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Ron Johnson

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  1. OK. Larry Roberts is an old e-friend of mine. Facebook & YouTube buddies for a long time. So I ***hope*** he does well, and wins out in the end. BUT -- as good as I know him to be, his local geography is a class-A BITCH. He mentioned on the show that he isn't going to be building a boat like Lucas did last year, but in a recent video, he explained that he said that because he doesn't have enough flat space to actually work on one. Either on his non-existent beach, or on the hill-sides. If he can get his fish-catching ramped up, and can figure out a decent shelter, he'll do fine. If he can't do either one, than he'll be heading home soon. Much as I'd LIKE to see Larry take it, I think it'll be either Mike or Jose, with the edge to Mike at this point. Does anyone besides me expect to see a flipping elevator from the ground up into a 30-foot-off-the-ground 3-room treehouse sometime soon? Seriously, the man is crazy-good! Even if he does kiss slugs and brood about the orphanage. To be honest, I think he is secretly channeling The Professor from Gilligan's Island. (Don't recognize that reference? Go ask your parents.) He mentioned in a recent youtube video that he did build another more permanent shelter that we haven't seen yet. And the previews shown last night show that he built a boat or raft or pontoon thingy, not sure what to call it. Jose will also do well, if the very limited exposure we have had so far is any clue of things to come. Nicole is doing very well also. I'm loving her shelter. But I'm loving her attitude even better! I'd like to see her win, but I'm not sure that she'll be able to keep her MS in check long enough to beat out some other strong contestants. My new favorite that I'd like to have a beer with is Randy. Not only did he get over the loss of his ferro rod and bang out a bow drill fire in the absolute worst conditions, he's building one heck of a solid shelter. But his lack of fishing ability is going to hurt him a lot, if he isn't able to quickly learn on the fly. Dustin .... Dude! Seriously! A swingset?!?! And "muscle beach"? Love that attitude! Keep laughing, my friend. Even if you did have to give your duck friend a sea burial. And last but not least, David. My man! Rockin' the net needle. I actually find it hard to believe that no one thought of that before. Desmond. Gotta give props to anyone that did seven-plus years in the military, including multiple combat tours. Contrary to a lot of the couch-commando comments, he really doesn't lack courage. But as for his ability to self-assess his own capabilities, his own strengths & weaknesses, well, enough has been said ... Mary Kate ... tough luck, kid. But she did the right thing to tap out right away. But as we learned later, elsewhere, severing two major tendons is serious, and failing to get it fixed ASAP would probably have cost her the use of that hand for the rest of her life. Good luck! Tracy ... she surprised me, to begin with. Watching you explain about widow-makers, then push that tree over in the first episode, well, that made me really sit up and take notice. And then the way she refused to give in to fear of the bears, well, I can think of quite a few men I know that would have curled up in a fetal position and pushed the panic button til his thumb fell off (cf. Desmond above). Too bad that she freaked herself out by going into a rage. Maybe there were things that didn't show up in the final cut, but it seems to me she could have taken a few breaths and gone on about her business.
  2. Ron Johnson

    The Future of Shaving?

    I just looked at the website. At the end, it had an update, saying "Update Oct 13: Kickstarter has suspended the crowdfunding campaign for the Skarp Laser Razor, with the Crowdfund Insider reporting the project's inability to provide evidence of a working prototype as the reason for the shut down."
  3. Ron Johnson

    Interesting family history

    One very distant relative, (6th cousin 4x removed LOL!) was married to Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte, nephew of the famous French dictator. (The story of the circumstances of Jerome's birth would make a great historical romance novel or movie, don't know why it was never done.) My 4th-great grandfather, Silas Canfield, fought in the Revolutionary War, was captured by Indians outside of Fort George in New York, was sold to the British Army, and eventually escaped and made his way back to American lines. Other than those two, mostly farmers and coal miners, with a few miscellaneous tradesmen and artists here and there. Direct-line ancestors have participated in every war from the Revolution through WWII, and cousins & uncles in everything up to current wars in Iraq & Afghanistan.
  4. Ron Johnson

    Labor Day Weekend outing

    Not sure if I've told her the mountain lion story or not; happened long before we married. Probably wouldn't scare her off, though. Now if we actually SAW one, well, she might put her foot down and not only refuse to go again, she might forbid me to ever go again as well LOL!
  5. Ron Johnson

    Labor Day Weekend outing

    Port-a-potty won't cut it because they smell and attract flies. Has to have flush toilet. Nice try though! LOL!
  6. Ron Johnson

    Emergency Personal First Aid Kit

    No laughing here! I do the same thing. I always make sure to get the plain unscented ones.
  7. Ron Johnson

