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Sunday 30 June 2013

Woundwort Ointment

For as long as I can remember everybody in the bushcraft field has been saying that the 4 principles of survival are Fire, Food, Shelter and Water, but they are missing a fundamental and probably very important 5th principle..Medicine..
It's only a matter of time till you get hurt or sick in one way or another and being able to rectify this with a natural medicine is an essential part of bushcraft knowledge, an easy remedy for cuts, grazes and minor skin problems is Woundwort ointment.
find some woundwort just before it flowers and pick a few stalks,(if you can handle the aroma!)
you will also need beeswax and a carrier oil like coconut, almond or as I like to use, extra virgin olive oil
coarsely crush the woundwort with a pestle and mortar
put the crushed plant in a stainless steel bowl over a water boiler ( bain marie) and cover with your carrier oil, and heat the oil gently! This is a critical step, the oil must be heated gently over a period of an hour or two, too hot and you'll end up with deep fried vegetables!!!
strain the oil through coarse linen or muslin
if you've done it right the oil should have turned a beautiful deep translucent oilve green colour, then add 1 part beeswax to 10 parts oil and heat gently until the beeswax melts.
once all the wax has melted pour the ointment into a warm jar and allow to cool
once cooled this ointment or balm can be used like germoline or an antiseptic cream, it works very well to stop bleeding and heal the cut or graze as well as soothe the skin.
One last very important point, make sure the wound is completely clean before applying as it heals so quickly you can seal in dirt or debris under the skin!

Wednesday 26 June 2013

20 second wire Fork

Dead simple to make if you find a piece of wire when you're out

Find it, cut it, bend it, twist it, that's it !!

Sunday 23 June 2013

Future Fruit

Went out for a walk and found this little patch of a potential future fruit harvest
The whole ground was covered in them!! Can you tell what they are yet?
Closest..yep, strawberries..

a whole potential forest floor of fruit

Thursday 20 June 2013

Dryads Saddle

There are not many fungi I am comfortable with identifying correctly, but this one is hard to get wrong. A lovely looking tree fungus with a feathery appearance giving rise to the common names of "Pheasants feather fungus" and "Hawks wing".
This is an edible fungus, when young anyway as it tends to get tough when older. I've eaten it once when I think I must have over cooked it as it got quite tough, apparently it's best to flash fry them in a little butter. I've also read that they taste of Lemon and also Melon !! Er I wish they did but to me it was a delicate mushroom taste, unsurprisingly!
Still I will try them again sometime, but I left these ones alone as they don't appear in our woods that often and I'd like them to spore for a future harvest.

Sunday 16 June 2013

Duck Dynasty Dads Day

What did you all get for fathers day? I got some pretty special things, think I'm beginning to see a pattern here and it shows just how redneck my family think I actually am!! love it!!!

Wednesday 12 June 2013

An Elderflower Summer

For me this is always the first real sign of summer and the good weather we have had lately has helped the elderflowers start to show, even though they're about 3 weeks late
I'm hoping for a bumper crop this year as last years harvest was virtually nil and I miss my elderflower champagne..fingers crossed for an elderflower summer

Sunday 9 June 2013

Whittling away the hours.

Not doing much but enjoying the weather, sitting in the woods and practising my knife skills
It's important, I feel, to get used to the knife you readily use most often, which means using it for carving, food prep, woodwork, skinning and all other simple tasks we take for granted using our cutting tools

Being able to carve a netting needle, a spatuloon or even your figure 4 traps is all good practise and keeps your knife skills, like your blade, well honed.

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Sunday 2 June 2013

Pan Pipes - Bushcraft Music !!

I've often seen people make simple whistles from sycamore and willow branches and they work well but they only produce one note.. but there's an easy to make alternative...
find a wood with a hollow centre, just make sure it's not poisonous! Cut various lengths and thicknesses, the wider and longer the pipe the deeper the note, and the shorter and narrower the higher the note, tie them all together in sequence and play to your hearts content, they work very,very well, but as I have no musical ability all I make is a racket!!!