December 2010


I wanted to enjoy the snow a bit before it is gone again, it is already thawing. Going to the woods in winter has its advantages, there is plenty clean drinking water, it is really easy to track animals and there is nobody else. The only disadvantage is that I need to take my old military sleeping bag. I am not a big fan of military gear, but nothing beats the low price of that sleeping bag. It keeps me warm but weighs a ton and takes up all the space in my backpack.

It was sunny and dry, but still cold enough for the snow to stay a little bit. I went to an aera called the Chaamse Bossen (Forest of Chaam). Located in those woods are 4 or 5 pole camp-sites (paalkamperen dutch link). At these sites you can stay for maximum 72 hours and there can only be 3 tents around a pole. There are no facilities except a water pump. This is the closest (legal) way you can get to camping in the wild.

I put up the tarp, made camp and collected firewood, which was all very wet. So making the fire was a bit harder then normally. But then I could melt snow and cook. At night I let it go off because it was to much hassle to keep it going with all that wet wood. There was some shooting going on in the evening, either early new year or the hunting season.

At night it froze a couple of degrees, there was some water on the tarp that froze. As usually I took my shoes off, my clother off, got comfortable in my sleeping bag, closed my eyes and discovered that I need to pee. During the night a mouse tried to get into my backpack to steal some food. I heard it and the saw it walking on top of my backpack.

Tracking was great, the tracks where easy to follow. I’ve found tracks of deer, roe deer, foxes and Martens. I saw a couple of deer and some roe deer. I didn’t take any pictures because I was to slow with changing lenses. I’ve been looking for a fox but they where all hiding too well.

This track I can’t Identify yet, wonder what happened here.

Lowtechmagazine always has very intresting content, and now they featured a link to 1.400 hand coloured glass lantern pictures. Taken by Walter McClintock from 1896 till 1912. Walter McClintock befriended a Blackfood guide during an expedition to photograph the national forests. When that commision was done he was introduced to the blackfeet indians by the Guide. Protected by the Blackfoot elder Mad Wolf McClinton made thousands picturesin 20 years.  Displayed is the life of the Blackfoot Native Americans in Montana.   

Walter McClintock thought, and sadly he was right, that the Native Americans where undergoing great changes. Changes so great that their culture and traditions might vanish. These pictures give us a rare look into the blackfoot community in the beginning of the 20th century. It maybe a  idealized look, alltough Walter says that the pictures are not posed. Critics say “McClintock’s cameras selectively scanned the Montana landscape to create a window into Blackfeet life as he imagined it to have existed during the nineteenth century. He shows these people as they might have appeared during a romantic heyday, when buffalo were plentiful and young men earned names for themselves while battling tribal enemies.”

However McClintock’s photographs, biased or not, are very impressive. The last picture is McClintock himself. 

The atelier is sort of ready, everything is moved inside. The stove is working, lights are on and the water is running. There is a huge table inside and shelves filled with wool. With the stove on we get the temperature up to 17°C which is more then enough when you are doing stuff. There are still no locks on the door and windows. Don’t tell anybody. It was either to rainy or to cold to be doing that sort of job.

Now it is covered in snow and makes a pretty picture if you forget about the houses in the back. The chair standing there is our temporary lock.

 

Unusual for the time of the year, at least here, we where surprised with some snow. And not the normal half melted wet slush, no! no! real snow, with nice crystals. I could not stay  indoors, and I went out to the woods for a couple of hours. Great macro weather!

I didn’t even leave the garden for this one.

This one turned out nicely

The berries from a couple of weeks ago where still there,  now they got decorated with snow.  I still haven’t found out what kind they are but they must be toxic since nothing seems to eat them.