Sunday, March 25, 2012

OUT - A day out, cut short....

Today my daughter and I wanted to go out, into the woods. Initially I had planned to go alone, but since she loves it out there, too and it had been a while since we spent some time together out there, I took her with me.
It was a beautiful sunny day, not too warm and not too cold. With around 10 degrees, just right to be active. We both brought our binoculairs, too, because that was our main goal; spotting wildlife.... Allthough, with a 9-year old present I did not set my hopes too high. Shortly after we left, we deviated from our originally planned route and headed up the hill, heading for the place where loggers had been busy last week. Afterwards I wish we hadn't.... These guys had wreaked havoc up there! It looked as if a tankbattle had been raging there! Tracksprints, churned up soil, broken and ground up trees everywhere and in many places the cut off branches lay feet deep. The paths/trails had been demolished, too and the meltwater had washed a lot of mud and dirt off the hills onto the them, making them slippery, soggy and hard to move over.
This was an area less damaged.....

Up on the hill all the trees that had been blown over during the Christmasstorms had been cleared and the forrest had been thinned out, but this has been done with so much brute force that I seriously doubt the woods will benefit from that. We did find my previous spot, where I had built and left my shelter, but that did not fare any better than the surrounding area. Pretty much all the undergrowth had gone and up there, there was a stiff and bonechilling breeze. We had to keep moving, but were really not planning on staying here! We moved down the trail again and turned in another direction; one where the damage did not look as bad.
After a little while we had to stop, because we had worked up an appetite and we halted in a more or less acceptable piece of the woods. There we quickly built a windshelter, because we found out we had been a bit optimistic in our choice of clothes, allthough we really had no wind when we left and up here were facing up to 10 m/s winds and cold ones, too! I wanted to go "all green" today, because wool seemed to be just too warm, like last time, when the temperatures were even lower. Going green means wearing my old army fatigues......

My daughter clearly hasn't got these and she was wearing a thicker, polyester insulated jacket. We hadn't brought gloves or anything, but it turned out we should have! She was happy her Swedish army cap had earflaps!
The "shelter", basically a wall made out of small trees with interwoven spruceboughs, kept us out of the wind quite nicely and was erected/constructed within 30 minutes. My daughter even made a bench and table for herself, complete with spruceboughpadding!


Here we had lunch and listened to the birds, trying to distinguish the different calls and determining where they came from. We noticed that from time to time, there was a complete silence that lasted for several minutes. Than one bird would call again, followed by others. After lunch, my daughter asked if we could go home. This clearly was a sign she was cold, because she never would do so, otherwise!


She wanted to take pics, too....

This little guy dropped in for lunch, too..

The wildlife we saw today was limited to a large bird of prey, soaring through the sky on our way in and large brown bird we scared out of it's hiding. It shot away like rocketpropelled, making it hard to see what it was. It had the size of a duck, short body and tail, but wide wings, compared to its body. I also managed to catch my first deerfly in my neck. Time to take my "Nordic Summer" with me, again. But we did see quite a number of animalsigns, but the most noticable were many woodpeckerholes and some moosetracks and droppings, showing this animal had travelled down the loggerstrail after they ransacked the place.




We also found our very first socalled blåsippe, blue forrest anemone, of this season. Still closed, but you could see the blue shining through...

Some other things we found were a small wooden disk, cut from one of the trees and my daughter brought it with her, so she can do some woodburning in it, once it's dried out. A little later I found a disk, too. "Slightly" bigger than hers and I will transform it into a small table or stool.
All in all it was a lovely day out, a bit short in actual time, but not in qualitytime!
The large disk is about 35cam across and 4cm thick...


Looking back at the gear I used today, there were a number of things I noticed.
One was, again, the fast way we both lost warmth in the wind. Out of the wind we were just fine and comfortable, but in it was a different thing. As said, my daughter wore a thicker jacket and cap with earflaps. I wore a cotton t-shirt, a long sleeved shirt over that, topped with my old and trusted Dutch NATO-jacket. The winds did not get through that, but still sapped away our warmth. But I do know that if I had worn my wool trousers, sweater or jacket I would have been too warm, at least while moving. I guess I should have brought a spare sweater.
I also used my Finnish gasmaskbag again, but with my Swedish messkit inside, it was not comfortable to wear. The messkit simply is too bulky for this bag. I have to rethink the packing of this bag if it has to serve as a daypack, but I am afraid it simply is too small to be taken solo. It also seriously limited the access to my lower jacketpockets, because of the waistebelt, which ran directly over the flaps of the pockets.
I did not bring an axe, shelterhalf, poncho or any other larger items, other than the Finnbag and my breadbag, and if I had wanted to bring any of those, or indeed any other larger item, I would still have needed a backpack. Maybe if I exchanged the Swedish messkit for a Dutch one, I might save some volume, but that still would necessitate a way to carry at least one canteen. Without at least one filled up I will not leave home. And I even haven't mentioned food. I do not want to settle for a day of living on makebelieffood, such as noodles, ramen, powdered eggs or any similar "food", other than powdered soup or coffee, to quickly warm me up in case of "emergency". This means my food will be bulkier and heavier, too.
Maybe I'll turn my Finnbag into a foodbag/fieldkitchen. I think it will do just fine in that role.......

