Sunday, November 12, 2006

Another Special Day for Me!!

I have mentioned my daughter, Molly, many times on this blog. In the beginning she was simply known on here as "She Who Hates Peas - SWHP" - because I wanted to respect her privacy. She finally told me it was ok to use her name.

Well, you may not know it but I also have a son, (I'll call him Buck)and today is his 43rd birthday! He's a private person so I try not to say too much about him here in blogland. He would not see anything I write on this blog anyway (My son lives in a fairly remote area. Up until just recently he lived without electricity, running water, or any of the other modern conveniences that most of us take for granted. And he did this by choice.) but I respect his need for privacy so I'll try not to reveal too much.

This is his baby picture taken at the hospital....

And this is one of my favorite photos of him with Molly....

Buck was always a good big brother and considered his little sister as "his" baby. He looked after her and protected her and never complained when she tagged along.

Growing up, he didn't have a strong male influence in his life. Their dad and I divorced when Buck was about nine years old. Here are some photos of him up to about age three....

Buck spent most of his younger life living in an urban environment. As a kid he never went fishing, hunting, camping or any of the other things most boys get to experience.

When we moved to CA he told me he would never want to live anyplace but a big city. Then he met his significant other (I'll call her Gretchen) and she was a city girl, too. But somehow they decided to begin living a more rural/natural life. They started out by living in Oregan in a tent for one winter! I was worried the entire time!

Then they decided to move to Montana. They rented little rustic cabins and each step they took was backwards....or at least that's the way most people would look at it. They searched out knowledgeable people who could teach them the skills they needed, and they learned. Through this time, they also had two babies born at home with only a two beautiful granddaughters who now live in Hawaii.

If any of you have read the books by Jean Auel - such as "Cave of the Clan Bear" - the man who was her advisor for hide tanning and such was the man who taught my son those very same skills. Buck met Jean Auel at some of the mountainman gatherings. He spent several years doing nothing but tanning hides using the methods that Native Americans other words, he did it without chemicals and using animal brains. He actually made his living doing hides....but then he really didn't need a lot of money considering he had no bills!! I think one time Buck told me they could live on just a couple hundred dollars a year!! The only things he bought were things he couldn't make or grow himself. And for many years he didn't even own a vehicle. He doesn't own one now!

Here is a photo of Buck on the porch of one of the cabins....this is NOT a staged photo! This is how he looked every day. All the buckskin he's wearing was done by him. HB took this photo in black and white so it would look more authentic.

And here's a drawing I did from that photo....

HB and I visited several times while Buck, Gretchen and the kids lived in Montana. They had a huge tent with a wood burning stove and they lived in it year round. They decided they liked the tent better than cabins! One winter Buck wanted to test his winter skills so he dug a snow cave just big enough for his body, took only a candle and slept there all night in the middle of fact it was below zero that night! The candle and his own body heat were the only things he had to keep warm.

He can make fire with nothing more than some dry leaves and a flint, he can make rope from weeds, he can make knives and arrowheads using flint (I think that's what he uses)....he once told me he wanted to be able to walk off into the wilderness with nothing more than a knife and a flint and be able to survive! And he can do that. He's proved it numerous times.

And last is a photo taken by a friend of mine....she entered this in the L.A. Times photography contest and won Honorable Mention. I think it was in 1983 or '84. She is the girl running through the photo and that is my son as the "bad" guy!!

I have many interesting stories I could share about our visits to Buck and his family but I'll save them for another time.

Happy Birthday Buck!!

NOTE: I edited this and changed the name I originally used for my son. Since he is about 6'4" I made a reference to his height but then someone told me that's a name used for Osama Bin Laden!!!! So I changed my son's online name to Buck because of his buckskins.


  1. Janet, I love TTO and his choices. How admirable. (And his birthday is a day before mine which makes him an awesome scorpio!! hehe) I'm sure you worry about him (he could live anywhere and you would) but I bet you also are so very proud. There are not too many people who would stick to their ideals as he has. Congratulations on raising such a fine TO. And a very happy birthday to him. (btw, my son has no regrets on quitting football--he says he still has nightmares about it! so, good for him too!)

  2. I am completely captivated by this..I find everything you have told us about TTO completely fascinating beyond words. It had to have been something within his soul all along but took a while to manifest itself. He,unlike many, has followed his bliss and that alone is something to be proud of.I also think what remarkable visits you must have see his and feel his way of life. Happy Birthday to him!
    I had a friend who lived in a small Alaskan cabin, this has made me want to locate the pictures he's given me from back then.

  3. What a great post. I am so impressed by someone who can live that way, not needing the trappings so many of us 'need' in order to function. I have a son too, rarely mentioned here for the same reason, he too is 6'4" (and a bit). I worry about him when he goes fishing ! and he's a father of two and in his mid thirties..I can only imagine how you felt. Good for you for giving him the wings he needed to fly, and the confidence to know he could succeed.
    Happy Birthday TTO !

  4. Your son and his SO are really special people - I admire the tenacity that has kept them on their chosen path and the tremendous skills that they have learnt in order to live this way successfully. It would be so interesting to hear more of their way of life if it can be done without invading the privacy that they rightly value so much. I hope he has a very happy birthday.

  5. Janet, It is nice that he wants to do those things. We met many people similar to him in Alaska when we lived there. My son was never going to live in a city again--and he doesn't, for me it is far worse that he lives in a dinky town in the middle of no-where Kansas. But it is a goodplace to raise his 5 children. I love that TTO has become the person he wants to be. How self-actualized is that?! He's learned a lot of skills. Surviving was what homo sapiens has always been good at. He is the proving that rule again.

  6. Anonymous1:13 PM

    This is such a nice post, Janet. I would love to hear more stories about your visits with your son. What a wonderful life he has!

  7. Janet....I've missed visiting all blogs lately...sorry....anyway glad I checked here today.
    Your post about TTO is really cool. Great that you've reared an individual who is true to his heart....that's all any of us could hope for our children.

  8. This was an absolutely fascinating posting. I do so admire TTO that he can enjoy this simple life he lives. You must be so proud of him, that he is treating the earth with respect and himself too.

  9. Wow, all that is just amazing!! Hope your son had a wonderful birthday today.

  10. I am in awe...I so admire your son for living the life he loves, and you for giving him the confidence to live his dream. I hope he had a wonderful birthday, and look forward to more stories soon...

  11. Anonymous4:01 PM

    Mom, this was a great post about my beautiful brother! An amazing person, truly. Thanks! ...And great drawings too! I love the "Life" one! Supercool! ~Molly

  12. Janet,
    I can't believe the many similar traits that our sons share. I almost never post about mine either. He is very private, but also looks remarkably like your son. He is slightly younger. (almost 38)
    Happy Birthday to your son, Buck!

  13. The Linda4:37 AM

    WoW - that was absolutely the most amazing story about your son. I admire his resolve tremendously. He sounds like someone who would be interesting to meet and talk to.

    It certainly makes me curious to hear more but certainly not at the expense of his privacy. He should write a book.

  14. I’m in awe of your son, and you for raising a phenomenal child who is able to follow his own passion. Many of us could use more simplicity in life. Your son’s lifestyle takes so much bravery, and knowledge. What an interesting person you raised….kudos to you. I can’t wait to hear more about this lifestyle. Amazing, I am still awestruck!!! I have missed reading blogs lately…I hope someone is writing a book about him and his family….maybe him?

    Cute baby pictures, very handsome man!

    Peace and giggles

  15. I think I would really like Buck. I have always thought it would be great to live like that. Not sure I could do it now, but that was my dream when I was young. Thanks for sharing that Janet!


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