Sunday, April 28, 2013

My Sling - A Tutorial

Growing up the only material I thought slings were made of was leather. In a pinch I would use my boot laces and cut out the tongue of my boot for a pouch but by and large, they were all leather or mostly leather.

Skipping ahead well now I know slings are made from many different kinds of material, wool, plant fiber, animal hair, leather, etc. In my search for the perfect combination or type of sling, besides the Chamorro sling my personal everyday favorite sling is a combination of leather and jute.

But it's not just the material used, it is also the way the cords are attached to the pouch to provide a clean release when any stone is thrown. Here's my everyday sling on the left. I made this sling using a 4 ounce soft elk hide for the pouch with braided jute cord tapered on the release cord, again to provide a clean release. I have found that this design is the best of both worlds using strong braided cords with a soft leather pouch that holds the ammo very well.

This is how it's done. My work and cutting pad has a one inch by one inch grid to show the size of materials and components.

Cut out your pouch. The size is part personal preference but a five inch long, two inch wide pouch, give or take is what is shown here. The overall length of pouch that you will need for this sling is eight inches. Your pouch should form narrow tabs as shown here. These tabs along with the holes punched into the pouch are how you will attach your anchor and release cords. As show, you will also need to make two small tear drop shapped pieces that will act as reinforcement where the slings cords attach.

For a five strand braid begin by cutting six strands about eight feet long. You will use three eight foot strands per side. Put three of the six strands together to form a bundle. Fold your three strand bundle in half to form six strands from where you will braid your anchor and release cords. Where the six strands are folded and form three loops in the middle of the bundle; push these looped cords through the holes made in your pouch and reinforcement tabs as shown.

Next fold the ends of your leather pouch and reinforcement tab through the cord loop and pull the strands tight. Now you have six strands securely attached to each side your pouch. From here it's just a simple matter of braiding and blending your cords to form your relase and anchor cords.
Here is the finished sling made with three ounce buckskin and jute fiber. The release cord begins with a five strand braid, tapering slowly then finishing off with a thin four strand round braid. The anchor loop has a soft leather padding added for comfort. The way the cords are attached hold the stone in the pouch and keeps the cords separated at their anchor point to the sling's pouch. So far I've never had any tangles of cords or hang up with the release no matter what style I am using to throw or what kind of ammo being thrown. Tomorrow may show me something different but for today, this is the best design I've used. The only addition besides the padded finger loop has been the over-braid reinforcement of the release cord where it attaches to the pouch. I have found that this is an area that shows some minor wear on my current sling, probably because of the day I spent at the railroad tracks throwing sharp angular stones.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Chicken Kelaguen Refresher

Chicken Keleguen is easy to make.

Roasted chicken, chopped. Chopped onion, grated coconut, roasted peppers, lemon and salt.

Mix all ingredients, except for the coconut, save that for last. Squeeze in the lemon a little at a time while mixing and tasting. Dish should be tangy without being sour. Add a little salt to taste then add in the coconut. For more information please see my previous post with the detailed recipe.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Recipe - Chicken Estufau

Chicken Estufau is one of several favorite Chamorro foods of mine. This dish is simple, easy to make and doesn't take a lot of time or ingredients.

  • Chicken - Any amount will do. I prefer drumsticks and thighs. If you have whole chicken, cut it into medium-sized pieces.
  • Onion - About half an onion
  • Soy Sauce - About 1/2 to 3/4 cup
  • White Vinegar - About 1/2 to 3/4 cup
  • Black Pepper
  • Sugar - 1 Table Spoon
  • Olive Oil (Cooking Oil)
  • Garlic - Fresh or Powdered
  • Bay Leaf - By adding bay leaf you turn your dish into Chicken Adobo. I like my dish with or without bay leaf.
First chop your onion, set aside a few table spoons aside and place the remainder into a bowl. Next drop in your garlic and black pepper. Each of these should be according to your own taste. I don't think I've ever put too much of either.
Using a potato masher or your hand if you prefer, crush up and mix the onion, garlic and black pepper mix in the bowl. Next pour in about a half cup or more of vinegar. Next, pour in about an equal amount of soy sauce. You must stir, taste and adjust as necessary. Your marinade will need to be both tangy and salty.

Next, place your chicken pieces into your marinade and let set while you move onto the next step. Take your tablespoon of sugar and place it into an ungreased/oiled pan on medium heat and melt the sugar. If you prefer, you can place the sugar into the dish later but I prefer melted and carmalized surgar. Pour in a small amount of oil, chopped onions and garlic and saute until the onions are tender. If you're using a bay leaf, drop it in with your chopped onions.

Now that your oil is seasoned with the onions, garlic and sugar, take your chicken pieces out of the marinade and drop them into the seasoned oil. Put the marinade to the side.
Stir and stir your chicken pieces. You're essentially frying the chicken at this point. Keep frying the chicken until cooked.
The liquid in your pan should not be allowed to evaporate all the way out. You want to keep a little liquid in the pan as you fry your chicken.

Once the juice from the chicken runs clear letting you know that the chicken is cooked thoroughly, drop in the remainder of your marinade, bring the liquid up to a boil, cover the pot then take the heat down just enough to allow the pot to simmer.

Allow the pot to simmer for about 15 minutes then taste. Adjust the flavor as necessary. If you need more moisture you can add chicken broth or a little water.

When your dish is thoroughly cooked serve it with rice, pouring the broth over the rice. Add a glass of your favorite wine and if you have it, a little pickled mango. Gof Mange! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Fishing - Chamorro Fish Hook ( Haguet )

The ancient people of the Marianas used a number of methods for taking fish and were skilled at fishing in both shallow and deep water. Fish could be caught in the shallows as found in Apra Harbor using weirs (Gigao), channels that would guide fish into fish traps or channel the fish into areas where they could be gathered by net, spear or by hand. Chamorros also used several types of nets as well as fish hooks, hand lines and lures.   

From artifacts found we know that fish hooks (Haguet) could come in a “J”, “L” or “V” shape and could be made from sea shell, turtle shell, and bone. Some hooks consisted of two separate parts, the shaft and the tip. I made this 1.5 inch hook from mahogany wood, deer bone and pago bark fiber.