Sunday, May 27, 2012

Proud moments.....

My oldest daughter went out on her first time on a overnight hike with het scoutinggroup "Arkhyttan Baptistscouts".
She left yesterday afternoon, hauling a very full backpack. But first I kind of ceremoniously hung her brandnew scoutscarf around her neck and slid in the scrafslide/tie I made for her. It's a piece of reddeerbone, on of those we founf, when we were out last autumn. I found a section that should fit, sawed it off, cleaned and sanded it and insribed het initials, using a scrimshaw-technique. Meaning carving the bone and filling the carve with ink.

Showing off her first badges, which her mom had sewed on...

The tieslide. It has a point/tip on the front top, making slideing it off very easy.
This picture is taken after the hike, hence the scarf being a bit gritty....
This afternoon we went to her camp in order to pick her up. Offcourse no outdooractivity her in Sweden seems to go without grilling at least some saucages, so that is what we did, too.

The handout of this episode's badge
The reason for putting this in my outdoorblog? Well, first of all she was out in the forrest for 24 hours. That is longer than I have been for a very long time.... She did see a fox wonder by last night, as she and some of her fellowscouts slept in here, with the previously shown fireplace right in front of it;
one of her "room"mates...
Secondly she did hike in, on her own, carrying that filled backpack and it was a hefty way in, I can assure you! She had had so much fun and radiated that so much, that even our son wants to go, starting with the next season.
But when we did go to pick her up, I noticed she had changed.... She had grown. Little girls grow tall and make dads proud!!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Saved a couple of birds this week

Last week I got the chance to take a look at some of those little feathered friends up close.
Since we had a spell of very good weather last week, I had several windows open in our livingroom. As I sat working at the laptop I suddenly heard a load bang on the still closed window right next to me!
A bird had flew in through the open window on the other side of the room and went straight for the still closed one.
Luckily the little guy was not hurt, I checked, but he was quit dizzy from the impact and tumbled onto a plantpot standing right underneath him. There he just just wondering what the hell just happened. I openend the window and put him with the pot outside on the windowsil, so he could recover in peace and be on his way again.
Here she is; Bofink female (Fringilla coelebs)

Today our black cat brought in yet another bird; his third victim this week. He drops them in the hallway, comes to get us, shows us his catch and leaves. A cats way to say "thanks". This one however I could save! It was unharmed for as far as I could see and would still fight me and tried to bite me, when I tried picking him up, after the rescuemission. Plus the fact that I found ticks on a deceased bird of the sdame species this week, I decided to put on gloves.
Here's today catch; a beautiful bird called "domherre" (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) here;

One very handsome and very cocky male!!

We have new neighbours this year. Mom and dad and flying in and out, so I guess the eggs have hatched. I did not want to go any closer, in order to not disturb the nest.

And we even have new neighbours checking in!! This bird has a very significant dark hood, clearly visible, when I zoomed in. Is thould be a Svarthätta (Sylvia atricapilla). The rest of the colours in the plumage matched, too.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What is it with this "bushcraft"-thing?

I keep running across this word and the use of it and those that do wear it as a badge of honour and knowledge, fiercefully defending that title.
To me it seems this word is merely a clever disguise of the old and boring word "camping".... There, I said it.
You are a camper, skilled or not, but you are a camper!!! Or a hiker, a backpacker, an accomplished explorer or adventurer, hunter, fisher, outdoorsman, woodsman, trapper or whatever label you'd like to pin on a person....
In whatever form, ultralight hitech or weighed down with traditional materials, you still are a camper. You take your gear, go out there and stay there for any length of time and return home. To me, that is camping.

Kephart a bushcrafter? No, a old days-camper. Skilled and inspiring, true, but still a camper.
Nessmuk? The same goes for him and all the others, too.
Ray Mears? As much as I respect him, his knowledge and his skills, he still is a camper to me. Allthough I do believe that he could do very well as a bushcrafter. He has the knowledge and the skills. he just needs to sever the link to modern society and go LIVE the other way.

Real bushcrafters are the bushmen, living directy of the land, the original native Americans did the same. And the keyword here is LIVING, as on a permanent basis, 24-7 all year round and using the land's resources in a very direct way to sustain yourself.. Bushcraft is "primitive living", where primitive stands for no or very short processingtime as in the hunter-gatherer-way.
Western men has stopped being a bushcrafter long ago, the day they stopped using the land's natural resources directly and started to use these resources to manufacture items. Items like clothing, permanent houses and shelters, food and tools.

