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Survival School: Day 15
Jul 29, 2007, 11:59p - Life

Self-portrait on day 15 (Crit in background, twine holding up kitchen tarp wrapped around tree)

(full moon last night)

Wake up to another breakfast of amaranth, sugar, & honey. Today we got 2 helpings - I savored every bite, said a silent prayer before I started, & tried to say "thank you" & look @ each spoonful before each bite. That stuff is really tasty. I promised myself I would not eat lunch today [because I wanted to get a better handle on my desire for food], but as it turned out, we didn't have any lunch. I spent an hour or so fashioning a new longer bow & spindle for my fireset - both are in good shape now. Started to rain, so took a nap under the kitchen tent - still feeling very light-headed & tired. Hannes commented later that the feeling might be due to eating all the meat & fat we've been having, which may be a good point.

After my nap I worked on fire - made 3 holes - the corner one broke out, the second was too close to the edge, & the third is @ an angle. Damn, this is frustrating - everyone else has made a fire but me - this the hardest thing I've done in a very, very long time. Frustrating & pissing me off. Learned about 2 traps - Paiute deadfall & figure 4.

Paiute deadfall trap. Bait (e.g. raisins or peanuts) goes on the skinny stick tucked under the rock. If that stick is shaken, structure collapses and the animal (e.g. squirrel) gets crushed to death by the big rock. We set up a few of these traps, but no one caught anything.

Figure 4 deadfall trap. Bait goes on the pointy end of the stick farthest under the rock. Again, if this stick is shaken by a curious animal, the structure collapses and the animal is crushed to death. If this stick isn't disturbed, the structure holds up the rock and the trap awaits its prey...

Interesting, but I'm feeling too tired to really care.

Back to kitchen, I separated all the fat & meat from the last leg bone for tonight's tamales. Brit Nic made fire in like 10 min, which pissed me off more, so I took a long walk south by myself. Saw a deer. Came back & crushed coals [so people who come to the site next think it's pristine]. Made about 20 tamales w/ corn husk, ground hominy, & meat (lamb + onions + salt + pepper + cayenne + green peppers). As those steamed, Steve showed us a primitive bow drill (cottonwood root, dogbane cord, alabaster top rock) & hand drill (mullen spindle, cottonwood root).

Steve, Leland, Rob, Crit, & Jeff loungin'

Steve about to use his primitive bow drill. He's holding a jasper rock that he uses for cutting. No metal has touched this fireset (which is what classifies it as "primitive" - the firesets we made were cut with knives and used synthetic cord).

Crit showed us flint + iron = spark to ash cloth. Pretty cool. Tamales were excellent - each got 3.5 - ate mine really slow so they would last longer, which they did. Too bad they get cold that way. Super-tasty, almost a real meal. Better than most restaurants.

Hominy (yellow stuff) and meat for tamales. We steamed them on a pile of sticks in the pot. They were so damn good.

Got rations for our primitive expedition - jerky, squash seeds, dried squash, & ground corn & barley. Barely anything, but Hannes & I have made a pact to not eat any until the expedition is over (2 days). Heart circle pow-wow, talked about sheep experience. Told people I thought killing the sheep might have been murder, & thought I was going to stop eating mammals after this. Sounds like Leland, David, & Steve may be grappling w/ the same issue, but haven't come to any conclusions yet. Everyone really enjoyed the experience, as did I. People talked about what we did as good, because they were part of the whole experience - but I think it's an issue of denial - few want to actually acknowledge what was done & face the consequences of a less pleasurable existence in order to do the right thing. Course, my conception of the right thing is probably wrong, though I've heard no argument against it that I've found compelling. Jeff has some strange idea that animal's can't be tortured, only humans, & that what matters isn't pain & suffering but the capacity to be spiritual, which he believes only humans have. This is an interesting perspective, but seems to me to lack compassion, & since compassion is critical, I cannot accept it. He also believes that DD [developmentally disabled] people, who may lack this spiritual capacity, are less than human & it's OK for them to die off in a "survival of the fittest". Heartless, as I said. He wouldn't say it in so many words, but that's my sense of what he truly believes.

Went to bed after the pow-wow. Many dreams, slept well overall. In one dream, I was having a birthday party in a zoo except all the animals were mingling with the people. My mom told me not to go back - she was worried I'd get attacked, had a bad feeling. Went back, & a rhino just barely missed trampling me. Then it came back and basically pinned my legs, but didn't hurt me. He was curious. I didn't panic, as it seemed like he was trying to hug me. Now that I think about it, I've had lots of dreams w/ rhinos - weird, probably more than any other animal. Anyhow, the rhino eventually got off, & I was safe. Then someone told me that a friend of theirs had gotten mauled by a rhino last week, because he tried to fight back. All the Indian ladies were @ the party. Lions were wandering everywhere. In another part of the dream I was done w/ BOSS, & had to take a written test. Why had I left early, I wondered. But somehow I knew that I hadn't.

[Written on day 16]

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