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Sunday 30 December 2012

The End of an Era

We visited a little site we haven't visited in many many moons as we were led to believe a road was being built through it..
someone had attempted to build a shelter, I say attempted as you can see why!!
The ground was well walked over, there was some litter and a lot of the hazel had been cut back
there were still some crab apples on the trees, a nice find for this time of year
It always had a good source of water but when the road is built I fear for it's purity..
the young ash plantation had all been cut down
and the ground had all been fenced off for a considerable distance, such a pity because at one time this little place had such potential now it seems to have lost a lot of it's magic, somehow I don't think we will ever be back.

Tuesday 25 December 2012

This years Wreath

Davy and I would like to wish all true blood Bushcrafters a very Merry Bushmas and a Preppy New Year!!
We hope this coming year brings new knowledge and adventures
Keep the Faith

Sunday 23 December 2012

Burdock Root Tea

Most Bushcrafters are aware of the edible properties of Burdock root, when you mention a drink some even say "Ah, Dandelion and Burdock", but burdock root tea is a superb beverage with great benefits. Called Gobo in Japan it is highly esteemed and greatly sought after for it's flavour and health benefits, it's also easy to prepare..

dig up a decent size burdock root, this is the perfect time of year to find them!

trim and skin the root as necessary

carefully shred it into thin slivers
then dry roast it in an open pan
infuse a few slivers in some boiling water,then remove for a gorgeous tasting tea

It has a wonderful sweet aroma, my son thought I was making potato bread when he smelt it, it's  flavour is very sweet and potatoey and is really warming and comforting, it really is a bit special..
Burdock root was believed to be a detoxifier and it may be applied externally as well as internally to relieve eczema and psoriasis also it may ease painful joints and act as a diuretic. Ancient Chinese medicine combined burdock root with other herbs to treat colds, measles, sore throats, and tonsillits and the Japanese consume burdock root as a vegetable also.
It is reputed to be great for PMS and to lower blood sugar. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Winter Wild Garlic

It's a common misconception that you can only gather wild garlic in the spring and summer, if you can remember where the garlic beds are it's easy to get yourself a are some I dug up last week
They're easy to dig up but remember that you are destroying the plant if you take the root so only harvest if necessary, remember it's health benefits too, it's got good antibacterial properties as well as being a good antifungal and it also helps fight colds and flus so perfect for this time of year.

Sunday 16 December 2012

December Day

It's always nice to get out and especially at this time of year when it's frosty and cold, the woods seem to be asleep but look closely and you'll find some signs..

 a beautiful hoar frost was coating the ground in places but lifted as the sun rose
game trails were evident if you pay attention, the fallow were obviously moving well
and they left fresh evidence behind!!
and Davy started his christmas wreath in honour of the Greenman, days out like this certainly put us in form for christmas!

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Brace of Woodcock

Managed to acquire a nice brace of woodcock recently, so with Davy's game larder and these birds we will have a great selection to try from over the winter to come.

Sunday 9 December 2012

Cheap Ration Packs

I was in the local £ shop recently and saw something that should appeal to all us Bushcrafters as well as Preppers and Outdoors men in general..

Doesn't look like much at first sight, but open it up and lets take a look inside!!

Look familiar ?? It actually contains 2 ration packs, one of rice and one of sweet and sour chicken, also a plastic spoon and a plastic bowl. They are microwaveable but more importantly also boil in the bag just like traditional ration packs. They are dated for use by 2015 but as most of us know, when ration packs are sealed in mylar like this they can last for years and years, but what about the taste?
Well, when opened they smelt like dog food!, also looked a little like it too especially as the meat was very dark and more like beef than chicken!! Taste however was quite good, nice flavour and decent portions, certainly not a kings dinner, but a very good fall back for bushcrafters and preppers and at £1 in price an incredibly cheap alternative to ration packs that can be nearly 5 times that price!
I think I'll stock up on a few more.

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Ash Dieback Disease

I'm concerned about the disease affecting Ash trees in the UK at the minute, as any good bushcrafter knows the Ash is one of our most splendid and important trees and to loose them would do irreparable damage to our natural heritage, we should all know just how important these trees are to us..even the folklore connected with them is outstanding, remember the Yggdrasil ???
ash trees are very common in my neck of the woods so just in case the worst scenario happens..
We've been out collecting ash seeds which we will dry out and keep in storage should we ever need to replant these majestic trees
as conservationists we want to see little ash plantations like this for many years to come.

Sunday 2 December 2012

More Fun at the Forge

Thought y'all might like to see some more items we made at the forge just recently, if I say so myself I do think we are starting to get an idea of just how to do this blacksmithing thing

starting to make the flat that will become the ferrule on a Bodkin point for an arrow

a couple of finished points ready to wrap around the appropriate shafts
and one thing I've always wanted to make was my own steel (strike-a-light) for use with a flint, I saw Tony's one that he had forged himself when we were down with the IBC over the summer and it just fed the fuel of my desire all the more. This is the first one I made out of a simple round file, the shape is not that important but getting it to spark correctly most certainly is, and once I had the steel shaped it was heated to non-magnetic and water quenched, it sparked perfectly!! I was so pleased I decided to try something a little more elaborate
and here it is, a simple Ram's Horn steel, not by any means a work of art but it fits my fingers well and sparks very well indeed..I am a happy man!