All those wonderfull skills and arts displayed by craftsmen working the leather, wood and bone... To me that has nothing to do with bushcraft.
Taking a hide, tanning it and wearing it as clothing or footwear... That is. But as soon as you start to process it, in any other way than strictly necessary.... it stops being bushcraft.

Bottomline to me;
Bushcraft is living your life out there, 24-7, all year round, using the resources you find in their most basic form to sustain your living.
This has nothing to do with disrespecting all those people who go out into the woods, hunt, live, make fire, knap flint or forage. It has nothing to do with being viciously envious of those able to whittle, carve, sew or otherwise make the most skillfully crafted knives, bowls, kuksas or leather items. (allthough I am a bit envious on htose who can).
I know the whole BC-community is going to be all over me. I don't care. Deep down they know I'm right if they stopped and honestly gave it some thaught.... but than again, that is not necessarily men's greatest ability anyway....

This is the way I feel about this thing, but I can be completely wrong about!!
Not that any of it matters, really.....

A wonderfull day out...

After my family and I had been sick the entire previous week, due to a stomageflu, and a very agressive version with some violent effects on the body I might add, infecting us one after the other..... my wife had the brilliant idea to kick me out of the house.
So I headed out, no fixed plan in mind, just some very much needed fresh air and dirttime.

Spring is getting a firm hold of the land, cuasing an explosion of green. I can see the forrest change every single day. Temperatures were great, about 18C and there was nothing but sunshine!! I'll keep my ramblings short and let you feast your eyes on the pictures!

A large bolder in the forrest behind the house. A large cluster of forrestanemones reaching for the sun;

The ferns are racing up to get some sun, too. I just love ferns.... They're so primeval...

The first animaltracks today; moosetracks, size M

After strolling through the woods, which were still kind of chilly, I headed for the sun and came to a clearing. A large part had been cut, but in a tidy kind of way. No broken stumps or layers of branches, churned soil od other damages... But what i did find was the insect Luftwaffe and they were out in force!! I felt like London during the Blitz with all those divebomber Stukamosquitos and those Messerschmidtmidges!! Out came my outdoorgirlfriend Wilma and her Nordic Summer!!! That stuff is great!!
Yet sometimes you can also find small treasures in such areas;
What force must have been unleashed in order to split this bolder so straight and push it apart so far??
The gap was at least 20cm!

A seedling, a kind of sycamore, and these you really don't see often around here, especially in the forrests! I wonder weither it will be able to survive here. Probably a bord that dropped it here.

Never saw this bug befor, although it is quite big. I guess a full 2cm in length.

After I traversed the clearing and headed into the forrest again, I followed a forresterspath again. That way I can travel faster, more quite and see more.
I spooked a deer by treading on dry branches, which broke. I only saw it after I heard it run away, a mere 15 meters to my right!!
I did not spooke a woodpecker, however and he gave me a good chance to look at him, while he was very busy running up and down the trees, looking for bugs. I managed to get as close as 4 meters to take this picture;

A pile of moosedroppings. I collected a good deal of them to try them as a bugdeterent by burning/smouldering them. I also prommised my mother-in-law some for scentingpractices with her dogs.

Natures garbagedisposalservices hard at work!

Once I tuned into the trackingbusiness I started to see them all over the place. I saw small broken birchtrees, scrapes in the moss and forrestfloor, places where squirrels had eaten pinecones etc and I felt a buzz! It was exhilerating to find and follow them!! There was one stratch of forresterspath that had lots of them! I could clearly follow another moose, with a size L print, walking down it. They seem to be using these paths very frequent! Plenty of deer going all over it, too. All the next were found within a 150meter stretch;
No idea what animal made these;

some very fresh deertracks;

No clue what did this;

The part at the lower left is an upsidedown deerprint, but the V- shape, single toes (?) with nail..... beats me.

I was thinking dog, but saw no prints anywhere that could be the owners'. There seem to be wolves in the area, too. The shortest sighting from here was a mere 30km away the previous week.

