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Monday, 28 September 2015

Smile for the Camera!

We did an event at the weekend at the end of which we had to pose for a professional photographer to get our pictures taken for publicity for a particular nationwide organisation, I don't particularly relish getting my picture taken, as I'm sure you can tell...
doesn't look staged at all does it? Lol.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Rush Brush

There are times when a small brush comes in handy for sweeping flour off the griddle or for basting a haunch or even sweeping some ground and this is a simple little item to make.

Cut a handful of soft (field) rush and have a little nettle cordage to hand to bind them

Bind them tight around the thick end of the rush, it doesn't have to be neat, just functional

Trim the top into a dome so it doesn't stick into your hands and cut the brush end to the desired length

and once it's complete you have a very versatile and efficient little brush for many different tasks.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Chanterelle's on a stick.

It's a great time to find one of the nicest types of fungi out there, relatively easy to identify and tasty to boot. Chanterelles.
they are easy to i.d. with their egg yolk yellow colour and a very mild, slightly sweet smell
but the false gills, looking more like folds or wrinkles than traditional mushroom gills, are a give away as to the fact you've found a chanterelle, (though just exactly what sub species of chanterelle is a different matter!)
I'm not one for fancy recipes, preferring to actually taste the mushroom itself rather than a whole mishmash, so make a skewer, slice the 'shroom, impale it and roast it over the fire, it starts to release it's juices quickly and once slightly crisp just eat..
one mushroom that tends to have a few more calories than most fungi, but to be honest as a survival food, you're not going to get a huge amount of calories from fungi.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Obama on Bear Grylls

Look who's appearing on the Running Wild show with Bare Gyrls, I could go into a diatribe about this but I'll leave others to do that. I don't often like to report or comment on the politics surrounding bushcraft and survival I'll leave that to others, but this is getting beyond the pale..
there are plenty of google links out there, but here's one from the BBC here

Puffball on Toast.

It's that time of year again when the nicest mushrooms start to make an appearance, not something I spend a lot of time going after due to their poor calorific content and chance of a misidentification but those that are easy to identify can add a nice change to our wild food larder.
I found these while out on a wild flower bimble and thought I'd take advantage of a present from mother earth.

They weren't very big but I wasn't going to leave them as I found a few others that had been smashed up either by kids or careless adults, pity as there were quite a few of them.

Taken home and cut up into slices ready for cooking in the pan

and after cooking in wild garlic infused olive oil, they were very tasty indeed.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Northern Ireland Bushcraft Club

Just came back from the inaugural meeting of the recently formed Northern Ireland Bushcraft Club. This gathering was held in the beautiful county of Donegal, over looking the wonderful wild Atlantic way

It was situated in a lovely wood that had a little of everything, and provided great inspiration for exploring.

various set up's were allover the woods from tents, bivvi's, hammock and tarps and even a natural willow bender that I spent a very comfortable weekend in!

The parachute provided a great communal area for chats and discussions, but the best area was the "cookhouse" where Davy spent most of the time cooking and supplying all us hungry backwoodsmen (and women) with food, we certainly didn't go hungry.

Not so much bushcrafting as an entire base camp set up that could have catered for all the woodsmen on the island, it was simply magnificent.

A few activities were organised including fungal forays for Amanita's like the Blusher above, so called because it's flesh bruises pink when crushed as you maybe able to just make out in the above pic..

also plant ID walks where we did find the real and genuine St Patricks cabbage which is only found in western Ireland ( see previous posts regarding hybrids of this plant)

also willow work were we made baskets from bark and created simple working tools, also for those just starting out we practiced some primitive fire skills.

The ethos for this club is to encourage and promote Bushcraft, Survival and Backwoodsmanship where ever we can, to offer a skill sharing service where you simply request some help and someone in the group assists in that particular skill. It aims to be an all encompassing club where groups, associations or individual members can all be part of something bigger and better and create a bushcraft network of like-minded individuals. This is all in a free and friendly environment were all we ask is that you respect Nature, Wild Places and each other and we welcome everyone regardless of age or ability. Meets will be held regularly and Full gatherings twice a year. So if you feel like you'd like to come along and see what it's all about, to try out something new, practice skills, or just make some good friends then we would encourage you to get in contact through the Northern Ireland Bushcraft Club ( NIBC) facebook page or email me here and I'll pass your details on.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Congratulations to Alan Kay - Alone

I've just finished watching Alone on the discovery channel and it was an ending I had expected, as I'm sure most of you did too, that Alan Kay has won the Alone challenge that was aired recently on the discovery channel.
What made him a victor? Well essentially it was his mind set, he never fell down into his destructive thoughts..
Too often we allow our mind to control our rational thinking, allowing silly little destructive thoughts to enter in which take root, flourish, grow and end up suffocating out every other thought and paralysing us from common sense and affirmative action.
We saw that at the start of the series when other contestants allowed their mind free reign and thus it ended up beating them before they'd even really started. No other bushcraft/survival presenter has ever managed to put that across, relaying all too often that old adage that it's skills alone that get you through, but the show proved that's not the case with the amount of men who dropped out in the first two weeks, all capable men but no control over that little voice in their head that they give into and let take control.
The bit I loved the most were his philosophical musings about life, existence, love and family and I have to agree with every syllable he uttered, that love family and friends are all that counts in life.

 For some reason it seems that true introspection comes most clearly to those who slip back into nature and allow the natural rhythm of the earth to course through their spirit and it did that with Alan, I could listen to his philosophies for ages and I hope it's not the last we see of him.. congratulations brother, you have won my admiration and I do not give that out lightly.
Discovery Channel... give him his own series !!!!
( and to Sam, man you are a true woodsman and human being, well done and I salute you.)