Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Hunter gatherer challenge. Part Two

The next day i worked flat out as the sun had popped out for a bit, giving an opportunity to get everything finished off. I had more thatching to do to the shelter, more bedding to collect, a fire reflector to build, firewood and kindling for another long night, and attempt to preserve and start to cook up the venison meat.

I just about managed to pull this off before having another real low. Energy was gone by late afternoon, but I had managed to get a stew on of meat and nettles, and started to get more water filtered, boiled, cooled and into me. A quick 30 min break, the first all day, followed by food and a nettle brew and I had my epiphany moment. 
I realised I had done it, all the hard work was done. All I had to do now was enjoy the routine as I normally would do on trips that normally involve energy giving noodles, bread, potatos, coffee and chocolate (Oh how I missed this wonderful substance!) only I had to find my food, and water. Something I like to do anyway. Also there was a major craft project to complete with a deadline. I wanted to make up for the bowdrill, so I went balls out for the next 2 and a half days only stopping to sleep.

As I went about my water runs to the bottom of the hill and back, and mooching about locally I improved my wild teas, greens other than nettles such as Plantains and Dandelions,  started to gather roots from Thistles & Silverweed. I gathered hazel and beech nuts for a fatty protein boost. My mood improved by the hour. I even gathered a good load of Ribwort plantain seed heads. Dried them out, winnowed, cooked and ground the seeds into a flour. Then made a nice fatty biscuit. I was ticking off projects on a list, moral was improving. Things were looking up. Small achievements meant a lot.

Raw state of plantain seed

Dryed and separated from husk

Ground into flour using the bowdrill hearth board. It had a use after all :)

It took a long time to make though, but it was packed with energy and more digestible than in a raw state.

Ground Ivy for Tea

Thistle. A fibrous chap the thistle be

More firewood, and tinkering with the shelter continued and I started to get the bits together for the bow and arrows.
I decided on a bundle bow, and to try and make two arrows with knapped flint heads, bound with natural products. I was lucky on the first night as I found a kill site of a pigeon ( by a bird of prey I think) so grabbed the feathers and squirrelled them away for fletchings. 

I found this old glass bottle side, quite flat too. So went with that as its much easier than flint and I'm only a novice knapper.

Knocked these chaps out during the long night by the fire of night three. Hazel shafts were prepared, dryed, straightened, and hardened over the fire. The heads were attached by the backstrap sinue from venison loin. Shrunk into place by the heat of the fire like rawhide on a cowboys forehead. Wouldn't that be a way to go (said in a mountain man Jake type voice ;) )

Nettle fibres for the fluffy end

Working on the bow the following morning

Da da!