“Leaves of three, let it be.”
(Poison Sumac has leaves in clusters of
seven or 13; most plants with leaves
in clusters of three are dangerous.)

Know your poisons! It can save you all sorts of discomfort.

Poison oak has three leaves shaped in lobes that look like oak tree leaves. Poison oak grows in low shrubs in the eastern U.S. On the west coast, poison oak grows as vines.

Poison ivy has three pointed leaves that change colors with the seasons: reddish in the spring; green in the summer; and yellow, orange, or red in the fall. The leaves on some plants have notched edges while on other plants, the edges are smooth. Poison ivy can grow as either a vine or a bush. You may see the vines climbing up the sides of trees. Poison ivy plants sometimes have white berries. Many poison ivy plants look like Virginia Creeper, which has five-leaf clusters instead of thee-leaf clusters.

Poison sumac is most common in the Midwest, though it is found elsewhere. Its favorite habitats are bogs, swamps, and the shores of rivers. The plant itself can be either a shrub or a tree. It has pointy leaves in clusters of seven or 13 and clusters of small, yellow flowers that mature into clusters of glossy yellow or off-white berries..

If exposed to the poison from these plants, you have a short window during which the poison can be washed off with no ill effect. This window varies y individual, but is generally around ten minutes. Soap and water work; there are also special soaps for washing after exposure to poison ivy. (Burt’s Bees Poison Ivy Soap) This product can also be used to clean gear or pets that have been exposed to the toxin from poison ivy; the poisonous oil is very sticky and can remain potent on an object or piece of clothing for up to five years if not washed off.


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Find them here: Merona Mens Black Winter Snow Gloves with Thermolite Insulation Ski Snowboard

Full Disclosure: Any review of any product on this site represents my personal 
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any product; if the product is purchased through the link in the review, I get 
about four percent of the purchase price through the Amazon Associates program.



Char-cloth is made from cotton material (scrap fabric, old undershirt material, rags, etc.) that has been wrapped in aluminum foil and put beneath a fire. As the fire burns and the the coals drop onto the foil, and the material inside chars.

It’s used with a spark striker and dry kindling (jute twine, pine needles, dryer lint, whatever) to start fires. The char cloth catches the spark and burns, lighting small tinder, small twigs, larger twigs, and upward in size until you have a nice, roaring fire.

Then, soon after, s’mores.

The Camp Cuisine

I found this really interesting; it is from the book “TRAIL CRAFT,” by Claude P. Fordyce and published in 1922.

Though dramatically heavier, inn M. Hunter’s and A.F. Wallace’s defense, they were writing specifically for prospectors in very cold northern climates, as were the KLONDIKE recommendations give by the Northern Pacific railroad company in the Chicago Record’s Book for Gold Seekers, 1897

“Jack Carr,” the famous Yukon mail carrier, has given a list for an outfit which, he says, will last one man one year in the Klondike district. This list follows:

  • Flour, pounds 400
  • Cornmeal, pounds 50
  • Rolled oats, pounds 50
  • Rice, pounds 35
  • Beans, pounds 100
  • Candles, pounds 40
  • Sugar, granulated, pounds 100
  • Baking powder, pounds 8
  • Bacon, pounds 200
  • Soda, pounds 2
  • Yeast cakes (6 in package) packages 6
  • Salt, pounds 15
  • Pepper, pounds 1
  • Mustard, pounds 1
  • Ginger, pounds 1
  • Apples, evaporated, pounds 25
  • Peaches, evaporated, pounds 25
  • Apricots, evaporated, pounds 25
  • Fish, pounds 25
  • Pitted plums, pounds 10
  • Raisins, pounds 10
  • Onions, evaporated, pounds 50
  • Potatoes, evaporated, pounds 50
  • Coflfee, pounds 24
  • Tea, pounds 5
  • Milk, condensed, dozen. 4
  • Soap, laundry, bars 5
  • Matches, packages 60
  • Soup vegetables, pounds 15
  • Butter, sealed, cans 25
  • Tobacco, at discretion
  • Stove, steel
  • Gold pan
  • Granite buckets, 1 nest of 4 .
  • Cups
  • Plates (tin)
  • Knives and forks, each
  • Spoons — tea and table
  • Whetstones
  • Coflfee pot
  • Pick and handle
  • Saw, hand
  • Saw, whip
  • Hatchet
  • Shovels, ^ spring 2
  • Nails, pounds 20
  • Files 3
  • Drawknife
  • Ax and handle
  • Chisels, 3 sizes 3
  • Butcher knife
  • Hammer
  • Compass
  • Jack plane
  • Square
  • Yukon sleigh
  • Lash rope, 1-inch, feet 60
  • Rope, 1/2 inch, feet 150
  • Pitch, pounds 15
  • Oakum, pounds 10
  • Frying pans 2
  • Woolen clothes.
  • Boots and shoes
  • Snow-glasses”


A Lot of Crap and the Death of Ralph

I saw several interesting things while walking around the Baptist Megaplex and Hotdog Stand last night. It was Little Girl’s Pee-Wee Soccer Night, and there were dozens of little girls rushing gladiator-style toward the soccer fields of glory. One precocious little future soccer all-star, herself barely past the toddler stage, caught my attention as she was giving a very unwanted, death-grip hug to a very unwilling little brother before she charged off to join her friends. Her dutiful dad was unloading a folding wagon from the back of the mini van and he started piling stuff into it.

I thought to my self that he had to be the coach and this was the load of whatever equipment is needed to facilitate pee-wee sports. But as I got closer, I realized there was not one bit of sports gear on it. It was a load of toys, doo-dads, noisemakers, distractions, cookie crumbs, diaper bags, sunscreens, shiny bits, small animals, and sippy cups designed to distract the so recently hug-accosted Junior. Meanwhile, all he really wanted to do was pee on the retaining wall.

If my parents had decided to take everything I owned at that age out to the field for a thirty-minute outing, the wagon load would have paled in comparison to this kid’s traveling gear. It seems a shame to me that so many parents spend so much time distracting their kids and so little time engaged with them. Kids don’t need a wagon load of crap to make their little life worthwhile; they need human interaction. They need positive examples and good role-modeling so that they can grow up to be intelligent and healthy adults, not sad and desperate human beings who cling to the belief that their television loves them and wants what is best for them, and that it expresses this by showing them all of the many wonderful  worthless things that if they could just somehow own would undoubtedly make their lives seem meaningful and worthwhile and — most of all — a little less desperate.


In Other News… Ralph Died.

I’m glad I wrote about Ralph yesterday morning, because when I went out for a walk yesterday afternoon Ralph was gone. I can only presume he is dead.

It was quite clear that the mowers had been through. Though I searched diligently, I could find no sign of Ralph’s remains. Though nature and the ravages of insects couldn’t harm him, the whirling blades of death were his undoing.

Poor Ralph. I hardly knew ye.

Meet Ralph

This is Ralph. He lives in my neighborhood, just across from the corner of 55th and Booth. He’s lived there for two weeks as of this evening.

The first thing you might notice about Ralph is that he is in amazingly good shape for a hot dog bun that has been lying on the ground, outdoors… for two weeks. No mold. No noticeable aging. So far, neither bird nor beast has taken a bite of Ralph. Not even the insects will touch him.

Ralph has a real lesson to teach us all, I think. If nature can’t kill him and the worms won’t eat him, how long – really – could a person last on Frankenfood like this?  Think about it… next time you eat a hot dog and later find yourself bent over the porcelain throne yelling for Ralph… maybe it wasn’t the hot dog that got you.

Maybe it was the Revenge of Ralph.