Sounds of Falling Creek III

The Eastern Screech Owl

Falling Creek Screech Owl
They say there’s a Screech Owl in almost every neighborhood of the US. So, chances are, you may be sitting less than 100 meters from one right now. But the characteristic open-air screens of the Falling Creek cabins lend themselves to making you more available to hear the mews of the nighttime birds, sounding more like a horse wandering out of the pasture than a bird of prey prowling the forest.

If you’ve had the privilege of taking Steve Longenecker’s falconer course, then you will recognize Yoda or Harley’s call, perhaps while doing a late-night check.

Falling Creek Owl
Otherwise you may not realize the noise you’re hearing is that of an Eastern Screech Owl, which can take on all forms of hooting, braying, barking, or chuckling.

Easter Screech Owl

Along with the distinct call of the Eastern Screech Owl, you might also hear— as I have— some of its nocturnal allies in the late evening or early morning, like the…

great horned owl
Great Horned Owl

or the whippoorwill.

If any of these sounds puts you in a moment of reminiscing in your days at the Creek, whether you were dropping off your boy, or sleeping under the Falling Creek stars, feel free to leave a comment about it in the comment section.

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Gentlemanly Tips from the Gentlemen of Falling Creek: Part 3

Falling Creek Dance
Trends in clothing are like jokes. They can become humorless and predictable a week after everyone knows about it. They can also be inappropriate under certain circumstances. That’s why it’s best to find the right attire that will fit into any occasion so you never show up to a Sunday social in your best frock coat when everyone else is sporting polo and shorts.

For those of you unfamiliar in this segment, the Gentlemanly Tips from the Gentlemen of Falling Creek (or GTFTGFC for short) is gentleman of camp relaying tips of their gentlemanliness to other gentleman of Falling Creek so that we can all be more gently and, of course, more manly. So, drag out your old jazz vinyls and crank your players to soft, because today we shall discuss the tricks and pitfalls in the wild world of men’s fashion.

Off the Cuff-link: Flying by the Seat of Your Pants

Falling Creek Dance
One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to the right attire is price tag. A man needs not to worry about looking cheap if he happened to buy his clothes that way. What makes a difference in appearance is not brand, but cleanliness. Even if he’s wearing his t-shirt and shorts to a pick-up game of racquetball or a quick 18 holes, if he takes the right approaches to keeping them neat and unwrinkled, he can still look like a million bucks.

When said gentleman wishes to attend church, or an impromptu business meeting he has called to discuss finance, he would do well to make sure his shirt tale is tucked in. Nothing looks sloppier than shirt tales flopping around like a Doberman with uncropped ears.

In much the same way, he should keep his shirt tucked in and his shorts pulled up. He needn’t show off what color boxer shorts he happened to go with that day. No one wants to know. And no one is impressed by his audacity.
Falling Creek Dance

You are unlikely to encounter multiple occasions where you find the need to dress to the 9’s. True, if you are lucky enough to go to 3 balls, 2 galas, or 7 dinner parties in a week; you may want to invest in a suit. But you can get more mileage out of investing in 1 navy blue blazer that you can break out when the need arises. You could wear a blazer with anything from a button-up to a Sesame Street Shirt (if you work in the arts). It covers the gamut of funerals to bar mitzvahs. You could even wear it around the house if you want to be warm but not hot.

Rest assured, if it is before 5 o’clock, a black tie is not necessary… Unless of course you’re at your own wedding.

One last note on what you may put on besides fancy attire for such occasions, like cologne, or an entire can of AXE body spray. If anyone happens to compliment you on what scent you chose to cloak yourself with that night, you should not take it as such. Instead you should make a mental note you wore too much and should ease up next time; perhaps for a shower instead.

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Family Matters

Home Life and Technology

Every household is different, whether you have sports after school and don’t see each other until late in the evening, or coordinated times when you eat dinner together. One problem that faces households, especially now that we’re in the holiday season, is spending time in the same room, but in different worlds, in our tablets or cell phones. You may be in the same room, but feeling in different realities from the people you want to spend your time with.

A study by the Kaiser Family shows that children ages 8 to 18 on average spend over 10 hours and 45 minutes a day on technology. Considering they already spend at least 7 hours at school during the week, that’s more than a school day, spent escaping on their screens; And parents can be just as bad, spending 12 hours a day plugged in.

Falling Creek Dinning Hall

This problem is by no means intentional. Everyone uses these devices like they never have before to ask friends about homework, do their homework, or take a Facebook quiz on which breed of dog they are most like. It has become just as much a part of our lives as electricity or plumbing.

But all the same, it has put a strain on our family’s relationship building. As we spend time in the same room escaping to video games and blog articles, like the one you’re reading now, we spend time apart. Instead of starting a revolution and going back in time to some idealistic awareness about society before technology, we can take steps to balance their use in our lives.

Making a nightly schedule helps. Sometimes you can get so wrapped up in the needs of doing just one more action in your phone, check the weather or check your Facebook status, that it’s hard to tear yourself away when you know you have more you need to accomplish before the night is over.

Falling Creek Family

Dusty Davis, Camp Chaplin and all-around family man, suggested making a schedule. Even scheduling time away from your phone or iPad can force you to look at it later, when you realized that nothing new has happened on Facebook anyway. If everyone takes time to hang out in the den, by the pool, or at the park; take part in game night; or cook a meal together, with a strict rule against screens while occupied in these activities, you can have unencumbered time together— plus won’t ruin your device in the pool.

