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Raising Children In Uncertain Times

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The scariest aspect of being a parent, by far, is uncertainty. Anybody with children will attest to this. When you are responsible for the health, happiness, safety, and security of a small child who cannot fend for themselves in any way, unknown outcomes become a constant thought and fear. But there’s a very simple way to dispel of the irrational fears, which far outweigh the rational ones.

The day I found out we were expecting our first child I bawled like a child myself. That moment will forever be chiseled into my heart. Everything I’d wanted finally came true. Immediately after those first few minutes of excitement though, the panic attack began and I couldn’t breathe. What if my wife were to miscarry? What if we got into a car accident while she was pregnant? What if I was unable to support my growing family? What if baby didn’t make it through the delivery? What if my wife didn’t? What if neither of them did? What if she got sick after being born? What if that shady looking guy at the grocery store pulled a weapon out and I didn’t make it? How would they grow up without their father? Every conceivable bad thing went through my head all at once, and those thoughts lingered for months.

Everything went well, both baby and Mama were safe and healthy after delivery. And the fears began to change as the world did. 10 months after the birth of our first daughter we found out we were expecting another baby girl. Once again, the full range of fears washed over me. Some previous fears weren’t there, and some new ones crept in, but it was still a lot. A couple of months later, in early 2020, those fears shifted entirely to ones I never imagined I’d ever have. What if my business didn’t succeed because everybody is out of work and struggling to even pay their bills? What if the hospital wouldn’t do my wife’s scheduled c-section if she refused a certain test? What if they wouldn’t let me be present for the birth of my child after refusing me admittance to every single appointment and ultrasound during the pregnancy? What if the riots in Portland moved 8 miles south to where we live? Are my children going to be okay with all of the smoke from half of Oregon burning? 2020 brought up a wave of possible scenarios which are absolutely terrifying to a parent, regardless of how strong that parent is or how unafraid they claim to be. We want nothing for our children but to provide a good, stable environment for them to learn and grow in. When the outside world starts shifting in a way that could potentially jeopardize that, our initial instinct is to worry.

But worrying is a reaction. It is a rocking chair. It gives us something to do, but it gets us nowhere. And as parents, sitting stagnant in the face of uncertainty is single handedly the biggest mistake we can make when it comes to keeping our children safe and secure. When the outside world becomes unstable, we parents need to work even harder to provide stability in the home for our children. This doesn’t mean we should simply work more hours to get more money. Money can easily disappear. You can’t eat money. Money only has value because people believe it does. What has true value are skills, tools, community, a healthy marriage and family, and high morality. With those things, you can navigate an ever changing world no problem.

As a testament to this, here’s a good personal story. With our first daughter, we spent a total of 5 days in the hospital. 2 days of labor, then 3 days of recovery. At the end, we were excited to go home but also nervous because we wanted to rely on the system in place. We were surrounded by professionals who knew what they were doing far better than we did. All my wife had to do was pick up the phone next to her bed and anything she wanted or needed was there in minutes. With our second daughter, my wife spent 2 days in the hospital and was counting the minutes until she could leave that place and come home. There was no desire whatsoever to stay. And the difference was, in the 17 months that had elapsed from the first birth to the second, we had built a stable home life for our family. We had chickens, had started a business so we weren’t dependent on others for a paycheck, had gotten into a routine of raising our daughter, and we had welcomed more love into our home than ever before. We had built a life we wanted with what we had, and after experiencing an unprecedented level of nonsense in 2020 we had no desire to rely on the system for anything any longer.

As parents, we so badly want to provide for our children. Our most important role is to give them a safe environment to learn in. Part of that learning is getting hurt, and there are rational fears that we all have that go hand in hand with that. We worry about our children running with scissors in their hands because we know how quickly and severely they could be injured if they fell, which children often do. We fear what would happen if our newborn were to suffocate in the middle of the night, which they easily can. In these instances though, we simply don’t let them run with scissors and we make sure there’s nothing in that newborn’s sleeping area that could obstruct their airway. We make the necessary adjustments to ensure their safety. And we should do this in the face of all uncertainty.

