So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Monday, October 8, 2012
Picture three generations of the Sixbears clan sitting around the campfire on a cool October night. The mode of dress has changed, but gathering around the campfire is older than civilization.
Then my lovely wife brings out her laptop computer and we video Skype with my oldest daughter and her family in Massachusetts. Okay, that’s something new. Not long ago that would have been Science Fiction.
We pick and choose our technology: woodstoves and solar electric panels. 100 year old hand tools and lithium battery powered tools. Canoes and a sailboat, but made out of modern plastics.
On my key chain I keep a metal match (Ferrocerium ) for starting fires. People who smoke would just carry a lighter or matches, but I don’t smoke. I like the metal match because it’s simple -scrape a piece of steel along it and 3000 degree sparks fly off it. There’s not much there to malfunction. It can even work when wet, which is very handy for a survival item.
It can start things like Coleman fuel stoves, propane stoves and lanterns, and charcoal lighter fluid. It’s mostly used for my camp stove and lantern. However, I can start a campfire with it. For a campfire I put together a little tinder bundle to catch the sparks. Using a tinder bundle is good practice for more primitive fire starting methods like flint and steel, or a bow drill. Being able to coax the tiniest spark into open flame is a good primitive skill to have.
A GPS is nice, but I still use a compass, maps, charts, stars, and the sun to navigate. I would feel silly if something as stupid as a dead battery was the reason I was lost. Still, when sailing on a dark night in the fog, heading to a fixed GPS waypoint is a comfort. It’s a useful tool, sometimes the best for the job -but not the only tool.
I’ve semiautomatic rifles -plus bows and even a Medieval style crossbow. Once again, I have a variety of technologies to choose from. Even my bows range from simple recurve bows with wooden arrows, to a more modern wheel bow with metal alloy arrows.
The human race has thousands of years of technological development at our disposal. We don’t have to always use the most recent technology. It might be better, but it might not. There may be costs associated with a more modern technology that we don’t want to pay. Sometimes the new stuff fails. A person with a knowledge of earlier ways of doing things has backup plans. We can mix and match good new stuff with good old stuff. (classic boat lines done in more durable modern materials.) Don’t be blinded by the glitter of the new nor so tied to tradition that better tools are ignored.
It’s an interesting time we live in -part caveman and part spaceman.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.