Than it was about lunchtime. It was getting warm and I was getting thirsty, hungry and tired, too! The previous week sure had left its mark, fysically!!
For the gearfans;

My firebox (love the thing!!)

The contents that I think work best;
a small handfull of thin, dry birchwoodstrips
some very resinous strips and pieces of pine
3 thin and resinous strips of pine, which can be used as a large match
a chunck of pure pineresin
an empty shell with lid + a good dozen of matches and strikingstrip
a small Finnish knife and sheath
a small cotton bag filled with very thin birchbark
a few strips of thicker birchbark
a small pure beeswax candle

For the fire I cleared a square of grass and moss untill I hit the soil. Although we did have quit some rain these past weeks, the last few days were dry and so was the moss and grass and at first I was quite hesitant to start a fire! Underneath the soil was still wet, though. Strolling through the trees I came across a thrown away glassbottle. I made a habbit out of it to take these things with me and now that proved usefull. I filled that bottle up with some water from a few puddles on the path, earlier mentioned, and now I had water to put out the fire befor I would leave!

silly, old me;

Ahhh.... lunch...

There was more actually, but I started eating befor the coffee was done..... and I did have some soup afterwards, too...

After the body was strengthened I just sat around, listing to the different songs of the many birds and the buzzing of the insects.... Because I had been sweating I had to reapply the Nordic Summer!
While the food was settling, the fire had died out and, while the fireplace cooled, I took this opportunity to show you a rundown of my Finnbag;

The firebox is not standard issue with this bag.

Neither is the compassbook, but I threw it in today.... just in case. In it there's a note with the inclination and declination of my general position and it deviates quit a bit from the original bearing! No wonder I got lost last winter when using my compass....

In the bag;
A DC4 and firesteel in beltpouch
a multitool with minilight, screwdrivers, knifeblade and small sawblade
5 meters of paracord, a handkerchief, notebook w/ pencil in ziplock, a tin of Nordic summer and a stick of lipbalm, foldable 10x25 binos
emergency sunglasses, sewingset, large plastic carrying bag, foldable mug, spork
fieldbooks (food for free and SAS-survibalguide), lenseatic compass with beltpouch, emergency firetin w/ waxinelight, lighter and tampons, foldable saw
orange emergency vest, FAK, German army long gloves, Fjällravenforagingbag/net

On the carryingstrap I tied my German armyponcho again, but next time I will not anymore. On longer walks that becomes quit uncomfortable, as it oulls on my right shoulder too much.

The fireplace had cooled down and I threw over the contents of the glassbottle... I could pick up the coals and none gave off heat anymore.

So I put the grass and mosses back

And yes, the bottle did follow me home.....
After lunch I strolled on through the forrest, enjoying the warmth of the sun from time to time, but mostly in the shade of the trees. It really was warm out in the open... Pheww....
Somehow I ended up in the vicinity of a campsite I made last autumn, but which I had to leave in a hurry, due to an emergency at home. I decided to head over there to see what was left.

There were now forrestanemones growing out of the bed??

And I found a tinderfungus next to it! As if someone had just put it there.. It was complete and in perfect condition, as if it had just been collected!

The small stream next to it was chrystalclear and there was life stirring. The little hopper was less than 2cm;

Made me a wardrobe. Done in 5 minutes. Two lengthbars, one on either side of the tree, on the lower branches. These branches were woving over the bars and by using small crossbars I could hang everything of the ground. The green sack to the left is the foragingbag, full with a glassbottle, moosedroppings and all today's waste;

I decided to clean up the place and to my shame found the tincup of a waxinelight I had left. I pilled the remeining firewood onto 2 larger branches, so they would sit above the ground. Now they can dry for next time. I wanted some tea, but the canteen was now empty, so out came the millbankbag;

It doesn't run hard, but hey, it's a oldy from 1945!!
The canteen was full befor I had a chance to make a fire, though!

I made a fire, and while the water was going to get boiled, cleaned up the area. As said I piled up some firewood, prepared a spot to fetch water and another downstream to clean up my pots and pans. After that I made some tea and just enjoyed "my" little spot

Smoke between the trees;

On my way home I came across even more mooseprints. This time it was a size S and the ran all the way to the road, leading to our house! It had been only 50 meters from out backyard...