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Sunday 29 September 2013

Carving Knife with Yew Handle

I cut a bit of yew a few years back and thought I'd put it to use on a handle for a small carving knife 

I used my leuku to whittle away the handle shape, for those who say such a large blade is incapable of delicate work all I can say it you don't know how to use one properly! It certainly is an incredibly versatile blade for being 7 inches in length and 12 inches in total.
and the finished article with a 62mm lauri blade and nickle bolster, it feels very comfortable in the hand, I'm sure it will be well used.

Thursday 26 September 2013

Too Few Nights...

Due to different commitments we don't often get a night or two in the woods just to ourselves, it's such a pleasure when we do..
Davy's set up, he likes his luxury!!

and mine..
 haven't spent the night in a hammock in quite a while ,and when I did I remembered why, I really do prefer ground dwelling!!

and our evening's entertainment, always something new and engaging.

Sunday 22 September 2013

Transporting Fire Primitively

A lot of people assume that when early man learned to control fire and carried it from place to place that he actually used bracket fungi, now I have no doubt at all that that's true but I also believe he used other methods too, one of these being dried elder.
I tried it out to see what sort of result we could get. So I cut a piece of dead dried elder about a foot long and lit the end in the fire.
I had to constantly wave the branch or blow on it to keep the ember alight but if you're walking you're naturally swinging your arms anyway!
2 hours later I was about half way through the branch but the ember was still going strong..
at about 3 1/2 hours I was down to the last few inches as seen here, but the ember was as good as ever.
Just goes to prove you can carry fire with many methods as long as you have the know how.

Sunday 15 September 2013

Honeysuckle Berries

I was surprised to still see some honeysuckle in flower this week, it is quite late for them

and further along the vine were these
which is what I would expect to find at this time of year.
There is an old rhyme about wild berries in which one line reads " Red you could be dead"..well this is maybe not the case with honeysuckle berries as some varieties are edible and quite tasty, however the varieties most commonly found in deciduous wodlands tend to be slightly toxic, so it's best to avoid them.
The plant was often associated with the clinging embrace of lovers and used to be referred to as lovebind, now days it's changed to woodbind.
It was symbolic of a lovers embrace but also of jealousy when the embrace could strangulate..though when this happens in a hazel coppice, some very interesting sticks can be formed!

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Roasted Mackerel in Burdock Leaves

It's starting to head towards autumn and food changes to richer, meatier tastes, this is one of my absolute favourite campfire recipes
gather some big burdock leaves

catch a mackerel, gut it and wrap it well in burdock leaves
tie it up with natural cordage of some type

place it on the embers for about 15 mins
after the alloted time, unwrap your parcel and smell all that baked gorgeousness
doesn't take long to get through a whole mackerel!

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Thistle Nuts

This is a good time to gather a few of these very tasty edibles

find some well developed thistles and cut them in half to reveal the "nut"
this is it, the white, triangular portion at the bottom of the flower, it's absolutely lovely and well worth collecting.

Sunday 1 September 2013

Spruce Knots as a Fire Starter

There is a misconception that pine trees are the only trees that produce enough sap in concentrations enough to create good fire knots..there are others, spruce is a good one to know
find a tree that is producing lots of sap and that has a number of broken branches with only a few inches left on the tree, these are known as Knots.
The thing to remember is that these trees do not have to be dead, live standing trees produce good resin knots too!

this is one we broke off and you can see the pure liquid resin on the end of the knot, a brilliant item for helping you get a fire lit

put a match to them and watch them go up, if you can't get a fire lit using these you'd better take up golf!