a gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot
- Be sure of your target and what is behind it
- NEVER place your finger on the trigger until it is aimed at the target and you plan to pull it
For professional training, visit your local shooting range. Doing so is a very safe, educational and affordable way to experience the proper handling and shooting of a gun.
But, why guns?
For 2 key reasons:
- Protection against man or beast
- To obtain food in the wild
Let’s cover each of the above.
For protection – It is realized that “most” readers of this blog live in locations that are not “typically” dangerous (for fear of man or beast). However, things can change in the blink of an eye: ranging from the course of governments to an individual psycho.
Example: My folks live in a small, rural town in Maine. Nothing significant could unfold there, now could it?
The following happened just a little over 2 weeks ago.
A crazed woman was wielding a makeshift weapon (made of two metal spikes hanging from lengths of rope) that she was swinging around at mailboxes and cars, threatening people as she walked down the street.
My folks were observers of the incident – at the edge of their property.
The scene unfolded as my folks were about to pull out of the driveway, to head to the store. Surprisingly, they heard hollering to the effect of: “Put that down. Get down on the ground.“ Then…a gunshot.
They slowly backed down the driveway, returned to the safety of their home (with their gun) and called 911. They turned on their police scanner and the news to figure out what was going on. And, to determine if they should still be worried…
Fortunately, the incident had come to a conclusion and they could (again) safely leave their home.
While this was certainly unsettling, having a gun in hand brought a bit of personal security to the situation.
To obtain food in the wild – Building on the post: Are you prepared to live without technology?, wouldn’t it be nice to know that “if” you had to provide for your own source of protein you could do so, in the wild?
Sure, you could catch fish. But, eating that alone will get old. What about a little variety: some rabbit, partridge, duck, deer or moose?
In closing, each of the Basic, Must-Have Life Experiences covered in the last few posts can be obtained for free (or at a relatively low cost). Upon acquiring each, we are provided comfort in knowing that we are self-sufficient in so many ways. This, vs. having to depend on others for the basic necessities of life – when we don’t need to.
And, in so doing, we convert a phenomenon into a useful skill for life!
Get out there and get some!