More on being a Backyardsman

being a backyardsmanI got my first issue of The Backwoodsman – a.k.a. Ritchie’s Magazine – by accident. It had an article about using dandelions for food, something my wife was interested in. I liked it so much I made a point of getting the next issue. That issue had an article that made me a fan for life. Being a Backyardsman by Scott Siegfried was a breath of fresh air. A lot of others must have liked it too, as the article was reprinted in the Nov/Dec 2019 issue of The Backwoodsman. Then in the Jan/Feb 2020 issue, one of the reader requests was for more info on being a Backyardsman. Well now, that’s kind of up my alley. I don’t think I write well enough to submit something to Mr. Richie yet, but I can write here so why not?

More on being a Backyardsman…

Before talking more on being a Backyardsman, it’s probably a good idea to review what a Backyardsman is. According to Mr. Siegfried’s article, “A backyardsman is basically a backwoodsman who sticks closer to home. He enjoys reading about survival, camping, old-timey stuff, self sufficiency, homesteading, etc. Dabbles in some ‘backwoodman-esque’ activities and hobbies. He may have a workshop where he makes…”

Sounds pretty simple, and it is in theory. In reality, things can get in the way. Boring stuff like going to work, paying a mortgage, supporting a family, stuff like that. Aggravating stuff like being stuck in traffic and dealing with building inspectors. Responsibilities lie an elderly parent or a kid in high school who needs extra “motivation” to stay caught up with his homework. In other words, “life happens.” So let’s break this down into some things you can do even when “life” takes up all your time yet you yearn for some Backwoods therapy. Per Mr. Siegfried, a Backyardsman…

…enjoys reading about survival…

I read a lot, probably at least 2 or 3 books a month. I don’t write many book reviews because a lot of the books I read aren’t on Backwoods subjects. There are a lot of books I can recommend to backwoodsmen and backyardsmen though. I think 98.6 Degrees – The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive is a must-read for a backyardsman. Keeping with the survival theme, Left for Dead by Beck Weathers and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer are both excellent. American Insurgents, American Patriots: The Revolution of the People by T.H. Breen is a fascinating look at our county’s founding.

…camping…

I don’t have a book to recommend on camping, but I can recommend camping right now – tonight – even if you have to get up early and go to work in the morning. Impossible? No way. Camp in your own back yard. If you can’t do that, then camp in your garage. If even that is too much of a stretch, sleep on the floor. I did just that last Friday. It gave me the chance to test a sleeping pad I got at Costco and mess around with a ranger taco.

…old-timey stuff…

I’m fascinated by old-timey stuff. When I was a kid I used to get old electronic junk and unsolder the parts to put in my junk box. Can’t do that any more – everything is made to use once then throw it away when it breaks. Even hobby things like model airplanes come ready to fly and hard or impossible to repair when they crash.  Some of the best books for learning how to do things in the old ways are the Foxfire books.

…self sufficiency…

Forgotten Skills of Self Sufficiency by Caleb Warnock is a good introduction to pioneer-type skills. There are a ton of books on different areas of self sufficiency, too many to talk about. Two areas I’m most interested in when it comes to self sufficiency are food and being able to repair things. For general food and living self sufficiency my two favorite books are The Shoestring Girl by Annie Jean Brewer and Self reliance: Recession-proof your pantry, published by Backwoods Home Magazine.

…homesteading, etc…

I’ll revisit this later, but everything I mentioned above is good, especially Backwoods Home Magazine. If you want something actionable right now and you own your home, you can “officially” homestead it. Just check out you’re state’s homesteading laws. Chances are, all you have to do is send in a form with a small payment, and you’re now a legally recognized homesteader. And yes, there are some benefits depending on your state.

Dabbles in backwoodman-esque activities and hobbies.

I’ve been really busy the past year working and planning for a career change. Not much time for outside hobbies in other words. A lot of that is winding down so I should have a lot more time soon. One thing I want to do is set up my own knife forge. I found a copy of The $50 Knife Shop and I’ve got room for a small forge in my back yard. I’m also planing on putting in a fire pit, building a rabbit hutch, and changing my yard around so it isn’t so suburban.

I’ve taken to using Google Maps to look for places close to home I can explore. Lots of interesting things right around here it turns out. Sadly no places to fish close buy, but I did find an abandoned stone building within walking distance of my house. There’s also some old mine tailings in the area I want to check out.

He may have a workshop…

This one is my achilles heel – I have one, but it’s so full of junk it’s barely usable. So I guess one project needs to be cleaning it out. Lots of neat things out there to talk about when I get around to it though…

So for awhile I’m going to only focus on backwoodsman-esque things that can be done around the home, yard, and (very) local area. You know, do a lot more on being a backyardsman. Until next time…

Peace out,
porcupine

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