Monday, June 10, 2013

G.M.O. argument

I haven't posted on this blog for over six months. I have found it harder to share lately, possibly burned out from so much writing the past couple of years. The urge to write came the other day. Upon reading a horrible letter to the editor in the Comox Valley Record on June 4th, praising Genetically Modified Organisms. Snap!! So here is the letter that made me freak out(click this link), and then you can read my rebuttal.

"I couldn't hold my tongue any longer. After reading Lorne Hepworth’s letter to the Editor in the June 4th edition of the Record I became angry! I am just a regular guy with no agenda, who happens to have a passion for healthy food and supporting the local economy. After breaking free of the industrial food system, I have lost 50 pounds, regained my health and quality of life. My eyes were opened to the atrocious agricultural model several years ago, and I can’t stand having a bio-tech lobby group stating such blatant lies in our local paper. I wish to encourage people, especially in an area where we are blessed with such diversity in our local food shed, to smarten up and to stop supporting the huge chemical companies who are essentially calling the shots in the food we consume.

I would like to clear up a few things for folks who may not understand what is going on. I am no scientist, but I do understand how the natural world works. G.M.O. foods are not food. They have been altered in a laboratory, at a genetic level, by people in white coats. Now if there were people in lab coats selling tomatoes at the farmers market, good chance they would not have a very successful business. These seeds are sold(marketed) to the farmers by the wonders of the seed being herbicide resistant and the ability be sprayed with Round-Up to kill ALL the weeds(which aren't actually weeds, but pioneer species trying to re-build damaged systems. Weed is such a negative term) so the product will have less competition. The chemical company also says the herbicide is inert once it hit’s the soil. I call a big BS on that claim! Then we eat the residues of the awful chemicals. And plants are so weak unless they are completely grown in mono-culture they will not produce. They need absolute human intervention. Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphate petro-chemical fertilizer(yes made from fossil fuels) are tilled into the soil. The soils are void of life from the tilling and poisoning. The claim by CropLife that not tilling is good for the soil is true, but spraying pesticides and herbicides in definitely NOT! Soil that is treated right is full of amazing life, minerals, and beneficial beings. Our soils are so depleted that the food we get from a mono-culture is essentially dead. Couple this killed earth with top soil loss from erosion and the catastrophic collapse of bee colonies, the food system as we know it is doomed.

Lobby groups and marketing firms work so hard at selling us this garbage food at great cost to our health and environment. CropLife claims that “Canadian save 60% percent on our grocery bill”. What is this compared to? We must take the true price of these savings into account. Depleting of the fossil waters across most of the agricultural areas of North America, leading to drought and massive crop loss. Heath care costs rising every year, due mostly to illnesses that are, in many circumstances, reversible with proper diet, including type 2 diabetes, chronic inflammation and obesity.  These create a whole new set of complications that could be fixed by a change in diet. There are thousands of stories out there of people who have reversed the diseases of agriculture on the internet. Do a little research in to the Weston A. Price Foundation, Robb Wolf and Dr William Davis. Society hasn't yet even began to see the long term heath repercussions associated with G.M.O. foods, as they have only been on the market since 1996. Not even 20 years of these “franken-foods” being on the market. Many older folks remember when doctors advertised cigarettes. Hmmmmm, do we see a pattern? What is going to happen as the reserves of fossil fuels are being used up? What will be used to fertilize the field, harvest it, transport the product to market? Major problem.

I am also very concerned with animals being fed G.M.O. feeds. Cows are un-naturally fed G.M.O. corn and soy in horrible conditions in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (C.A.F.O.), getting sick and fed anti-biotic. What is changing inside their bodies that are detrimental to our heath? The stress hormones course through the animals blood streams, passing on the consumer. Pork, and poultry are not any better of an option in the industrial model. Eating a completely vegetable diet, in my opinion, isn't with our its own set of issues, mostly because of the way vegetable proteins are grown. We MUST get animals back onto the pasture, locking in carbon, building soil and creating the safest, healthiest and sustainable food possible.

We are sick, scared and un-happy in life. This is the way the mega-corps want us. Sick and scared people are trainable, and un-happy people spend money. A return to a more natural and sustainable system for all would be the way to go. It is has to happen, or man-kind will fail. It is just common sense. Think about it!  We are running out of resources. Mother Nature didn't need all these false inputs for the past few million years, why do we? Take charge of you own life, don’t listen to the advertisements. Only YOU can fix this,  and if enough of us fix ourselves then the awful situation will change. Please don’t wait for the government to change anything. That is an exercise in futility. Buy organic, buy local, and get to know your farmer. And say NO to G.M.O.!"

