On Discovering Self

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

Monday, July 23, 2012

Summertime Treat: Sumac-Ade! Pink Tea!

   Had some good dirt time on Sunday, despite a little rain, and so decided to treat myself to one of my favorite summer time drinks by harvesting some Sumac berries. They are just now getting to full ripeness around here and I just could not resist gathering some for a good, tart "lemonade" or rather "Sumac-Ade" kind of drink. This beverage, once finished, contains a lot of vitamin C and electrolytes and is a good energy boost when you need it.
   So here is a short video of the process I used and I hope that if you are in an area that has sumac and it has ripe berries, you will give this a try. It only takes a couple cups and an all purpose bandana to work as a filter.

 Dirt time is always more fun when food and drink is involved. Happy Exploring!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fun With The Summer Sun

   I always enjoy playing with different methods of starting fire and today I decided to experiment a little with the magnifying glass I have in my kit.
   First I found a piece of "false tinder fungus" or "horse's hoof fungus". Ideally it should be as dry as possible. I have found and used some in the past that was too moist and it would take a spark, but would not grow a coal. But today what I found was good and dry.
   Next I created a coal with a focused beam of sunlight with the magnifying glass. Next, after the coal had grown, I used some eastern red cedar bark as tinder and used it by pressing it gently against the growing coal. With a little coaxing from short breaths, it eventually caught a flame. Success! and a lot of fun.
   So here is the video of the process and I hope you enjoy it.

   A good reason for playing with false tinder fungus is to learn just how it will react and what are the ideal conditions for using it and for transporting a coal. It was not necessary to cut out the coal to put it in the tinder. This kept the fungus intact and this would allow easy transport and use later if needed.
   Be sure to give it a try. Until next time, Happy Exploring.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bushcraft Is Not Just For Boys Part II

   Recently, I was once again able to meet up with some friends who are interested in learning bushcraft. We are now regularly meeting Fridays at 4pm and on Saturday mornings at 9am, for 2 to 3 hours, in a local state park to study and practice bushcraft skills.
   On this particular friday afternoon, fellow BushcraftUSA member "Emorgs" and her boyfriend joined me and my eight year old bush buddy, Christian, to practice firecraft skills. I started out by introducing them to friction fire methods and they had a chance to attempt getting a coal with a bowdrill and spindle. Then I demonstrated how flint and steel works with char cloth and finally I had Christian demonstrate the lighting of five man made tinders. He is very proficient at it for an eight year old, and gave a very good demonstration that Emorgs would then try to duplicate for her BushclassUSA lesson "Student Practice for Five Man Made Tinders". Here is the video I captured for her lesson. I hope you enjoy it.

   As I started out with the title to this blog entry as "Bushcraft Is Not Just For Boys Part II" because it was Emorgs and her bushclass lesson "Student Practice for A Twig Fire" that was featured in Part I. Young women are interested in bushcraft, and she is very committed to learning all she can and graduating Basic BushclassUSA.
   I hope even more young people will discover the fun of getting in some dirt time and learning bushcraft skills. The good news is, now her boyfriend is interested. I hope they keep coming to the friday meetups. The adventure will continue. Til next time, Happy Exploring.

Friday, July 13, 2012

For Friction Fire Tuesday...

   Well, as it was Friction Fire Tuesday at BushcraftUSA, I decided to join in the fun and try my hand at it. More specifically, I wanted to try a wood combination that has been giving me trouble for quite awhile. So today it was Norway Maple on Norway Maple.

   To preface this, I would like to go back to the Hardwoodsman Meet 2012 that I had the privilege to attend back in April. Before the meet, I looked upon friction fire methods as something to know and to try occasionally, and I did have successes over the years, but it was nothing that I would "practice" on a regular basis. It was just "back pocket" kind of knowledge and more like an occasional party trick to pull out on a camping trip with friends.

   But at the HWM, I learned that it was something to be practiced, and studied and favored as one of the best and most advanced of skills you could learn as a bushcrafter. My eyes were open. I was hooked.

   On Thursday night, just before the Meet started on Friday, two guys came by my tent as I attempted to try a hand drill fire with a piece of mullein I had harvested and a piece of box elder for a hearth board.

   One of the guys, if I remember correctly was "Scooter" who I later would learn, would be the winner of the skills competitions for the Meet. The other guy was Ross or aka "Redmech", who I would later learn, was a friction fire wizard in his own right and had been studying friction fire methods almost exclusively since the last Hardwoodsman Meet in 2011. These two brothers, stopped long enough to help me get some finger loops fashioned and attached to my hand drill spindle. In the end, they helped me to succeed in getting an ember. Whoo Hoo!!

   I later discovered Ross had a great collection of wood types for spindles and hearth boards, all organized in what I think was a couple of large cases that made moving it all around, easy to setup, and to practice a great number of combinations. He showed me that organization was key to building a good practice  set. So from this, I started to label all my wood types. I am still looking for a case like his. I think it was something for storing a compound bow perhaps? Maybe a large gun or rifle case? I am not sure. Long, flat, wide. Something.

    Anyway, back to Friction Fire Tuesday. I just had to have some fun and got this video in the process.

   Before I wrap this up I would just like to say, "Where has the month of July gone?" Here it is, July 13th or rather Friday the 13th, my lucky day! and this is my first posting for the blog this month.  I have been really busy with lots of bushcraft adventures, I just need to stop long enough to just share it all with you, my friends.
Hopefully I can get some more video taken about some upcoming adventures. I will be meeting with some bushcraft friends soon to help them with bushclass lessons and I know that will be fun. Also, there will be more fun with friction fire. Until then, Happy Exploring and remember to get out and get dirty.