On Discovering Self

"Walk in Peace... Learn from Nature... Find Yourself...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Friends and FireCraft and Fun

   Wow, it has been two weeks already into the month of May and I have yet to share any of my recent adventures in Bushcraft. But I have not been slacking, no way. This is prime time in this part of Minnesota to get out and enjoy the weather and the wilderness. Maybe I have just been to busy to write anything or maybe just having too much fun. Whatever the excuse, it has all been worth it. The adventures continue.
   As I have shared in previous posts, I have given a standing invitation to some new BushcraftUSA members to join me every Saturday morning at 9AM, rain or shine, to go out for 3 or 4 hours and practice bushcraft skills and for them to work on BushclassUSA Basic lessons. I have been leading them thru the various lessons that require some outdoor activity and so far we have been having a really great time of it.
   On this past Saturday's adventure, I was joined by my young bush buddy Christian, member Little Jon (who is a teacher at the college where we work) and a friend of his from school, actually a college student of Jon's who also happens to be named Jon (spelled the same he says) and New Jon's son Taylor, who happens to be seven years old and a good companion for my eight year old bush buddy. Got all the players straight?
   Anyway, we started out meeting in a parking lot near the wilderness we were going to explore and I decided while I was waiting on Little Jon to finish a phone call, that I would practice some firecraft of my own and got out my hand drill, hearth board and finger loops and knife. Shortly, they were all gathered around as I was working diligently to get an ember out of the mullein hand drill and the box-elder hearth board. Soon I had a coal, which rested on my knife and I was able to gently transfer it to some tinder (shredded cottonwood inner bark) and blow that to a flame. I was amazed as usual.
   But the expression on Little Jon and New Jon's faces was worth even more, as they both said that they had never even seen that done before, except in the movies. I know at this point you might be thinking, "no pictures, so it didn't  happen" but if I had not been actually doing it, I might have been taking pictures so you will just have to ask Little Jon on this one, or trust me, either way I was pretty excited to show them this way of making fire.
   A little while later, we were all headed out to our usual campsite to practice some more firecraft. Little Jon was going to try for his "Student Practice for Feather Sticks and Shavings" and maybe get in another lesson. New Jon and his son Taylor busied themselves by watching me go thru various fire starting methods with Little Jon.
   It was at that point, I decided to demonstrate yet another fire making method by using my flint and steel and some charred cloth. Soon the cedar bark tinder was burning and we had yet another method for making fire.
   After demonstrating to Little Jon how to make feather sticks and shavings, I had a pile of shavings which were just ripe for a spark from my firesteel. So, you guessed it, I touched off that little fire with shavings alone and was able to demonstrate yet a third method of starting fire.
   Now these guys are really excited and New Jon was seriously looking into joining BushcraftUSA and getting started on the Bushclass lessons. Big smiles all around.
   It was finally time for Little Jon to do his lesson and so I set to the task of trying to capture it with photos and video. He has got to start doing some of this for himself, and I know he will, but here is a video of Little Jon's adventure in bushcraft doing his lesson "Student Practice for Feather Sticks and Shavings." I hope you enjoy it.

   We had a great time at all of this and Little Jon was able to complete yet another Bushclass lesson after doing his firecraft lesson, but I am going to share that little adventure in my next blog post.
   Until the next time. Happy Exploring.

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