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Sunday, 23 October 2016

Paul Kirtley on Axe Safety

Paul recently put a superb article on his blog about safe axe use and proper handling techniques when using this tool in the woods. As bushcrafters and woodsmen it is always good to refresh the basics so we don't get complacent and end up with a serious injury.
The article he has written is one of the most concise and salient pieces I've read in a long time, if you use an axe, be it regularly or occasionally, you really should take the time to read it, so with Paul's kind permission I've included a link to it and ask you to take the time and visit his site and read it..

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Guelder Rose Jelly

Guelder berries are one that I often admire but don't often use, though I have included them in small amounts in compotes, preserves and jellies in the past, though I have never made a pure Guelder rose jelly until now. The berries are classed as toxic when raw but edible when cooked and have a long history of being used in Scandinavia.
I gathered about a pound and a half of berries

stripped the leaves and reduced them to a mush in the pan, and the smell was rank! Like a cross between vinegar and mouldy trainers, it was bad, and it lingered!
I then passed it through a sieve and for every pound of juice add the equivalent in sugar.
the result was a bronzey orange colour jelly. It seemed to set very fast so there must be lots of pectin in these berries so be watchful if you decide to make it.
 As for the taste, well lets just say I prefer virtually every other fruit out there rather than this, but in an emergency it might just do...maybe.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Sloe gin - (tryin' to wash away the pain inside)

 Every time someone says Sloe gin the lyrics from the Joe Bonamassa song runs through my head, I'm certainly a fan. Though neither Davy nor I drink we do get asked to make this for a friend each Christmas. The recipe is simple, for every litre of gin use half that in sugar and the other half in sloes.

Mix it all together and shake once a week for 3 months

Then strain, bottle and present to the recipient.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Modified Hultafors Heavy Duty

Hultafors knives are great and we all love them. The heavy duty version is a beast and it's useful as a beater but I've always found it a little cumbersome. However it doesn't take much to turn it into a great little everyday user..
It's just a case of dropping the point of the blade, and changing the handle shape to make it more comfortable for long use. A final refinement in thinning down the edge bevels and you have a superb working knife for very little outlay.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Apple Chutney recipe

What a year it's been for fruit, it's definitely been one of the best for years. I've had so much that most of it has had to be given away but I have made lots of jams,jellies and preserves and chutneys too which are a great accompaniment to curries, game dishes and even cold cuts and sandwiches. So here is my recipe for Apple chutney and like most fruit chutneys the recipe is very fluid so adapt it as you see fit.

In a large pot or maslin pan add

2lbs apples
10oz chopped onions
400ml vinegar (white malt or apple cider)
4 oz dried cranberries
4oz pineapple (fresh or tinned)
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
(or your favourite spices)

cook on a low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until it's all reduced and starting to thicken

add to sterilized jars and leave for 3 months for the best flavour

serve as an accompaniment to any dish but especially good on a cheese board.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Lewis gets Fire

We had a great day out with some lovely people having a little fun in the woods and learning a few new things, young Lewis managed his first flint and steel fire incredibly easily and managed to conquer all the tasks he was assigned,

 a woodsman in the making.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Blade Scratch or Crack?

I bought a couple of bushcraft blades from a maker a few months back, and having a little spare time I thought I'd put some spare tan micarta handles on one. The blades came with the scale still on after heat treating so I thought I'd remove it and fit the micarta..This I did,then fitted the handle then I started work on finishing the knife

as I did I noticed dimpling on the blade, this to me is a worrying sign as it can mean over heating on this part of the blade,but the more I worked on the blade something became evident,a scratch or was it a crack???

generally, as it's running horizontally I would have considered it a scratch and not worried, but the dimpling around it has me convinced that it's a crack, I'm a bit miffed to say the least.. I'm going to work the blade and see what happens with it over the next while but it has made me cautious over buying scale covered blades in the future.