Sunday, 29 September 2013

Bushcraft Practice - Part 3

Last part of the trip to the woods, and crafts started to dominate my time.

After eating up the roots I had some time to kill as it was dark, and the fire was burning nicely after collecting lots of firewood and kindling to see me though the night. During the days forage, I managed to get some still fresh Birch Bark from a recently fallen tree. Just enough to kindle a few fires, and make a container.

The bark ready to go, and some round sections of seasoned Oak for the bottom and the lid.
I whittled and trimmed up until bedtime, and managed to finish it

Took some pictures in the morning, and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.
The double tabs were an accident as it peeled off the tree like this due to a knot in the wood, so I worked with the shape.

The medulary rays, and staining in the Oak were a pleasant surprise, and I'm glad a persisted with the handle, as I would normal place in a strip of leather, which I didn't have to hand.

Today's task though, was to try out different materials for weaving. I'm an amateur at weaving baskets and the like having only made a couple from material growing in the countryside, but I like a challenge.
Above are the Hazel wands I experimented with. Great for withies, and making woven hoops.

I tried Ivy, Hazel, honeysuckle, and here in the picture spruce roots. By far the best though in terns of flexibility, ease of gathering/processing, and quantity available, was the Bramble.

I ended up making a Mellon Basket for future foraging using Hazel for the frame. The end sections were tied together at one end with spruce root, the other bramble. The root was more flexible, but harder to gather requiring more energy and a longer walk. This is when the penny dropped, so back to the bramble patch it was. They even feed you plenty of sugar at this time of the year as you strip off the spines.

Fruit sugars wearing off, it was time to raid the rations. Wholemeal bannock made in the billy can, and some soup to prepare for weaving.

DaDa! Quite chuffed with it. Especially as it absolutely chucked it down with rain the minute I started weaving and didn't stop for around 15 hours. I Stoked up the fire and quickly gathered a load more firewood including seasoned Oak, and was confined to quarters, but one of the best experiences I've had. Loved it! 

The roof finally met its match with three wet days and this final downpour, so I ducked into the bivi bag. Just shows you how much time you need to spend on the shelter. The next day was the start of the deer in a day course but I still wanted to stay in my shelter that evening. When time allowed after the course, I sorted things out a bit more by adding more material to the roof, and getting even more firewood and kindling in. Everything was soaked, but through the use of feather sticks and the remaining dry wood stored at the back of the shelter I got things roaring again for the last night in the shelter. 
 It was the first clear night, a little chilly with a gentle breeze, but the blanket and fire was enough to keep warm for a few hours at a time with a few stokes of the fire on each waking. 
Moon and stars were in full show with the Owls hooting away.

A cracking trip and looking forward to the next.