Saturday, March 30, 2019

No sew medicine pouch

Via bushcraft USA I stumbled across a fun and easy project to do on a windy, snowy day like today; a small poich that did not need any sewing.
The original link to the pouch on shamanArts. net is HERE.
The pattern; 

I dediced to print it as large as possible on an A4, but was unsatisfied afterwards. The pouch was too small for me to use. I also experimented with punching holes on different locations, another failure.
My wife then printed the pattern on A3-size. That proved to be much more useful.

For the bigger size I also needed a bigger piece of leather.... which I did not have. I did have some leftover furniture leather, which was fine, since I like the patchy kind of look....
And as usual I just can not keep to "the plan". I added small brass rings in the holes and changed the closingsystem. Mainly since the rings were not big enough to allow for the original way.
And now my steel striker, a tin of charcloth and some bits of flint live in the pouch. With a litle room to spare. I actually am quite pleased with the result. Maybe an hour's work.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Springequinox and inspiration

Today is the day (or night) of the springequinox. Night and day are in exact balance a short while, before the sun takes over and rules the coming half year by lengthening the days and shortening the nights.
I was lucky to enjoy a real early springday, flooded in sunlight and temperatures well over freezing. Snow and ice just collapsed before my eyes. These days are also days of renewal or alteration for me, personally. My physical conditions (and medical team) are forcing me to rethink my path once more. The farmingdays appear pretty much over. I simply can not continue this way. And so I have set my sights on a new path, hoping to (not entirely) leave behind the world of agriculture and move toward the world of academia.
I will continue to do (some) homesteading, but must drastically alter my modus operandi a.k.a. the way I work. And to create some form of income after I end my career at the dairyfarm I have applied for a position as mentor on the local högstadiet (highschool), ages 12-16. In this position I would be a councelor, middleman and contactperson among other thing. No teaching in front of a class. I also sought an education. That is a course on international relations, politics and history and, once completed, should give me access to higher education facilities.
My current situation means that I have a lot of sparetime and I must admit I do not spend all of it in a productive manor. I am not allowed to either. So I splurged some of my cash on a new pair of binoculars, since the previous ones pretty much died. It is not an ultrigh quality pair, but the improvement over my antique 7x32 is massive! I now have a new 8x40 and the coating on the lenses ales all the difference.
I had the opportunity to use it studying a fox that has chosen a bolder in out garden as a restingspot. It lied there in broad daylight and in plain sight, no 10 meters from our kitchenwindow! And chickencoop.... One of the next paychecks might see me getting a small, but decent camera with zoomlens.


But I was also inspired by another activity. My friend Olli asked me if I was interested to follow him and a family out on a day in Gyllbergen, the naturereserve and cabinsite I have been to a few times now. The youngster in the group had been wished to have some basics in survival and outdoorskills tought to him, so we were happy to oblige. The day inclused some basics in navigation, snowshoeing, firemaking and knifehandling. The day started with going over the basics, before we set out on our snowshoes. During the trip Olli told a deal about the forest, how and what to do in certain situations and at one point we decided we had "gotten lost", night was falling and we need a place to stay. So we went over the basics when it comes to shelter and fire and the group was given the challenge to make one. The succeeded quite well actually and you could see the sense of accomplishement on their faces.
We then headed back and made our way for the cabins, where snowshoemaking from scratch was tought. That did not go as well, since the snowshoes kept falling apart, but all the basics were covered. I am quite dure the young lad (and his companions) had gotten a lot to think about. We covered pretty much every basic aspect of being out and I hope he felt inspired to continue developping. It was a great day and it felt good to be out again, especially after recent grey days with heavy snowfall.
Animalstracks were few and far inbetween, but we did find some noce sets of native snowhare and invasive foresthare side by side. The difference is huge!!

At the very end we briefly talked about making a signalfire. Off course we had made a fire on this location and Olli had gathered quite a bit of spruceboughs and since we needed to clean everything up..... These ended up on the fire, creating a large column of smoke, rising above the trees...

