Hunting in the Mountains: Grizzly Bear Encounter

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It’s time to hunt.  I’m not sure what else to say.  Hunting in the Mountains is such a powerful experience.  It’s beautiful, it’s challenging, it provides food, it’s how people survived for a long, long time.  It’s also how they died.

This was more of a scouting trip for a future trip, and as it turned out, a beary exciting trip:

We are no strangers to bears, black or grizzy, they come with the territory up here.  We’ve had a fair number of encounters, even some that raised our blood pressure a notch, but I’ve not surprised a sow Grizz with cubs at short range till now.

hunting in the mountains

We were dragging ourselves through snow and sleet across an alpine meadow when we spotted her at only 20 yards.  To our collective delight, she did not immediately spot and kill us.  We managed to sneak away to about 40 yards before she pinned us.  She popped her jaws as she began to circle us with a nervous lope.  We were definitely not within her circle of trust.  As it turns out, we were also just outside of her kill-before-being-killed personal space, the importance of which should not be understated.  When she got our wind she was quick to turn, leaving the .243 an unproven Grizz defence system.  It was awesome!

hunting in the mountains

hunting in the mountains

hunting in the mountains

The rest of the trip was loaded with beautiful mountains and valleys and streams.  That’s why we’re here, to be amazed.

hunting in the mountains

We were looking for sheep country and I think we found.  There were a few mule deer but no giants, which is all that was open.  We embraced some typical early season snow, which is good for us.  Being stuck in a cold, wet weather with few provisions makes our little house seem so much bigger and warmer when we get back home.

hunting in the mountains

Are you a mountain hunter? Married to a mountain hunter? Want to be a mountain hunter? Think mountain hunters smell funny?  Me too, lets spread the word.  Share this post on your FB or at least write a letter to your grandma and tell her about the awesome blog post you found about hunting in the mountains.

Sick of all the words?  Just go to our youtube channel for pure, don’t-gotta-read-nuthingness.

 

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Hunting Haida Gwaii

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Fishing in Haida Gwaii is awesome.  It’s just too bad there’s nothing else to do when your not out on the water…. Oh wait! You can hunt deer all day long! Deer Hunting Haida Gwaii is like duck hunting; you’re definitely gonna get an opportunity and if you’re successful you can stuff it in your backpack.  This makes it the ideal hunt for the kids:

There are plethora deer on the island, so many that the bag limit is 5 each.  They are tiny and tasty and easy to hunt.  We mostly drove to old clear cuts and walked through them nice and slow.  If we were out for a couple hours we would typically see 5-10 deer.

hunting-haida-gwaii

The season is any buck in the summer and any deer the rest of the year (closed April-June).  With a couple new hunters hoping to harvest their first big game we made certain to wait for the best circumstances.  We passed on a number of bucks that were too far or did not provide the best shot.  Both new hunters got their deer with one shot for a quick, clean kill.

Even I was allowed to shoot one, I think the kids just wanted me to feel like I was contributing.

haida-gwaii-deer-dad

And, as always, we end up having to deal with steak on the beach, Unbelievable!

haida-gwaii-steaks

Check out all our videos on our youtube channel.

 

Feel something about hunting Haida Gwaii?  Feel like telling us how you feel?  Use the feeling buttons to share how you feel about all your hunting feelings!

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Fishing Haida Gwaii

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Looking for an epic hunting, fishing, gathering do it yourself adventure?  Like the kind of trip where all you bring is a fishing rod, firearm and salt and pepper?  You’ve got to consider Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) and you’ve got to check out the video, Fishing Haida Gwaii:

The ferry trip between Prince Rupert on the mainland and Skidegate on the island is cool but perhaps the most inhibitive part of the trip (approximately 8 hours and a couple hundred dollars each way).  You can get the ferry info here.  It’s a little pricey compared to staying home but is way cheaper than taking a boat to Maui.

Once on the island there are a couple small towns but mostly it’s a lot of mountain and coastal wilderness.  We headed out on the logging roads to Rennel Sound on the west coast and set up at a forestry site right on the beach.

fishing haida gwaii

In order to tame the wild waters of the north pacific we enlisted our sturdy 14′ aluminum Lund. While it is not advertised as an ocean vessel, I’m certain that Mr Lund had this purpose in mind because it handles the rollers and chop in style.

