Rustic passive phone speaker

In addition to doing a lot of outdoors adventures I also like to find and create things from dead falls I find when I am out and about adventuring. While visiting my Dad there was an Oregon bitter cherry at the corner of his driveway that had died during the summer and needed removed. This wood has supplied a lot of the crafting wood for my wood turning hobby.

Since my children are home for a school holiday we decided that it would be nice to leave the house a bit and make something that they could use with a phone or tablet when we go on camping trips. The biggest thing they would like is to be able to hear their music better. I am a big advocate for less electronics while we are camping and found a design for a simple passive speaker that I could make on the wood lathe.

Fist step was to bore out the hole and then taper it towards the edge so it in the shape of a cone.
After it is bored out you will need to cut out a slot for your phone to sit in.

Once the basic shape was made and the slot cut for the phone to sit in we gave it a quick test using my phone. The only thing I didn’t realize is that on my oldest daughters phone is that the speaker is in the back of the phone and to the side. This will require a different style and slightly wider base so her phone will not fall out.

Test with unfinished wood. Didn’t want to wait for the oil rub to dry before we tested it.
Still need to sand the bottom flat so it doesn’t roll. But it looks way better after a coat of oil

Compact DIY Emergency fishing kit

No one can predict when an emergency will happen. It can be anything from as simple as having your vehicle break down, to a natural disaster that effects the entire area you are living in. One thing that is good to keep in a vehicle just for an emergency is a small kit filled with basic fishing supplies. For this kit I use a small metal altoid can. But any container that is small enough to fit in a glove box will work. The nice thing about these little metal boxes is that they can be used for several purposes once you have removed the fishing supplies. This also makes a great 5 minute craft to put together with children

Simple kit with basics in it. I do recommend more hooks and weights then what is shown in the picture.

Possible list of what you can put into your box:

Still some room that more weight and hooks can be added and a small folding knife

This list is for a very basic kit and can easily be customized to whatever works for you. As you can see from the pictures there is still lots of space inside the tin to add some other things to the kit. One additional thing that would be good to have in this kit is a compact knife. I always carry a belt knife so it is not needed for my kit. this would be very useful for gutting any fish and cutting a pole to use as a fishing rod.

The best way to store the line is to wrap it around the box and then secure it with tape. For this kit I am using 100lb nylon braid. Very strong and can also be used as cordage for any needs.
Wrap multiple layers of tape around the kit to secure the line and also to use in an emergency.

If making your own mini kit is not something you would like to put together then there are several pre-built kits available on Amazon that can be purchased.

This is a good list of books that are fairly compact and can be carried in the glove box or in an emergency bag.

All That the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms by David Arora (smaller pocket guide that is excellent to use)

The Forager’s Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants

Pacific Northwest Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Alaska Blueberries to Wild Hazelnuts (Regional Foraging Series)

SAS Survival Handbook, Third Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere This is the go to guide for most people looking into survival

And some good survival gear

There are also several E-books that can be found on Kindle unlimited

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How to make a stove out of a soda can

If you have ever wanted to make your own stove this is your chance at an easy stove for day trips, hiking, or to cook after the zombies arrive. With all the trash that tends to be anywhere in the world you should be able to find some type of can that can be used to make a simple stove. To make this stove you will need two cans of the same size.  Even though most cans look like they are the same size there is a small difference between brands so if you can find tow of the same kind it would be best.   The fuel used for this type of stove can be any type of denatured alcohol that is over 60% alcohol. If you use 60% rubbing alcohol you will get a sputtering burn and a cleaner burn with a higher percentage of alcohol.  I typically use the bottles of HEET used to treat gas tanks.  They are inexpensive, and as long as they are sealed will last for years until an emergency.  Typically a stove will burn for 10-15 minutes on one ounce of alcohol.  Which if you have a full bottle will give you at least 160 minutes of burn time total. Just remember to let the stove cool down in between adding more alcohol.  I did some testing with different pin hole sizes for the burner, and didn’t get too much variation on the burn time.

Items needed to make a can stove:

  • utility knife
  • two aluminum cans of the same type
  • thumbtack or something of similar size to use to poke holes through the can bottom
  • needlenose pliers

Start off with two of the same type of soda.  Different soda cans may look the same size but often are not
Start off with two of the same type of soda. Different soda cans may look the same size but often are not

Use an exacto knife or utility knife to slowly etch around the bottom edge until you cut through the bottom of the can.
Use a utility knife to slowly etch around the bottom edge until you cut through the bottom of the can.

Remove the bottom carefully.  The edges can be sharp where you just cut.  Some emery cloth or steel wool can dull the edge so it doesnt cut you.
Remove the bottom carefully. The edges can be sharp where you just cut. Some emery cloth, or steel wool can dull the edge so it doesn’t cut you.

