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Tuesday 25 April 2017

Blackberry leaf tea.

One of the most under rated but most valuable forms of wild bush teas is blackberry leaf tea. Like all members 9f the rubus genus the leaves, at this time of year, are full of flavonoids, vitamins, and antioxidants as well as trace elements and minerals.

The tea is most well known for helping cure diarrhea but is also superb for most stomach and digestive problems not to mention that it is reputedly anticarcinogenic . This is the best time of the year to pick the young newly emerging leaves, leave them in an open airy room for a few days to dry out them store them in an air tight jar out of sunlight until ready to use.
One teaspoon to a cup of water, let it 8nfuse for 5 minutes then strain and drink, no more than 2 cups a day.
It is also supposedly good for skin ailments though I haven't tried this myself.

The blackberry is supposedly the official fruit of the state of Alabama and the blackberry plant is connected with the Irish goddess of healing Airmid.

Tuesday 18 April 2017

Pennywort - Navelwort - UMBILICUS RUPESTRIS

A really nice find more often than not confined to the west coast of Ireland though is found localised in other places.
Fleshy and tasty and easily identifiable wall pennywort is a great addition to the salad of any wild food forager..

So called because it looks like an old penny or because the little dimple in the leaves looks like your belly button!

It's not one you can easily confuse with anything else especially as it's location tends to be on rocks, walls and bare stone hillocks.
To me it tastes like very sweet garden peas.

It has been used to cure corns and blisters in the past and the juice is supposed to be effective against inflammation and to aid in healing wounds.

Poor people would often put these in the shrouds of the deceased to "pay the ferryman" when copper or silver coins were too precious to be buried with the body.

Thursday 13 April 2017

Hultafors Classic Hunters Axe

I love Axes. Not that I use them as much as I should but there is just something of the archetypal woodsman about them that means every bushcrafter should at least own a couple.
We are all familiar with the Swedish axe train of thought that states the best Axes in the world are produced there, and especially the rivalry between certain companies in Sweden.
Gransfors Bruks makes the Axes Ray Mears uses and as a result their prices have sky rocketed, this puts people off.
Hultafors, however, have a line of Axes that rivals the GB ones and it's called their classic line, I recently treated myself to the hunters axe.

Here it is straight out of the wrapping. Hultafors can be hit and miss, if you get a bad axe it's infuriating but if you get a good one it's wonderful, this one is superb.

Weighing in with a head weight of around 2lbs and a helve of 20 inches it's a lovely midsized pack axe comparable to the Gransfors small forest axe

The helve was oiled but not heavily so I did need to add a little linseed oil to it but regardless it's beautifully made

Wedge was an excellent fit and wonderfully finished

The grain was tight and of the correct orientation and the edge of the bit was a polished razor.. very impressive indeed.
It's a little heavier than the Gransfors and just a tad longer but to me feels better in the hand, more of a man's pack axe while the Gransfors is more of a woman's axe.

And the two in comparison, with the hultafors on the left.
This axe should last many years and at half the price of the Gransfors, for what is basically the same axe, is incredible value for money.
I can see this line of Axes fast becoming the woods man's favourite.

Monday 10 April 2017

Gypsy rose flowers and knife control.

It's always good to practise your knife control, too many people think a knife is for chopping or battoning, but in actuality light delicate cuts are harder to master and more challenging to the user. A nice way to practise these cuts is to make a few gypsy rose or feather stick flowers.. give it a try.

Thursday 6 April 2017

The Pied Piper of Buzzard.

Some people have an affinity with animals and the animals know this intuitively. For instance Davy loves ducks and the little feathered critters can sense this as you can see here, the thing is he's just thinking "plum or orange sauce!"

Monday 3 April 2017

Fatwood Find

One of our permissions has some beautiful pine trees on it and lately a couple of them have shed limbs. This is fortunate for us as they have been a great source of fatwood

As you can see the wood is already heavily impregnated with resin

We will have enough fatwood to last us for ages at this rate and I can only imagine the resin building up in the tree where the limbs have been shed, I'm sure we will get that someday too.