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Sunday, 22 February 2015

Rain Water for Tea

Today was a pretty dour day, it poured continually, but every cloud has a silver lining and we didn't need to bring any drinking water
 
 
we put the tarp up to enable us to catch water as easily as possible, within 20 minutes we had 2 litres of pure water, rain water can be drunk without any purification at all, I tried a few cups and it was delicious!
 
 
Davy scooped out the water into a 12cm zebra billy, it filled it with about the same left in the tarp
 
 
can't get much purer than that!
 
 
and on the fire for a brew, nature provides and its up to us to make use of it.
By the end of the day we reckon we could have collected 2 gallons of pure water, an easy way to get your necessary fluids.

 

Monday, 16 February 2015

Freestanding A Frame Survival Shelter

This is the simplest and most basic of all shelters, it doesn't require a fire for heat and if made well it insulates and waterproofs for a relatively decent nights rest.
 
A few friends made one to see how quickly it could be put together
 
 
The start of the construction, no modern materials allowed (knives or saws or cordage) all had to be taken directly from the forest floor.
 
I've slept in these before and when the books say to keep them small to preserve heat I can understand the reason why, but I found them quite claustrophobic and when I turned I kept hitting the side walls and dislodging the debris, so best, I feel, to allow for a little extra space and forsake a little of the insulating properties.
Don't forget to insulate the floor of these ( you can see the bed of leaves inside) sleeping directly on cold ground will steal your heat faster than you can believe, although I'd prefer spruce boughs, leaves will do at a pinch.
 
 
About halfway through the build and with the leaf litter starting to be piled on..
 
 
and the completed structure, it's incredible how well it blends into the natural surroundings, we had people walk past within 20 feet of it and they didn't even notice it's existence!!
 
 
 

Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Psychology of Shelter

We recently got the old chute out to give it an airing and a fresh smoking and it got me to thinking.
 

The area we pitched it in was very exposed, winds rushing through and rain coming down, the parachute nylon is incredibly fine, but, once underneath, even though we could still feel the wind and a little of the rain, just looking up and seeing 'a roof' above us gave us an incredible sense of comfort.


there's not much between you and the great open sky, just an incredibly fine piece of material however the feeling it had on morale and the sense of being enclosed was remarkable. We all know that the science of survival teaches us that the will to survive and a positive mind set are fundamental to surviving, and just being underneath that chute had such a positive reinforcing effect on our minds that I can fully understand why having a roof over your head, regardless of it's effectiveness is a genuinely important feature. I've always taken shelter for granted before but being in this little micro climate certainly gave me food for thought.
 If you had have removed the chute and I'd stayed where I was sitting on the ground I would have felt incredibly vulnerable and exposed, the shelter wasn't really protecting us much but the sense of comfort it provided and how it heightened my mental well being was incredible.

 
a little fire underneath certainly helped also.
 

Monday, 26 January 2015

Bushcraft Expo 2015

There's a bushcraft expo on in early march in Co Meath, here's hoping to see a few new faces there

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Pheasant Chilli

When out with Davy recently he graciously produced a pot of Pheasant chilli which he finished with saffron rice over the fire, I didn't have a spoon with me so a simple bit of improvisation took place
 
 
 
a split piece of green ash, quickly and roughly whittled (and I mean quickly, less than 5 minutes!)
 

 
 
and the feast was ready to devour, as for the recipe, you best asked him yourself on the Buzzard Facebook page.

 
 

Monday, 12 January 2015

Simple Survival Protein Source

Animal Protein is always one of those things that's hard to come by on a survival situation, fish and birds being more numerous than ground game are generally what tends to be targeted first, but there is another source used by many indigenous people that we tend to ignore.. insects and their larvae. They tend to be plentiful and not require a lot of searching to find enough for a small meal
 
 
One of the best larvae types to look for are beetle grubs, they tend to be large and plentiful, find a rotten log and you can normally get a handful for very little work

 
the one thing I have problems with is people eating these raw, any insect or it's larvae should always be cooked before it's consumption otherwise you're just inviting sickness or disease.
Beetle larvae cook very quickly when roasted and with each grub providing between 10 and 20 calories depending on size you can see why they are a useful addition to the wild food larder.
 
The problem people have with eating them tends to be more psychological than anything, the thought of eating these critters puts people off but to survive you need to get over that, and actually, they are incredibly good..
 
They taste like pork scratchings!!
 

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Simple Winter Tinder Tip.

At this time of year a lot of tinders ( I suppose technically they should be called kindling) are soaking wet and hard to light, but if you find dead standing hogweed stems they tend to dry out exceptionally quickly in light winds and produce a very acceptable tinder for fire lighting.


what we are after are the tiny flower stems left on the plant after it has died back,


these are tiny and much finer than most people can carve feather sticks so it makes sense that they will easily produce flame.


and here's the trick, if you just try and light them with your ferro rod, the sparks tend to fall through and fail to ignite the tinder, but if you pick off the dead flower stems and make them into a birds nest then hit them with the ferro rod they will light very quickly, be warned they burn very fast so as soon as they catch light make sure you have the rest of the dead stems close by to throw on top to keep your fire going and get good flame.