Any comments. Did I make a point and this organization can take a hike. I would like to see some comments on my letter. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Adventure 52- Home Butchery

This isn't how I envisioned the finale of this journey for Natalie and I. I am sitting home, listening to Jack Spirko, sipping a coffee, alone. Natalie has been invited on some cool adventures with her mom, and who am I to step in the way of that. I really wanted to finish this writing project in 2012, and she will not be back with me until the new year. In this regard we are out of time to participate in one last grand adventure for this year. I know over the years we will be undertaking many great trips, and see any number of wonderful things around Vancouver Island and beyond.

Going back through my mind as I recalled other adventures that were not recorded in this blog, and the one that has stood out since it took place, happened right here in my kitchen. Or as I call it Scruggs Chop Shop and Smoke House. My kitchen has become the focus of my life, finding great comfort in fresh meal ideas and learning processes for interesting sauces and preserves. As I wrote about in 730, my diet and passion for local food has increased incredibly, with canning and preserving high on the list for keeping these products out of season. Natalie has begun her interest in cooking as well. She has been making her own oatmeal for breakfast for months now. She is no longer scared of the stove, and is learning to us a knife. For Christmas I gifted to her a cutting board and two knives, one a Santuko and the other a pairing knife. I hope her to help me with prepping meals and canning, teaching her the importance of being prepared and the skills involved in with storing food.

I had a fantastic deer hunting season, luckily harvesting three deer. I take pride in looking after all my own processing, the only thing that I am not able to do at home is the hanging, and that is fine to leave somewhere it can be hung in a proper environment. My last deer I took on a rainy, windy early December morning, on a farm property that I was very fortunate to be allowed access to hunt the 100 acre property. The deer was not a wall hanger, but a fantastic eating animal that I was very grateful to be able to take for the deep freeze. I field dressed the animal, loaded it in the truck, and brought it to my uncles home to hang in his shop. I usually hang an animal for at least a week, but because of the circumstances, I just left it over night. Being a young deer, the worry of gamey venison was not a concern, so I broke it down and readied it for transport home in a couple of coolers. Next season I hope to do a more detailed blog post about how to take a deer apart, into primary cuts. I can do so in about 45 minutes and is really quite easy, just don't wreck the backstrap!

I prepared the kitchen table by washing and wiping with vinegar to sanitize it, and sharpened my boning knife. Natalie showed up just as I was getting ready, so I invited her to help me. Her eyes lit and she grinned "Sure Dad!" I reached a cutting board from the shelf, popped a pairing knife from the magnet and slid it along the steel. I was about to trim out the backstrap, so I gave her the tenderloins, and explained how to cut off the fat and trim off the little bits for the burger bowl. She went to task and had the "sweet meat" done in record time. I was de-boning a shoulder, so I pulled the rib cage from the cooler and tossed it on her board. Giant eyes again. I explained how to strip the meat from the bones, cutting out from between the ribs, and neck. I don't think that I have seen her have that much fun in a long time. She worked on that the whole time it took me to finish up the shoulders and hams, as well as wrap it all up. She would poke around, finding blood vessels, coagulated blood, investigate how the bones were attached to the others. This is a biology lesson, your text book in front of you, in 3D.

Natalie did so good at stripping that carcass. I ended up helping her to get the last bits from between the ribs. There was no complaining, not gross outs, no boredom. It was interesting for her the whole time. I am thrilled to pass on skills that I did not have the opportunity to gain at her age. I saw a very few deer cut up as a youth, so for her to learn this stuff at 9 will carry through her life. I hope to bring her hunting with me more next season, so I can show her how to field dress and skin. She did help me make sausages during my first attempt doing so in October, and I can't wait to get her plucking ducks. I did learn this at a young age, with my uncle, who would take me along with him on lots of duck hunting trips.

Most of all, it is about learning traditional skills, self sufficiency, and common sense. To be able to provide for yourself, even if she never hunts, she will know what good food looks like, and what food looks like before it is wrapped in plastic and styrofoam at the grocery store(I hope she has better choices than that) We learn a greater appreciation for what is offered to us as food when we have a hand in taking care of it, not wasting and honouring our food. I am so proud that she has shown interest in butchery, and hope she follows in my footsteps with this great skill!

