Shoot for Hope A Success
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Well, while the internet is aflame over pictures of some idiot shooting a cat, a group of hunters from Arizona got together to do something good this past weekend.

John Bingham and his Facebook group Broadhead Brotherhood organized and put on a heck of an event, raising a significant amount of money for Cancer research.

It looks like this event took on a life of its own, with members of the Brotherhood from across the west, along with friends and family, jumped on this cause with a vengeance. The event was rich with cool prizes – some handmade by BB, and lots donated by Corporate sponsors. The archers got into the act as well – many an arrow that was sent towards a 3D target had someone’s name on it. Some were the names of folks who had lost their battle with cancer, some were names of those still in the fight. John and his team put a ton of work into this, and by following via Facebook, it looked like a top-notch, amazing, well-organized event held in beautiful Arizona spring weather.

I wasn’t able to attend but it looks like this will be an annual event – I’m planning on going next year. A hearty “well done” to John, the Brotherhood and all of those that supported the event. Hunters are good people, and this was an important cause.

You can find Shoot for Hope on FACEBOOK

Trophy Bag Kooler – Kooler Gel – The Ice Extender
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I heard from my old friend Steve Glass a couple of weeks ago. Steve runs Trophy Bag Kooler. Steve makes insulated game bags and other products that are ideal for cooling, aging and transporting your game meat.

He makes containers and bags in a variety of configurations, he makes a spray which is an antimicrobial spray, that when applied to dressed and cleaned meat, helps disinfect and control the growth of bacteria and microorganisms on wild game or raw meat.

He also makes a product that when added to water and frozen, makes your ice last a lot longer. I use it in 2L soda bottles and it works awesome. The gel used to come in little “single serve” packets but it has become so popular that Steve is now selling it in bulk packages.

KoolerGel® is an innovative new product that replaces using conventional ice in your ComboKooler™, food coolers, ice chests, soft-sided or hard sided coolers, bait tanks and live wells! It makes ice last longer saving you money.

Mix in any size plastic container with water, from 12 ounces to 5 gallons, and watch it turn into a gel, then freeze! It doesn’t turn back to water, it stays a gel. Plus, it’s re-useable many times, less waste and very economical; one pack makes enough KoolerGe® for at least six 2-liter bottles.

Many uses:
When frozen, it is colder than ice and lasts 30%-40% longer.
It is non-toxic, non-hazardous and environmentally safe.
Use in soft sided and hard sided coolers to keep your food and drinks icy cold.
Use for parties and picnics.
Use in bait tanks and live wells.
Helps to keep waste out of landfills by recycling soda bottles.
Extend the life of your ice and save money.

Goodbye Gramp – Remembering Jim Morrison
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My grandfather passed away a few weeks ago, in late January. I suppose, in a way -I’m still processing what his loss means to me. It was a loss dulled by – I believe – a couple of decades’ worth of not seeing him. I’ve been in Arizona for over 18 years, after having moved away from my last new home – northern Maine. The irony is not lost on me as I remember Gramp was a wanderer too, having lived in Connecticut, Texas and Saskatchewan, among other locations. I was lucky enough growing up however, that he and my Grandmother Kay were within the province mostly, and I was close to them. Although I talk regularly on the phone with my parents and to a lesser degree my Grandparents, I haven’t actually seen anyone in years. This was nothing deliberate, no family quarrel, nothing involving prison or some fanciful adventure abroad – merely life, and circumstance. When I had time and opportunity, I couldn’t afford it; when I could have afforded it, I couldn’t muster an opportunity. Add the fact that I am dealing with some pretty significant health issues here in the MacFarlane compound – I just haven’t been able to get home for a visit. Of course, there are emergency plans in place but in the past few years vacations have been virtually non-existent, and vacations home ended up being confined to my daydreams. My parents, and grandparents for that matter, raised me to be hardy, and not a lot of room in life for self-pity. So, at the end of the day, “it is what it is”.

So, back to Gramp. Of course, I loved him dearly as I do all of my close relatives, but if there was someone to “blame” in regards to my penchant for writing, it surely must be Gramp. I’m not sure that writing skills are hereditary, but that has been far too big a part of my life to be considered mere coincidence. My Grandfather was an accomplished writer, editor and photographer – in later life he dabbled at the arts and really developed a hankering for painting in various mediums. It was cool to see someone take on new challenges in life, at that age, and not only do well, but embrace it. In the photo above, Gramp is pictured as a reporter in 1947 at the Telegraph-Journal in Saint John, New Brunswick. He is at the right front of the photo. He went on to become a newspaper editor, writer, author, and professional photographer. He was also a Canadian Navy veteran – he was there at D-Day and also did the famous (infamous) Murmansk Run – escorting convoys in the north Atlantic.