Once out on the water it was three priorities: 1) don’t die 2) catch fish 3) don’t die

fishing haida gwaii

We managed pretty well, no one died and we ate like Kings.

Jigging for bottom fish is wonderful for the kids or any beginner.  It is as simple as dropping your lure to the bottom and jigging it up and down until dinner strikes.  The other awesome aspect of jigging is the excitement of what you may bring up.  Rock fish are common and super yummy, Ling cod are great and look like mini-water-dragons while halibut are the steak laden cattle of the sea.  We caught them all and even hooked a spring salmon on the halibut rod.

fishing haida gwaii fishing haida gwaii

fishing haida gwaii

We ate fresh fish and chips, roasted halibut fillet, sushi rolls with tempura cod and crab but perhaps none was better than freshly campfire-smoked candied salmon.

fishing haida gwaii smoked salmon in Haida Gwaii

fishing haida gwaii

Fishing Haida Gwaii is a serious adventure for the serious adventurer.  Even for the not-so-serious it is seriously a world class adventure.  Of course, sometimes going to the public library on a Friday night can be an adventure, so whatever floats your boat, seriously.

Think you can stomach the seafood while fishing Haida Gwaii or do you imagine you would become food for the sea while fishing Haida Gwaii? Either way is fine by me and either way you should probably subscribe to the blog and leave us a comment or something.

Sick of all the words? Just check out our videos on the gridlessness youtube channel.

fishing haida gwaii

 

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Gridlessness Explained

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Hey All, it seems we finally have a video that explains a few things.  Our friends at Exploring Alternatives made a beautiful video that we happen to be in, Gridlessness Explained:

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Birch Beer: The Off-Gridders National Beverage

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I just lost my homebrewing virginity to a tall, dark carboy of Birch Beer.  How do you make Birch Beer?  We don’t really know for sure, but you can check out our maiden voyage here:

Ok, it’s so simple, if you know of a lonely birch tree in your neighbourhood, you gotta try this:

How to Collect Sap from a Birch Tree:

First off, it must be collected in the spring.  Just put a hole in the tree and put a bucket under the hole.  You can read all about it here.

collecting birch sap

How to make Birch Beer from Birch sap:

  • Render down the sap so that it thickens up (don’t boil it, it will taste burnt).  We started with about 75 litres and ended up with 15 litres (this took a couple days sitting on the wood stove, adding more fresh sap each day).
  • Measure Specific Gravity (SG) with your hydrometer.  Ours was around 1.022, this would make very weak beer.  We added 800 grams of honey and the new SG was 1.038 (this should make beer around 5%).

how to make birch beer

  • Add a package of sparkling wine yeast (EC-1118) and place the whole batch in a carboy with stopper and airlock.
  • Enjoy the bubbling sounds from the airlock for the next 3-4 weeks (until it stops bubbling and gets clear).

how to make birch beer

  • Almost ready to bottle.  We racked it (siphoned) into a stainless pot and left the dead yeast bodies (the Lees) behind.  Add 90 grams (or maybe a bit more) of sugar (so that it will continue fermenting a little bit in the bottle to make it bubbly).  Fill bottles.

how to make birch beer

  • Wait at least 3-4 days for it to carbonate.

How to enjoy:

how to make birch beer

Love homebrewing? You gotta check out Beer for Children!

I’d like to thank Emma Hughes for posting her birch beer recipe at Miscellaneous Adventures, it pushed me over the edge and solidified my deep need for home made birch beer.

Ever made Birch Beer? Like this homebrew love story?  Tell us about it, like it and share it with even your remotest of acquaintances.  Already know how to make birch beer and you can tell we are a couple hacks? Hate beer and what it does to your belly? Then I recommend you expose us, and this low-carb post, with repeated facebook shamings.

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Kissing Fish: Eat Your Heart Out Boys!

