Sunday, March 10, 2019

Cat in a tree. CDROM with 65 issues of the old American Suvival Guide. Ammo spam can openers.

Thursday night, I went outside and heard a cat squalling. Got the hand held floodlight, wandered into the woods, and found one of my wife's cats up a tree about 30 feet.

This isn't all that unusual. Most of the time, you go to the foot of the tree and call them, and they'll come down.

Not this guy. He is one of the "twins", born about six or seven months ago. Still pretty young and probably shouldn't have been out in the woods at night.

So, I left him up the tree. Not much else I could do in the dark. Next day, (Friday) I got the wife and we went out and called him, but it wasn't looking good.  I got the extension ladder, put it at full stretch, and timorously climbed up with a large extendable painting pole, to which I had taped a basket. The basket just reached him, but the wretch wouldn't climb in.  He climbed up further.

I cut down a small tree next to the tree he was in, thinking I could drop it against the larger tree and he could use it for a ladder. My lumberjack skills were not quite up to the job, and the tree I cut just missed "the cat tree" . All that for naught.

It was raining, really cold, and then we had a big thunderstorm. I was sure the cat would come down, but he didn't.  Friday night was really bad, and I thought he'd probably be dead from exposure by morning .  Saturday he was still up  there, looking pretty weak.  I told M he would come down on his own when he got hungry enough, but she looked up "how long can a cat stay in a tree" on the internet, and all these vets said that after about 24 hours the cat would not make it. They also said it is a myth that all cats will climb down. My credibility as a savant of cat lore was somewhat tarnished.

So, I told her the only thing I knew to do was cut down the tree the cat was in.  If it fell on him he'd be squashed unless he bailed out before it hit, but I couldn't think of any alternatives. Even if I was willing to become the subject of titters and smirks in the county, I wasn't going to call the fire department. Even if they would come up here, which is doubtful, they couldn't get a ladder truck up the mountain and the country doesn't have a real ladder truck anyway.....

So, with me wearing my ridiculous safety helmet  (which I scorned until a small branch fell out of a big tree I was cutting and knocked me cross eyed some years back), and with the wife safely away, I cut down the tree. I did better this time, and dropped it so the side that fell was 180 degrees out from the side the cat was sitting on.

About 2 seconds before the dreadful crash, the cat ejected and came down in a tangle of undergrowth, but was unharmed. My wife snatched him up and hauled him off to the house, leaving me to drag the ladder back up the muddy, slippery slope to the barn and haul the tools back to the tool shed.

Today (Sunday) the cat is fine and back to his usual self.  Doesn't seem any the worse for wear.

M was happy to get her cat back safe, and I was relieved to have survived another mini-traumatic experience. Living up here is fraught with mini-traumatic experiences.  I just hope the cat learned his lesson about staying on the ground.

Remember the old American Survival Guide?

The original American Survival Guide actually started out in 1978 as Shooters Journal.  As time passed, the editors included more and more survival and freedom related articles, and by 1981 it was carrying articles like "Insurrection, are you ready?"

By 1983 the magazine had morphed into Survival Guide and in June, 1985 the American Survival Guide title appeared on the cover.

About this time, McMullen publishing company, the original creator, began to run into red ink problems. One of the staff, Ken Yee, bought in as a part owner and the magazine continued to march. Yee died in 1994, and McMullen a year later. Argus bought the company, and American Survival Guide continued to be popular through the 1990's. 

PriMedia bought Argus out in 2000, and cancelled American Survival Guide, the last issue coming out in September of 2000. 

 *note: most of this information, and a good deal more, can be found 
in the Feb. 2015 edition of the new magazine.

The "new" American Survival Guide  is a good magazine, and I enjoy it. But the readers they are looking for are completely different in virtually every respect from the people who read the old magazine.  I always feel like the "old dead white guys" have been supplanted by "the beautiful people." Times change, that' s the way it is.

As I mentioned before, in previous blogs, I had a good collection of the original magazines. Then I used a lot of them in my reading class during my three year experiment teaching 5th graders. Kids that wouldn't touch the official "reader" with stories like Abdul and Mokobomo teach Jane to love nature, wore out the issues of "Guns and Ammo" or "American Survival Guide" I brought. My principal blessed the idea (try getting that from an administrator today!), and the parents all signed parental consent forms, and we were off to the races.

Later, a buddy of mine , a Vietnam veteran , had some health problems and I gave him most of the rest of my American Survival Guide magazines. His family eventually threw them away but he enjoyed them and that's what mattered.

When the internet evolved to the point where people could put up pdf. files, I started trying to restore my collection of the old magazine with digital copies.  There was a strange fellow on the net whose nom de plume was "Steve." He had a web site with copies of all kinds of magazines you could download. He needed a donation when you did it, because the bandwidth usage was pretty high, but it was a small price to pay.