I guess that wraps it up. 52 weeks, 52 adventures. There were peaks and valleys this year, much frustration, much laughter, many firsts and changes for both of us. I am excited for the base this year has laid down for our relationship, our working together, planning, trying to cope with adversity, and giving us something to focus on each week. I am also looking forward to not having the task of writing every week, and hope to writing more about building self sufficiency, gardening, playing in Scruggs Chop Shop and Smokehouse, prepping and building 13 skills. 2013 will be another great year in my house, and I hope to share more of that with you all. Find Adventure!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A New Direction

After five plus years of immersion in a certain website called Facebook I have decided that it is time to pull the plug. Recently the news that Instagram had changed their policy on photos, so that any photos posted to the site would be property of Instagram and they would be free to sell them, without telling the photographer or compensating them in any way. This made me furious. But it was also eye opening. I realized that being a part of social media and getting more and more plugged in all the time slowly made us hooked on these sites and creating false realities, friendships and social circles.

The Instagram headline(Facebook owns Instagram) made me upset for the most part because the powers that be in Facebook are already worth billions. Is it that tough to make it work that you need to pull the wool over the public eye and basically steal their content. To me, it is the same as me using someone else's blog content and not crediting them for it. Plagiarism is very illegal and in bad taste, maybe Facebook doesn't see it that way? I loved using Instagram for a while now, sharing food porn with like minded people, the filters gave my shots an interesting effect. I cannot stomach the idea of supporting a business that would rule like this.

I am also getting tired of knowing what is happening in so many peoples lives. Not that it is bad, for the most part people are doing good things. I have gotten a little bit frustrated with constantly hearing "I saw on your Facebook" or "Did you see that thing on my wall?" I am no saint obviously, and I am not trying to be hypocritical. I would kind of like to meet friends and have something to talk about. I am one who is very observant and can remember things that people tell me very easily. So if you post it on your status, good chance I will remember it. Then when we have a conversation, I feel like I can fill in the blank when people are talking about their lives. This is a good time to bow out and I will be leaving on January 1st.

This maybe a bad move, since I have been involved with creating a social media based projects with this blog and with the Edible Valley podcast. I appreciate everyone who has found my content because of Facebook. My stats will suffer as a result, I know this. I encourage you to sign up for email notifications for new posts to the blog. It is easy and you will be informed each and every time that a new post is published. If you are on Twitter, please follow me @cynicalcyclist. Also consider subscribing to Edible Valley on itunes. Every episode will be uploaded to your device as it is published. We have so many ways to stay in touch. I don't wish to post my cell number or email address on here, but if you email me through the blog, I will get it.

Thanks for the years of fun Facebook, but I cannot support your endeavors anymore and I wish to build community face to face, the old school way.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Adventure 51- Ice Skating

Waiting to go on the ice
This adventure was a few weeks in the making. Natalie had asked me for sometime to take her ice skating at the Comox Valley Sports Center. It was planned a couple times but because of the pace of the holidays we didn't make it before today.
Such big smiles!
I am no expert skater, that is an understatement. Ask anyone who has watched me play hockey. I have never had so many bruises as I did one time playing ice hockey without any gear. Falling down more than skating back and forth. It was a good gag, but I sure paid for it the next day. Natalie had only skated once or twice over the years, and used roller skates a few times. I was unsure how this would play out, for both of us.
A little hesitant
Due to circumstances Natalie and I arrived late to the Everyone Welcome skate at Arena 2. It was over at 3 and we arrived at 2:20. We quickly paid and got our rental skates. Ice skates are tough to get on the foot. They are a tight fit to say the least. Once my foot was slipped in, they felt much better. I helped Natalie tie hers, making sure the laces were cinched up to give her the best stability. On the ice we went. Natalie was scared to leave the boards, and we did a lap with her holding my hand. She only fell down once and then decided that she wanted something to help her out, so she grabbed a tall traffic cone and tried to use that. The cone didn't want to slide easily, that got left behind after one lap. Natalie took a break and I did a lap by myself. I was impressed with the ease I had of gliding around. For not being on skates in five or six years, that was pretty comfortable.
Progressing
We did a few more laps in the short allotment of time that we had left. Natalie tried using a "skate tutor" to help out, and it worked really good for her. She built confidence and for the last lap left the support on the side and was doing some short glides and letting go of the boards. She had a huge grin and was so proud of herself. As we left the ice Natalie kept telling me she wanted to skate more and she was so sad that it was over. We will be going back to the rink for sure. It cost $11 and change for admission and rental. Fantastic price for potentially two hours entertainment and exercise for a mid-afternoon winter activity. The patrons were a mix of children, teens and grown-ups, and most were pretty casual. Only a few that were skating really fast, showing hockey skills. They only were doing this in short bursts and were not getting in anyones way. Go skating, Find Adventure!
Ya! What What!!