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Catching fish is so 90’s, kissing fish is what all the cool kids do these days. See if you can stomach your fish this fresh:

Here in Northern BC we have lots of great fishing lakes. This last weekend we went fishing at one of these stellar lakes just a few hours from our place. We headed out for a weekend of camping and fishing with our 14’ aluminum boat loaded down with all our gear and
kids (amazingly we came in just under the 400lb weight restriction for passengers and cargo).

kissing fish

This lake is teeming with 1-2lb Rainbow Trout and Ling Cod (Burbot) of various sizes. We trolled along with our Minkota electric motor dragging 3 lines at a time. There was so much fish catching action going on it was hard to keep the lines in the water. Three would be fishing, two would be baiting hooks, one would be manning the net and one left to steer the boat.  Somehow it was never Roses turn to bait the hooks (in fairness, she did try once, it’s in the video, and it’s pretty funny)

kissing fish

The Ling Cod were caught on a set-line baited with a trout head and laced with halibut hooks. The set-lines are meant to sit on the bottom of the lake, tied off to a float. We left these overnight and gathered our bounty in the morning. Everyone wanted to pull in a set-line in the morning, its like christmas morning, so Jeff made a rule that anyone who pulled in a Ling had to kiss it! The kids were up for the challenge. The biggest Ling was 7 lbs 4 oz. These yummy fish are just as tasty as any cod from the ocean.

kissing fish

Our favourite way to prepare the trout is to brine it in brown sugar and salt for a
few hours and then smoke it over an alder campfire. We also canned some of
the smoked trout when we got home. It turned out great! The Ling Cod was
breaded and deep fried along with hand cut fries in a cast iron dutch oven over
the fire.  The only thing worthy of chasing deep fried Cod and home made fries? Doughnuts, of course.

This plate here was fried trout, deep fried ling cod and some wild gathered greens; false Soloman Seal shoots and Fiddle Heads.

kissing fish

If you remotely like this post or the video, you should share it, and like it and comment just for good measure.  Actually the best thing to do is subscribe for weekly off-grid adventures.  Think that kissing fish is just a passing trend?  Share it with all your FB friends to let them know how out of date we are, that’ll learn us!

Need more gridlessness right now? check out Beer for Children !

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I’m off grid and I’ll pee where I want!

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People used to be able to pee wherever they wanted.  Not so much anymore.  So often we are left to clench and hold it, hang our head in shame and meekly ask “can I use the bathroom?”.  I’d had enough, and now, I’m off grid and I’ll pee where I want!

Gridlessness is a state of mind. It’s hard to describe, so I won’t try, just watch the video:

(The awesome new song in this video is Chopping Wood by our friends Last Horse Standing)

Going off grid is basically about doing what you want.  Want to build a house but don’t have a permit?  Sorry… a permit?  What’s that?

Can’t afford a house? No problem, just whip up a little hovel.  A nice big house won’t make you happy anyways (we had dirt floors for the first year and Rose loved it!)

I'm off grid

We love to travel and adventure together as a family and homeschooling lets us do it. Wherever or whenever we go, the kids studies can be worked around it.

I'm off grid

I'm off grid

Wanna be a part of getting your own food?  Collecting and making our own food has got to be the most rewarding work we do.  Hunting, fishing, foraging and gardening is our favourite pastime.

I'm off grid

I'm off grid

Want to build a culvert house? A forced air incinerator? Blow something up?  Go off grid baby!  No one is out here to tell you what to do or how to do it. 

I'm off grid

Tell us what you think of I’m off grid. Try out one of the fancy new “feelings”, or leave us a comment. Even better, subscribe, for weekly off grid adventures, emailed right to your doorstep.

Have you seen Beer for Children?  You should check it out, it’s an off grid essential.

Think that being off grid is just for granola eaters and not for girl breeders? Share this post with all your FB friends to show them how confused you are.

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Camping in Maui

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Camping in maui is awesome.  You can do whatever you want, whenever you want. You have ultimate freedom in where you stay, what you do, what you eat and what stuff you can bring with you.

Check out this video for the lowdown on camping in Maui:

In truth, I never wanted to come here.  I don’t like being a tourist, I don’t like stuffing kids in hotel rooms and I don’t like spending tremendous amounts of money so Maui was out of the question.  Then I found out you can hunt here; Axis deer, wild goats and wild boar. And then I found out that you can spearfish here.  My anti-maui position was eroding.   After I discovered I could camp in Maui, I no longer had a credible defence against the pro-maui team (all six girls).

