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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  The American Plainsmen Society (Moderators: Caleb Hobbs, Tsalagidave)  |  Topic: Additional Campaigner Tips 2 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Dave Rodgers

« on: December 29, 2016, 05:05:21 am »

Additional Campaigner Tips 2

This is a continuation of my original post on Campaigner tips.  Thinking over my life experiences in the outdoors practicing period methods, here are a few more to consider.

Selecting firewood: Although there are times where you have a limited fuel selection and must settle for whatever is on hand, you should know the difference between the good and poor burning woods. These are excerpts from a larger article I wrote.  I generally prefer hardwood (broadleaf) over softwoods (conifers) but sometimes broadleaf trees such as the willow are the worst kind of wood to forage.  Generally, you want a wood with a slow burn speed, generates a good heat output, burns clean, and leaves lasting coals.  The best woods for this are Ash, Beech, Apple, Cherry, Cedar,  or Hawthorne.    Poor woods are either too difficult to keep lit, burn too fast,  smoke, spit, spark too much, heat insufficiently and don’t produce a coal bed. Examples of poor firewood are Chestnut, Fir, Holly, Poplar, Spruce, or Willow.  It’s also important to note that this kind of wood’s ash does not contain enough lye to make soap, clean cooking implements well  or fortify Indian meal.  (Stick to using good burning hardwood ash for this.)

Read your maps; pack a compass; and either a watch or reliable sundial device that will help you track time
.   The only person who says they have no use for a map & compass is either a pre-1900 Native American, a tenderfoot who never treks out more than a few miles, or a BS’er who entertains the delusion that he’s the reincarnation of Joseph Walker.  There are ways to determine where North is, but compass bearings  and maps are essential to everyone but the Indians, Mexicans, and Frontiersmen who actually spent their entire lives on the American Frontier.  Same goes for having a means to accurately mark time.  It’s easy to look at the sun and guess the hour.  It’s harder to guess down to ten and fifteen minute intervals.  This is important for packing, driving, clearing floodplains , etc.  

Carrying your rifle/musket/fowler properly:  Period drill manuals such as Scott’s, Gilham’s, Hardee’s, Casey’s, & etc. will give you the various methods of carrying arms but here is some crucial advice.  In rain and snow, carry your barrel downward either at “Secure Arms” or slung on the shoulder with the muzzle down.  It keeps the rain/snow out of the barrel and lessens the likelihood of turning you into a lightning rod.  When marching in the mud, here’s a way of resting without sitting in the mud.  Rest the buttstock  on the ground and tilt the muzzle forward with the trigger guard pointed skyward. Straddle the long gun and squat down resting the muzzle between the knees. Rest your forearms on the tops of your knees with both hands gripping the barrel. (Like a witch riding a broom.)  Rest one of your thighs on the long gun itself and it serves as restful alternative to sitting in the mud like a chump who does not care for his gear, clothing, or health.  Sleeping on arms, keep the muzzle between your knees, laying on your side with your head resting on the crook of your arm and the side of the buttstock.  It’s not that bad in exercise but I recommend not priming your weapon if you enjoy your present foot and toe count.

Care for your tinware:  Tin boilers, coffee pots and the like are often used as receptacles to pack extra stuff. Don’t do it.  The constant motion of either you or the horse you rode in on will cause the protective tin finish to be rubbed away.  Cook over coals and NEVER put it in the flames.  This will weaken the solder on the higher points and having the spout or bails fall off your coffee pot or kettle is just embarrassing.  Also, try to avoid cooking over woods that give off a lot of resin in the smoke. It coats your tin in black soot that partially insulates your tin from the heat (causing more time to be needed to heat or boil);  also, well maintained tinware does not soil the rest of your kit.  (This stuff attracts dust and keeping the soot off your clothing extends   the life of fabrics).

Don’t be a Greenhorn!  Here are some big mistakes to avoid out there.
•   Never spit or throw refuse in a fire while people are cooking or intend to cook.  Its uncouth and a splendid way to disrespect the members of your group.
•   Never start off without breakfasting first.  Fatigue on the march will further suppress your appetite causing enough malnourishment  to diminish stamina.  Maybe a member of Jackson’s foot-cav could suffer through it but the average person shouldn’t.  This is a pointless hazard that should just be avoided.
•   Don’t lay your hatchet about camp. Either sheath it or slap its blade into a log or stump.  It protects the blade from damage and everyone else from the blade.
•   When chopping sticks, NEVER do so against the ground.  It damages the hatchet’s edge and you risk flipping an end of the stick up into your eye.  Do your chopping on a log or stump instead.
•    Don’t fight the quicksand, work with it.I encounter a lot of quicksand on the Mojave river.  The good news is that the human body is light enough to float on quicksand (I know this first hand from large quicksand fields.)  The bad news is that your heavy gear can weigh you down and drag you under.  If ever you notice the sand moving like a waterbed and you start sinking through.  Toss your rifle lengthwise upon the sand and shuck your gear.  None of it should sink and you should be able to extract yourself without losing a thing.  Now sink a wicker basket or nail keg (with loose fitting staves)  to the rim and it will become a water source once the sediment settles.

I’ll come out with more as time goes on.



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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2016, 04:15:22 pm »

OOooooooh  Danke Schoen Herr Dave.

type of wood is important, one comes to mind as particulary smoky and stinky, but I need more caffiene.

Don't want any Fire accidents or chance getting burned? Don't spit in the fire! Spitting in the fire also disrepects the Fire. Ask the N.A. about disrepecting Tunkashila ( The Gandfather Spirits) and you'll get an earful of apocryphal stories.

more later
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2016, 04:51:34 pm »

I recall the advice I received in Boy Scouts; "Go to the living to seek the dead".

Don't chop green wood unless you can wait a LOONG time! Break off the dead branches surrounding the lower parts of the tree.

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Dave Rodgers

« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2016, 03:56:36 am »

That's a good plan Charles.  I usually grab only the deadfall since there is rarely time to chop and cure firewood.   The only wood I am aware of that can be burned green with any success is Ash.


Guns don't kill people; fathers with pretty daughters do.
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