Use a marker and mark off 16 holes evenly spaced apart.  then use a thumb tack and poke a hole in your marked spot.  The size of the hole will determine the size of the flame
Use a marker and mark off 16 holes evenly spaced apart. then use a thumb tack and poke a hole in your marked spot. The size of the hole will determine the size of the flame.

Use a book or a block to draw a line around the can with a permanent marker.  This line is about 1 1/2 inches up
Use a cloth measuring tape (or a piece of paper) to draw a line around the can with a permanent marker. This line is about 1 1/2 inches up.

You can poke a hole above the line and then use sizzers to cut the bottoms off the can.  Take one can and cut an even strip as in the top of the picture.  The strip should be just a little taller then one of the bottom sections of can.
You can poke a hole above the line, and then use scissors to cut the bottoms off the can. Take one can and cut an even strip as in the top of the picture. The strip should be just a little taller then one of the bottom sections of can.

Take the strip you cut and insert it into the bottom section.  It should fit right inside the inside rim of the section
Take the strip you cut and insert it into the bottom section. It should fit right inside the inside rim of the section.

use a small pair of needle nose pliers and crimp the edge of the can on the upper section with the pin holes in it.  If you crimp and do it the other way the alcohol will leak out when you light it.
Use a small pair of needle nose pliers, and crimp the edge of the can on the upper section with the pin holes in it. If you crimp and do it the other way the alcohol will leak out when you light it.

And you now have a completed stove.  now you can add one ounce of alcahol to the center of the can and light it up.
And you now have a completed stove. Now you can add one ounce of alcohol to the center of the can and light it up.

These are very simple stoves to make and cost very little.  They are surprisingly durable considering that they are made out of aluminum cans.  I have used them for cooking many times while out in the woods.  The only thing you will need is a way to keep your pan above the stove.  Two flat rocks side by side work very well to rest a pan on.  If you would like to see one burning you can go to this you tube link.  There are many variations to making this stove.  I have tried several of them and they all work well.  This version is the easiest to light out of the ones I have made.  But if you make one try different hole sizes and designs until you find one you like.

For other survival tips and builds please visit our main page

Wilderness and Urban survival

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Bannock with acorn flour

Today is recipe day since it is cold, wet, and icy outside.  Bannock is a great easy flat bread to make at home or on a grill while camping.  The dry ingredients can be mixed up ahead of time then all you need to do is add the water and butter to it.  There are huge variations to recipes for making Bannock.  I decided to add in some of my acorn flour to see how this would turn out. I haven’t tried nearly enough recipes with all the flour I made in the fall.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour. ( a great variety is to add half as oat flour.)
  • 1 cup acorn flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup water (adding whey instead of water makes it very soft and fluffy)

Measure flours, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir to mix. Pour melted butter and water over flour mixture. Stir with fork to make a ball.  Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface, and knead gently about 10 times. Pat into a flat circle 3/4 to 1 inch thick.  Cook in a greased frying pan over medium heat, allowing about 15 minutes for each side. Use two lifters for easy turning. May also be baked on a greased baking sheet at 350 degrees F  for 25 to 30 minutes.

I am baking it this time.  I rolled them into balls then flattened them out to about hamburger sized patties.
I am baking it this time. I rolled them into balls then flattened them out to about hamburger sized patties. These will be my bread for lunches for the week.

They don't cook up very thick but once they cool they are easy to slice for sandwiches
They don’t cook up very thick but once they cool they are easy to slice for sandwiches

 

If you want to give it a nice twist while camping you can form the dough into cigar shapes then twist them around a green branch and roast them over a campfire.  It makes for a nice change from marshmallows and hot dogs

Elk Creek trail #3510 into the Mink lake basin

Me at the 4 mile mark hiking in to the Mink lake basin
Me at the 4 mile mark hiking in to the Mink lake basin

A journey for my birthday this year.  Our original goal was to hike all the way into mink lake.  But we only made it to Junction lake before we collapsed from exhaustion.  Next time we will start from a different starting point. There are a lot of mosquitoes in this area so bring lots of bug repellent

  • Trail name: Elk Creek Trail #3510
  • Distance: 7.6 miles to Junction Lake
  • elevation gain: 2000 ft  (2950 to 4970)
  • Difficulty: Difficult

Directions:
From Blue River proceed east for 4 miles on Hwy 126, turn right on Rd 19 (Cougar Dam) and continue for 22 miles, turn left onto Rd 1964 for 2.7 miles, then turn left onto Rd 456 to Elk Creek trailhead ½ mile.

