The River Float

Well we just got back from a wonderful weekend with family and friends at Mowich Camp.  The highlight of the trip was a kayak float down the Yakima River.  Let’s start with the video:

And here are a few photos for you all:

Duke going airborne

Duke going airborne

Uncle "B"

Uncle “B”

Rachel (sorry you missed the float... Next Time)

Rachel (sorry you missed the float… Next Time)

Hendrix - A delightful little bundle of non-stop energy

Hendrix – A delightful little bundle of non-stop energy

Kingston and Stevie Ray

Kingston and Stevie Ray

Cade and Stevie Ray

Cade and Stevie Ray

Everybody loved holding Stevie Ray

Everybody loved holding Stevie Ray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for following along.  Kat

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MowichCamp

We’ve been pretty busy lately working on our new camp.  Here is a link to a little video tour of the place.

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Two of my favorite boys watching sunset on the slough

More to come…

Kat

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Handmade – Really!

A big cedar log at the Lumber Yard

A big cedar log at the Lumber Yard

Last November (2015) I did a little video and a story about thrashing around in the mud at the mouth of the Snohomish River, salvaging a little wood from one of the thousands of storm tossed logs, stranded on the marsh.

What for me was just a fun day walking along with my axe and a saw looking for the perfect piece of raw material, seemed to generate a question from several of my friends…”What are you going to make”?

Of course at the time I had no idea.  But I knew that whatever I was gonna make I needed to get the wood out of the river before the next big flood.  And the chunk of log would need to be cut into slabs and stickered to air dry for several months before I could do anything with it.

Inspecting a log

Inspecting a log

Its not all fun and games

Its not all fun and games

So with the upcoming birthday of our dear friend Camille, I though I would make her a little keepsake box.  A box made completely from one giant piece of salvaged timber.

 

This would be a good place to insert the video:

 

Happy Birthday Camille

Happy Birthday Camille

Happy Birthday Camille

Happy Birthday Camille

Susan and I ran down to Camille’s house the day before her birthday to present her with the keepsake box.  I’m delighted to report that she was very pleased and surprised with her gift.

So that’s about it for this one.  Thanks for following along.  Kat

 

 

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Umtanum VanSlam

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Ok, first of all, is it Umptanum or Umtanum?  Well both spellings seem to be used interchangeably.  So you can decide which one you like and go with it.

Umtanum Falls

Umtanum Falls

With the Dudes out of school for spring break and the weather forecast  saying sunny and warm, it was the perfect time for a VanSlam.

We traveled over the mountains and into the Ellensburg – Yakima canyon to a BLM recreation site called Big Pines for an overnighter.  The next day it was up on the ridges for a hike to Umtanum Falls.

So here is a little movie we made of our adventure.  Hope you enjoy it.

 

 

Umtanum Ridge

Umtanum Ridge

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

That’s it for this edition of the Adventure Journal.

Thanks for following along.  Kat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Centennial Trail

Here is a fun little video we made today.  Thanks to my grandson Kingston for the expert voice over work.

Thanks for watching.  Kat

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The Handcrafted Ladle

Vine maple - a NW native

Vine maple – a NW native

Winter is a great time to be out in the woods.  Especially for some fun  little bushcraft projects.  All the leaves are down and it is really easy (or easier) to scramble around in a tangle of vine maple roots to find the exact specimen for carving a wooden ladle.

So I found this gem right along the banks of the Snohomish River and decided it would be worth a little effort.

Here is a video I made of the day to day developments:

 

The handcrafted ladle

The handcrafted ladle

Well, as you saw in the video, it didn’t actually work out the way I intended.  That’s one of the challenges of working with green wood, you just never know exactly how it’s gonna respond to carving and drying out.  But on the plus side it was a fun few days, and I truly enjoying the process of taking a raw piece of natural material and chopping away at it until you find something beautiful inside… Wow, that could be a metaphor for so many things in life!

So, as I said in the video, if you want this little (slightly flawed) wooden ladle to hang on the side of your chuckwagon, or to use as a long handled scoop for your pet food bag, let me know.  It’s free to the first person to claim it.

Thanks for following along.  Kat

Posted in Bushcraft, Projects, Video | 2 Comments

Booker’s Cabinet of Curiosities

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The Library Book

This all started with a library book.  Last week my grandson Booker showed me a very cool book he’d checked out of his library featuring page after page of great ideas on how to study, preserve, and catalog various treasures found in the natural world.

Now I’m sure that every grandpa will say that his grandsons are extremely smart… Just like all of my Dudes.  But I gotta say how pleased I am that 7 year-old Booker is so deeply interested in the natural world around him.  I’m sure he has watched and memorized every episode of the Wild Kratts show, and he has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of birds and animals living around him.  As an example, here is a little throw back to October 2014 with a video we made of Stellar’s Jays.  This was all Booker’s idea.

And I’m pleased to see that his enthusiasm for learning about the natural world continues to grow.  So when it was suggested that Booker might need a cabinet to start his collection, I got started immediately.

The design

The design

I began by making a rough sketch of the cabinet and then had the plan “approved” by Booker.

Next was the question of what material to use.  That was easily answered out of necessity:  I’d just use whatever I had laying around.

There is something very satisfying about reusing, reclaiming, or refurbishing old grungy building materials and giving them a new purpose in life.  I still had a few remnants of the old cedar fence that had been storm damaged a couple of years ago.  I knew that hiding deep inside those slimy green boards was some beautiful cedar stock.

 

Before & After

Before & After

Scraping Off The Yucky

Scraping Off The Yucky

It was just a matter of drying off the old fence boards and then planing down the stock to uncover the beauty within.

Remarkably I managed to actually stick to the drawings and follow the plans that I’d made.  As often as not, somewhere along the way, I find that I have to change something to accommodate the wood I have to work with.

In the process I created a small table saw sled to help cutting the dados that would hold the whole thing together.

 

The Table Saw Sled

The Table Saw Sled

Pre-finish

Pre-finish

So eventually I’d cleaned up enough old cedar boards to piece together the cabinet.  Everything was glued up and then we applied some walnut wood stain (to match the beds we’d built last summer).

The next idea on my checklist of cool ideas was to fabricate some drawer pull out of an old mule deer antler.  I’d found the antler hanging in a wood shed at my mother’s house and knew it had to be 30 to 35 years old.  My mom was delighted with the idea that it might end up as a part of her great-grandson’s curiosity cabinet.  The only problem was that I didn’t really know anything about carving or fabricating stuff from deer antlers.  So, after spending a little time at the University of YouTube – I came away with a BS in antler carving.  Yep, BS means just what you think it does.  I made about 3 different types of drawer pulls and settled on a really simple, smooth design.  I’ll put the unused pieces in the cabinet’s drawer for Booker to examine later.

Antler pieces

Antler pieces

Now a word of caution about sawing and sanding deer antler:  If you remember ever going to the dentist and having the doctor drill into your tooth… imagine that smell only 10 times more pungent filling the air in your workshop.  NASTY!  I can still smell it as I type these words a day later.

Finished

Finished

Well here it is finished.  We stocked it with a few little treasures to get Booker started, like the tail feathers from a northern Saw-Whet owl, some cool shells, and a couple of rocks.

All that remained was to attached the cabinet to Booker’s bedroom wall.

That task ended up being an “all hands on deck” evolution with two very curious little boys trying to inspect everything at once.  But as soon as it was stuck up on the wall Booker got busy filling in some of the shelves with his treasures.

 

A curious little boy

A curious little boy

…and finally a photo of the finished cabinet.

Thanks for following along.  Kat

 

 

 

 

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