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Tuesday 25 December 2018

A Merry Christmas 2018

A very merry Christmas to all our Buzzard friends out there.. health, wealth and happiness to you all.

( A Christmas robin with Benwhiskin in the background.)

Beefsteak fungus - Fistulina hepatica

A really nice find at this time of year, the beefsteak fungus also call the ox tongue or bulls tongue fungus is one of those fungi that look so palatable but usually fall short.

It really does look like meat when it's cut and even exudes a reddy juice that looks like blood.

Young ones are ok but older ones taste bitter and need stewing for a long time and even masked in a rich sauce or casserole..
That being said it's always a nice one to come across especially as it stains the wood of the tree it grows on making it vety desirable for woodworkers..

Sunday 25 November 2018

Homemade Copper spoons for Pike

I had a spare piece of copper pipe so I thought I'd put it yo good use and make a few pike lures from it.

Cut the pipe to the required size, for me this is usually between 3 and 4 inches.

Cut it along it's length

Open it out with pliers and hammer it flat

Draw the shape of the spoon on the copper sheet then cut it out and file the edges to get a smooth finish.

Using a ball peen hammer gently tap a concave surface into the spoon, I like the hammered finish it leaves as this adds more flash in the water.
Drill the holes, fit split rings and hooks and you're good to go, a great pike lure for just a few pennies.

Sunday 11 November 2018

Strawberry tree

Sometimes called the Irish strawberry tree because Sligo is the northern most part of its range... well supposedly because I found this one growing wild a little further north !

A beautiful little tree growing no more than about 30ft tall and producing really unusual lantern like flowers

Nearly always white but I have heard of occasional pink varieties being found.

It produces lovely red fruits that taste quite sweet once ripe and apparently can be made into jam or a very nice liqueur.
There doesn t ever seen to be many fruits on the tree but may be that was just this particular one.

The plant is also a great medicinal, a decoction of which is used for lowering blood pressure and in treating diabetes, it is also highly anti inflammatory.
The wood is very hard but twisty so is useful for small objects like fish harpoons and wooden needles.

Got to admit I was really happy to find this rarity, but I'll keep its location a secret for now.

Sunday 21 October 2018

Marbles camp cleaver mod

I recently got a marbles camp cleaver and these are great value for the price but I'm not keen on their paint job.

So I decided to do a little modification
A slight remodelling of the handle and a lot of scraping to get the paint off the blade.

I initially tried to take the paint off with acetone but it didn't work, so a little bit of elbow grease later and we had a modestly clean blade.

I flamed the handle then added some linseed oil and I'm a very happy person with the result, I think you'll admit it looks wuite good.

Tuesday 9 October 2018

Himalayan strawberry tree

This is obviously not a native and neither is it a strawberry but disregarding the obvious it is a good find for the forager if you do happen to come across one of these trees in fruit.
It's actually a dogwood species and has a number of different names it goes by..

They do look rather like a strawberry but the similarity ends there.
I've read that they taste like everything from banana to apricots but they just taste bland to me. Soft and squishy after they've been bletted.

They can get you intoxicated though if they are over ripe !

I ate a gutful of them and rather enjoyed the texture and taste though a few people who stopped to watch while I was picking tried the fruit and weren't too keen on it. There are a few recipes for it online if you can find them.
It is another good find for the foragers armoury.

Sunday 16 September 2018

Reverse Swedish Fire Log

Everyone knows about the Swedish Fire log and recently we used one for our camp cookout, the thing was for some reason this one was really hard to light at the bottom the way it's normally done, so instead we lit it from the top

We weren't sure how this would work but figured that if the upside down fire worked then there would be no reason for this not to either.

Didn't take long at all for it to burn well and it worked just as good as if we'd lit it from the bottom

And a hearty jambalaya was soon enjoyed by all.

Sunday 26 August 2018

Brother knife review from GEARBEST.COM

We were recently sent a knife to review from GEARBEST.COM, it's a fixed blade 440c full flat grind knife with micarta handle and hollow copper pins, total length is about 8 1/2 inches with blade and handle being equal length.

It arrived in a nice presentation box and when I opened it I found the knife nicely sheathed in a kydex sheath with a ready fixed teclok.

The knife was acceptably sharp as it came but a few minutes on the stones and strop saw this blade easily come up to hair popping sharp.

No review is complete without some field testing, so I've been using it over the past couple of weeks to gauge it's performance.

I needed some amadou for upcoming events so I put the knife to use cutting off huge amounts of this fungi to prep for the courses,

This it did easily with no rolling or chipping along the edge, and anyone who has cut amadou before knows just how hard the scale is on the surface of this fungi, so I was mightily impressed with this.

I scraped and feathered some tiny curls on some sticks to prep a small woodstove and again no problems at all

The spine also threw some great sparks from a ferro rod to get this fire lit.

I have even used this knife at home for food prep which it does admirably, all in all I'm very impressed with this tool.
It's comfortable in the hand, no hot spots or high ridges, gets an edge well and seems to keep it too but can easily be brought back to razor sharp just with a strop, for the price it's an absolute bargain.

If you are interested in this knife or indeed any gear from GEARBEST.COM I would heartily encourage you to peruse their site, it's easy to navigate and the items arrive fast. Highly recommended..

Here are a few links to take you there, get ready for your wallet to take a hit! Great stuff. Brother Knife  Knives and tools Gearbest website

Monday 13 August 2018

Strange creature in the woods

Sometimes you see strange creatures in the woods

Was able to sneak right up on what I thought was a turkey until I realised it was a peahen.
I guess it must have escaped from the local zoo a few miles away.
Just as well I wasn't on a serious survival mission.