Adventure 50- Union Bay Coal Hills

Nice and calm
As much as the snow has been quite nice this holiday season so far, there is something about getting out and visiting somewhere that had little snow, see some greens and browns again, and get close to the ocean. It is amazing how quickly ones eyes get accustomed to all the whiteness and the relief that comes with seeing the colors that are more normal for our climate. As the day matured today the brisk of morning revealed a warmth as bright sun glistening off the snow, bringing a heat that can only be appreciated after two weeks of coastal December.
Barely hanging on
The original plan for the day was to participate in an "everyone welcome" skate in Courtenay at the Comox Valley Sports Center, the same place that we watched the Glacier Kings game. With the need for Vitamin D high on the priority list for these shortest days, itinerary changes rapidly with the weather. I wanted to see the ocean and the sun, to get a little exercise for Natalie and Marshall, also to just get out of the house. I can easily occupy myself in the kitchen all day, and leave Natalie for her own devices, which often includes her ipod, and you tube. Now that she has received her own knives and cutting board as a Christmas gift from me, maybe she will encourage her inclusion with more regularity and pass on some hard won knowledge.
Happy beast!
After bouncing around a few ideas, the Union Bay Coal Hills were the destination of choice. It was sure to be sunny and quiet, and located on Baynes Sound, with its mix of sea birds, driftwood and related treasures. I invited my dad along with us, as Poppa used to walk these shores daily, even after moving to Cumberland. We drove down to the Bay, observing the gradual lessening of snow as we descended the hill. How beautiful  for the eyes to see the greens, yellows, and browns of winter, mixed with small protected patches of white snow.
Waiting to Superman jump
The parking area had several vehicles in it already as folks were out enjoying the day. Unfortunately the skies were not as clear as anticipated, low cloud cover blocking out some of those so crucial rays. Cumberland must be above the clouds, and now we were underneath. It was still wonderful out, slightly cool, calm and still. Cormorants, surf scooters, various sea gulls and ducks rafted or soared over head looking for security and a meal. We walked the shore close to the quickly receding bank, that is being rapidly being eroded by winter storms. Every time I visit the road that we used to drive in my youth is getting narrower, and soon will probably not be passable without some major bush whacking. Marshall bounded about like he does,  looking with madness for a stick and someone to toss it for him. Without hesitation he was in the salt-chuck, swimming, not care one for the temperature of the water, and ready to have it launched away again. Natalie investigated some tree roots exposed by the erosion, a small cave appearing in the bank.
"So thirsty"
We crossed onto the inland area and over the top of the mound that gave this place its recognized name. I explained to Natalie how different the place is from how I remember it as a child. More and more trees are popping up constantly, Mother Nature trying to re-claim this place that was a waste dumping ground for decades during the coal mining hey days of the Comox Valley. This horrible pollution is being swept away at a steady, uncontrolled rate, coating the floor of Baynes Sound and potentially destroying natural sea floor habitat. This is the results of a mining operation not looking after its due diligence and cleaning up after it is finished operation. Lets not see this happen again in our area.
This one didn't make it
We brought Marshall over to Hart (Washer) Creek to play a little bit and wash off the salt water. He leapt in once, struggling hard in the current, and was successful in getting himself out. I thought that I was going to have to lend a hand to pull him out. Natalie decided at one point she was absolutly thirsty and needed a drink. So I encouraged her to grab a sip from the creek. She managed without a problem and didn't get wet. Nice job! It would be a cold slip if that happened.
Weird reaction to a Doug fir cone
Visiting places that meant so much to me as a youth with Natalie has been so special over this year of us doing adventures. The Coal Hills were very much an everyday part of my life. We could see them from my house, we swam and fished there in the summer, hiked with various dogs and rode our bikes. Multi generations of my family spent time on the Coal Hills and it is seated deep in my being. Find Adventure.
Pretty mushroom