If you’re worrying about the future of your employment because of new rules and regulations, start building a business of your own and diversifying your income.

If you’re worrying about how you’re going to feed your children then get chickens, plant a garden, start canning food, and get to know your community.

Worried about what will happen if the lights were to ever go out? Learn skills so if that time comes you can not only survive but thrive.

It is literally our job to ensure our children crush. And we need to act like it. Fear is a lack of preparation. What we saw in 2020 was billions of people around the world who had not prepared in any capacity for disaster. We saw heatwaves, forest fires that blanketed the country with smoke, power outages in the middle of snowstorms which crippled cities, and an untold number of businesses who had to close their doors forever because they had saved no money for rainy days. And the one common denominator to the reaction we saw through all of this was fear.

Beat the fear with high morality. Learn skills so you can help not only yourself, but others. Grow your own food so you can help others. Help your community so when you need help they’re there.

The greatest gift we can ever give our children is the ability to watch us be strong in the face of uncertainty. When they see us out in that garden, or changing the bedding in the chicken coop, or working on our businesses, they’re watching people work hard to provide and help others. They’ll remember that.

And, finally, the most important thing to remember today, and in the future when things get crazy again is this: Our young children have no idea any of it is happening. While you’re worrying about whatever it is that’s got you down, all our children are worried about is why mommy or daddy is acting strange. Uphold the family above all else. Let their carefree laughter ignite a work ethic in you that will dissolve all fear, and crush harder than you ever have. The natural world and the world you see in the news are two entirely different realities. Make sure you’re investing your time and energy into the one that actually matters.

-Woodshop Bear

Lifestyle

Making Pine Needle Soda: A Fantastic Foraged Beverage

Pine needle soda, a truly one-of-a-kind beverage, has been savored worldwide for its zesty taste and health benefits.

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Pine needle soda, a truly one-of-a-kind beverage, has been savored worldwide for its zesty taste and health benefits. It’s not just a refreshing drink, but also a creative use of natural ingredients. Here’s a simple guide to crafting this unique soda at home.

Pine needles are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, which help boost the immune system. Different species of needles can offer different flavors, but it’s important to make sure the trees you harvest from are not toxic. Avoid using needles from yew, Norfolk Island pine, or Ponderosa pine. You should do additional research to insure you are staying safe.

The recipe I followed is easy and only requires a jar, strainer, and measuring cups. Start by identifying the pine tree you would like to harvest from; I used fir, tamarack, and white pine. Again, make sure you don’t use anything unsafe. You can choose to use new sprouted tips or even mature needles, which means you can also have fresh pine soda in the winter months!
You can scale up the recipe, but for reference, use the following:

  • 2 Cups Pine needles
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 2-4 Tablespoons sugar (depending on sweetness you desire)

For the above measurements, I recommend using a quart jar. Begin by rinsing the needles, not too thoroughly, because the carbonation comes from natural yeast living on the pine needles. Add the sugar and water and seal the jar. Leave to ferment so it can become bubbly soda! Make sure to “burp” the jar every couple of days to release some of the gas so it does not build up and explode the jar! In 5-7 days, you will have soda, God willing.

Serve over ice and with some citrus if you’d like. Enjoy!

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Lifestyle

Reconnect and Rejoice: Beartaria Times Weekly Challenge

Maintaining solid relationships with family and friends offers numerous benefits that enrich our lives in meaningful ways…

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In our fast-paced world, losing touch with friends and family members who once played significant roles in our lives is easy. This week, the Beartaria Times invites you to participate in our heartwarming challenge: Reconnect with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Give them a call, ask how they’ve been, and rekindle that bond.