Steve died, and it looked like his web page and all the information on it would disappear. But a well off fellow from a gun forum (I think from the Pacific North West), picked up the bill and kept it alive. What happened after that, I don't know but it's still out there .

There is now a CDROM you can buy on Ebay with 65 issues of the old magazine, and I would suspect these are the same ones that were available on the old web site. 

CDROM with 65 issues of old American Survival Guide.

I've just ordered it (cost $7.50) , so can't say anything more than it exists. When I get it , I'll be able to tell more.  Incidently, the company that offers this has a lot of survival oriented CD's , you can pull up a list on the same page linked above.

As far as I know, I am completely caught up on emails and packages.  I mailed some packages on Saturday, so those should get to people shortly although with "book rate" and the U.S. Post Office, nothing is certain. I am caught up on all my emails and have answered everyone I needed to respond to.

I found at least one email address of mine that is not getting  through to a friend in Australia, but switched to a gmail account and the emails seem to be getting through fine to him now.

If you wrote me at any time in the past and didn't get an answering email, please let me know. I check my sent folder after I send an email, but I have learned conclusively that the fact something is in the sent folder DOES NOT insure the intended recipient actually got the message.

It's always the things you don't expect that bite you in the derriere. 

In line with that, I thought I should mention that you can buy ammo spam can openers from  these guys for $4.95 each, plus $13.00 shipping (Fedex). 

Cheapest price for spam can opener I can find.

Over the years, especially when Slick Willie was President and Janet Reno was ruling over Narnia, I bought a lot of ammo in cases.

Inside each case (usually, anyway) are two spam cans of ammo.  What IS NOT always inside the case is a spam can opener.

You can open the spam cans with a hammer and a chisel, (or as the guy in the video below says, with a rock and a bayonet) but a spam can opener helps. It's like the nail in the old poem.

For want of a nail, the shoe was lost;
For want of the shoe, the horse was lost;
For want of the horse, the rider was lost;
For want of the rider, the battle was lost;
For want of the battle, the kingdom was lost;
And all from the want of a horseshoe nail.

Spam cans are all pretty much the same, although some of the older ammo has a wire pull tab instead of a can opener.

Seems about right to me:


  1. Yes, I've had to buy a canner opener on eBay. Back in the day when I only bought one can from Sportsman's Guide it did not come with an opener, good thing I wasn't in a hurry. Now the problem is where the hell did I put it? Thanks for the tip on the CD, I just bought that. It's a warm and wet day her in Hampton Roads, they are promising sun shine for the week, and normal temps. Take care Harry

    1. Hey, Tim. I keep all that kind of thing out in my shop, on a wall rack. Otherwise, I'd surely lose just about anything.

      Monday morning here now, and it was supposed to be clear and warm according to ATL television. But it's heavily overcast and if not cold, it's sure not balmy. The weather people seem to be having a lot of trouble, even more than usual, with our weather predictions this year.

  2. When I was a firefighter it was city policy for us not to rescue cats. The feeling was that a cat rescue could tie up the crew possibly delaying a response where people were in danger. Were were a pretty busy little understaffed department. We did bend the rules a few times, but it was rare. One gruff Captain used to say: Have you every seen a cat skeleton in a tree?

    I picked up a few of those magazines back in the day. They were always a rare treat as there were no bookstores nearby.

    1. Well, you can only do what you can. I think calling the fire department here (it's a volunteer fire department) to get a cat out of a tree would pretty much be an exercise in futility. We have some fire trucks but they are not equipped for rescuing people from 2nd floors, as there are almost no buildings in the county that are more than one story.

      I saw the "cat skeleton" saying on the internet, but the humane society pages and the vet pages M found said that if a cat dies up in a tree, it either falls out of the tree or decomposes rapidly. Makes sense. I didn't want the cat to croak, and it was really pathetic up there in the weather, yowling for help. Cutting down the tree was drastic but I wanted resolution on the issue and I figured the cat would jump when the tree started down. It worked out ok.

      I really enjoyed the old version of American Survival Guide. Especially the advertisements. I feel like I read the new version more out of a sense of duty , than because I really enjoy it.

  3. I like cats pretty well but not enough to climb a latter for. Some years back I wanted a motorcycle; had a work associate with some medical training told me "forget it you're too old and your bones are too brittle, the first fall and you'll be in trouble."

    Nice to see you posting again.


    1. Hey, Moe. Good to hear from you. I got to feeling a bit isolated up here, especially as we are trying to cut trips off the mountain to four a month or so. Blogging and keeping up with all the friends I've made that way over the years helps alleviate that.

      I felt like the cat needed help, and I know my wife expected me to do something. It was hard listening to him crying up there, and the weather was really atrocious. I have a hard time letting anything "ride", I'm obsessive about "fixing" problems. Worked out ok.