Wednesday 18 July 2018


It's supposed to be relatively common over here but I haven't found that to be so.
Mugwort is a lovely plant, and it has a myriad of uses,

It is one of the original 9 sacred herbs and thus is considered to have spiritual properties as well as practical ones.
It is edible but not in large quantities and has been used to flavour alcoholic drinks in years gone by.
An infusion made from the leaves is a great insecticide especially for eggs and on the larval stage.

It is quite downy underneath the leaves and when used in a tinder bundle gives off huge plumes of aromatic smoke which makes it a great favourite when demonstrating this technique.
It is said to ward off evil spirits and bad luck, to heal skin lesions, to help communication with the dead through it's smoke and also as a spiritual cleanser and purifier.
I just wish I could find it more often.

Thursday 5 July 2018

Prince or Horse Mushroom?

I'll be the first to admit that I don't spend enough time studying my fungi and it's at times like this that I regret that as it leaves me torn between possible identifications.

I found this one tonite, on a woodland verge underneath a huge cedar tree, it was last it's best and a little maggoty, it didn't smell bad at all just very mushroomy, if I had have smelt anise I would have said horse mushroom but I didn't pick that smell up. Due to the scales on the cap and the fact it was under a conifer then I'm swaying towards a prince.. but I'm happy to be corrected if anyone can do the way

It was very tasty!!

Monday 25 June 2018

Shelter placement and wind direction.

It's almost one of those instinctive things, build your shelter with its back to the prevailing winds, it offers you protection right? Yes but it can also cause problems

Looks good on an elevated rise to avoid a cold sink, back to the wind and room in front but..
The wind races over the slanted roof causing an acceleration of air draft resulting in a drawing effect towards the shelter..

And once you light your fire the draw will suck any smoke directly into your shelter.
I made this a very smokey fire intentionally to show just how the draw works in a strong wind and you can clearly see how the smoke bends into the shelter just like an eddy in a creek or stream.
When building a shelter with strong prevailing winds build it so that the wind is parallel to your shelter and draws the fire to the side, it could save you a lot of heartache if you've spent a long time building.

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Great summer Fungi Find

When out leading a foraging walk recently I came across some lovely edible summer tree fungi

Chicken of the woods, growing on an oak. A little past it's best but we did take a little and cooked it up and it was outstanding

And dryads saddle also called pheasants wing or pheasants back, this fungi was in profusion but we only took a little to try, again all thought it was quite delicious.

Sunday 17 June 2018

Lost its Mum

While out on another short expedition we were sitting round the fire late one evening when we heard a chirping sound, it sounded like a bird but there were some who recognised it straight away, a fallow deer fawn had wandered into camp and was looking for its mum

It was quickly and quietly moved to the outside of camp where it's mum could find it safely. All ended well as we saw the two of them together as dawn broke the following morning.

Sunday 10 June 2018

.50 cal shell Ferro rod.

Managed to get my hands on a few .50 cal shell casings so I thought I'd put a get to rod in one and see how it turned out.

This was the 125mm x 12.5mm ferro rod which was a perfect fit with some epoxy resin. Stuffed inside the casing so the rod didn't slip the whole way in and I also added a lanyard.
It's a big beast as you can see next to the Mora kansbol.

Thursday 24 May 2018

Top ten UK bushcraft blog awards.

Feedspot had whittled down all the bushcraft blogs in the UK to the top ten, and guess what, we made it in there..

A very many thanks to Feedspot and the founders for this award.

Sunday 13 May 2018

Telling the difference between a cockle and a clam

I went for a coastal bimble last week after a storm to see what Poseidon have coughed up onto the shore, always an interesting adventure.

A huge mid part of a nipper from a brown crab, this fella must have weighed 2 pounds easily..

A leg from a spider crab. These were not originally that common around our shores but seem to be more readily found these days.

Lots and lots of razor clam shells

And lastly quite a few clam and cockle shells, and the easy way to tell them apart... the radial lines on a cockle are vertical and those on a clam are horizontal..its as easy as that.

Both taste really good in a clam chowder !!

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Rainbows end.

It's the first time we've been able to wet a line this year but it was thoroughly enjoyable when the chance happened by.
I'm not much of a fly fisher but am an absolutely obsessed lure angler believing that it's much more difficult to catch a fish on something that looks nothing like a natural prey item than something that does!

So off we went to a local fishery and I tried every bait and lure I had from powerbait to rapalas and nothing was working. However you may remember me making some inline spinners in a post a while back so I chose one of these as a last resort..3 casts had 3 fish..

And another few casts and I had my 5 fish limit. All on a homemade spinner..the best fish was 3 1/2 pounds and the smallest 2 pounds..though Davy had the biggest fish of the day at about 5 pounds on the fly.

We smoked one on the day for lunch

And a tasty treat it was, here's hoping for many more days like that one.

Sunday 8 April 2018

The wrong way to tap a Birch

I went for a walk in one of my usual haunts and came across this rather poorly camouflaged attempt to tap a birch.

I could tell straight away by the duck tape, copper pipe and poor attempt to hide it using hydera that whoever was doing this knew they shouldn't be and also didn't know what they were doing.
I dismantled the contraption to find they'd drilled into the tree a good 2 inches much farther than necessary

So I took out the pipe and cleaned the hole and sealed it up. To be honest I'm not too sure if the tree is going to survive after this but I'll keep a check on it.
I've no problem with people tapping a birch as long as it's done correctly, I just hope I bump into the person who did this.

Wednesday 28 March 2018

Buzzard gets an Award

Buzzard Bushcraft was recently voted one of the top 40 bushcraft blogs on the net by Feedspot. So a mighty big thankyou to Anuj and all at Feedspot for their award, it's very much appreciated.