Trail map in reverse direction but it shows the trail well
Trail map in reverse direction but it shows the trail well

The first three miles of the path up from the parking area are the most brutal of this climb.  1600 foot climb in just under three miles.  Well it was brutal for the two of us.  We got passed by a group up near the three mile mark and it didn’t even look like they had even broke a sweat.  After reaching the top of the plataeu the path is mostly small rolling hills for the rest of the way in.

Start of the path up the steep part


The end of the hill climb is in sight

 

Most of the path is flat the rest of the way as it alternates between central oregon dry and western Cascade forests
Most of the path is flat the rest of the way as it alternates between central Oregon dry and western Cascade forests
Mink lake sign
Mink lake sign

Just past the five mile mark you will reach a trail crossing the path.  The intersection has a well marked sign on what is each direction.  The trail to Mink lake is on the northern trail (turn left)

The first lake you come to is Rock lake.  There are no fish in the lake, but it is a nice spot to stop and take a break.
The first lake you come to is Rock lake. There are no fish in the lake, but it is a nice spot to stop and take a break.
Our camping spot for the day ended up being Junction lake
Our camping spot for the day ended up being Junction lake

By the time we made it to Junction lake we were barely moving still.  In hindsight doing a eight mile hike as our first backpacking trip was probably not my best idea.  But it was a good measure of how good of shape we are in and how far we still need to improve.  For me losing a bit more weight will make a big difference. By my 40th birthday next year I want to be in good enough shape to hike up to the top of South Sister mountain.  Which is a 11.5 mile round trip with a 4900 foot elevation climb. There are supposed to be Cutthroat and Rainbow trout in Junction Lake, but we did’t have any bite or see any raising to the surface.  We were on the shallower side of the lake so the fishing might be better around the back of the lake.  We were just to tired to walk around to the other side.

Friendly giant toad we found in the mountains
Friendly giant toad we found in the mountains
Morning on Junction Lake
Early morning camp

Day trips and hiking places in Oregon

Several great books for the local areas

Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon: A Guide to the State’s Best Waterfall Hikes

Day Hiking Bend & Central Oregon: Mount Jefferson/ Sisters/ Cascade Lakes

100 Hikes / Travel Guide: Central Oregon Cascades

100 Hikes / Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range

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curried beef jerky noodles

compleated bowl of curried jerky noodles.  Delicious!
completed bowl of curried jerky noodles. Delicious!

Now that I have dried out some jerky and veggies it is time to start trying them in quick recipes for hiking and hunting time. Better to try them out and adjust them to taste now at home then make something horrible to eat in the woods. This recipe is a variation of one that I saw in backpacker magazine. The original recipe called for some raisins in it. I am not a fan of sweet with my foods unless it is on its own.

Ingredients:

  • 1⁄4 cup chopped jerky (regular or Cajun)
  • 1⁄4 cup dried vegetable mix
  • 1⁄8 cup raisins (Optional)
  • 1⁄2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 beef bullion cube
  • 1⁄2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 3 oz package chuka soba noodles whole or crumbled (also called chow mein noodles)

Cooking Instructions:
At home: Pack everything through the garlic in a sandwich bag. Pack the chuka soba in a second sandwich bag.

In camp/woods:
Add 2 cups water to your pot with the first bag and bring to a boil. Add in the noodles, return to a boil and let simmer gently for 3 minutes. Take off the stove, cover tightly and let sit for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt, if desired.

Observations/things to tweak: Just as is this is a great recipe. The time to boil for the jerky and veggie mix needs to be increased to a couple minutes. The veggies and Jerky were still in need of a little more hydration. As a meal for camping this is very quick and easy. A handful of dried or fresh mushrooms would be a great addition. I didn’t think about adding them until after I finished it.

Blue Lake

  • Trail name: Blue Lake
  • Distance: 1.5 miles
  • elevation gain: 250  ft
  • Difficulty: Easy

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At the edge of the Diamond peak wilderness you can find this small 20 acre lake. The trail is almost entirely flat the entire way as it goes through the forest and through a couple small meadows.  The pull off is easy to miss for the trail head so watch carefully.  Most of the lake edge is very marshy.  But the north side is fairly dry with a several small spots that you can camp.  As with any wilderness camping if you pack it in, you pack it out.  Always leave as little trace of your visit as you can.  The fishing was very good when I went up last in early 2012.  First three casts each caught a brook trout.  All around 8″  in length.  The largest one i saw swimming around was close to 16″.  I wouldn’t expect anything much bigger then that in there. But at 33 feet deep it is possible for there to be a few big ones lurking in there.   This is a great lake to introduce the younger generation to hiking and fishing. A float tube would be a blast if you wanted to carry one in.

