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Tuesday 29 March 2016

Plants a Plenty

It's lovely to see each new year bring forth new growth when you are out in the woods, simple things that most people miss can give great satisfaction.. look closely next time you are in the wilds and try to see what others can't .

wood anenome (wind flower)


Larch flowers

Water Figwort.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

At Her Ladyship's Behest

We were very privileged to recently get an invite to probably the most beautiful and well known estate in the whole country. A number of people from different backgrounds were asked along but one thing they all have in common is that each person or group has a great respect and appreciation for nature and wild places, it was mentioned to me while I was there that it was vital that the 'wrong' type of person was not invited.

Davy and I were asked to provide some simple bushcraft and woodsman techniques to show our particular skill set

While leading one of our walks we found a rabbit's kit nest where the mother has had her kits nestled in her own fur then cleared the nest out as the young moved on,
 people were fascinated to see this.

The estate is absolutely huge and we got a great tour by one of the groundsmen, a very interesting gentleman!! 

it even has it's own huge lake to be used only by residents and invited individuals

One of the great features of the estate is the huge variety of trees from all over the world, but this particular beech really spoke to me, it's contortions are almost alive when you look at it, I can honestly say it is one of the most magnificent trees I've ever seen.

there were other events laid on too including music workshops, backwoods cooking, foraging, spoon carving and even meditation walks and drumming.. the set up was beautiful.

We hope to be invited along again soon.

Friday 18 March 2016

Homemade Butter

Davy takes over the reins this week with this article on how to make butter.. 

I used a litre of whipping cream but double cream works just as well

put the cream in a large bowl and add a teaspoon of salt, adjust this to your own taste

An electric whisk makes things easier but it can be done by hand, start slowly..

after a few minutes you will get the consistency of thick cream, at this point increase the speed of the whisking

after a few minutes the colour will change to pale yellow, this is the butter starting to form.

a few more minutes and the butter will start to separate from the whey, pour off the whey and keep whisking the butter

a few more minutes and the butter will start to stick to the whisk, at this point it's ready to use, just wrap in clingfilm and chill till ready to use

add some chopped garlic to make a garlic butter or simply spread on toast or a fruit soda straight off the griddle.

Friday 11 March 2016

Willow Catkins a wild edible.

This is an easy food to find at this time of year but one that is not highly regarded. It's more a survival food than a nourishing meal but in times of desperation it might be handy to know. Finding the willow is easy enough but wait till the catkins have pollen on the anthers before eating..
There are over 300 species of willow world wide and I certainly don't know them all though I'm pretty sure this is goat willow, it's quite common all around me here. It produces little furry catkins often called pussy willow which then blossom into the edible catkins we see here.
I have read that native American tribes have eaten the full catkins in a cooked mash, but I've never tried this so it's one for the future, but you can eat the stamens seen here, just nibble them off with your teeth. They have a bitter taste but are relatively palatable.
Important thing to remember is that the salicin that may be in the catkins reacts in your stomach to form salicylic acid and this may prove a problem for some people, even causing stomach upsets, so be wary especially if you are already on some sort of medication that could react with natural aspirin.

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Lead Lures

Thought I'd get prepared for this years sea fishing escapades, looking forward to them already.. out with the DO-IT MOLDS and on with the safety equipment

More than 50 lures made, the smallest was 3/4oz and the biggest was 8oz, there was 14lbs lead went into making these!! There should be enough to keep me going for a couple of trips, but now comes the hard work of finishing them!

Wednesday 2 March 2016

Morakniv Eldris

Just got word that mora is releasing a new smaller fixed blade called the eldris. It's 5.6 inches long comes in sandvik 12c27 and comes in 5 colours with the option of a neck carry kit..looks like a very useful wee blade.