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Scouting for new grounds and botanical treasures

The other day my dear friend Olli asked if I was interested in scouting out some new grounds and look for rare or endangered species and boy, was I! Currently I am at home on sickleave and I feel cooped up to much already. We had been experiencing a period of serious thaw and pre-spring weather, so I was a bit edgy and restless.
I can not disclose to much on the area (an abandoned military depot) we went to, since it is off limits, but the facility itself was not our primary goal. The shielded area however meant that finding rare fungi, for anything else is not visible this time of year, had a good possibility of success. And we pretty much succeeded in every aspect! The base was cool, we found some very intrigueing animaltracks and a number of endangered and rare fungi/mosses. But that is Olli's terrain, since I am a complete novice in that field. However it was kind of fun to see and hear Olli becoming a tad nerdy, when he found something.
Of the facility in question we refrained from taking pictures, since that is prohibited, but I did find some online, so want to share a glimpse... even if it is a summer image and not as recent.

The area is open to public, allthough the depot itself is closed... sort of. The fence around it is anything but intact; parts cut open, parts collapsed and I believe certain parts not fenced off at all. Still I felt a little uneasy, since we were trespassing, despite having no bad intensions. The law abiding citizen is deeply imbedded in me, it seems. ;)
Right from the beginning we found something very intrigueing; a hole cut in the fence. But it was not the hole, but the tracks through it that puzzled us; moosetracks. A moose had crawled through the holw, but left only footprints. And a few strands of hair. Judging by the size of the prints and the length of the hair It must have been an adult moose, yet the hole was just up to my waiste! How could it not have left more marks in the snow???
Once in we quickly saw we had not been the only ones. There were relatively fresh tracks of someone having walked his dog there, but we were a bit startled that we found out someone had been clearing snow on the far side of the depot! It hadn't been done to recently and one would expect that the first thing one would do was clear the area around the entrancegate, but that was untouched?!? All in all weird. We crossed the area, since we were actually heading for another area, the shoreline of a small lake behind the depot and that was only reachable this way. We left the buildings alone, but looked in amazement and wonder at certain features of the depot, wondering what would lie behind those sealed entrances. Later, while searching the net, I found some answers.... All over the depot we found tracks and signs of animals; fox and moose mainly and there was one set of tracks that must have been a cow with her calf. They must have gotten in through the non-fenced in part?

After we had left the depot behind us and had reached the shoreline, Olli figured it was time for some coffee, so we settled... sort off and started looking for firewood. Here too signs of visitors were clear; a used firepit and someone had taken the trouble of constructing a chair out of rocks!
We got a bit sidetracked while looking for firewood, reading animalsigns and looking for fungi, but eventually we got a fire going and I made coffee. It was time for lunch and a lot of talk and during this break I got a few messages.... Johan, from our local group, had been busy. He has been quite busy lately, making leather items, sheaths mainly, and he had made another one... Just for me!
He had been looking at the Mora Garberg I was given for my birthday and had decided that it did not look well with the other items on my belt. It did not match "my style". So he made one that would! He actually had planned on surprising me, but was unable to contain himself. He sent me some pictures and a short video:

And yesterday a small package arrived... I am soo pleased with it! Thanks Johan!! It now rides on my belt and you will see it appear on a blog near you soon.
After lunch we packed up and headed out again, leaving the depot behind us and working our way uphill. I spotted a bright yellow spot and thought someone had spraypainted it. Turned out to be a type of lichen, but just that one spot!
The terrain got more and more difficult and loads of blowover trees did not make things any easier. Olli found a few interesting species of lichen and fungi and we climbed and slugged our way aroud the base, back to the starting point. The way in had been far easier. We circled the depot and I wonder if we would have found our way in if we had gone round it in the first place.
Either way we had a great day and loads of exercise too! The snow had been deep in places, covered in a hard crust which more often than not could not bear us. Showshoes would have been handy, but inbetween the trees there was not much snow left.
And speaking of which...... I did not go home emptyhanded. Just before we said goodbye, Olli shoved a pair of snowshoes into my hands. He figured he had enough, where I was lacking...
This sure was a day of receiving. And not just of goods, but of friendship mainly!