At the moment I am working my way through a small hill of outstanding jobs.
I managed to get out and about in the good weather we have recently experienced.
A friend of mine has been staying with us here in Devon.
Haily is from Holland and she is a keen horse woman and bushcrafter, she is visiting this part of the country to have a look at some locally bred Rocky Mountain horses.
If all goes well one of the stallions will be transported over to Germany to add some new blood to the stock out there.
Sarah and I have been showing her our beautiful countryside.
We spent some time traversing the ridge at Hameldown.
Hameldown is a long ridge that stands above the small village of Widecombe at a hight of 532 m.
Along the ridge you can find three good sized burial mounds, Broad Burrow, Two Burrows and Single Burrow.
The wind of the moor certainly blew the cobwebs out.
I have run out of char cloth, so Haily and I decided to rip up a pair of old Levi jeans and make some more.
I assembled some equipment useful for the job.
A sealable tin with a small hole punched in the lid, some plugs to seal the hole with, leather gloves, flint and steel to test the resultant char cloth and a pair of pliers so I can handle the hot tin.
Now, I know I wrote a blog about char cloth last winter, but I would like to share with you some of the mistakes I made this time round.
I used two tins in the open fire for the burn .
Haily and I rolled tight strips of denim and placed the rolled strips in a sealed tin with a small hole punched in the lid.
As normal the combusted gas started to issue from the hole.
The tin on the left looks like a proper char, no flame.
However, the tin on the right started to flame out, the seal was poor, air was entering the tin and we believed the cloth would be burned rather than charred.
As usual, when the smoke had stopped and petered out, I removed both tins from the fire and pegged the holes to keep the air out and suffocate any further combustion.
After about fifteen minutes I popped the lid from the tin that had flamed out.
I quite expected the tin to be full of carbon.
We were very surprised that the burn had worked and the char cloth seemed sound.
The char cloth was still warm to the touch, so I put it next to me on the wooden floor to cool whilst we had a look at the other (normal) tin.
Whilst I was popping the lid off, Haily pointed out that the first roll, the one sat on the wooden floor, had ignited.
I quickly put the roll back in the tin with a peg in the hole to stop any further combustion.
We learned quite a lot of useful things on this burn. Next time I will leave the tin for a long long time before opening it !!!
It seems that even though the roll was only warm to the touch on the outside, it must have been Harry Redders (RED HOT) in the middle.
After all the excitement, we closed both tins, sealed with pegs and went and cooked some lunch.
The char cloth cooled properly,
no great harm done.
Later during the week I spent some time in the forest with Mark and his brother Jon.
Here Mark is showing his brother how to light a fire using a bow drill.
The fire is lit and the Chef can get down to the business of cooking a chicken curry for seven hungry campers.
And one clown !!!!
After a little preparation the curry was in the Dutch oven ready to go.
An hour and a half later and supper was served.
That night our first Autumn storm arrived, the following day was dark, windy and very very wet.
Kevin Endicott had supplied a very big Swedish tarp for the camp, we put it up over the fire and cooked breakfast.
A few days later Haily and I thought the Chanterelle may have made an appearance, so we went to have a rummage about. The little blighter's were hiding under the leaf litter, we managed to flush them out though, by crouching down and using long staves to gently disturb the leaf litter.
Seemed to work.....
Sarah, Haily and I will be living off Chanterell, bread and eggs for the next couple of days I think.
At the moment I am waiting for some technical information from Chris Grant.
We have finalised the MaChris bushcraft knife and Chris will be batch producing them soon.
And I am pleased to say that Nic Westermanns Axe and hook knife combination suits me down to the ground.
I have now reached a happy place where my three main edge tools are supplied by craftsmen here in the British Isles.
I will be running a new blog about these superb edge tools and makers soon.