Friday, March 23, 2012

MEDIA - A time to dream....

I thought it would be nice to collect movies of things I like, here.
These are not my movies, but movies I come across, while browsing the net. These movies reflect things, lifestyles, places or similar I like to look at from time to time.... I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I do.
I'll be adding more as times goes by and if you have suggestions for others, please let me know!

To start things off, here's a gentleman from NY, who lives in a way I'd very much like to live myself;
This must be the place

Another one is called The birth of a tool and it shows how an axe is being made and I can feel the love for this craft and the resulting tool the maker has....

Thursday, March 1, 2012

OUT - A special day in februari....

It was the 29th...
It felt like a very early spring...
My wife ordered me to get out there.....
I received a neat and very special gift...
And just everyting went right.....

I'd like you to come along and enjoy the day with me!

I started out a bit later than expected and I took a know track up the hills. Within minutes I came across a river of ice, running al the way down the hill.


The decemberstorms, which raged here around christmas, sure left their mark on the forrest;


And on some areas they lay down like bowlingpins. Which is not really surprising, given the force they had to endure and when you see in what they are rooted.....




A squirrel lunchtable;


Water and frost will bring down even the toughest of things;


Spring was all around me. Birds were singing and I heard at least 10-15 different voices, sounds and songs. And I'm not even an ornithologist!! The subtle sweet scent of early spring filled the air and I could smell the sap rising. I also encountered the first mosquitos, but who cares.... A day like this is worth all the mosquitobites!
The shiney stuff isn't water, by the way.... It's ice.


More evidence of nature's raw powers;


I had actually intended to just go out, sit around, soaking in the changing seazon and maybe play around with firemakingskills, but this..... This just screamed "shelter" at me!


With all the downed trees around me, I just gave in.
First I cleared the trunk of branches, which I used to fill the very uneven ground underneath and around it. Than I cut a piece of timber in the right length to support the other side of the trunk. After that it lay there, steady as a rock. Than I added smaller, cut to sice trees for the roofing. These were everywhere and I just had to pick them up.


After that I added a thick layer of spruceboughs. I stopped when I had about 30cm thickness. This was enough to get the idea.


The way I split most of my firewood into smaller pieces. I only batton the very small pieces.


My homemade pouch for my BSA messkit. The original pouche's canvas is rotten and I tore it up the last time I took the kit out of it.
This one, too, is made out of shelterhalfscraps, to which I added a carryingstrap I had sitting in my "sparesbox" (I save all kinds of stuff for this purpose) and as a finishing touch added an old ex-Czecharmy leather strap.


My kitchen;


I stuck a long branch under a root, used a y-branch to keep it up and leaning against a tree and used a third branch to keep it al steady. Sticking these into the ground was not possible, since everything was still frozen solid, including the moss and lichen. Only the very top was defrosted.




Nope... not fog... smoke!


I used a dead standing birchtree, but this still smoked quite heavily. Getting a fire going in a thawing forrest takes longer and more effort to get and keep going.




These looked totally uneffected by the snow, frost and ice.... Or are they completely newly grown??


The special gift I mentioned;


I got those pretty little pouch from my oldest daughter. It as made out of an all natural green felt with a small brown felt oakleaf. It is a natural fibre, dyed using natural pigments. The same goes for the wool cord. Even the thread is a nonsynthetic one, becaue that's in line with the school's filosophy. The bead is wood...... off course.

And my vintage WW2 German compass fits in snugly!!


Yet again my camp, but this time with my wardrobe. If I had brought my blankettroll I would have stayed here. It felt very "homey", but funnily enough I had the constant feeling of not being alone, there. I had the constant feeling of being watched, of being observed and I regularly thought I saw movement from the corners of my eyes. Know the feeling??




The obligatory pic of me.... The small dark square on my chest is the camera, suspended from a treebranch and casting a shadow;


Dinner is done!
Freshly backed bread with nuts and raisins, bacon and eggs and tea this time. I like a nice dark blackteabrew, too.


I did fool around with some flint and such, but was only able to get small sparks, using the flint and the "blades" of the coppercoloured stone. The markasite wouldn't spark.
It was my very first time, using these and appearantly I have a lot to learn. I did get some very thin, even translucant, pieces of flint, though. Sharp as a razorblade!!




By than the sun was already setting and I had to break camp. On my way home I had to cross an open area again. Don't be fooled by the melting snow. You can easily sink away for more than 50-60cm.... which I did.... getting thoroughly.... refreshed, when landing face down.


By the time I reached the trail agian, the sun was casting it's rays from just above the horizon, casting the landscape in a golden glow;


I wonder.... who might be living here??






This little birchleave has melted it's way into the snow and ice. It sank about 3cm;


The river of ice, again....


Catching the last rays of the sun....