Friday, January 12, 2007

A Night By the River....

Back in November of last year (actually it was exactly two months ago on Nov 12th) I introduced you to my son Buck. That isn't his real name but since he wore buckskins most of the time I thought it was appropriate. At the time I said I would write more about him and his lifestyle. Then the holidays happened and I didn't write find any time. Today I will tell you a bit more about Buck.

In 1992 HB and I made our first trip together to visit Buck and his family in Montana. HB had never met Buck and I wasn't sure how it would go because of Buck's different lifestyle. I needn't have worried. They hit it off from the very beginning.

Buck was living in the Yaak Valley. They had a beautiful piece of land that was at the confluence of the North Yaak River and the East Yaak River. There was a cabin on the land but Buck and his family lived in a huge canvas tent. They used the cabin for storage of extra food, etc.

HB and I took along all our camping equipment and we set up our tent right along the river. It was springtime but there was still some ice in the rivers. HB decided to use some rocks and make a firepit so we could have a nice big fire to keep warm. Buck had a wood burning stove in their tent and it was toasty in there all the time. Actually it got too hot for me!

We gathered rocks from all around, some from the river area and some from the land and HB dug out an area and began arranging the rocks. We weren't sure what we would use for wood as the weather had been very rainy and that meant all the wood was damp.

Buck came down to see our campsite and to help us get settled in. We were all going to cook dinner on the firepit and spend the evening under the stars.

When the firepit was completed HB began searching for matches and dry wood but Buck said never mind. He walked around the area until he found what he was looking for then came back to camp. What he had was an old dried out bird's nest. He placed it in the firepit, took out his flint and a piece of steel and with a couple of strikes he had a spark that landed in the bird's nest! He blew on the spark and within seconds there was smoke. A couple more puffs of breath and there were flames. He began adding small bits of dried leaves that he found by brushing aside the top layer of wet leaves....then some wood. He had a roaring fire going in no time and we all gathered around it, thankful for the warmth.

Suddenly there was a loud "pop" and then another and another. We had used rocks that were water soaked and they were cracking in the heat of the fire!!

We had our dinner cooked over the fire and then we sat around and talked and enjoyed the sound of the river flowing nearby and the night sounds of animals in the woods. Later Buck played his drum and my oldest granddaughter danced around. This is a photo taken that evening....

These are my granddaughters and in the background you can see Buck (well, you can see part of him!) as he plays his drum. My oldest granddaughter "M" is wearing her buckskins, too and she has a sweater over them. The baby "W" has little buckskins of her own and she is in the back board that her mom used to carry her around. Little "M" was such a creative child. She and I took a walk together and she would stop to pick up a twig, look at it, throw it down, then pick up another until she found just the right one. Then she showed it to me and told me it was her doll! Sure enough the twig had two "legs", two "arms", and a "head"...."M" carried it around and played with it just as if it were a doll purchased at the store.

That night as HB and I were snuggling down in our sleeping bags we remembered that it was Spring and we were right beside a river! Spring is when bears start waking up looking for food and they come down to the river to drink!! And here we were sleeping in a tent. But no worry. We were safe. No bears got us.


I will post some artwork later today. Here's my checklist....

morning pages - check
the 5 rites - check
treadmill - not today
weights - check


  1. You have no idea how I enjoy reading about Buck and his lifestyle. Your granddaughters are absolutely beautiful btw! Please tell more. Buck is living a lifestyle most, including myself, could never conceive of...yet it's fascinating to learn about. It takes skill and great ingenuity to live the way he does...I am sure he has a great appreciation of nature. Does he write and/or take photos? His story would make a great book. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I agree with everything Lisa said in her comment. It must have made Buck very happy that you were willing to come and camp on his turf. Years ago I knew a beader who lived like that with her boyfriend in Eastern WA. I was always fascinating to talk with her and learn about how they do things. Thanks for this post!

  3. I hope I get to leave a comment today. I like hearing about 'Buck' and his family too. It is good that he is living as he wants to live. I love that.

  4. I also enjoy reading about Buck and his lifestyle. Your granddaughters are just beautiful. I imagine they also learned to be very self sufficient and quite content without many material things.
    Great post Janet!

  5. Oh Janet, I love to hear these stories, and that photo of your grandchildren is gorgeous! They must be all grown up now. Such a wonderful upbringing they've had, they will make wonderful adults, I'm sure. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, you've made my day :)

  6. Interesting synchronicity here...I posted about my son today too!!! Buck sounds like a great man...following his bliss!

  7. BEARS, and hungry ones at that, I think Buck must get his spirit of adventure from his mother. I think it is great that he could live out this desire to experience "the great wilderness" great reading, tell us more.

  8. Janet you have my admiration. You are a great mom to do that, and to spend time living as they did, for your vacation. Your granddaughters are beautiful... what rosy cheeks ! They look so healthy. They must be very interesting young women by now.I can imagine how proud you are of all of them. I love these stories.

  9. Thanks for sharing, they sound like a delightful family... he would do great on Survivor, but I guess he would be the last person to want that whole ruthless scramble for money, sounds like he has other much more worthwhile priorities in his life!

  10. Your granddaughters are little cherubs - just adorable!
    I am so in awe of those who are brave enough to follow their dreams and their convictions, and it sounds like your son has done just that. What a fascinating, authentic life he and his family must lead. I agree with other commenters, I'd love to read more about them, and their lifestory would make an interesting book or even a movie.

    BTW -I'm glad the bears didn't get you!

  11. Anonymous8:25 PM

    Thank you for sharing this Janet. I enjoyed reading this telling.
    I like how your described the rocks popping when they cracked.


  12. Janet~your son is so rugged! Wow, what tenacity to live that way...I am in awe.
    You and HB must have had a great time I can only imagine.
    Your two beautiful granddaughters are the picture of health.
    You are truly blessed.

  13. Janet,

    This was a fascinating post about your son and his family. And those little granddaughters are so beautiful!


  14. I enjoyed reading every word of this post Janet. And I agree with Lisa that Buck would have really appreciated you and your husband coming to visit. And living his lifestyle. The photo of your granddaughters is gorgeous. So natural. And they look very happy and loved.

    The story of M and her little stick dolly is precious.


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