Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Pack Basket

Today in the News:  I'm a liar.  I said I was taking the week off.  I was busy.  Today, not as much.  Tune in tomorrow.  I might not be here then, either.

Question of the Day:  What do I need to do to get guest writers?  Offer a prize?  I'm broke, but I'll do it!  If you have something, anything, email it to house.of.howes@hotmail.com .

Link of the Day:          http://www.canningwithkids.com/ .

Paige Grande Bayer lives in Silicon Valley and has made it her mission to get back to the roots (pun intended) of real food.  Canning is a dying tradition among Gen X and Y, but Paige is keeping it alive.  She promotes local, real food and shares recipes that I sometimes don't dare look at because it makes me sad about the lunch I brought to work, which, unless made by Mrs. Hotel, usually sucks.  If I lived near Paige, I'd be chubby.  Take a minute and check out her site.  She has delicious photos and fantastic commentary.  In addition to the honesty of buying locally, you owe it to yourself and your family to have extra food on hand.  I'm not saying you have to go nuts, but remember - before the local supermarket, families sometimes had enough food stored to last them a year at a time.  If something happens (Katrina, blizzard, etc.) how awesome would it be to have some canned food - food you put up yourself - to feed your family.   It is an absolute horror to think about the super (or not so super) corporations that spoon feed us trash.  Sorry, that turned into a bit of a rant.  I feel passionately about it and I encourage anyone who roams across this site to check out Paige's blog.  Oh yeah, she's a gardener, too.  When I see what she can grow on a small lot on the city, it makes me want to post the Happy-Half-Acre for sale. and move to Californ-i-a. 

The Pack Basket

When I was in Maine in August, Uncle Bern dropped a load of cool stuff on me.  One of those things was a canoe pack basket.  It was just the basket, no straps, but it was a start.  I've wanted a pack basket for a long time, but I didn't want to buy the run of the mill pack off of ebay.  This one was great, plus it was from Uncle Bern, which always means a lot to me.

I had to make straps for it.  I didn't take photos of of the process, but I bought three belt blanks at Tandy Leather and went to work.  I added snaps so I could replace the straps if the need ever came about.  I also stained them.  All in all, it turned out okay, I think. 

For show, I wanted to incorporate a brass ring Uncle Bern had given me.  It has no real function.  I just like the way it looks.  Old brass rings are heavy and durable and darn it, they just look cool.  The pack wears well and that's what matters most.  If you want to check out some really cool packs, try http://billmackowskitraditionals.com/.  Bill does some of the best work out there and, when you think about the work that goes into each basket, his prices are a bargain.

The last thing I did was to add another brass ring for an axe holder.  I sent a picture to Uncle Bern and he responded with, "What the heck is wrong with putting it in your pack basket where it belongs?"  He was right.  While it looked (marginally) cool, it made the pack ride off center.  Never good.

I hired a super model for this photo.  He didn't show up.

That's all for today.  Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum.

Mike, Oscar, Hotel......Out.


  1. Hey Mike, great job on the pack basket. Looks really old-timey! Will you use it instead of a backpack, or just for the heck of it from time to time?

    I'll send you a guest post article in a day or two. :)


  2. Thanks, bmatt. I love to get old stuff working again! Sometimes I think we tend to overthink what was originally done. Sometimes I wish i would've been born at the turn of the 20th century. ;)

  3. Oh, and I'm not sure about the full-time backpack thing. Honestly, I don't backpack much, I do, however, fiddle around the Happy-Half Acre enough so I need a pack full of stuff.