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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Shanes Castle 2017

We were very fortunate to be asked to attend this year's game fair at Shanes Castle, apparently after considering a number of other bushcraft schools we were the ones that came most highly recommended so we thank everyone concerned for that.


So we had to get there the day before to get set up and this gave us the excuse to bring out the big tent, it's 30x20 feet and 14 feet tall..this thing is a beast and only gets used when we have large events or really big groups. We also had Tipi's, Icelandics and Bell tents set up in the woodland behind


After we got everything organised we had a well earned rest and got ready for a busy weekend.


Lots of items out for display and to encourage conversation, and boy was there lots of it !I think some of the folks we met on the Saturday enjoyed it so much that they came back on the sunday and spent 3 or 4 hours talking to us!!


We had a really busy few days with 30,000 people through the gates so we were kept on our toes the whole time


It was tricky to get pictures as we were constantly talking or demonstrating but nonetheless we did get a few


We made loads of new contacts and set ourselves up for an interesting year ahead, we are going to be so busy!

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Another day at the forge.

We managed to get the rest of the guys their chance at the forge last weekend. They'd all been looking forward to this for a while and this time it was decided to make Viking knives.



The weather was so good this time that we brought the anvils and forges outside



Didn't take long for everyone to get there forging heads on and start to focus on the steel.



There was great craic as everyone worked diligently and encouraged the friendly rivalry that was going on



Didn't take long for the knives to take shape



And after a couple of hours there were some great finished pieces on show





Thursday, 15 June 2017

Hummingbird hawk moth

Thought I saw a hummingbird fly past me the other day it was an incredible sight, though on closer examination it turned out to be some hummingbird hawk moths.



Very exciting to see and a wonderful wild surprise.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Willow bark baskets

As you've seen from a previous post I stripped some willow to use the bark and the wood.
The bark was too nice to take down into cordage so I thought I'd make a couple of small berry collecting baskets from it.


So bark was stripped all in one piece


An elipse scored in the bark to allow it to bend


Started making cordage from lime bark to tie it all together


But realised I didn't have enough so had to resort to shop bought jute instead


All tied together


And ready for berry picking season.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Stripped willow turns red

It's one of those unusual anomalies that sometimes happen. We know that boiling willow bark turns the fibres red but sometimes you don't even have to boil them.



I cut some willow recently as I need the bark and the wood



And as usual I stripped the bark carefully from the branch. Now in the past when I've done this there is often a red tinge taken by the wood surface as it dries but this time just overnight the change was remarkable



And here's a close up of where I scored the bark to take it from the branch



A lovely colour if only it stained the wood that colour permanently.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Sweet woodruff

This is a lovely little plant often ignored or even just missed when it grows on the forest floor..


Though not so much edible as more useful as a bush tea, it has been used in Germany to flavour wine. It is also slightly antiseptic so if other more medicinal plants can't be found it is useful for a wound wash.


Easily recognisable due to it's leaves as they circle the stem and also it's little white flowers, it's most traditional use was as a strewing herb. It's scent, of fresh hay, increases as it dries and it stays rather well over time.
It's very effective as a moth repellent so was often put in drawers to keep the cloth nibbling varmints at bay.

It was once hung in churches to ward off evil and it is often used to symbolise humility and coyness.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Elder shavings for your tinder box

I was doing a little work with elder recently and when you do a lot of fine carving you end up with a lot of fine shavings..


It's a shame to waste these as they can be stuffed in a tin and used for fire starting as they take a spark from a Ferro rod rather well, just sort them into a pile and light them with your Ferro rod..


Real easy.