Monday, December 24, 2012

Adventure 49: Cumberland Snowshoeing

Trail Head
The Comox Valley and in particular, Cumberland, was inundated with an intense winter weather front that came on Sunday night and dropped eight inches of snow. We were given a break on Tuesday, but that night it began again, with strong, gusting winds and more snow, that closed schools in Cumberland and cut our power. Another six inches of snow fell before it stopped, the skies cleared and made lots of ice. The roads were suspect and a little treacherous. Saturday morning welcomed yet again more snow, and it was falling all day. Dinner plate sized flakes dropping adding yet more depth to the already impressive Cumberland snow pack. I was actually not that upset with the snow this year, having a truck with four wheel drive and brand new, snow-rated tires, gave me confidence to travel around. Natalie was loving it of course, as any kid would.
Goofy face. Hope it doesn't stay like that!
For years it has been my wish to snowshoe from my front door and walk in the woods behind Cumberland. Even before I had shoes, this was a dream. After spending so many hours hiking around the deep snow over the holiday season on the trails, using shoes was my fantasy. Natalie and I were fortunate to both receive them as Christmas gifts last year, so now this dream could become reality.
Took this one behind my back
We had a busy weekend of socializing and eating at three different holiday parties. Santa came to our annual Christmas party at the Logan's. This event has been going on for eight years, and it is neat to see how the kids are growing, and new ones are arriving all the time. After that gathering, Natalie and I ventured out in the snow to drive south to Qualicum for a dinner party at our friends place. There was potential to have a large gathering, but with the weather being what it was, many were not prepared to make the trip. It was a very good time, great food and company, and I got to bring home an absolute windfall of food. As we drove home an idea for an adventure came to mind. Lets do this snowshoe trip! We got a late start since Natalie spent all day cleaning her room, and I was busy canning turkey meat and doing other kitchen stuff(weird huh!) I was stoked.
Happy beast!
The road was plowed so we did not put on our shoes, electing to walk in our boots instead. Approaching the swamp crossing, I forgot how much of a mess the beavers have made at the crossing. The dam that was built recently has flooded the trail on either side of the bridge. Natalie and I both got soaked feet as we tried to negotiate the flowing water and trees. We almost called it quits, but she decided to give it a whirl and see if her feet wouldn't be too cold. We strapped up and carried on. Marshall was with us, and he was being insane. He was deer bounding around the snow, chasing anything and everything we threw in the woods, hound baying at me to toss more objects. He was just a little obnoxiously loud if someone was hiking for peace and quiet. However, Natalie and I had lots of fun watching him recklessly leaping about.
Concentrate Daddy
We found ourselves on a trail called Tied Knot. This trail is full of mountain biking stunts, including skinny logs, ramps, bridges and gap jumps. Tied Knot twists through the Cumberland Community Forest, a beautiful, community owned chunk of woods. Over the years, Natalie and I have spent many, many hours wandering these woods looking for mushrooms, geo-caching and biking. Tied Knot was really awesome. Walking with snowshoes on the stunts was very challenging, balancing and trying to maintain traction on slippery logs invigorating. Not as adrenalin filled as two wheels, just slower and more methodical. One has to be careful not to step accidentally on the rear shoe and trip. Falling would hurt regardless of transportation method. Natalie did really good trying the traverses. She attempted everything I did, needing just a few helping hands. I was impressed how she walked so far with soaking wet feet. It really began to bother her the last little bit, but goes to show how merino wool can help out. With cotton socks she would have been ruined.
You can do it!
I plan on doing another snowshoe tomorrow for my annual Christmas Day hike. It was wonderful for Natalie, Marshall and I to enjoy this excursion so much. We have a week to finish up and undertake three more of these adventures. Wish us luck!
Always a mushroom shot. Turkey Tails

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

730

Here it is, a milestone, a celebration of a re-birth, an anniversary to be proud of, two years without alcohol. It has come with little fan-faire and excitement, but is reflected back on to what has come in the second year of the best decision of my life, I am amazed with the changes and accomplishments that have been gained. Re-reading what I had written from last year at this time to remember how it felt after 365. At that time just the satisfaction to have made it one full year without falling off the wagon, but no word on how my life had changed. This year was just incredible and this is what this post will entail.

If you have been reading this blog, or know me in person, pretty good chance you know that I adopted the Paleo lifestyle about six months ago. Again, my friend Russ, inspired my immersion into Paleo, by sharing his success with it and passing on information. The results have been spectacular. I have lost close to 60 pounds, just by adapting away from a high carb, grain based diet to one of protein, fat and vegetables, with some fruit and nuts tossed in. I have fully switched and cannot imagine ever going back. My energy levels have never been higher, body been trimmer and sculpted, digestion this good, and testosterone levels sky high. I was even featured on robbwolf.com. Robb is the guru of the Paleo lifestyle, and to be part of the community has been massive. Social media has allowed me to connect with many like minded individuals, sharing ideas and "food porn". This has led me to all sorts of new ideas and inspirations due to my vastly increased confidence and social capital building.

