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February 28, 2011

Picture of the week (Cross Country Skiing)

Filed under: Outdoors,Picture of the week — Tags: — Marcus @ 2:00 am

This picture is from my winter survivalism trip a few weeks ago.  The first day I was there I got a chance to ski around the back of the farm.  This picture was taken along the fence line at the very back of my parents farm.  I didn’t do a lot of skiing though because it was very hard to get around, even on skis.  Just down from where I took this picture I saw some deer tracks going through the field where it was deep enough, the deer were leaving chest prints in the snow.

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February 26, 2011

Marathon Update

Filed under: Running — Tags: , , — Marcus @ 2:00 am

I am tentatively thinking of doing a regular Saturday post with updates on my Marathon training status, I am not sure how much people will care to read about it, but since it is taking up the majority of my free time at this point I figured I would start writing about it.

The picture above was taken during my run last week, we had a couple day of really nice weather and I was able to get outside to run for the very first time this year.  It was also the first run I have done outdoors in my Vibrams, and the first run I have done since I started doing any serious running.  I got up to Headlands state park right at sunrise, I actually got there before they opened up the park for the day so I had to park about a mile away, then I just ran there, and then ran back and forth on the trail they have that goes along the lake until I hit my 7 miles I had to run for the day.

I know that most of the people I know think I am crazy for training for the marathon, but on days like this, I really am glad I am doing it.  I got to spend an hour running on a trail watching the sun come up, it was warm outside, but there was still ice on the lake.  I am in good enough shape at this point that it is not difficult to run, and it sure beats what I know many people do, which is to roll out of bed after hitting the snooze button a dozen times, drown themselves in coffee and then proceed to try and fight traffic on the way to work.

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February 24, 2011

Picture of the week (Deer in hiding)

Filed under: Outdoors,Picture of the week — Tags: , — Marcus @ 2:00 am

Remember the post on the wild turkeys I did awhile back?  I got this picture the same day at the Chagrin River Park.  I call that park my own personal petting zoo.  I liked this picture because at first glance you don’t always notice there is a deer there watching you.  Its amazing how you can walk through the woods and not notice any wildlife, but if you walk slow and really watch your surroundings, they are always there.  Its not always that they are hiding in the bushes either, you just have to slow down enough to notice where they are.

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February 21, 2011

Winter Survivalism Trip

Filed under: Outdoors,Survival — Marcus @ 2:00 am

So a couple weeks ago I got to spend three days back at my parents farm doing a winter survivalism trip.  I have been wanting to do one of these for probably almost two years now, I have done a few in the spring and fall out at the national forests, but I just haven’t ever gotten to do one in the winter.

As per usual, I had a grand plan as to what I wanted to accomplish during this trip, I thought about exactly what order I needed to do everything in, etc.  And as per usual, within hours of showing up, I pretty much knew my plans were going out the window!  However, thats not all bad, if there is one thing I have learned from previous experiences doing my survivalism trips, that is to have a plan, but be flexible and just go with whatever comes along.  In the end, I I got to spend three days having a great time with a few of my friends, we cooked several very good meals, and expended more calories working than any of us had done in a very long time I would guess.

So, shall I share what the plan was, then what we ended up doing?  Good…

The plan was for my friends Paul & Jess to man the cabin at my parents to have a nice warm place in case Ben and myself wimped out with our survival shelters.  I was going to build a firebed, and Ben was going to build an igloo.  We were going to cook our meals in cast iron over the nice roaring fire I would have going while making my firebed.

The reality was lots and lots of snow, with pretty much no firewood at the cabin we were going to use as our base.  Thus the entire first day was spent trying to get enough firewood to get us through the night.  The snow was about knee deep and had a crust of ice on the top, so it was VERY difficult to walk through.  We cut up all the downed branches and trees around the cabin to get us through the first night, then the second day we took my dad’s tobaggon and hauled back 4 fair sized logs to cut and split up for firewood for that day and into the next day.  It took an amazing amount of effort from all of us to get enough firewood to just keep the cabin warm, not to mention my idea of doing a firebed.

We also ran into another snag while out there, we had planned on using electric from my solar system I have setup on my ham radio tower, we needed electric to run the fans on the fireplace in the cabin since it is pretty much impossible to heat the cabin without them.  We hooked the cabin into the solar the first night, and by about 10pm, the solar had already run out of stored power (it has 2 deep cycle batteries).  We ended up going back to my parents house and grabbing a deep cycle battery that Paul had brought and hooked it in, but it only lasted until about 2:30am.  We found out by the next night that there is a short or something that is draining electric in the cabin, so we had much better luck the next night.

By the second day, I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to build my firebed, we were barely able to get enough firewood for the cabin, there was no chance we were going to expend the effort to try and haul enough wood to make the firebed.  This seems to be one of those projects that from my desk in Cleveland seems like a really cool idea, but in practice, I don’t see how it could be an effective means of a survival shelter.  The amount of firewood you would need to make the bed of coals required you could build a bonfire beside an easy to make shelter and make it through the night.  If I ever do attempt a firebed, it won’t be to try out a potential survival shelter, it will be just to say I did it.

However on the second day, we did get caught up on the firewood and Ben and I worked to make a Quinzee snow shelter, its kind of like an igloo, but much easier to make.  It was actually a lot of fun to make, and was relatively easy to make.  Also, once it was made and I crawled in, it was actually quite warm with just me in there.  I had planned to try and stay in it that night, but in the process of making it, I got soaked to the skin and got chilled, and once I got into warm dry clothes in the cabin, I couldn’t talk myself into going back up and crawling into the snow to sleep, I know such a wimp!

So, the goal for the trip when I was heading out there was to make a firebed and spend the night in it.  As it turned out, I never even attempted to make the firebed, and didn’t stay in any type of survival shelter.  However, I cannot call the weekend a failure.  We really did have a great time out there, it was good to spend so much time with my friends, and my parents farm is so beautiful in the winter.  We made a couple of really fun meals (My breakfast hash browns and sausage, and Jess made a really good chili, plus tons of snacks and two bags of oranges).  I also took my cross country skis and was able to get to the back of the farm to take some pictures.

And by the way, I know the above picture is REALLY blurry, however I had to include it.  After we built the quinzee, there was just room for all four of us to get inside and sit.  We took a couple of pictures, but it fogged up really quick inside of there.  The first picture was less blurry, but we only got Ben’s ear, and seeing that he built half the quinzee, we really needed him in the picture!

February 14, 2011

Picture of the week (Dog Tired)

Filed under: Dogs,Picture of the week — Tags: , — Marcus @ 2:00 am

What can I say about this, in the winter Madison is glued to our heater. And its not that she is cold, she is perfectly fine outside in the snow, its just that its SOOO warm and its right there. Often times I will get down on the floor beside her as she is really funny to watch when she is up against the heater and when you feel her, its hard to figure out how she doesn’t just cook sitting there.

A really funny one is when we turned on our AC for the first time last summer. The heater had not been on for awhile, and as soon as the blower kicked on, Madison got all excited and plopped down, when the cold air came blasting out, she looked betrayed!

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