Did you ever just want to do something completely different and totally out of your comfort zone?
Let me tell you about my incredible weekend as a War Woman!
I have changed over the last 28 years. When I moved to Georgia with my hubby, I was still a girl that loved big hair, makeup, long french manicured nails…well you get the picture. 😀
Since then, I have learned how to ride and care for horses, not as always as glamorous as one would think. Yes it awesome to hear that little nicker as you come to the barn, create a strong bond with your horse and ride together as one but there are times when it is not so glamourous. Getting bucked off, kicked in the ribs, brushed against the side of a tree, endless poop scooping, breaking ice out of water troughs and getting pushed into the mud as you blanket one horse that is evading another horse. Yep…that would have made it in an episode of America’s Funniest Videos! I STILL love my horses.
Much more I have learned:
to garden, grow mushrooms, wildcraft edibles and medicinals, make jelly, make cheese, bake bread, teach others what I know, chop wood with an ax, use a chainsaw, care for chickens, make medicine, raise a son who loves cooking and baking as much as I do, make soap, lotion, salve etc….
Some folks get up and go to work for someone else, commute home, make or pick up dinner, watch tv and go to bed just to do it all over again. And they are content with that life. They may never learn anything new because they are scared of what may be or what if they fail? Hmmm… I have failed and I have have triumphed and you need to take chances, try new things regardless of outcome, just to do it!
You are probably thinking, when the heck is she going to tell us about being a War Woman?? Ha! Here goes…
WE, all women, were to primitive camp in the middle of nowhere with people we did not really know and learn survival skills in the cold. 🙂 OUT of my comfort zone but I was doing this, so doing this!!
Camping has not been “my thing”. I have always camped with someone else in the tent with me, with someone preparing what to bring and how to set up the tent and cooking area. OR I have just camped in the Summer NEVER in February! I prepared well or as well as I could.
At least I had my own tent to start and tarps, blankets, stakes but had to borrow a sleeping bag, cook stove and full winter proof coveralls. Thank…God…I ….HAD…Coveralls!
My friend Denise set up her cute camper, Pearl –
And she help me set up my tent right behind my car, incase I needed to ditch the tent for the back of the car. We set the camp stove up, never used one but got it figured out. Although we realized the gas was not on tight enough or something and lost the fuel in 1st small can of propane the first night, whoops!
After setting up at 5:30 in the evening, we cooked up a quick dinner of chicken burgers with grass fed white cheddar, shredded brussel sprout and olive salad and homemade creamy tomato soup. Yeah…not yo mama’s kind of camping food!!
The Talking Stick and Fire Circle were next on the agenda.
Our instructor, Joshua Kirk, aka Native, passed the talking stick around and each person that had it, introduced themselves and told why they were there and what was hoped to be learned. 9 women showed up for this event. We learned quite a bit about each other and our instructors backgrounds. Joshua, part Cherokee, grew up off the grid and learned survival skills from day one, never taken any modern medicine, survived in various extreme climates and read his bio, very interesting. A truly genuine soul!
Now when you first go to these guys website, 4 Winds Survival School, they look intimidating, maybe they mean it to be that way and yes I want them on my side in any bad situation for sure, but again genuinely good guys.
Alan Kay was one of our instructor too. He WON the first season of the History Channels show, Alone where he survived on Vancouver Island for 56 days. From the website, “Alan has taught survival, preparedness, and self-defense skills. Empowering others with the skills necessary for true self-reliance is his passion.” Read more in bio.
We enjoyed the giant fire, had some drinks, listened to Native play guitar and sing and chat with new friends.
Big day on Saturday so I finally got to my tent at 12:00am, waaaaay passed my bed time. Many stayed up long into the wee hours. I slept like a baby after a big ole cup of Reishi Hot Cacao and was warm as toast until….dum,da,da,dum. Around 4-5 I heard a “critter” sniffing and walking around my tent. I have watched too many reality survival shows so of course I was freaking out in my head thinking there was a bear or coyote or worse. I listened and listened, then thought I heard a jingle like a dog collar so I just hollared “Get!”, not too loud to wake anyone but enough for it to run off. Sigh of relief! It as FREEZING at 5am so I bundled up more and fell back asleep until 6:30am.
I made some Reishi Cacao pancakes for breakfast for me and Denise. They were good but a little dense due to the coconut flour, heehee, no more coconut flour for me!!
Meeting at the fire circle before starting our lessons, we all chatted about the night before. One of the instructors, not sure if it was Joshua or Lee, mentioned the coyotes last night in and near the camp. The what, the WHAT??? So that was no house dog….shuddering…
Lee Brown, prepper and survivalist cool dude, taught us about Backpack Essentials and Fire Starting with a Ferrous Cerium Rod. Lee is Part of the E.C.O Survival Group and 4 Winds Survival School. ECO means: Environment, Climate and Opposition. Their logo is in a triangle, the triangle has 3 sides so preparing for a survival situation, it is good to have 3 means to implement each of the 4 areas of survival.
