Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Warning-Opening Email Constitutes Signature

I've posted before about my dispute over a fraudulent charge  concerning shipping my car from Alaska
I thought American Auto Transport would actually do something. No, the port is the place to go, directly. Wrightway at 101 Whitney, in Anchorage, is the company you want to deal with.

In spite of canceling American Auto Transport's services, the fact they sent me an email demanding a signature, and it opened on my computer, American Express said that verified my consent to the ridiculous charge of $200 for what a phone call. I never signed a thing!

As you may imagine, after an exhausting eight months trying to present my side of the case, the manager finally told me that on a certain date, the email opened on my computer, never mind the fact it may have even opened when I checked my spam. This, according to American Express' manger, constituted a signature.


Never never never open an email from any company, even if it doesn't have an attachment. 

Bottom line, I cut up my American Express credit card, canceled my 12 year relationship with them and will try to always shop local and use cash. They no longer protect me from fraud, I no longer use them.

Master Card, Visa, Discover....are you listening? I'm yours now.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Awesome Survival Plant

This plant, the bunchberry, of the Dogwood family, grows abundantly on the private island here in Maine. After researching it, I tasted the berries and leaves. As Samuel Thayer says in his book, Natures' Garden, A guide to Identifying, Harvesting and Preparing Edible Wild Plants, the berries are very mild. I can see using them, as he suggests, to cook a sauce, make jelly, or even utilize in a wild fruit salad. The only caveat, there is a tiny seed in each berry.
However, this isn't a problem if you cook and strain, or sieve like applesauce, a whole pot of berries.

Unfortunately, I did not see where Thayer details if the leaves are edible or inedible. I tasted one and found it quite mild as well and so arrived at a tentative conclusion that the leaf would make a great garden salad in a survival situation.

Further testing under survival conditions would include adding a few leaves, at intervals and wait for any adverse effects. 

In the interest of saving labor, and therefor calories, I try to harvest as much of the wild plant as possible, not just the leaves, or not just the berries, or not just the root. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Live Footage of Action on the Privy Front

Taken on location at Horns Pond, in the Bigelow Mountains on the Appalachian Trail, this video captures the complexity of composting human waste into organic material devoid of human pathogens. Its a stinky operation!

 We used a rototiller to mix the wet waste into dry wood chips. Ian, the Caretaker at this location, supervised and trained up in how incorporated the whole mess needed to be. Grace, Dan and I all thought it was acceptable before Ian did. He spent 6 days in the Whites training on this process. 

Many thanks to Maine Appalachian Trail Club for their Volunteer Program and passion. The Trail in Maine is amazing. My work in the 100 Mile Wilderness has shown me just how many clubs and organizations, besides the summer and long distance hiker, take advantage of this marvelous trail.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mini Campfire in the Gulf Hagas Base Camp

One day, while hiking over a bog,I glimpsed this abandoned disk. Apparently someone with a chainsaw was creating steps for the soggy trail, and cast this one aside.
It seemed a great find, and although it was sodden, through and through, I fished it out and hauled it back to my base camp.

Every day going to and from work, I'd consider this round. In a fit of inspiration, I decided to make an Indian Bowl, thus killing two birds, as it were, with one stone.

After allowing this round to dry for two weeks, I began my project. Every night, after work, while sitting outside, I would place a few scraps of paper, two inches of mosquito "coil" (found in the junk drawer bin on location) and a bit of candle wax in the middle of the disk. Then, I'd light it on fire. The smoke wasn't too bad and the silver lining was it kept the hoards of mosquitoes at bay.

By utilizing small scraps of paper, bits of candle wax, and twigs, my mini campfire is sustainable and accomplishing multiple tasks. Getting rid of trash, keeping the bugs at bay, providing needed companionship, giving much needed light.

As a Leave No Trace educator, I found this campfire very rewarding. The land is not scared and the resources are not depleted.

Each morning before leaving for work, I scrape out the ashes, thus creating a bowl. When the season is over, I'll have a great souvenir of my season as Ridgerunner, stationed in the Gulf Hagas, 30 miles north of Monson, in the world renown 100 mile Wilderness of Maine.

Special notes: the metal plate below my campfire has one cup of water in it, thus preventing the base from getting too hot and scorching the platform.
Nearby, I keep a gallon of water, and metal bucket, should I need to extinguish the fire.
Before going to bed, I insure the fire is out, even scraping down to insure there are no glowing embers.
I never walk away from the fire, regardless how small it is. My home, the tent, is just a few feet away.
If there were high winds, I would not even attempt to have a fire, taking the road of caution, always.

Happy trails.

A complete video has been posted to my you tube channel. Other videos I've embedded here, seem to get cropped.

Monday, July 14, 2014

High Tide and Waiting

I took this short video while waiting on the north side of the Gulf Hagas River Crossing. My radio to the Katahdin Iron Works gate had died and there's no cell service. Thankfully, I was able to get a message out before communications with the staff was impossible. The river is down, and peace and quiet have returned. Thru hikers, both north and south, abound. Happy Trails.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Query for Alternate Lifestyle...Anyone?

I recently received this email and told Lanette I would post her query here. If you know of any groups, or have any ideas, please comment. To avoid stalkers, I have omitted the email and phone number. I presume Lanette is a woman, however, stranger things have happened.

Are you aware of any lesbian preppers or groups around Northern SC or Western NC and if not what is closest. I am feeling really isolated and looking for property to live off grid but having no luck. It doesn't even have to be a lesbian or a gay man because as you mentioned in one of your posts that lesbians in general are not man haters. 

Hi Lanette,

I am not aware of any such groups at this time, however I will  post your question to my blog and see if we can generate any replies.

Good luck in your searches. It is sometimes difficult to find people of like persuasion who also possess tolerable temperaments.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Rise With the Sun

This morning I head back to work, but before I do, I rose with the light to take some sunrise photos of Acadia. As a minimalist, I tend to sleep when its dark and wake when its light. This way I don't mind being off the grid so much.

Acadia National Park is just 48 miles from Bangor. Its getting pretty busy now, so I'll probably not get back there until this fall. I did buy a year pass for $40. That way I can support my National Park of choice, plus drive the loop road for free. Its about 90 miles from my current work location, ridge-running on the Appalachian Trail.

One nice thing about Acadia, they seem to encourage tent camping versus RVs. Its getting where you seldom see families using tents. Its a lost art to pitch one of these structures. I hope the trend changes. Nothing like crawling in a tent, sleeping on a thin cushion, waking with the dawn.