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Directions: From Oakridge drive south on hwy 58 until you see the Hills Creak Reservoir turn off (yes turn off).  Follow forest road 21 all the way around the reservoir and up the middle fork of the Willamette river.  Follow it to where it intersects Forest road 2145. .  Take 2145 and drive about 5 miles to a fork with Forest rd 2149.  Turn east on 2149 and go about 4 miles to the trail head.

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Linton Lake

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  • Trail name: Linton Lake
  • Distance: 3 miles
  • elevation gain: 250  ft
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Fishing: Brown trout, Brook trout

Linton Lake was formed by a Lava flow that dammed up the creek running through the valley.  The lake is about 70 acres in size and rests in a sheltered valley at 4000 ft in elevation. Fish in the lake average 8-13 inches, but there are some monsters that live in there up to 10+ pounds. The best time for fishing the lake is right before the snows hit and most people are gearing up for hunting season. This is a great short hike for a family with small children.  If you hike to the far side of the lake there are several small waterfalls on the incoming creek.

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The trail starts out at a small campground along Highway 242 called Alder Springs Campground.  This small undeveloped campground is a good spot to camp with tents.  The sites are too small for much else in the way of camping vehicles. From your car, cross the road, and look for a set of stairs leading up to a trail sign marking the Linton Lake Trail. This is a wilderness access trail so you will need to fill out a short form at the trail head  From here, travel along the well graded trail under Douglas firs. The route is easy to follow and well maintained. The route comes to a closed off junction, then starts a mild climb up a hill to the right at about 3/4 mile. The trail climbs up the hillside then comes to a flat section with many lava boulders. This is the high point of the hike. The trail now descends in a few switchbacks, than you see your first views of Linton Lake at 1 1/8 mile from the road. The route continues another 3/8 mile descending along the lakes edge to a group of campsites at one of the lakes two inlets Obsidian Creek.

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Directions: From the McKenzie River Ranger Station, drive east on Highway 126 about 2 miles to the junction with Highway 242. Then drive about 11 miles up Highway 242 to Linton Lake Trail head, located to the left as you drive.  The trail head begins at Alder Springs Campground.

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Crane Prairie camping and fishing

craine prairieOf all the places in central Oregon to go this is my favorite.  When I was a youngster my Grandparents would go camping in the area with my sister and me.  Very few places look the same as they did then but I will always love the area for camping.  The north end of the lake has a nice undeveloped campground called cow meadow (called cow camp years ago).  From the campground north along the Deschutes river, ranchers used to graze cattle along the two mile stretch of meadows along both sides of the river.  This ended after they realized how destructive cattle are to the riparian zone of the river.  I always loved walking up the river and seeing the cattle mixed with mule deer as I fished on the Deschutes.  Early in the summer there is a large amount of frogs that crawl out of the lake and make it seem like the ground is moving as you walk.  PIC_0125

There are three other campgrounds along the Lake.  Quinn River, Rock Creek, and Crane Prairie resort.  There is no boat launch at Cow meadow so if you want to fish the lake you will have to stay at one of these three.  Crane Prairie is one of the most productive lakes in Oregon for growing large quantities of fish.  Rainbow and brook trout are the primary fish caught.  The kokanee have a strong population in the lake but they are the smaller of the two varieties that can be caught in Oregon lakes.  In the last decade illegally introduced largemouth bass have multiplied and become a major part of the catch.  It is not uncommon to hear of some one catching bass up to 10 pounds from the lake.  I am much more of a trout fisherman so I will stick to fly fishing for brook trout and rainbows.  The edges of the lake are extremely shallow and marshy in most areas so the best way to catch fish is to have a boat or my favorite a pontoon boat.

Other Central Oregon places to see

Fort Rock, Crack in the ground

Bannock recipe

Bannock

Today is recipe day since it is cold and wet outside and the wife is sick.  Bannock is a great easy flat bread to make at home or on a grill while camping.  The dry ingredients can be mixed up ahead of time then all you need to do is add the water and butter to it.  There are huge variations to recipes for making Bannock.  This one is a nice simple one.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour. ( a great variety is to add half as oat flour.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup water (adding whey instead of water makes it very soft and fluffy)

Measure flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir to mix. Pour melted butter and water over flour mixture. Stir with fork to make a ball.  Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface, and knead gently about 10 times. Pat into a flat circle 3/4 to 1 inch thick.  Cook in a greased frying pan over medium heat, allowing about 15 minutes for each side. Use two lifters for easy turning. May also be baked on a greased baking sheet at 350 degrees F  for 25 to 30 minutes.

If you want to give it a nice twist while camping you can form the dough into cigar shapes then twist them around a green branch and roast them over a campfire.  It makes for a nice change from marshmallows and hot dogs