Tuesday, 24 April 2018

A tracking mystery

What do you think did this? It looks a bit odd doesnt it perhaps like a load of tumble drier lint in a pot hole? No what this looks like to me is the nursery chamber of a rabbit warren that's been dug to by a badger. All the fluff is rabbit hair that doe rabbits line their warrens with when they have young and the digging is a badgers handiwork for sure, claw marks and its vicinity to a very active badger sett give it away.

So badgers aren't as cute and cuddly as you might suppose. Beatrix Potter was right about Mr. Tommy Brock wasn't she.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Tracking Reindeer in the Snow

I taught a course about British Deer in Scotland last week and part of the course included a visit to the Cairngorm reindeer herd where we tracked the deer through the snow.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Try Sticks

A try stick is something devised by Mors Kochanski to prove your ability to carve simple, but vital, notches and shapes. These notches would normally be used on their own rather than all be carved onto one stick but a try stick is a good way to practice or prove your bushcraft skill.

A try stick might feature a pot hook for hanging your pot over the fire, a notch for a bow string, a bark stripper for processing roots as cordage, a reduced section and any number of other features which might be applied singly, in combination or on a larger scale in your practice of bushcraft.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Primitive Technology; bone awl

Making a bone awl is a simple primitive project. First score the bone with a piece of flint to give it a line to break along. 
Then strike it with a stone to break it roughley along that line.
Then shape it against a stone, this bit is very tedious, each of the other steps will only take a few minutes. It took about an hour and a half to do the shaping for this awl though.
Eventually though you will have made a simple bone awl.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Kids Quinzee

Storm Emma has been a good oportunity to teach my children some Winter survival techniques.

A quinzee is a snow shelter that can be built in snow that can't be cut into the blocks that you'd need for an igloo. To make one large enough for adults takes hours of work, you need to build a large mound of snow, to fit two adults it will need to be ablut seven feet high, and then poke sticks into it to an equal depth of between one and two feet. Once it is built and the snow has hardened a bit you can begin to hollow it out. Rather than scooping the snow out right to the ground leave two platforms, one on either side, to sleep on and a trench in the middle that will act as a cold sink. The sticks you stuck in earlier act as depth guages now as you will reach the tips of them as you hollow your quinzee and know that it's time to stop when you find them leaving walls up to two feet thick. 

The door should be quite small, just large enough for you to enter on all fours. Remember to keep a shovel inside incase you have to dig out after a storm or colapse.

While that might be the method for building a proper quinzee making a mini one with the children was less hard work and was great fun.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Snowy Backgarden Bushcrafting

When it started snowing earlier my two year old was desperate to make a fire in the snow. 
So we did, he's getting good at helping collect twigs for the fire and loves practicing with his fire steel. 
A well used TOPS BOB knife and fire steel did the fire lighting today.
I'm really pleased that the weather doesnt put my children off from spending time outdoors. Thats the first battle won, I don't expect children to be master bushcrafters strait away but once they've learned to love being outdoors whatever the weather then they will naturally start to develop their bushcraft and outdoors skills as they spend more and more time out there.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Net needle

A bit of light whittling in the afternoon sunshine. A piece of wind fall Scots pine, given away by its flakey orange bark became a net making needle. Tools of choice today; an Enzo neck knife with it's scandi grind and short blade perfect for the detailed bits. A hand made knife the 'stalker' made in Somerset by Manor Knives to baton down to size and for the bulk of the carving , and a bacho laplander folding saw.