Wednesday 28 November 2012

From Dusk till Dawn

We never seem to have enough woods time so every opportunity it greeted with relish especially on winter nights in a local wood..It was a quick hike in after work and out again before sun rise, no fires and the minimum of equipment,just a sleeping bag, a bivi bag, a tarp and some ration packs..bed down and watch the moon rise, and as it did so it lit up the woods as clear as day, and once our eyes adjusted it was easy to see all around..

the full moon has been big and bright over here lately, so although we didn't get much sleep it was cathartic none the less..

Sunday 25 November 2012

Mora Companion Heavy Duty

It hasn't been so long since the introduction of the Mora Robust and that knife seems to have went down very well, as a result a few models with different characteristics have been released, most recently the Mora Companion Heavy Duty

as you can see it also has the 3mm blade, the handle and blade lengths are identical to the Robust
the only difference straight out of the box is that the spine of the blade has been squared off and not left rough like on most Moras

And as you can see it compared with the Robust above, the Companion heavy duty and the Mears version below, all identical apart from the colour

it's hard to make out in the pictures but the colour of the Companion HD is very orange, a great knife if you work in heavy brush and have a possibility of dropping it!
What they just didn't call it the Robust Hi Viz is a mystery, still the three above form the Holy Trinity of Mora Bushcraft Knives, never leave home without one!

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Simple Priming pan for a Penny Stove

Use the lid of a can of potatoes!

It's important to use a can opener that cuts round the side of the can rather than round the top


and that leaves the lip on ready to hold a few mils of meths, enough to prime your penny stove..

Sunday 18 November 2012

Working at Tannaghmore Forge

We spent a great time this weekend with the guys at Tannaghmore forge getting more tips and instruction to further our abilities at blacksmithing, we are the first to admit that we have a long way to go but we intend to study with these guys at length over the next few months and hopefully you will see some improvement in our abilities

Eamonn started the day with a good safety talk and getting the forges going, plus lots of tips and ideas of how to forge, the intention was to get us familiar with the basics then we can delve into completing our own ideas

Once the forges were nice and hot we got the steel into the heat and practised the techniques we had been shown

once the steel was at the right heat we started to pound the metal into the square needed to begin the design

then we worked along the bar squaring it off as we went

once the right length was achieved the ends were curled by the hammer

and continuing to curl before twisting the bar to form a gorgeous piece

and the finished piece of work, all very easily done under great instruction from the tutors.
We have many more projects to tackle and the smiths are all very understanding and patient with us and are more than willing to facillitate what we have in mind, so we are looking forward to the rest of the course with them and making many more interesting bits and pieces.

We at Buzzard would like to sincerely thank Eamonn, Chris, Johnny and all the other guys we spent time with this weekend and look forward to spending more time at the forge over the next wee while.

Keep your eyes posted here for other bits we manage to knock together!

If you live in Northern Ireland and fancy a crack at blacksmithing, we can heartily recommend the guys at Tannaghmore for a day (or even a course over a number of weeks), and you can contact them or check them out at their facebook page below

Tell them we said Hi !!!

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Shaggy Ink Caps

Not our favourite mushrooms by any stretch of the imagination but at this time of year they are quite common

They need to be cooked quite lightly as we've found that if you over cook them they turn into a runny gooey mess

The flavour is quite bland too compared to some other mushrooms and as a result we only pick them if there are few other good fungi specimens around..


As with any fungi, make sure you know without a doubt what it is you are eating, and if you're not sure remember the adage..


Sunday 11 November 2012

Red Clover Tea

Of all the bush teas this has to be a favourite, pick when the sun is high to get a really sweet tasting tea

Pick as many flower heads as you think you will need, normally around 6 to 12

shake the heads well to get rid of insects and small bits of debris

as per usual I make more of a decoction than a tea which retrieves more of the goodness from the plant and tastes better

remove the flower heads (and insect bits!) and drink (and eat the heads if you wish), you can see this makes the most tea like drink in comparison to what we would normally consume..very refreshing.

Red clover, aside from having a good source of protein is high in calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine and vitamin C.
A piece of folklore about the plant says that in Virginia the native tribes there believed that Red Clover flowers had been stained by the blood of fallen warriors, and as a result they would drink the tea or eat the flowers believing it gave them the strength of their forefathers when heading into battle.

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Davy's Winter Game Larder

Davy was able to procure us quite a lot of game for the upcoming winter, including Pheasants, Duck, Pigeon, Rabbit, Woodcock and Venison, so we are going to have to get our thinking caps on for good outdoor recipes

This is just a small portion of what he has in store for us and we already have a few ideas lined up...

But if any of you guys want to recommend a simple outdoorsy recipe for game please drop us a line!