Where to camp in Maui:

We have stayed at three separate locations to date.  Each has its own pros and cons on which I will elaborate below:

Papalaua Wayside Park:

Papalaua is an easy place to get to quickly from the airport in Kahului and just spill onto the beach.  You can leave town and have your tent set up 30 minutes later.  The beach has great sand, a beautiful south facing view and front row whale watching seats. Snorkeling and spearfishing are not good directly in front of Papalaua but good spots are a very quick drive in either direction.  This place is great place to let the kids run around, catch crabs on the beach, splash in the water and generally stay out of trouble.

Camping in Maui

It is however right beside the highway.  It seems that you can fall asleep to the sound of the waves but wake up to the sound of traffic.  It also has no facilities except poorly maintained plastic washrooms.  The pricing, method of payment, and mid-week closures are also lame.  You have to buy a camping permit in town (during office hours) and non-resident families get gouged (pricing is per person), especially on the weekends (price is double), and there is no camping on Wednesday or Thursday (why? thats just weird).  We have thus far avoided/refused paying full price.

Wai’anapanapa State Park:

Camping in Maui

Wai’anapanapa, or the Black Sand Beach, is a great camping adventure.  First you get to experience the road to Hana, forty miles of tight curves and single-lane bridges through the jungle.  Most people come to Hana just during the day so when you camp here, you really get the mornings and evenings to yourself.  You will not know where to start or end taking pictures, the black lava shoreline separating jungle green from ocean blue is mesmerizing.

Camping in Maui

Hamoa beach usually has the perfect waves for boogie boarding while Koki is more of a surfers spot.  Anywhere that you can safely get in and out of the water on this side of the island seems to have great spearfishing.  A twenty minute walk up through a cattle pasture will bring you to a cross erected on a hill above Hana. Pick some guavas on the way up, and then enjoy them as you overlook Hana Bay and the town.

Camping in Maui

The only drawback of Hana is that it rains a little more here.  It could actually rain quite a bit.  I would avoid using a tent that does not have a full fly.

Olowalu:

Olowalu is a private campsite with great beachfront camping and good facilities (which they seem to be developing further).  This spot is also easily accessed from the Lahaina Highway, only a few miles further west past Papalaua.  It has an easy self check-in process which the state parks could learn from.  The snorkeling is good at the very east end of the beach, the sand is ok and the views are great.

Camping in Maui

The price again is a little discriminating against a large family as it is based on the number of people (instead of combined weight which would benefit me and my clan of lightweight little women).

Camping in Maui is a great off-grid holiday.  You can collect your own meat by hunting and spearfishing.  The kids can run wild on beaches all over the island.   You can enjoy the climate, the beaches and the water.

Let us know what you think of Camping in Maui.  Got questions on how it works, what to bring etc?  Leave us a comment below and we’ll tell you what we know.  Feel free to try out the fancy like or share buttons below.  If you like it, subscribe, you’ll get the next off grid adventure video emailed right to your doorstep.

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A little iNTRODUCTION – Life in the Woods

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We’ve been waiting anxiously to share a few stories with you.  Waiting for a bit of an introduction.  Waiting for the right time to share our life in the woods with you.

GRIDLESSNESS
[grid-les-nes]
noun
1) the quality or state of being gridless
example
Jeff and the girls have built a life in the woods, off grid, and with less rules.  They have an aura of gridlessness about them

We’ve been fairly intentional about avoiding commitments to the typical stuff.  We didn’t really like the mortgage or the costs associated with a normal house.  We didn’t like the school and extracurricular schedule, it didn’t exactly bring us all together.  We figure that the world could use a few kids from outside the box.  And so, we have transitioned to a little off grid house in the woods.

We didn’t go Survivor Man or anything, and we’re not luddites.  We just opted for a nice piece of cheap land that we could build on, live on and play on.  We dumped the mortgage, utility bills and the “program”.  We heat with wood, cook with wood, collect rainwater, utilize a grey-water system and the most awesome composting toilet “system” ever.  We built our house for around 20k.  Its amazing how cheap things can be if they don’t need to be 100% automatic.

With a lot more free time we can collect our food the long way; by hunting and fishing, gathering, gardening and beekeeping.  The pursuit of food is a central element to our life in the woods.  We build all sorts of things out of all sorts of things; living roof houses, straw bale shops, culvert cold rooms and tree houses.

The kids are a part of everything we do.  They’re not un-schooled, but close to it.  They are learning life first hand and overcoming new challenges every day.

Thanks for checking out our Life in the Woods.

See if you can spot the bacon in this video!

 

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