When I was in High School, a new regional outdoor magazine was announced – Wilderness Trails N Tales. It was printed in tabloid format on newsprint, as opposed to glossy magazine format. That publication went on to become The Maritime Sportsman. Anyway, I wrote the to the editors, offering to write for them. I felt that “From a Teen’s View” might make for interesting content for them. Imagine my shock when one day I was called to the office at school. There were the Editors; they were in town and asked if I could go to lunch (they had my parents’ and the school’s permission). At lunch they offered me my own column – I was on Cloud 9! Of course, when I write my first column, I wanted my Grandfather the Editor to look it over before I sent it in. Gramp obliged and in my young eyes – tore that article to shreds! There was more red ink than black, and I was stunned. I was the big time writer – how could this be happening? Of course now I know that’s what editors do, and I have been one as well, over the years. Back then though, I was shocked. Of course, Gramp helped me over the years when I asked, and I really think there was something genetic too. Writing has always come easily to me, and by all counts – I’m good at it. For that, I blame (or thank, depending) my grandfather Jim. Of course both my parents were voracious readers and raised my brother and I to be readers as well. To this day, when people ask me how to be better writers, I tell them “Read”. I have gone on in life to write and edit for several publications off and on, a feature article here and there, and now have my own blog-format websites as well as a freelance writing and editing business. Truth be told, I don’t make any money at that stuff, but people ask me about enough that I keep pecking away at it. I’ve been in a bit of a funk the past few months – life happened and writing just didn’t have the same effect on me. With Gramp’s passing howoever, I was compelled to write something. To shine a light on the real reason I’m good at this. And to pay homage to the man that truly, I idolized growing up. Now, in spite of all the rationale, I feel tremendously guilty that I didn’t see him again. That I didn’t make more time. Of course, he’d probably shrug at that and point out how foolish it is.

Gramp was never a hunter but he loved to fish. I suppose, though he never said it to me, he had seen enough killing in his life, in that sense at least. Besides a love of writing, he bestowed upon me a love of fishing. Between Gramp and my Dad, I became a fishing fool. Lakes and streams and brooks and deadwaters. Coldstream and Clearwater and Shiktehawk and Nictau Lake and the beautiful St. John River right below our house. Some of my most powerful memories of my grandfather are standing in an icy New Brunswick stream, or sitting in a canoe with he and dad. I can smell his menthol cigarettes, and Old Time Woodsman fly dope, and hear his voice. I remember peppering he and my dad with questions, and he was usually patient – except when we were in a boat or canoe. Then, there was no mucking around and his tone got real sharp if you weren’t following direction. Gramp (and my Grandmother too) seemed to know everything. I don’t think there was a question I ever asked that they didn’t know. It’s too bad that all of the important questions in life – when the answers really mattered – came later in life, and they weren’t nearby. I hope they know how much I treasured their presence in my life growing up. My heart aches for my daughter who has grown up without her grandparents close at hand – answering all of those questions, and just teaching – stuff.

My Grandfather left us on January 31st and maybe most sadly, left his wife of 69 years – my Grammy Kay. He had endured a lengthy hospital stay. One of those chapters in life that makes you question things – makes you question God, makes you question your own decisions in life – heck – it makes you question if you really want to give up cigarettes – if the time it adds to your life is going to be the time like his last few months were. It is deeply saddening to me that a man who had such a rich, robust life ended it with months of sickness and pain, discomfort and indignity. That a man who truly was one of my heroes (and I don’t have many) couldn’t end his time here on a high note. And I was 3000 miles away.

My Mom sent me some articles written by newspaper people after Gramp died. More than one coworker commented “That sounds like you!!” when the writer was talking about Gramp’s qualities, and his personality. I suppose, I couldn’t ask for a better honour, all things considered. Every time I think of Gramp, I can hear his voice in my ear, clear as day. I can smell the McDonald’s Menthol cigarettes, and I can see my first article lying on his desk, bathed in red ink. Thank you, Gramp – for all you did, for who you were.

Below is a picture of my Grandfather Jim and Grandmother Kay at (Canadian) Thanksgiving in 2014.

Review – James Wesley, Rawles – “Tools for Survival”
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Whether you are a veteran prepper, a rookie survivalist, or maybe somebody who wants to be a little bit more prudent “just in case” – I can’t recommend this book enough.

James Wesley, Rawles is a noted author, former military intelligence officer, blogger and an authority on the survivalist movement.

What I particularly enjoyed about this book was it’s thoroughness of scope, its “easy to read” style, and its level of detail. This isn’t a “build a bunker, buy a gas mask” book. It isn’t a paranoid journey into solar flares and EMP’s. Rather, it is a primer into skills and activities that many of us used to know – especially those of us who grew up in rural areas. It is plain good advice on implements and activities that used to be commonplace. What I like is how the book is organized – into systems. Food preservation, gardening, leather-working, sewing, knives, bows, guns – you name it.

This book covers not just why you need to know certain skills, and not just what the skills are – but how to learn them. For example – there is a section on fencing. He talks about different types of fence. What tools you’ll need, and how to construct them. He talks about how to set up an effective and efficient workshop – and what tools are the priorities.

