You know how there are times when you are out and about in your place of wilderness, and you really have no particular bushcrafting kind of skill thing in mind?
But you just want to have some fun anyway? So you follow your whims,
make it up as you go along, try to invent something, improvise a tool or
an item of use?
Well, that's what I did on this days outing. I think it was just one of those days.
I didn't have much time to spend on the trail, so I conjured up a simple
item that allowed me to practice some natural cordage processing skills
and to dust off some not so often used weaving skill.
Every time I go out exploring, I find myself looking for resources. Once you are familiar with things, everything you see takes on a whole new meaning.
Trees are just no longer for shade, they become sources for food, tinder, cordage, water, shelter, fire making materials, fuel for fire once its lit, landmarks, direction indicators, potential camp chairs and tables and poles for rigging tripods and making pot hooks. I think the list seems endless.
All manner of plants, both edible and non-edible (and the poisonous) become important for sustenance and materials for making things like cordage and spindles and tinder and for medicinal uses and the like.
Everything you see around you on the landscape takes on a new perspective as you find that kinship with it. And with the familiar, comes comfort and security, knowing that it will provide for you if you take care of things.
So it was on this particular day, I was looking at cattails. I have been spending lots of time with the cattail lately, learning what it has to offer in all its seasons.
I've eaten it's roots, stalks, pollen and the pollen making parts so it seemed only right to explore using the tall grassy part of the plant for something. I decided to weave myself a place mat.
I had found the reeds and some willow stalks nearby and sat down to the business of making up some cordage from the willow, so that I could tie together my "venetian blind" as it were.
Next I weaved some additional reeds into one end to reinforce it, so that anything heaving would not fall through.
Next I rolled up one end to for a "scoop-like" basket that could hold a few items.
Then it was time for testing it out, by collecting some very "sticky" sumac berries that are just starting to come into season and will be ripe for making into sumac-ade or "pink tea." It is a great summer time treat.
I was thankful that I did not have to use my bandana, as the berries were beginning to weep some of the sour juices that make it such a good choice for a beverage. Later, I used the scoop basket to collect some pencil lead sized twigs to use in my Emberlit stove.
It was a good time to just play around, and knowing the basics of weaving with reeds, gives you options for making even more containers and fish traps and the like. Weaving is an essential and often over looked bushcraft skill. I really need to play around with it some more.
I hope my friends that this will give you a quick idea on what you can try the next time you are out there and looking for something fun to do. I think it would make a good project to do with kids and the natural cordage processing is a very valuable skill to have for a lot of other things.
Until next time, Happy Exploring.