Thursday, 25 October 2012

Autumn Navigation Practice in the woods

I recently went off for a wander to take in some of the colours of the season, get some fresh air and practice my Navigation work. I had some fun in this wonderful local woodland seeking out features on the map, using catching features, and practising pace counts and timings on various terrain. 

The problem was I was rather distracted by the trees. Bit of a busman's day out this one 

A few pictures for you on a misty day.


 Things slowly get better the further you venture into this varied woodland.

The Beech in fine form.



Soup, bread and a brew over the pocket stove, using a homemade shoe polish tin meths burner. When the meths runs out, just switch over to sticks. Great for simple boiling/heating.


Hazel, a very nice thing

Oaks form the backbone of the woodland structure, and there are some lovely specimens, with all the birch, holly and hazel to complement.

Looking out from inside the cliff. I ended up on top of this cliff and found a hole in the ground. After scaling down the edge I found the entrance at the base.

and the outside

A feature on the map worth heading for.

Plenty of mushrooms about in the damp warm weather we have had recently.

 A grand time out, and a nice change from driving about the county. I've also been gathering some native leaves for a display as a learning tool for my daughter, so this walk came in handy, and I didn't get lost so something is going right for me at the mo. :)

Gathered some Rosehips on the way too, and made up some syrup for my porridge back at home.
I've found a recipe to make up some jelly from the rest of the hips along with the windfalls from the apple in the garden.

The sloe gin is looking good and gets a turn over now and then. Cant wait till Christmas for a taste, its been a couple of years since I was regularly making it. The previous batches I've matured over a year have been particularly nice.

I'll try and cram in as many walks as possible over the next few weeks, there's a local Fungal foray my daughter and I will be going along to on Sun, so all in all Autumn is being well and truly enjoyed.




Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Svord peasant knife rebuild - Yew handle

After reading Stewart Lights Blog entries about his project, I thought I'd give this rebuild a go as I've always liked these type of knives. I've made friction folding knives in the past, but I fancied using the Svord blade as I like the shape and its a nice simple project to do in-between other jobs.

Hopefully you get the idea of the process from the pictures I took during the build. I make my own scales most of the time as it costs me nothing other than time, and its been good doing a spot of knife work again as I've been busy with other projects of late. I prefer to be out and about these days when I get some spare time, particularly in the Autumn season, and I think this knife will be the perfect bushcrafting companion.

Designing the new handle in the open and closed positions

Splitting out the Yew logs for the scales

Axed and planed flat and to rough thickness

Shaped the scales by knife, pins drilled, knife in position and leather spacer for the rear attached

A spot of carving, sanding and a dunk in Raw linseed oil, and there she is!


I re-ground the edge to get rid of most of the horrible secondary bevel so it will work better in wood.


The handle is very comfortable, I just need to make a leather dangler pouch for it now, and we're off to the woods! Hope you like and fancy giving this a go. It's easy and you get a UK legal carry knife with a bit of character.







Saturday, 13 October 2012

Hunting for Sloes and sloe gin recipie

Its been a terrible autumn for wild fruit with the weather we had in spring ruining the flowers and restricting pollinators. I've been on the hunt for the usual hedgerow produce, and after a walk around the village with my Son recently, we finally found some sloes after the usual foraging grounds were barren. After row upon row without joy when we came across those with berries, they were laden.



No fancy handmade basket was to hand on this occasion,  but a quick look through the depths of the pushchair and a spare warm hat was found, which was promptly filled. My lad nodded off at this point, the excitement being too much : )

Two bottles of sloe gin have since been made.

My recipe had to be slightly changed this year due to the reduction in sloes , so I've gone with this for now.

1 Litre of Gin
600 g of sloes
300g of sugar

Two 1 Litre bottles, take each half of this mix well with room for everything and and some spare to enable the mix to be turned on its head now and then.



Thing is, do I crack at Christmas, as its much nicer with an extra year to develop.



Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Elvaston Castle Woodland Festival 2012

A little late, but I thought I would post up some pictures of the event which I helped to set up and also demonstrated at. Derbyshire County council have been putting on this weekend event for around 12 Years now at various locations throughout the county but this site is proving the most popular with visitors and demonstrators.

Some of the top Crafts people from around the country come to the show and there is a lot of very interseting things to see and do over the weekend. I very much enjoy working there.

My set up for the weekend demonstrating bowl carving, baskets, containers, and spoons.

Some of my wares

Barn the spoon

Robin Wood bowl turning

Alistair enjoying himself while hurdle making : )

Lovely buckets

Owen the swill basket maker

Andrew frosts work on the recently fallen Oak tree in the paddock.

Our Camp kitchen for the weekend giving out free samples of various bread, soups, and puddings.

This is the wooden roadworkers caravan Ive been helping to restore, just needs some green top coat and some tidying up inside. The small windy smithy stove works a treat especially with the insulation between the new timber walls. I had a bit of a job getting the old girl into the woods with the landy.

I met some great folks as ever, and there was a really positive atmosphere through the whole event.