Maintaining solid relationships with family and friends offers numerous benefits that enrich our lives in meaningful ways:

1. Emotional Support: Close relationships provide a robust support system during tough times, offering comfort, advice, and a sense of belonging.

2. Improved Mental Health: Regular interactions with loved ones reduces feelings of loneliness and depression, contributing to mental well-being.

3. Increased Longevity: Studies have shown that strong social connections tend to help people live longer and enjoy better health.

4. Enhanced Happiness: Sharing moments, memories, and experiences with others brings joy and fulfillment, fostering a more positive outlook on life.

5. Personal Growth: Friends and family often challenge us to grow, learn, and become better versions of ourselves.

6. Creating Memories: Every interaction creates new memories, adding richness to our personal histories and offering stories to cherish for years to come.

We encourage you to take this challenge to heart and reach out to someone you miss. Whether it’s a friend from high school, a distant relative, or a former colleague, a simple phone call can reignite connections and brighten your day and theirs.

Once you’ve reconnected, share your stories and experiences on the Beartaria Times community app. Post about who you called, the memories you shared, and how the conversation went. Did you learn something new? Did you laugh about old times? These stories can inspire others to take similar steps in their lives.

Join us in this week’s challenge and celebrate the beauty of human connection. Let’s make an effort to nurture our relationships and remind those we care about that they are valued and remembered.

Happy connecting, Beartarians! We look forward to hearing your heartwarming stories.

Sincerly,

– The Beartaria Times Team

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Lifestyle

Into the Wilderness: Part 1 Knives and Knife Skills 

Knives will perform numerous tasks, better or worse, based on their grind, edge geometry, and thickness. That said, I have found that a full flat grind is ideal for food prep and butchering, though a high saber grind works well too. 

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By Gabriel- The Last Huntsman

As with many of us in the Beartaria community, we have found the mundane existence of modern Babylon completely unappealing, ungodly, and unfulfilling. As a result, many of us seek to make our way, either by downsizing our footprint in the modern digital world, homesteading our sustenance, or becoming producers. For some of us, however, that also means getting out into the wilderness; far away from civilization, we test ourselves and our bodies to become more like our ancestors of old,  becoming non-domesticated humans. 

In this article series, I will detail at least one part of the wilderness- a popular term coined as bushcraft. Bushcraft seemingly has taken many different names and forms.

For me, it’s practicing basic wood skills such as shelter craft, fire craft, knife skills, axe skills, and other tools, and can even have some hunting or tactical applications.

Though you can write a whole book on bushcraft, as many already have, we’re just going to get into some knife basics for this article. 

Choosing Your Knife

Knives are mankind’s first tool; they are essential for basic tasks, whether processing your food, wood processing, cutting cordage, etc. In addition, knives can be used in a myriad of practical tasks and defensive means. While having a flimsy folding knife can be ok for opening boxes or backyard/vehicle camping, bushcrafting skills require having a solid and reliable fixed-blade knife, ideally full tang, for practical tasks.

You will have to determine if a smaller knife or a larger knife would better suit your purposes. A saying often goes, however, that you can do small tasks with a big knife if you have to, but you can’t do big tasks with a small knife, but having a smaller blade is less weight and easier to conceal. That’s just food for thought. Another consideration is steel choice; I will simplify carbon steel or stainless steel. Knife Nerds is an excellent resource to dabble into all things knife steel. Carbon steel, while generally tougher than stainless steel, can be prone to rust. So if you’re in a coastal environment, it can be hard to maintain. Stainless steel is more rust-resistant and can have better edge-holding capabilities. However, it can be more prone to snapping or chipping during extreme use.

Knife Skills

Using your knife to split wood is known as batoning. This is done by utilizing your knife as a wedge while you use another log (baton) as a mallet to beat the spine of your knife blade through the log. This can be a rather rigorous task on your knife. However, it is sometimes needed to make wood burnable when conditions are wet or when it’s hard to stabilize a log and safely use an axe. In many cases, the wood logs could be wet; however, the wood on the inside will be dryer and more suitable for fire craft. Splitting wood is necessary for ease of burning to cook, keep warm, and many other things.