      I fell off a ladder about 15 years ago and broke three ribs. Healed up ok, but you are exactly right, you get hurt at an older age, and it's a whole different ball game. I wonder how much longer I can live up here, sometimes. What happens when I can't lift a 50 pound sack of feed, or go up the ladder and replace shakes? Don't have an answer for that. I can't see myself living in a two bedroom condo off the beach in Florida, but my wife sure can...

  4. Call me mean, but I have yet to see a dead cat lying on a tree limb.

    1. I think they fall off the branch if they get weak enough. I had to listen to the cat for two days and that was about all I could take. I have a soft spot for animals....

  5. A few decades ago we were "gifted" with a kitten. In its first year it climbed a pine tree to a branch about 30' up. It was good at up, but had not figured out down. Food and water on the ground did not bring it down. After a few days, it fell out of the tree. It was light and fluffy, and there was a foot or so of pine needles on the ground. It got up, walked over to the food and water, and went about eating like nothing had happened.


    1. Chris, I firmly believed, for the first day, that the cat would come down of it's own accord. That's what has always happened in this situation. Usually if I stand at the foot of the tree with food and my wife calls the cat, they will turn around and back down the tree trunk. But this cat couldn't seem to grasp the fact that a cat can't climb down head first. It just went on and on.

      I'm glad your cat survived. I get really attached to animals. Sometimes, they are more "people" to me than real humans are. Maybe I have lived up here in the woods for too long. ;-)

  6. It takes a special kind of person who will go out in the rain and cut down a tree to rescue his wife's cat. We who love animals and cats in particular, commend you!!

    1. I like animals, Vicki. Seems to me they have the same emotions and feel the same things people do. Also, no animal ever did me wrong and I sure can't say the same thing about the human race!

      M loves her cats. I think they help her not be lonely because the kids are grown and gone. The cats pay their way, keeping the barn free of rodents, killing snakes, and adding a certain comfort level to wet dreay days, or snowy ones. They love to get on the field stone hearth and soak up the heat from the fire, and it's very "homey."

  7. You have certainly had some experiences lately. I have climbed trees several times to get cats down, but don't think I could do that anymore. You really had a time of it. Glad you and the cat are both safe. Jana

    1. Jana, I've had a lot of strange experiences of one kind or other this past month or so. Seems like they taper off if I don't get around other people, but even doing that, I still have things like this with the cat happening!

      We're all doing fine up here. Weather is getting a little warmer, and just a little bit drier.

  8. A .22 works good for getting cats out of trees too, Harry! HAR HAR HAR! (Err...don't tell the Missus I said that!) I have almost broken my neck trying to save those putrid creatures too. What else can you do?

    One of the stupidest things I ever did was get snobbish about my shooting. I figured I was too good for 'that Soviet junk' and spent my cash on boutique guns. I don't regret that... but I regret missing out on the fun of the Russian milsurps.

    1. I feel responsible for the animals up here. They each do their bit, in their own way, to help keep the boat on an even keel. So when something like that happens, I do the best I can to take care of things.

      None of us are 100% on things like the guns. I can think back to what I should have done in the mid 80's through the 90's, but given the way things were at the time, I did the best I could as I saw it. Wish I had bought some crates of M1895/30 rifles, for instance, but I did buy about 8 of them , give or take, not counting the follow on versions. It all works out in the end, because somebody sells your guns when you are dead, and that's all she wrote.....

  9. That cat was up there for a long time. We have a lot of strays where we live. I think it's interesting that there are a lot of stray cats, but not dogs.

    I'm glad you got it down, and you are safe.

    Travis was up on the roof getting snow off it. It was supposed to rain ice. We didn't want all that weight on the roof. I worried about him slipping and sliding up there. He's fearless, and I'm fearful.

    1. alissa read the deliberate agrarian somewhere he shows a thing that brings the snow off the roof on a sheet of plastic no climbing

    2. Alissa, good to hear from you! I think dogs get run over, or the county animal control gets them if they are strays. But cats, they can just vanish when they want to and so more of them survive.

      Husbands are supposed to take the risks in the family, so wives and kids don't have to. I know how that goes, and I guess Travis does too. ;-) My wife would sympathize with you, she's had to pick up the pieces here once in awhile when things didn't work out like they were supposed to on a project.

  10. Amazon has sent me two packages with my name on it...I didn't order what they sent me, nor did I get charged for it. I pair of flip flops and a cell phone glass repair kit. Too bad the packages weren't anything I could use. The cell phone repair kit was for a phone we don't have. If I get any ammo by accident I'll send it your way.

    1. Hey, that's my idea of a friend! ;-) I never get anything from Amazon I didn't order, I don't think. It would be a nice change. I wish they would accidentally send me some gun smithing tools....