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Monday, 29 September 2014

A Foragers Stick

The one thing I always carry when I go out is a stick, I've been carrying them for as long as I can remember, all started by my grandfather who always carried one too. However the type of stick I carry now has evolved over my years in the woods to become something particular which I call a Foragers Stick.

I use it not just for walking but it also serves a purpose

It has evolved to be an extension of my arm and to further my reach, so it measures from the ground to my elbow

It's head has some form of a hook to bring down branches or apples, this hook can be antler, horn or wood, but I prefer one carved out of all the same branch so there is no join at all.

It's tip is fitted with an alpine ferrule, to enable it to be used as a digging stick, I've lost count of how many times I've used it and it has proved useful

again, one piece sticks tend to be stronger and more durable but it's entirely up to the maker. I like sticks with dog legs and nobbles, it makes them unique and gives each stick character, I always find that sticks that are as smooth as snooker ques tend to be spiritless..

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Blackberry Ice Cream

I picked some blackberries from the hedge in my back garden

just enough for a small amount of coulis

reducing the fruit with some sugar

strained to just leave a nice rich blackberry sauce

ice cream in the machine and chilling

and sauce added to make a gorgeous blackberry ripple ice cream.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Mora 511 Allround PRO C

The allround 511 is not the only budget model that's been released it's also got a posher big brother the Pro C , and here it is

There are 2 differences between the basic model and this one, both easy to see, one being that this model has a rubber cover over the handle and second that the blade is considerably wider that the basic model.

when I say rubber, it's not really rubber but the same material that you'll find on  lot of mora's, like the robust and companion, it's very comfortable and very grippy, feels good in the hand and looks very well indeed.

exactly the same sized handle as the basic 511 and also uses the same sheath, (which is actually quite nice, it's not black but almost a dark gunmetal bronze, looks really well).

Again the same thickness of steel, 2mm, but a chunkier blade that makes it feel more resilient and a better bushy blade.

It's a nice blade, but this is where the comparisons with Hultafors will start, their heavy duty knife is very similar to the Pro C but with a thicker blade that a lot of bushcrafters would prefer so I guess it basically comes down to personal preference, the thinner blade is nicey slicey, the hultafors heavy duty would be more robust, the only 2 things I would change about the Pro C are I would make the blade 3mm, (with the corresponding deeper grind) and give it a better point, A good point on a bushcraft blade is something that is often overlooked.

New Mora Allround 511

You heard it mentioned previously that Mora was releasing a couple of updated models, the 511 being one of them, well here it is

nice looking knife

big chunky handle and the usual blade shape, the blade is 91mm long and 2mm thick, personally I still think the blade is just slightly too thin for this knife.

It's handle is chunkier than the earlier models and it feels very comfortable in the hand

the only thing I will say is that it feels slightly unbalanced due to such a big handle and thin blade but it's still a very user friendly knife.

you can see the scale in my hand here, I do think like the older 511 models that it would be a more comfortable user if the front guard was taken down a bit, but as we all know this will give problems with sheath retention..
Still, a very cheap knife and a good user, I can see it becoming a bushcraft favourite.

Monday, 18 August 2014

The Difference Between Horses Hoof and Artists Conk Fungus.

I've lost count of the amount of times someone has said to me rather excitedly that they've found a horses hoof fungus only to be presented with it and see that it's actually a ganoderma. I can understand the confusion as some artists conk really do look like Horses Hoof on the tree, especially when older and when the bottom of the fungus has hardened and lost it's soft white skin.

This is an Artists Conk (ganoderma) I've cut off the top so you can see the colour of the Amadou, this is the easiest way to tell for sure which one you've found, if it's a chocolate brown colour then it's an Artists Conk

This is a Horses Hoof (Fomes Fomentarius), you can see the difference in colour, if it's a tan or a mustard colour then it's a Horses Hoof fungus.

And side by side, it's far more noticeable like this

and you can also see the difference in the fibers in the amadou. Ganoderma on the left is coarser and fibrous while Fomes on the right is more tightly grained and finer in texture.

However both will take a spark well and both will work fine with flint and steel if you prepare the fibers correctly

Thursday, 14 August 2014

I Got Bit Again....

I guess if you use knives on a regular basis you're going to get bit, whether you're careful or not, there's always a momentary lapse of attention and that's when it usually happens..

this was a puncture wound in the pad below my thumb, it looks worse than it is, but wounds here tend to bleed a lot.. its best to let it do so for a second or two to hopefully wash out any dirt, then, apply pressure and elevate... I'll put this one down to experience, again.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Beautiful Bee's

There are around 250 species of Bee's in the UK, now I know very little about them except that they are quite beautiful and very difficult to photograph, here a couple of pictures, if you know what species they are, do let me know..




all taken on the same knapweed plant..