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Wednesday 28 August 2013

Marsh Woundwort

Very closely related to hedge woundwort from which we made the recent salve,
a much more delicate flower with a beautiful pink colour and gorgeous detailing.
It has antiseptic properties similar to hedge woundwort but apparently isn't just as effective as an herbal medicine. However the young shoots are edible but not particularly pleasant tasting although the roots are tuberous though small and are good roasted or made into a flour.
This is one of the best all round plants and well worth knowing!

Monday 26 August 2013

Self Reliance Illustrated Offer..

Mike, the editor in chief of Self Reliance Illustrated has a great offer for all you Buzzard readers out there, all you have to do is click on the link to the issues below, choose which one you want FREE OF CHARGE and email Mike and let him know which one you want and he will send it to you..
This is a great offer and I hope y'all will take advantage off it!
 The magazines are available at Self Reliance Illustrated Offer
and you can email Mike at info
Please note these are digital issues and available for Kindle, ebook,PDF etc.

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Bow Drill Fire from Scratch

It's often said that a true bushcrafter must be able to go into the woods with just a knife and string and make fire, however, that's not really from scratch as you are bringing certain items with you and you may as well then bring a reliable way of making fire, any way we think there's far too much emphasis placed on fire by friction and as a result we don't practise it very often, but Davy set us the challenge of doing it in less than 3 hours! Now it's been raining on an off here for the past week so it's definitley going to be harder than normal!
we entered the woods at 12.00pm, and had a quick scout round, I spied some dead willow, my favourite material for the firebow so I cut some to add to the pile of different woods we would try.

we quickly had a pile of elder, sycamore, spruce and willow.

we quickly cut some hearths of different woods

and spindles to match, the elder spindles are not shown here. The bearing block was a piece of dead oak lubricated with dandelion stems ( we didn't want to cut live trees just for a small piece of wood!)

I originally used a piece of pine bark as an ember pan, and while I got good smoke and good dust the coal would not stay lit for longer than a few seconds, frustrating! We could only assume that the bark was damp due to the recent rain. By now an hour had passed.. So as I was walking around looking for an alternative I noticed an empty potato crisp packet and figured that if I turned it inside out not only would it be dry but the silver would reflect the heat back into the coal helping to keep it alight..I guess sometimes human refuse is beneficial in a survival situation!
The first attempt with the new ember pan produced a coal immediately!
( by the way, this was my 11th attempt in total, you can see by the hearth board that different woods and diameters were used to see if we could get a result, you can also see in the third from the right that elder was used as it's formed the mound in the hole created by the pithy centre in the elder wood.)

In the mean time Davy had been scouring the area for tinder, he found some fushia bark that looked very promising, so we put the ember in and gave it a blow...But no joy, it just wouldn't take.
Another scout around produced some grass, fireweed and thistledown, so back on the firebow and another ember was placed in this tinder bundle..(1 hour and 30 minutes at this stage)

and less than 30 seconds later...

we have time was a fraction over an hour and a half..this was way better than our previous best of 4 hours!!!!
Lessons learned were... it's possible to make fire with the minimum of equipment, but a lighter or ferro rod weighs less than a knife and cordage! Time taken and calories burnt would have been much less if we had made proper preparations and brought our own tinder or sure fire.
Moral of the story, always have sure fire with you!! Just in case!

Sunday 18 August 2013

Hemp Nettle

Not one to mess with
some unreliable reports say that the flowers of this are edible but others say that it's poisonous, even to the extent of causing serious paralysis!
There is fiber on the stem so it can be utilised for cordage, so it does have a use but I feel this plant is best admired and left alone!

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Hands On Workshops

There are some great workshops coming up in early September, organised by Clive Lyttle of Welig crafts and taking place in Armagh, if you are free in early september and you fancy something a little different check out their website and book something special, you might meet some people you know!!

Sunday 11 August 2013

Nice N Nasty

One is deliciously edible, the other is dangerously poisonous!
can you tell which is which?
and even more to the point can you name each one?

Thursday 8 August 2013

PVC bow - Fail


after watching numerous videos on PVC bows I thought I'd have a go at making one, all was going well, the recurve was taking shape but now looking at the picture again I can see the potential problem...

I strung the bow and it looked slightly off , but not that much so I drew it a few times and felt it buckle, obviously it wasn't symetrical, still it's taught me a few lessons and the next one will be better!!!

Sunday 4 August 2013

Maxiwax !

There is something we carry in our packs that has an absolute multitude of uses and is very simple to make, it has so many uses we have called it Maxiwax!
all the ingredients are completely natural and non polluting
it's so useful it can be used for waterproofing leather, helping get your fire started, for skin complaints, for cooking, for oil lamps, for protecting your carbon steel knife, waxing your axe handle and even sealing the seams on your tarp! we wouldn't be without it!
we wrap it in brown paper which eventually becomes waterproof due to the contents and protects the maxiwax inside and the paper then becomes a great fire starter!!

as for the ingredients, they are........ secret!!!