Fire. Water. Shelter. Food
What to have in your Pack
- Water or means to boil/clean water
- Stainless Steel Container to boil and hold water
- water filter *sawyer mini filter at Walmart
- Mini stove
- Ferrous Cerium Rod
- Tiny fishing gear pack, retractable pole
- Mylar blanket to use as shelter sheet, line a shelter with and never against body directly
- scarf, shemagh
- Some kind of shelter in a bag
- folding saw
- headlamp to keep hands free
- camo makeup
- cordage, kevlar cordage because it has interior pieces to pull out and make a net, A NET!!! There is a video of this on my facebook page under the person carry video.
- 3 in 1 survival blanket
All of this stuff fit into a backpack, holy moly!
Now for the good stuff!! Lee showed us how to make fire with a knife and the ferrous cerium rod on brushy tinder then fat lighter was added before the bigger pieces of wood. I am trying to find the pics of this somewhere in my phone, may have to come back to add!!
It was now our turn! We gathered a tinder bundle. I used dry grasses, dry goldenrod, leaves to make my bundle. I used the serrated part of my knife to strike the ferrous rod – a knife they joking called a Rambo Knife, not a knife of choice. 🙂 Finally the sparks lit my bundle, woohoo!!!! We had to put it down in a safe spot, add some kindling that we ran to gather(I used pine cones, small twigs, leaves, tiny wood pieces) and then when we were ready, we were timed for 3 minutes to see if the fire could hold without adding to it!!! YAY I did it!
NEXT THE HARD PART – we had fire but we needed a super hot fire because the next step was to collect water and boil it. We didn’t actually “collect” water from a stream, it was from a jug, best for our first time. It was timed from moment we got the water and container until it was boiled to a rolling boil. We had 15 minutes. The task was done. 2 out the 4 skills acheived! What a thrill!!
Alan showed us how to make a bow drill out of bamboo…remember we need 3 ways of making fire right?
We used a handsaw and cut part of the middle out of 1 piece and shave of some of the edges.
Then we carved out an eye shaped area on the 2nd piece, shaved some of the bamboo to make a tiny tinder bundle and gathered a bigger tinder bundle for when we achieved a burning ember. This was the hardest, most challenging fire technique that we tried. Just when you think you are getting it to smoke, you lose your momentum and steam with the motion. What a workout!! Only one of the ladies achieved success with this method. I will practice this at home, definitely!!!
Then we learn flint knapping with different rocks and antlers to create arrow heads to hunt or just a sharp tool to cut with if you did not have a knife.
We were taught next on the bow drill. I found a tutorial at my friend’s blog, Survival Sherpa
Here I am working the bow drill.
This is hard but I am determined to focus after receiving my instructions.
an ember placed into the tinder bundle
Alas..FIRE! The emotional and spiritual feeling from this task is beyond words…This is it folks, the real deal. A trinity of Woman, God and Earth together all in that moment. Powerful! WE ALL achieved fire!
I should just end it there but more was to be done this weekend.
A dinner of hearty vegetable soup, a glass of wine, a fire and I was whooped. Early bedtime tonight. The rain was coming in tonight so I packed everything except the tent and slept in my vehicle. Cold is bad enough but cold and rain, no way!!!
It rained and rained and rained. Morning was miserable. 2 ladies had migraines and left but not before getting stuck in the mud and having to be towed out. One of the guys got stuck too but being as resourceful as he was, he got out. Denise and I were packing up and going home until we were talked out of it!
The rest of us would meet up in Alan and Joshua’s yurt/tee pee, I forget the name but it was giant and they had a wood stove in it! Lucky us that Alan brought his kids along, gotta have heat for the kiddos!!
He showed us what should be on your “Personal Carry” at all times. This dude had so much in his pockets, you would not believe it!!!! A handgun, of course, a medical kit with tourniquets and how to use, fishing kit, everything!!!! I asked how the heck we could carry all that in our yoga pants???? Laughter broke out. Here is what he had on him and has on at all times.
I promise you there is more there than you can see, each little kit had more stuff in it!
FINALLY it stopped raining so we could go on a hike. Chris and Lee led our hike and I helped to identify and talk about medicinal benefits of plantain, wild geranium, turkey tail mushrooms, pippsissiwa, rattlesnake plantain, witches butter jelly fungus and usnea. May have forgotten a few. Andrea is definitely a medicine woman underneath as she proceeded to collect lots and lots of usnea. Woohoo!! Denise and I found some shagbark hickory so I will try my hand at making syrup from it. Lee harvested a few yucca leaves to show us how to make a “soap” wash and it cleaned Andrea’s hands. We learned about making cordage too and tried…Denise had the best success with her little piece of rope. I chatted with the sweetest little girl, 9 year old Johanna, I think was her name?
While on the hike I started to feel extremely nauseous, I mean extremely!! I did have a small bag of crystallized ginger that helped but man oh man, I was sure I would not make it back without throwing up. Thank goodness I did but soon left to head home.
Said goodbyes and drove home feeling blah, got home, ate and went to bed at 6:30pm, seriously! I believe I had a 24 hour bug/virus something but took everything in my arsenol and back to normal.
Super long story but I hope you enjoy my tale of our adventurous weekend. Remember, take a chance, do something scary, challenge yourself, have a strong will and be the best you that you can be!!! We are the Women Warriors.