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Wednesday 27 June 2012


Supposedly a relatively common plant but it's not one I come across very often, rather unusual looking and that's why I believe it catches the eye. Maybe it's called figwort because the unopened flowers look like little figs???
Anyway uses aren't that many, most notably used traditionally to cure scrofula or "the Kings Evil", but has been used to help sore throats, however I do know it's got properties similar to foxglove and has an effect on the heart so maybe one best avoided as a medicine when out in the field.

Sunday 24 June 2012

Irish Bushcraft Club

We would like to sincerely thank Tony, Donal and all the guys and gals from the IBC for their very gracious invitation down to their permission for this months meet. It was great to meet them again and see some new faces too. Stories and tales were told and the food and conversation was without parallel..These guy's really know their stuff and their willingness to share that without reservation is wonderful. I always come away knowing more than when I arrived and am all the richer for it.You guy's genuinely have our respect, thankyou.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Cramp Balls

We found some !!!!

After years of looking for these we eventually found some King Alfreds Cakes, not very many but enough to prove you can get them here. They make a great tinder and can be used as an extender in a tinder bundle, they also take a spark from a ferro rod very well, I just wish we could find more of them!!

Sunday 17 June 2012

Bird Brothers, Stunning Birds of Prey

We recently had a chance to see some gorgeous Birds of Prey up close. Top of the food chain predators have always had a fascination for us regardless if they have fin, fur or feather, so here are a few pictures, I hope you like them.

Bald Eagle

and in's difficult to describe the sheer size of these birds, magnificent creatures with a 6 foot wingspan,the pictures don't do them justice

Bateleur eagle.. an amazing bird to see in flight especially the unusual way it lands

and in profile,

A Gyr/Merlin hybrid..this bird is specially bred in captivity to be the most agile bird on the planet! It can turn in it's own body length at full speed and take out any other feathered prey within it's size range, the perfect hunting machine but it can fetch up to £1,000,000 in price!!!!! (yes that's one million pounds per bird!)

The kestrel, one of our most common and spectacular birds of prey often seen hovering near roadside verges. I have flown these in the past and you can hardly feel their weight on your hand coming in at around 6 ounces!!

and of course....!!!!!

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Hard Rock

How often have you heard the term "Flint and Steel"? Quite often I'm sure, however there are numerous rocks harder than a 7 on the Mohs scale that will throw sparks from a steel. I went out today and found 3 types in just a few minutes..

Bottom left is Jasper, a nice opaque red colour often used in Jewelry, bottom right is good old flint and you all know how many colours it comes in, and top one is Chert in a lovely tan orange colour. All these throw excellent sparks and also add a nice bit of colour to your tinder kit!
Don't be led to believe that only flint works for percussion fire making!

Sunday 10 June 2012

Green Alkanet

This is a really eyecatching plant and it has beautiful blue flowers, usually found around hedgerows and bankside verges, particularly but not exclusively near the coast..

From a distance it could be mistaken for a speedwell or even a forget-me-not, but closer inspection reveals it's true identity

A real insect attractor, it's a gorgeous plant to have found. It was actually introduced by the Romans as a source of a red natural dye which can be extracted from the quite large root..I know one or two people who have tried this and complained it didn't work and the dye was a pale green colour.The reason they didn't succeed was quite simple, the red dye is not soluble in water. It was originally extracted with spirits of wine, so if you want to try this invest in a couple of bottles of vodka first!
I have read in other places that the flowers are edible, however I actually think these references are getting mixed up with Borage which can be eaten in salads and confusingly because Green Alkanet is actually a member of the Boraginaceae family.

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Picasso Tree

Sometimes the Dryad within each tree manifests itself in quite obvious ways and can often take rather obvious forms, I know what this one is appearing as but I don't want to influence what you see, so I won't use the power of suggestion!

Sunday 3 June 2012

Bush Food: Pan fried Mackerel wild sorrel sauce

Thought it was about time we put up another of our favourite wild food recipes, this one is a real taste of the summer

Firstly find some nice fresh common sorrel

Ingredients are butter, white wine, cream and of course the sorrel

roughly chop the sorrel

put a little butter in the pan, add the sorrel just until it wilts, then add a little white wine and the cream, keep stirring so the cream doesn't curdle

while you're doing this pan fry the mackerel, make sure it always goes flesh side down first!

once the mackerel is lightly browned put it skin side down and add the sauce, then