Cabin restoration project – The rebuild has resumed!

After being on the back burner for several months due to other larger jobs, the building contractor has resumed work on the cabin! As you can see in the pictures, the windows are at varying stages of completion, the roof insulation and interior roof have been put in place, most of the exterior roof has been completed, most of the loft has been constructed (the ladder is temporary and will be replaced with stairs), floor construction is coming along and the old doorway on the front right side has been filled with logs taken from the interior partition wall, which has been removed. The contractor will be at the site again this week, so I am looking forward to going out there this weekend to see what has been done. We have finalized all the plans for the rest of the work, which should be finished over the next few weeks. Keep in mind that there is still a good amount of work to be done, so if something doesn’t look finished, it probably isn’t!

Stay tuned for a (belated) overnight camping trip report from late March!

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The Woodsboy’s first knife

A little over a year ago, when the Woodsboy turned 5, I bought him his first knife. While this may seem too young an age to some people, I think this is largely a 1st-world viewpoint. From evidence I have seen, children in rural areas of developing countries and tribal societies around the world are accustomed to using knives at even younger ages. It’s true that this is largely out of necessity, as they don’t live in a world full of pre-packaged, store-bought items, but the simple fact is that they would not be allowed to handle knives like this if they were not capable of it. So under constant supervision, with safety always in mind and with a clear set of ground rules (e.g. always cutting away from himself, always returning his knife to its sheath when not in use, only cutting things Daddy lets him cut, letting Daddy keep the knife in a safe place when we’re not practicing with it etc.), I have begun teaching the Woodsboy how to use his first knife.

The knife in question is the Condor Junior from Marttiini:

Image linked from http://www.marttiini.fi

I bought this knife from a local sporting goods store for around 25 Euros ($27.50). A few specs:

  • 8 cm (3.2″) Scandi-ground blade
  • Rounded tip for safety
  • Finger guard
  • Grippy rubber handle
  • Rugged leather sheath

So far over the past year or so we have used the knife together about half a dozen times, and our use has been centered around safe handling, as well as getting to know how the blade works and how to cut effectively. Most of what we do is cutting sticks, whittling and cutting string. As he gets older and progresses, we’ll work on wood carving and other things like that. I’m happy to say that the Woodsboy has never come close to hurting himself with the knife and am proud to see that he handles it in a safe way (praise for good behavior goes a long way!). If you are looking for a starter knife for a child, I highly recommend the Marttiini Condor Junior or a similar knife with the same level of quality and safety features. The Condor Junior is a solid, well-made knife which should serve my son well for years (BTW, the tip can be ground pointy later on when he is mature enough and can begin carving with the tip).

I will leave you with a picture from last weekend showing the Woodsboy practicing his feather-stick/shaving making skills. Needless to say, we were both very proud of his pile of shavings (which by the end was more than enough to get a campfire going). 🙂

DISCLAIMER: Utmost care is necessary when allowing children to use bladed tools. They should NOT be left unattended. You alone as a parent/guardian are responsible for deciding whether or not your own child is old/mature enough to handle bladed tools and for teaching and supervising them.

Will the real Weekend Woodsman please stand up?

It appears someone in Canada has purchased the domain name http://www.weekendwoodsman.com, is calling himself “Weekend Woodsman” and has been running a blog of the same name since July of 2014 (almost 3 years after I started my blog “The Weekend Woodsman”). I have never been contacted by him regarding use of the name “Weekend Woodsman,” so perhaps he was simply unaware of my blog and meant no harm. However, since both the content of our blogs and the climate we live in are similar, I would appreciate it if he would change the name of his blog (for example “Weekend Woodsman in Canada,” “Weekend Woodsman in CA,” “Weekend Woodsman in Newfoundland” etc.) so as to avoid confusion. I do not wish for people who are looking for my blog to think his is mine by mistake. Unfortunately, I’m having a tough time getting in touch with him, as I can’t log in to leave comments at his blog, send him an email etc. If anyone knows the owner of this blog/website or if you are able to contact him, please ask him to contact me.

Thanks!

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da…

I don’t often talk about personal issues here at the blog, but I feel compelled to share a little information about why it has been relatively quiet here for so long. Almost a year ago now, my wife and I separated. That separation will be finalized this year. I don’t want to go into too much detail, though I will say that the cause wasn’t anything heavy like substance abuse, infidelity or anything like that. It essentially came down to us being two very different people who seemed to be on different paths in life. I will say that the thing that probably hurt me most was the breakup of our family, which I thought was very unfair to the Woodsboy and his emotional future, especially since we had always had such a happy and healthy home life. However, when two people don’t share the same general set of moral and ethical values about what is most important in life, eventually there will be problems. Our separation and divorce were very surprising to many people, including our relatives, co-workers etc., many of whom didn’t understand it (and I have to admit I still don’t understand it 100%).

In the grand scheme of things, though, this doesn’t matter. The fact is that life is going to give you what it gives you, whether you want it or not. There will be injuries. There will be job losses. There will be separations. These things are absolutely inevitable. The only thing we have control over is how we respond to the things that happen to us. You can either get angry and upset, which makes things worse, or you can turn the other cheek and transform it into something positive. You could say life had given me a truck-load of lemons last year. Fortunately for me, I like lemonade. 🙂

So life does, and has been, going on. I took a break from bushcraft, camping etc. for a while, instead focusing on my growth and development as a person, spending lots of fantastic quality time with the Woodsboy, forging new friendships and working on projects at the homestead. Speaking of the homestead, the contractor I hired to restore the cabin says the work should be complete by the end of May. This will be a significant development, not only for me, but for the blog as well. Once the structural restoration is complete and I have set up the interior (and get electricity, a water pump etc.), I will actually be able to live and work there for up to a week at a time thanks to the mobile nature of my job. This means instant access to the woods and the ability to work on homestead/gardening/cabin projects anytime I’m there, something that I have never had since starting this blog!

So thank you for being patient! You can expect the frequency of posts to pick up here over the next few weeks and months (starting with a trip report on an overnighter I took late last month). I will finish this post with advice to any of you who may be going through hard times right now: Stand firm. Be resolute. No obstruction, no hindrance, no injury or setback is so severe that you cannot get past it with God’s help. Life may not be the same afterwards, but you will be stronger for having gone through it. Time does heal all wounds, especially when you help it along by having a positive mindset.