Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The bent stick

Just finished 'the bent stick' from Paul Comstock about how to build a traditional wooden bow and arrows. Lovely. I've actually read it in German. I was always interested in how to build and shoot a bow, but these high tech bows never really caught my interest.

So in 2007 I went to a place in the Eifel close by Cologne and took a course with Juergen Junkmanns how to build a bow. And I actually built a traditional English longbow out of North American (white?) hickory.

Very, very nice bow, and it shot wonderful - until I broke it. I don't know if it has
 been that there was a problem with the wood, I don't think so. I don't believe I did something wrong in making the bow, my teacher had a keen eye on that. And I don't believe it broke because of the climate change from Cologne to Texas, although that could have played a role.

I think the bow broke because I drew it too much, it was to short and to thick for me. I'd done some exercise and was able to draw much further, and the draw length was to little because the bow was too short, to thick and not wide enough. Well, what do you do.

So, I have been reading a lot about making a new bow, some books like 'the bent stick' and I can recognize quite some of it. Getting the tools is not giving me the headaches, some things are easy like saws, others like blades are much more difficult, but in need I could still buy that online.

Question is, where do I get wood? Comstock recommends to use a tree trunk or a wide branch, fine, but living in the city does not make it that easy. Guess I have to do some research.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Southwest History

Just finished the first chapter from 'A.D. 1250 - Ancient Peoples of the Southwest' by Lawrence W. Cheek. Great book on the Southwest cultures from around 200 B.C. to 1500 A.D..
I actually started digging into this history reading some months ago, when I had Anasazi beans the first time. Love to cook and they are just delicious, better then any other beans I had so far. Tender, sweet and a little nutty, just wonderful. So I wondered and researched a bit and learned they had been cultivated, bred, by the ancient people of the Anasazi. They lived in today's East Texas, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico and were artful in using the dry areas scarce resources to make a living.

The book not only has texts which are rich in information but easy to read and understand, a real pleasure when being a little tired in the evening. And the pictures, AH, the pictures and the sites. Stunning. Got to see some of these places.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Visit the endangered cultural treasures the Smithsonian magazine highlights in their March 2009 issue

‘Some of the world’s most precious historic and artistic sites can be visited today – but might be gone tomorrow’ states the Smithsonian Staff in their Smithsonian, issue March 2009.

Concerned about the damage on historic sites they point to 10 sites. These sites are endangered and damaged by desperate, ignorant or religious people, people with different priorities and by nature: Wind, earthquakes, water. Pictures, reports, interviews from all over the world describe the sites, decry the loss humankind will suffer if these artifacts are lost.

Traveling for Tree-Huggers
I decided to follow this call to visit these sites, but choose a sustainable, non damaging way to do so, not to mention the savings in time, money and carbon footprint.First, I just thought, well, yes, this is so much less impressive than traveling itself, but bit by bit, byte by byte it became increasingly more valuable. Sure, real travel gives a whole range of experiences nothing can substitute, but this ‘eagle perspective’ has its own charm.

Google Earth discovery
Sitting feet up and laptop leaving burn marks on my legs, a comfortable 70s Fahrenheit breeze coming in through the open window, I started looking on Google Earth to look for these sites and was impressed. Impressed by the sites, and how clear some of them are on Google Earth. Some, most, don’t have much information on Google earth, which was another surprising find when I checked quite some GE (Google Earth J) layers.

Fenestrelle Fortress, Italy
The Fenestrell Fortress (Google Earth KMZ) is in Italy, by Turin, the ‘Great Wall of the Alps’, covering 320 according to the Smith’s.

I would love using the ‘historic view’ feature of Google Earth 4, to see the fort with snow and without, but there seems to be only one picture from December 2005 – with very little snow.

The report and a nice collection of pictures and links on the

Some nice pictures on Google image search to the Fenestrelle Fortress: http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=fenestrelle%20fortress%20italy&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi .

Check it out!
(more sites to come)
Bookmark and Share