Edible Valley was an idea that was proposed by myself to my good friend Jon as a way for us to re-connect our friendship. Little did I know how much this podcast would change my focus on life to be almost completely independent of imported food and building of friendships with local farmers and chefs. There are now dozens of wonderful people in the Valley that I can now call my friends, including some of the most successful chefs, renown farmers and food writers. We also were offered to record our podcast in a radio studio, with the producer helping us out and doing the edits for us, which has been a huge blessing and now I call many people from Jet FM my friends. We are constantly getting wonderful feedback about our little show, and being modest, down playing it all the time. I am really proud that Jon and I have been able to keep this thing together, and so grateful for the support of so many. Thank you all deeply.

Edible Valley has also ignited my love of cooking. Hanging out with a chef one night a week, visiting the farmers market near weekly, and building inventory of my own hunted, fished and gathered foods have made cooking exciting again. Also learning the unique recipes that can be created using Paleo ingredients to mimic traditional dishes has been so rewarding. I had great success with salmon fishing this summer and also was lucky to take three deer this season, plus butchered half a hog(Tannadice Farms) and a bunch of chickens(Ash Berry Farm) that were purchased from farmer friends of mine. Scratch cooking is so rewarding with ample opportunity to secure amazing ingredients, stuff that most aren't lucky to get. The Comox Valley is Paleo paradise and I hope to expand on this coming in 2013. Stay tuned.

I learned to make sausages, pepperoni, cured deer ham, and pickled eggs. My canning went from a few jars of peaches to include salmon, tomato sauce, chutney, pickled beets and cukes, and salsa. I tried and had success fermenting cukes and cabbage into sauerkraut, and also made kombucha. In the spring I hope to do some kind of butchery demo and sausage making class at one of the local retailers. I really want to help people learn to build self sufficiency in their lives, getting away from the "system" of corporate control of our food, health care and well being. I wish for folks to have practical skills and common sense, and do for themselves. I have joined 13skills.com and have pledged to work on 13 individual skills in 2013 to enhance this freedom in my life. Teaching is one of those skills. The words of Jack Spirko have influenced me in so many ways opening my eyes to the realities of the world, encouraging myself to build self sufficiency, and to be prepared for emergencies large or small. The Survival Podcast has become a massive part of my education, and working on 13 skills is very exciting.

My blog has been rolling along nicely. With Natalie and I into the last stretches of our 52 weeks of adventures, I am feeling burned out, and unmotivated to write about it. Not sure how many words have been written over these weeks, but there have been so many, and photos too. We have done some pretty cool things this year, including cycling, camping, hiking, foraging. Many of these were firsts for my girl as well. She recently helped me butcher a deer, and I will be helping her build those skill for herself in '13. I want her to start life with the ability to do for herself the things that I had to learn as an adult.

In my personal life, aside from all the social media and homesteading stuff, it is going well. I am single now, since June, and have adapted well. I am sometimes lonely for short periods, but working to embrace that and enjoy the time alone, trying not to fill in all the empty spaces doing things constantly. Twitter and Instagram help with that. I am steady sharing my pictures of cooking and other foodie stuff with the Paleo community. I have connected with some really great people as I previously stated, including another Paleo gentleman in the Comox Valley, as well as new friends in the Edible Valley circles. I also have re-friended someone from high school and that has become a very important relationship. Natalie is doing amazing and she is such a great kid who doesn't bat an eye at all the "weird" stuff her dad is doing all the time. She is very happy to follow along with me and I hope she can spend more time in the field with me hunting in the years to come.

What path would life be on if I had not stopped drinking? There is no answer, but I can honestly say that these accomplishments would not have happened, without a doubt. The crutch of alcohol would have gotten in the way of the openness I feel in my ability to communicate with people. My shyness has disappeared and the ability to approach strangers is gone up exponentially. The future looks bright for this guy, and am so proud to be able to say that. I am on a path to greatness, even if I never blog, pod or use social media again, because I have a shelter, food, heat, water and love. What else does one need? Just the confidence to know that there is nothing to be afraid of, and I can overcome any obstacle in my way! To another year of excellence and Happy Holidays to all my readership. Thank you for coming on this ride with me!