Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thinking out Loud - A Bushcraft Almanac?

I was looking through my bookshelf the other day and leafing through a couple of the better, yet somehow less well known, books. The first of these is a book I came into contact with via the JMBU weather course which is Eric Sloane's Weather Almanac. This is a fine book, it contains a lot of information about rural life, New England, weather forecasting and the almanacs and traditions of yesteryear. It is a good book to read dealing with the year one month at a time and recording the events and weather patterns therein. If your in any way interested in this area or the weather I would thoroughly recommend it. It is one of my main reference books for my ever ongoing bushcraft and weather article.
The second book which I've been reading, largely on the train journey to my in-laws, is another gem from the so called "golden-age" of woodcraft. Cache Lake Country again takes this month by month approach and describes life in a cabin, working as a timber prospector. The book is a mixture of anecdotes, woods lore and instruction. There are tutorials on sleds, moccasins and recipies. It is without a doubt one of the best bushcraft books I've ever read and would definitley make my top ten list.
What links these books is their monthly approach. The idea of a seasonal bushcraft books is by no means original, indeed Ray Mears' Outdoor Survival Handbook follows a seasonal approach and remains one of his best works.Despite the black and white illustrations there is far more information and inspiration in this book than in some of the more coffee table style tomes he's produced more recently.
Having been thinking about the idea of an annual book I turned, naturally enough, to the old style almanac (a heavy shove from Eric Sloane's book helping here) I would love to have access to a bushcraft day book but what on earth would it need to contain? I think moon phases are a given, along with seasonal weather predictions. A list of seasonal plants and their expected flowering/sprouting times would also be of use. Aside from that anecdotes and observations as well as recipies and maybe a "knot of the month" type section would all be of use.
What do you think, what would you require in such a book and would it be of use to you?


Norseman said...

I picked up "Cache Lake Country" a few years ago when i was attending the University of Idaho. The University library was having a book sale and I was tickled pink when i found this book! I haven't looked at it in a while, but I think I had better re-read after seeing your post.

P.S. I am interested in seeing how your knife turns out!

Justin said...

I just happened upon your blog and saw your reference to Cache Lake Country. Its my favorite and I re-read it once every few years.

Wayland said...

If you liked "Cache Lake Country" you should try to get "Spindrift from a house by the sea."

It's not as good as CLC. but is in pretty much the same vein by the same author.