Making feather sticks with a knife is another handy bushcrafting knife skill. It is done by finely slicing small curls of wood into a bundle. This bundle is perfect for fire tinder. While most small sticks, twigs, and other tinder may be too big or have too much moisture to catch a spark well, the feather sticks can be from a freshly split log that you just have batoned, which should be dryer. Making feather sticks takes time to master, learning what knives work best and what wood works best. The finer and thinner your wood curls are, the better; they will catch a spark or flame easier to start your fire.

Chopping is another handy knife skill to practice. I’m sure many will ask why you would use a knife to chop when you can use an axe. Well, for one, it’s more likely to have a knife on your person than an axe. If you’re hunting, scouting, or hiking, having a solid knife is lighter than packing a knife and an axe. Finally, it can be safer, as having an axe in full swing can be more likely to miss or over-swing. Having a medium to larger knife size will obviously help with the performance of this task. Good ergonomics will help the knife maintain in hand and absorb shock during chopping tasks. 

Striking a ferro rod (ferrocerium rod) is a skill that can help you get a fire going in your wilderness adventures. Firstly a ferro rod is a metal rod that will produce sparks when struck with a flat edge and can last thousands of strikes. So why use it over a lighter? Lighters can be finicky at best; they can get too cold, wet, or drain themselves of fluid. That is a big no-no, mainly when you’re depending on it.

So simply put, Ferro rods are just a survivalist/bushcrafter’s go-to fire-starting tool. Ideally, your knife will have a 90-degree spine on the back edge of the blade. This sharp, flat edge can strike and scrape the ferro rod. However, not all knives have a sharp spine, so having a small scraper or a spare knife may be necessary. In a worst-case scenario, you can use the edge of your knife; however, this is not recommended as it will damage your edge. When using the Ferro rod with your blade, you want to ensure your rod is as close to your tinder bundle (feather sticks) as possible. This will maximize the amount of sparks and heat transferred into those fine wood curls to get a fire going. 

Notches are another bushcrafting knife skill that is good to learn. It is essentially cutting a notch in various shapes to allow cordage to be held in place for constructing many things in the wilderness. Notches can be used to build tent stakes, fire spits, shelters, and even wild game traps. Notches can be carved directly using the knife or with a knife and baton. Though there are several notches, the few fundamental ones are the square notch, v notch, and stake notch. They may seem self-explanatory; however, carving these can take a measure of skill with your knife.  Square notches can be done by simply partially cross-batoning your knife into the wood, then doing so again, a short distance from the first, and twisting your knife- this will pop the excess wood. Stake Notches are achieved by partially cross-batoning and carving the extra wood with your knife toward your baton mark. V notches are done by cutting a ‘V-shaped groove into the wood.  

Then, one of the oldest knife skills is probably out there, processing animals or vegetation for food. People have been using knives to kill and butcher their livestock and wild game or cut up their humble veggies since humanity’s beginning. As we return to our roots, having these knife skills can make things much more manageable and save you money. 

Knives will perform numerous tasks, better or worse, based on their grind, edge geometry, and thickness. That said, I have found that a full flat grind (shown on the knives pictured above) is ideal for food prep and butchering, though a high saber grind works well too. 

 As I’ve stated, knives are one of mankind’s primary tools. We will always have a place to use a blade, especially as we separate ourselves from this fruitless modern world. These are just a few simple knife skills necessary for bushcrafting and wilderness adventures. The easy way to practice and master knife skills is to get out there and try to have fun. As you enjoy yourself, you’ll find ways to make things happen. Always check out my content on my Youtube channel, Beartaria Times app, and Instagram at The Last Huntsman. Feel free to follow up and message me with any questions. Finally, be prepared both physically and spiritually. God bless and carry on. 

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