Home' The Backwoodsman Magazine : Jan-Feb 2019 Contents not have a plan. I was just on auto-
pilot and going through the motions
while dealing with all of life’s other
The first couple of months of
chemo were tough but, by March,
it had started getting much better
and the treatments shorter. We were
then able to take another left turn
together and decided to go balls to
the wall and build her a real kitchen.
And build a kitchen we did. Right
between my shop and our house, on
our small micro-homestead (that is
what we call it now) sits a six hun-
dred square foot commercial kitchen
that, as of this writing, is about two
weeks away from completion. Now,
remember, at this point neither of us
had a job, most of our time was be-
ing spent at the cancer center, and
we had no plan for whatever hap-
pens next. Winging it by the seat of
our pants was the order of the day
and I was pushed on by the words
of a preacher twenty years earlier:
Sometimes you just have to step out
What were the results of this left
turn? I can’t really answer that as we
are still in the middle of it. Will we
make it? Be successful? I have no
idea, but I do believe you miss every
shot you don’t take. In my working
career I had experience in mainte-
nance/engineering, supervision, ma-
chine shop, and industrial sales. Now
I make my living by handcrafting
mountain man accoutrements/bush-
craft tools, candles, refurbishing old
muzzleloaders, and other oddball,
old world stuff. What a turn off the
figurative main road. Not very lucra-
tive at this point, but satisfying on
a level I never imagined possible. Is
the money as good now and is there
certainty in this lifestyle? Absolute-
ly not, but life has never been better.
This opportunity to change my path
is the direct result of one of those
left turns. Usually that means to get
away for a weekend but, in this case,
it took much deeper root than that.
Extreme example maybe, but every
left turn yields different results.
This was not intended to be a
sob story or pity party. It is my per-
sonal Declaration of Independence
brought on by a massive turn away
from the norm. A roll of the dice?
Uncertain future? Sure, but you only
live once and this turn taught me to
live it my way. In the end we all live
and die by the choices we make. My
choice is to live free or die trying.
And I owe a huge debt of gratitude
to the wonderful contributors to this
magazine. Your writings have led
me to learn things that actually make
this lifestyle possible. There are also
good suggestions in every issue for
a new craft or tool to make or just a
project for enjoyment. Thanks folks.
You really are the best this world has
Happy ending: Christi is cancer
free now and loves her life of sat-
isfying folks with her baked goods
and sourdough, and enjoying the
simple things. In short, while this
started out looking like the begin-
ning of the end, and forcing us to
make that turn, we learned a great
deal about what is really important
in life. Sometimes you have to give
in to that urge to take the path less
traveled and make your own rules.
Damn the consequences, you need
to break from reality for a minute.
And sometimes create your own
version of it. I have taken many “left
turns” in my life. Sometimes that is
the only answer, but this has so far
been the biggest one to date for ei-
ther of us.
What does this have to do with
being a Backwoodsman?
Regardless of what type of person
you are be it a bushcrafter, backyard-
sman, video game enthusiast, work-
a-holic banker, or whatever floats
your boat, you will be faced with
challenges in your life that make you
step back and force you to veer off
the main route. As backwoodsmen
you already know how to handle
many challenges but what will you
do when something truly life alter-
ing comes your way? Do you know
when you are at your breaking point
Some of Christi’s specialties: Home-
made cookies and sourdough breads.
Far removed from her days working
in a corporate office out of town and
away from home.
Rustic and simple “naked” cake
Christi recently made for a barn wed-
ding. It was a crowd pleaser for sure.
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