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Sunday, 21 March 2021

Petrified knife hones from Lough Neagh

 Lough neagh is the biggest freshwater lough in the British Isles and in years gone by there were pieces of petrified wood taken from the lough and fashioned into whetstones to be sold in the cities for sharpening knives, you can occasionally still find pieces of petrified wood along the shore line if you look carefully.. 


It looks just like a piece of drift wood


But when you pick it up you can feel from the weight that its not wood.



And when you tap it against another stone the clink sound is unmistakable, it'll take a bit of work to make it into a whetstone but I think I'll keep it just as it is, after all its supposedly 60 million years old !


Thursday, 21 January 2021

The Preppers Medical Handbook - a review

 I was recently sent a copy of the Preppers Medical Handbook by its author Dr William W. Forgey M.D. Although he never asked for the book to be formally reviewed I felt it was necessary to do so as it is an outstanding addition to any bushcrafters or preppers library.

All too often we prepare with kit, skills, weapons, and expeditions often relying on one person in the group to deal with any medical incidents that may occur, however should that person fall ill themselves the group could find themselves at a distinct disadvantage with no medical help, however there is now no excuse as long as you carry this book with you at all times.

This volume is quite detailed and I'd assume it's directed at people who already have some medical knowledge as certain phraseology or words might only be  familiar to those with a little first aid or medical background. In saying that, everything is clearly explained and laid out in a detailed and concise manner so that the average Joe or Jane can easily understand how to deal with any medical emergency, however I would recommend you familiarise yourself with the book's layout so that should an emergency occur you're not flicking through pages trying to find the necessary course of action while in a panic. Basically every possible scenario you are likely to encounter appears in the book, and it does go into deeper and more focused detail than a simple first aid manual. To be honest I can't recommend it highly enough, this book should be read and re-read often and carried in your pack on every expedition, also make sure your buddies get a copy and make them familiarise themselves with it too, you never know, having this book on hand may just save someones life one day.. again I must re-emphasise, bring it with you at all times, this should be as important to you as your knife! 





Monday, 21 December 2020

Sea Buckthorn

 A wonderfully helpful plant to find at this time of year when a lot of other berries have disappeared.

Bright orange, said to be the colour or mermaids blood, it springs up in prickly bushes around a lot of our coastline. To such an extent that its classed as invasive and is often removed.

However the berries are high in vitamins, particularly vitamin c, minerals and trace elements. It's got a great reputation for lowering blood pressure and as a skin emollient. Its incredibly bitter and sharp to taste straight off the bush, though I love that, but can be made into syrups and jams or mixed with other ingredients to make a delicious compote. Be careful of the thorns, but enjoy the flavour.









Thursday, 19 November 2020

Dried seaweed - palmira palmata

 In Northern Ireland we've been brought up eating a particular type of seaweed called Dulse ( in Belfast we pronounce it dulice). One of the red seaweed it's got a gorgeous salty irony taste and is a great reminder of my youth when my grandfather and I would gather lots of it and dry it out in the hedge around the hut.

These days I often usually just dry it, grate it and use it as an additive in food dishes, particularly stews and soups in which it gives a meaty salty taste.. 


So I gathered quite a bit, theres a lot more there than you think!


I then dried it out in the oven


Then ground it down, not to powder but more fine chunks. This little bag about 5 inches square is all thats left after the drying ! This will keep for a long time and can be added to any dishes that need a little extra kick of something different.


 

Sunday, 4 October 2020

Native oysters

 I've been spending more time along the coast again, doing a little beachcombing and seeing what the sea casts up and it's fun to find new things as the tide ebbs. This time I found a couple of native oysters. 



Now I'm not that keen on these as a food source, I'll eat them if I have to but much prefer the Pacific oysters that wash up on the beach from time to time, but even then I'd rather have clams or mussels.. nonetheless it shows the bounty of the seashore if you spend the time just looking. 

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Soapwort - SAPONARIA OFFICINALIS

 I was out for a dander near the coast recently and found some soapwort. Now this one is a little different than the one I've seen before so I'm assuming it's a garden escapee. Nonetheless it was quite prolific and pretty to look at



Same leaf configuration I've seen before but the petals are a little different, however I took some back to see if it had saponins that could lather in soft water..



I crushed the leaves, gave it a little rub between my hands and it lathered up very well.. A handy find.



Sunday, 2 August 2020

Bit of a sea Forage

Its been quite a while since I've been out along the coast looking for edibles so I recently got the chance to go out along the Ulster shore line in search of a meal


Gorgeous part of the world with lots of potential for sea foraging.


Selection of the finds after about 30 minutes, 


Purging them in clean salt water to get rid of the sand, the catch included, mussels, cockles, clams, scallops and whelks.


And steamed then garlic butter added,it was delicious.