Friday, November 1, 2013


WHEN YOU PROMISE SOMETHING, you better be good with what you said else you get annoying reminders! In my case, my grandson gives me that annoying and repetitive reminders and it becomes annoyingly sweet when you get a bear hug from him all the time.

I am busy most of the week except Sundays. But even that, the faraway hills always claim it, without a doubt, be it rain or heavy rain! On some rare occasions though, I am nailed right in my home. Like when I am utterly sick, just plain lazy or with an empty pocket.

I am at the end of my road for this week and I am broke. Maybe, it would be good to stay put just for this particular Sunday, September 29, 2013. I wake up at seven and try to clear my thoughts about the things I need to do today and I play an album of Crosby, Stills & Nash to give me that needed “push”.

Across the coffee table and lying prone on the sofa, little Gabriel had been watching me through the corner of one eye with another eye on the PSP. I very well know what he felt today and I feel that he is quite surprised by my unusual presence on a day that he knows I am not supposed to be around. He knows that because he glanced at the wall clock.

As I finished my light breakfast, I collect all my pieces of bamboo and my blades. I will polish again my bushcraft skills right here in my shrinking backyard. I had been planning this for so many times because my wife and the rest of my family does not know what I am doing on weekends.

Although I regularly post my activities in Facebook, my wife does not have an FB account. My two sons have but they focused all their updates on their online game conquests. My grandsons have accounts too but these are just dummy profiles put up by their mom since they are minors. All know that I have crazy stunts in Facebook but, like all people do: To actually see is to believe.

When Gabe sees me carrying all the bamboos and the sharp things outside to the backyard, his face lighted up and a smile flashed on his face. I place it all on a monobloc chair just outside the door and Carlo, my Belgian malinois mongrel, begins to push his cold snout through a gap of the impromptu steel gate, trying to reach me. I opened the small gate and Carlo’s tail wagged some more and he licked me as far as his tongue could reach.

Carrying all the things down the concrete steps, I stop on a pile of wood and steel bars underneath the water-apple tree and, from there, I go back the house to get the KODAK Easyshare M23 camera and the CIGNUS V85 portable VHF/UHF radio, Carlo trailing behind. The transceiver radio can tune in to FM stations and that would provide me music.

Quickly, I assess the small clearing and I instantly know where to start my fire and do my cooking. I have a green bamboo pole with two conjoined segments which I brought from Lilo-an a week ago and, from this same bamboo, I will demonstrate to all how to cook rice in it. I make short work opening the two segments of the bamboo under the scrutinizing eyes of my wife and Gabriel.

I used the Seseblade “sinalong” knife for this job. It is a small knife, about five inches in blade length, but it did the job well. It could take the pounding from a heavy stick and its blade dig deep into the bamboo’s surface. This is not the first torture test that I have done on a Seseblade though and I could see that the blades made by Dr. Arvin Sese are tough and durable.

Carlo, meanwhile, ran and jumped all around the spaces in between as he seemed to be in ecstasy at the prospect of seeing and feeling me so very close. I admit that I have not had so much time to bond with Carlo as what I did with my previous dogs and I get pestered by him and he is a very snotty customer. I ignored him as much as possible and keep him at arm’s length.

I start to gather whatever dry wood I could get as firewood. I chop blisters of wood from a half-dry mango trunk with my hatchet and collect it inside a plastic bag. When it got full, I turn my attention on dry branches. I struck a match to light a paper underneath a pile of dry kindling when one of the sparks caught a biodegradable plastic bag and this plastic burned quickly just by that. It is a good discovery though for me.

It is always a challenge to cook on a bamboo with very few resources like dry wood. You have to keep the flame going even with half-dried wood and that means constant blowing and inhaling thick smoke in the process. Good thing I have a small bamboo pole which I used recently as a dart gun and blow air through it many times directed at the embers. I was able to cook my rice using this technique.

My wife was not impressed at how I prepared my rice. She says this, she says that, and so on...blah...blah...blah...! I just smiled and I let her smell a grain of cooked rice. She still was not impressed and she goes on with what is on her mind. All the while, Gabriel had been reminding me with his bow and arrows. I keep his hopes high by promising him again after lunchtime.

I need to keep the fire going because my wife is preparing a 1.3-kilo milk fish (Local name: bangus) for grilling. She pass me a small iron grill and I place it over the embers before the fish gets its turn above it five minutes later. I watch over the coals and keeping an eye on Carlo, who had been busy with his antics trying to get my attention.

We finally got our lunch at 11:30 AM after I transferred the rice and the fish onto the table and after taking a bath. Jarod, Gabe’s elder brother, is so impressed about my bushcraft cooking and is smiling as he ate, enjoying this novelty. I hid my pleasure and gave him a wink.

After the meal, comes siesta. I know the boys will take their customary afternoon sleep and I accompany them upstairs toting two books to while away time and to tease my eyes to sleep. The books are not boring. In fact, I recommend it for reading. The Last Climb by Thomas Cosgrove is an exciting fiction novel in a Peruvian landscape while The Cliff Walk by Don Snyder is a true-to-life midlife crisis experience.

After finishing one chapter each, I felt sand rolling in my eyes and I reclined on the floor to embrace Lady Dreamtime. Gabe shook me awake and I did not know I slept for an hour. That freshens me up and I go outside again to our backyard and work on the bow and arrows as Carlo kept pestering me once I entered his realm.

I am able to make a short bow for Gabo with two short arrows and showed him how to hold and use it. He seems to enjoy it the moment he released his second arrow. The arrows are pointed and I remind him not to point it with a bow at anyone and at Carlo, much more so using it indoors. He seems to completely understand my instructions as he stowed the bow and the arrows in a safe place once he gets inside.

It was one quality day spent with family and my watchdog. Sometimes though, it is strange to be around home on a Sunday after a long habit of spending it outdoors. I do not mind it and I love it. Maybe, on some days, they will be with me in the mountains and valleys, simulating a SHTF scenario and living it. Then they would know what I am showing at Facebook.

Document done in LibreOffice 3.3 Writer

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