Of course, sometimes schedules are hard to keep too, which is why you can always remove them from the dinner table. Dinner tables are already places where you and your family have deep meaningful conversations as well as “how the chicken tastes.” They make for a perfect opportunity for togetherness that no one can escape until they finish their meal. And the statistics speak for themselves. Recent studies link time spent talking at the dinner table in direct correlation to high grade point averages, lower substance abuse cases, high self-esteem, and lower rates of depression.

So this month, while you all sit around the dinner table passing your favorite Christmas dish and making merry, you can always get a conversation going by asking everyone “What they are thankful for,” or “What was something great that happened to you today.”

Falling Creek Cabin

Delegating time specifically for technology use can help too. During or only after homework is finished can also help cut down the times everyone is tuned in apart. Which may sound similar to making a schedule, but in this instance, instead of making time for you all to spend together, you’re making a schedule for the time you are allowed to use technology.

This way you know that kids are only using it to write papers, parents are only using it to pay taxes, and everyone is enjoying some time to themselves later in the evening when everyone is winding down for the night.

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Rain Falling On a Tin Roof

True this last summer we lucked out on rain, only getting it for about an hour during the day or while we were on an overnight. But anyone who has been at camp and familiar with our cabins and their solid metal roofs will

falling creek cabin
recognize the sound of rain smacking down overhead, sounding less like raindrops and more like showers of pebbles.

Some find the uproar of rain thumping against metal soothing, while others quickly learn to enjoy the sound after realizing it means they’re not out in it. Whatever your relationship with the rain is, you will recognize it as one of the night time (or rest-period) noises that you have become accustomed to.

Some other noises that accompany it, if the rain has taken on a life of its own: the ambiance of drainage as the summertime shower turns into a temperate deluge and inspires a river under your cabin.
runoff sound

Like I mentioned earlier, if any of these sounds spur on a memory harkening back to your days at the Creek, whether that be this last summer or the summer of ‘82, feel free to leave a comment about it in the comment section below.

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4 MORE Basic Knots to Know

Last month I did an article about useful knots to know on a campout. Although having a knack for those afore mentioned knots help in countless situations, there’s still a bundle of bindings out there that can help in others. I’m not saying these knots are more important. But they will help you with other necessities that may not necessarily apply to a campout, but still useful to know, like…

4. The Carrick Bend
Falling Creek Carrick Bend Knot

Let’s say you had a heavy burden, that you feel uneasy supporting with a cord bound by a square knot— which is after all just two overhand knots. There is another more complicated knot out there, meant for holding more weight and looking even more awesome.

The Carrick Bend is like the sheet bend, binds two ropes with more security, but with another added twist. To tie one, you need only

Falling Creek Carrick Bend Sequence
1. Make a loop with one string.
2. Draw your other rope under the loop.
3. Pull the rope around the outside of the loop
4. Bring it back under the loop
5. And thread it over itself, so that both knots look identically entwined.

Before you pull it tight, it looks like a celtic knot when you’re done.

3. The Timber Hitch

Let’s say you wanted a knot that acts like a slipknot, fastening itself around the base of a tree or a stationary object, but don’t want to strangle any tree or piece of wood you tie it to.

Timber hitches are great for securing heavy objects to solid bases, like a bear bag to a tree, or a guitar string to a bridge. You only need to…

Falling Creek Timber Hitch Knot
Falling Creek Timber Hitch Knot

1. Wrap a length of rope around your base (a tree, a pole, or in my case, a broom stick)
2. Feed the rope back under the loop
3. Then through the loop
4. Then feed your rope back over, through the loop again
5. and again…
(and again… and again… and as many times you need!)

Once it’s cinched down, it will stay as tight as you can pull. When you decide you’re done using it, you can undo it in a snap!

2. Alpine Butterfly Loop
Falling Creek Alpine Butterfly Knot

Let’s say you want to create a loop in the middle of a rope that doesn’t constrict or release. You need something similar to a bowline but don’t want to use either end which you have strapped to a harness or to the climbing wall. You need to make a loop without using the ends of the rope.

In this situation, an alpine butterfly makes perfect loops for climbing, especially if you want to hook in extra straps or items.

falling creek alpine butterfly sequence

You need only…
1. Wrap the rope across your palm

Falling Creek Alpine Butterfly Knot

2. Around your top three fingers,
3. And back across your palm to make an ‘x’ shape.
4. Then, taking the loop created at the tips of your fingers, pull down over the ‘x’ in your palm
5. Feed it up and under.

Remove your hand and you should have a beautiful knot in its place.

Unfortunately, you can only appreciate the butterfly shape ‘til you pull both ends tight to make the Alpine Butterfly loop.

1. That Necklace “Tightener” Knot That Everyone Does (AKA The Barrel Knot)

falling creek necklace knot waterbottle
Some of you may see those knots that blacksmiths use to tie off their arrowheads or talismans. They can adjust to any size around your neck. They can be used to cinch down necklaces or makes straps around the lip of a water bottle.

It’s called the barrel knot.

And to get it started, you will need to tie essentially a double slipknot. Those of you who read my last entry may know my feelings about slipknots. This case is the only instance I recommend using one.

falling creek camp barrel knot

1. Lay your necklace on a table.
2. Loop one end twice around the other rope
3. Pull the excess cord of the tip through the loops from the far side.
4. Do an identical knot with the other cord and make sure the lines are even.

falling creek necklace knot

It’s a simple knot to throw together. If the double loop is too tricky for you, you can do 1 loop. Or if it’s hardly enough, you can do 3 loops (but any more and it just looks ridiculous).

Hopefully these knots will come in handy when you need them.

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