Dreaming Trees – My Bush Craft Weekend…
This is a slightly different blog for me as it doesn’t involve MUSIC!!!! I still thought I’d share with you though as I had such an amazing weekend! For my birthday present Sam decided to take us on a bush craft weekend course. I had no idea what to expect…
When we arrived on Saturday with our huge back packs filled to the brim of torches, sleeping bags, spare pants(!) etc we immediately went out foraging for food.
After 3 hours of foraging we found ourselves with SO MUCH FOOD! It gave me a whole new appreciation for nature. Food is everywhere. In the trees, on the ground, by the rivers… We found beautiful watercress (which we later turned into watercress soup), jack by the hedge (looks like a weed by is actually part of the mustard family and GREAT for flavouring) plums, damsons, apples, black berry’s. We learnt that you can also plantain on bites or stings if you can’t find any dock leaves… It’s amazing!
When we got back to our site, we had to start thinking about building our shelter. we were all given saws and knives and sent off to find some wood to make tent pegs out of…
I found using a knife very hard at the beginning, I was so paranoid about it slipping and cutting off a finger! But we were taught three different and very safe ways to use it, so it was just a case of practising!
Once our pegs were ready we were taught three different types of knots to use to get our tarpaulins to stay up:
Evenk hitch knot
I am definitely doing to be practising these as by my first go I had forgotten them all!
I was rather proud of our coat hooks…
But we got there! We couldn’t find two trees within the right distance of each other so improvise with a small fallen tree. It made it harder, but very satisfying once built! This was our shelter for the night. If we had stayed there any longer than one night I’m sure we would have raised our “bed”… But it was forecast to be dry so we weren’t too worried. I was more scared about rolling over in the night and squashing a little hedgehog!!!
Then we went and sat around the camp fire that Aaron (our instructor) had got started for us.
It was VERY smokey. Especially cooking on an open fire. I found wearing contact lenses was a real bonus! Something about the way the smoke hits the light by the trees looks really beautiful though, almost dream like.
Sam and I cooked the first meal for everyone. Luckily they had some supplies other than the ones we foraged, so we cooked a vegetable and rice dish. We saved the watercress for watercress soup the next day.
We then went off to pick long nettles to make rope. It was pitch black now so by torch light we worked. We took the sting out of the nettles by passing them through the fire. We then battered them flat using the backs of our saws. We did this so we could pick out the pulp. Then, with the remaining strands we used a special techniques to braid then together, forming a surprisingly strong rope! I didn’t take any pictures because my battery had gone and it was VERY dark!
The time came for us to go to sleep… I have to say it was rather daunting being in the middle of the woods and sleeping like that. You could hear so much wildlife, so much rustling, so many noises… It was hard to settle and quite uncomfortable. It wasn’t the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had, but I think your body adapts quickly and after a few nights of it I’d probably sleep like a baby!
In the morning we got up and had breakfast around the fire and then… LEARNT TO MAKE FIRE! At first we were given one match and had to make an individual fire out of it. We all failed. Then, after being taught the correct way to lay a fire with the surrounding resources we were given a fire stick. with one spark I was amazed at how it took to my dried grass/twigs.
We took a break for lunch, and attempted watercress and jack by the hedge soup. It was pretty hard to get it to taste nice without stock/an onion/butter. We gave it a go!!
After this we learnt how to make spoons from a log!
I used my knife and a persuader (a big heavy piece of wood) to cut the log in half. To do this you place the knife on top, in the middle, and the hit it on the top with the persuader and keep hitting down on the knife until it splits…I then used some charcoal to draw myself a basic sketch of how I wanted my spoon to look. I then used the knife an persuader technique to get the ends off. After that stage was complete the real arduous work came into play. I used my knife to chisel away at the wood for about 2 hours until my spoon was done. Three different knife techniques were used to make THIS (mine is on the right)
It turns out I’m big spoon and Sam is little spoon!!
We were feeling very very tired by the time the course had finished. I learnt SO MUCH!! It’s amazing to learn these skills and I would recommend it to anyone!