This book is fun to read, it is interesting and it is highly informative. I’d consider it a “go to” reference guide. If I could only have one “bible” – this is the one I would pick up. Seriously.

A quick internet search showed the book was easily available online and will likely run you between 10 and 15 bucks. It’s easily worth that and more.

I’d really like to thank Milena Brown from Plume Penguin Random Housefor getting me a copy of this book to review. Here is the original blurb from the publisher:

In his first non-fiction book How to Survive the End of the World as We Know it, James Wesley, Rawles wrote the definitive guide on how to prepare for any crisis – terrorist attack, economic collapse, or global pandemic. In TOOLS FOR SURVIVAL: What You Need to Survive When You’re On Your Own (Plume original, On sale December 30, 2014), Rawles creates an essential guide detailing the tools and skills needed for total self-sufficiency in the event of disaster.

With TOOLS FOR SURVIVAL, readers will learn from Rawles about the important items and skills needed to survive in the worst of circumstances including:
• A guide to food preservation: canning, dehydration and vacuum packing
• How to start developing your own garden
• What DIY workshop and auto tools to buy
• The four important criteria for electrical and electronic equipment: necessity, efficiency, reliability, and cost- effectiveness
• How to prevent and fight fires on your property
• Gun selection and basic guide to firearms, archery and knives
• List of must-have materials in a well-stocked first aid kit

TOOLS FOR SURVIVAL includes an appendix filled with recommended reading materials, gunsmith service providers and cleaning formulas. Rawles is the ultimate expert for those in search of preparedness advice. With one of his family mottos being, “Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without,” this book covers all what preppers need to be equipped when there’s no one to rely on but themselves.

J-B Weld – The magical fixit potion
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I spent much of my career working as a millwright in manufacturing plants so the value of J-B Weld isn’t lost on me. That being said, with the well-known “traditional” uses and formula of J-B Weld, it’s easy to overlook the fact that they have a whole line of innovative products.

I’d like to thank Anthony from Brandware Public Relations reaching out to me with some info about their other products. Coincidentally, I had just had the hinges pull out of my large cooler and I was stymied as to what might fix it. I asked Anthony and here is what he told me:

“The best product for fixing your cooler would be J-B PlasticWeld, an epoxy putty great for rigid and semi-flexible plastics as well as PVC pipes, fiberglass and several other surfaces. PlasticWeld sets in 25 minutes and cures to a hard surface in 2-3 hours. It cures to an off-white color and is rated at a tensile strength of 350 PSI. After it cures, it can be sawed, drilled, carved, sanded and painted.

Another product you could use is J-B WaterWeld, an epoxy putty specifically made for plugging leaks and patching holes in water and fuel tanks, pipes and boat hulls. The putty sets in 15-25 minutes and cures after in an hour to an off-white color. WaterWeld is rated at a tensile strength of 900 PSI and can withstand temperatures up to 300 degrees F. Similar to PlasticWeld, it can be drilled, tapped, filed, sanded and painted after it cures.”

Anthony was kind enough to send me some samples, so I gave it a whirl…

I mixed both products according to the directions and applied not just behind the hinge plate on the flat surface, but also in the stripped-out screw holes. I let them cure per the directions and am happy to report that both products worked! Now I haven’t really gone crazy trying to make the repair fail, but so far, under normal use, the hinges are holding up fine!

Yu all know the type of plastic that coolers are made of. It has that weird slick surface texture and I couldn’t imagine what would adhere properly. Don’t forget that JB Weld makes a whole line of products that can get you out of a bind whether you’re on a boat, in a tent, living in an RV, or fixing a quad. More from JB Weld:

“Hi Marshall,

Fishing season is in full swing and hunting is right around the corner – outdoorsmen everywhere are re-spooling poles, picking out lures, cleaning guns and stocking up on bullets. Question: What’s the one thing you should never leave home without for a fishing or hunting trip?

J-B Weld. Yep, you read that right. While the original J-B Weld is traditionally a great formula for repairing automotive issues, the creators also offer a variety of products for other aspects of life – including hunting and fishing! Out on the boat and it springs a leak? Your fishing pole breaks? Out on the hunt and your arrow breaks? Piece of your tree stand snaps off? Whatever the case may be, if you have J-B Weld, rest assured the crisis can be averted.

For example, WaterWeld is an all-around good tool to keep in a tackle box as it sticks to plastics, metals, woods and can even stop a small boat leak as it can be applied underwater. SteelStik is a great adhesive that is much stronger and more reliable than traditional glues and only takes 1 hour to cure for those emergencies in the middle of nowhere. KwikWeld is for more permanent fixes as it takes 6 hours to cure but by the next day, you’re good to go!

Additionally, all J-B Weld products are available at a very attractive price and at local home improvement stores everywhere, making them tools the average outdoorsmen should never leave home without.”