    Labor Day Weekend outing

    So, I got to spend most of Sunday afternoon at one of my favorite spots, Pea Ridge Conservation Area in Washington County, Missouri. It is a relatively little-known tract of over 8,300 acres, almost completely covered with hardwood forest, with some pine and cedar here and there. One large creek, 2 or 3 smaller permanent creeks, and several intermittent water courses, plus a bunch of wildlife watering holes. There are several widely separated "primitive camping areas", which are basically small areas that have been brush-hogged and large enough to pull your vehicle in and set up a campsite. Most of them are within a hundred yards or so of the main creek that runs for 3 miles through the area. None of them are visible to any of the others, especially when everything is greened up. In the late fall and winter, when all the leaves are down, then you MIGHT be able to spot another campsite, if they have a colorful tent or tarp. I have never once seen the place filled up, much less crowded. The area has had one problem: it had been allowed to become seriously overgrown, to the point that in many places the bush is virtually impassable without at least a large machete. My visit this past weekend was my first time there in several years, and I was startled, and pleasantly surprised, to see that the state has begun to allow loggers to come in and selectively cut timber. They are not clear-cutting by any means, just clearing some of the deadwood and trees that are so close to each other that none of them could grow healthy. At the moment, the parts being worked look a little messy, but I can visualize how they are going to look in a year or two. We did some exploring along the few roads that go through the area, then pulled into one of the campsites. My beloved wife, that is NOT into "primitive" camping whatsoever, pulled her folding lawn chair out and set it up, grabbed a cold beverage and her book, and settled in while I took the opportunity to play. I'll let the photos tell the rest of the story. Here is the fire-pit already established in the campsite we chose. Much of the deadwood suitable for firewood near the site had been harvested by previous users. This is an elm, I think, that had a couple of dead branches remaining, but they were about 10-12 feet up. I tied a chunk of wood to a rope, and threw it over them, and then used the rope to pull them down. This pine tree had a large wound in the bark about 4 ft off the ground. I was able to score a good-sized chunk of resin to add to my firekit. You might be able to see that almost all the branches are growing to the left side of the tree, in some cases almost wrapping around the trunk. Debbie asked me what caused that, and all I could think of was that it was so crowded by other trees around it, that the branches all grew towards the only place they could get sunlight. Not very visible, but there is a fain, narrow trail through the trees and brush. It drops down into a small, shallow ravine, then back up the other side. Then it drops down again to intersect the main creek. I didn't bother following it, as my feet were hurting (damn that peripheral neuropathy!) But I have been there before, and will go there again soon. For those that remember my earlier post about the huge mountain lion track I spotted near a creek bed some years ago, it was at this spot. No-tool fire prep. Fuel in front, smalls and tinder bundle closer to the pit. Tinder was a wad of dried grass and flower-tops, with a little of that wonderful pine resin mixed in. I had other wood waiting off to the side in case I needed it. The fire is burning merrily! Burned down to mostly coals. A couple of boneless pork chops spitted on a forked green stick. The forks wanted to spread too wide, so I stripped a piece of bark and tied them closer together. Pretty ingenious if I do say so myself! And boy, were they delicious when they were done! Later, my beloved roasted some hot dogs, and I snuck this pic through the window of our Blazer, where I was relaxing for a few minutes. She did NOT like me taking that pic and gave me a lot of grief about it LOL! So, that was my "dirt time" for this past weekend. I'm planning to go back this coming weekend to camp from Saturday morning though early Monday morning. That'll get me home in time to clean up, and get some sleep before I go back to work Monday night. Debbie won't go with me, though. No flush toilets or electric hookups, ya see. And sleep on the ground under a tarp without even a tent? Horrors! LOL!
  8. Ron Johnson

    Survival television

    Good point! I'm no Nessmuk/Kephart/Beard clone, or even a Mears/Canterbury/Lundin/Kochanski wannabe. I have enough trouble just being me. But even with my severely limited skills, it irks me when I'm smoothing it in the woods, and a rowdy group breaks in and disturbs MY peace and quiet with their hootin' and hollerin' and rowdiness and trash and litter and loud "music" and who-knows-what-all-else. Maybe that makes me some sort of woodscraft snob, but so be it. Away with the varmints!
  9. Here is a really interesting article, originally published last October. (It is NOT very flattering to some of the survivalist/bushcraft icons.) BTW, "Alone" is not mentioned at all; it was published prior to the debut of that show. http://www.tvguide.com/news/survival-tv-special-report-1088519/
  10. Ron Johnson

    How often to you practice your skills?

    Which park? Do you live in Mighty MO? I live in St Louis. I tend to avoid the state parks because of fees to camp, regulations, and often over-crowded. I usually go to Pea Ridge State Forest, Little Indian Creek Conservation Area, or the part of Mark Twain National Forest east of Steelville. There are other places I intend to look into as well ...
  11. Count me in! I win! I win!
  12. Ron Johnson

    David Canterbury's new show

    Don't know how much like his you-tube stuff this will be, but he had mentioned at one point that he had finally agreed to do this show, after several years away from TV, because he retained full control over content and editing. So even if not just like his you-tube stuff, it will at least apparently bear his "stamp". So we'll see ....
  13. Ron Johnson

    This Blog Could Catch Fire

    I've been a fan of London since I was a boy. But much of his stuff is so dark and grim and depressing, and this is a perfect example of that.