October 2012 Seminar. Druids & Bushcraft

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Heddwen
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Re: October 2012 Seminar. Druids & Bushcraft

Postby Heddwen » 05 Oct 2012, 18:29

Well done Dathi, for producing a first rate seminar. I like the diverse mediums that you used to present it

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Dathi
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Re: October 2012 Seminar. Druids & Bushcraft

Postby Dathi » 07 Oct 2012, 18:53

Hiya Heddwyn, another "crafty" Druid.

Referring to DaRC and treegod's earlier observations about land-use, this paper makes some interesting observations about what is called the "Sherwood Syndrome" http://www.aeonmagazine.com/nature-and- ... ests-myth/

This relates to another topic vigourously debated in the woodland community and that is conifer vs broadleaf woods. Monoculture sitka spruce / lodgepole pine plantations cover large parts of Europe. They are sometimes referred to "Conifer Deserts" because they grow so densely and are not good for biodiversity. And this is largely true. Certainly some afforestation practices 20/30 years ago were not well thought out.

Middle ground is found in the practice of continuous cover / close to nature / Pro-silva forestry. http://prosilvaeurope.org/

I go with this. "Sustainability" is a wide term and must include commercial dimensions such as wood energy, timber and other forest products. But the commercial aspects must be balanced with eco-systems, biodiversity, cultural / recreational / amenity use, and climate / soil protection. As put to me yesterday by a forester "all this environmental work has got to be paid for somehow".

Earlier, we had some discussions about the ethics of bushcraft. Mark had a specific question relating to foraging. This (and more) are addressed in a very practical manner here looking at the ethics of "gathering" (It’s a really useful read): http://www.bushcraftuk.com/downloads/pd ... ethics.pdf

No matter about other fruits being scarce, there is no shortage of Rowan berries this year:
oakquicken1.jpg
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Some Rowan resources:
http://en.heilkraeuter.net/herbs/rowan-berry.htm
http://www.treesforlife.org.uk/forest/m ... rowan.html
:owlhorn:
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Dathi
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Re: October 2012 Seminar. Druids & Bushcraft

Postby Dathi » 07 Oct 2012, 19:46

Druids Bushcraft Bag

All here will be familiar with the notion of a Crane Bag.

The shirt of Manannan and his knife,
And Guibnes' girdle altogether.
A smiths' hook from the fierce man;
Were treasures that the Crane Bag held.

The King of Scotlands' shears full sure,
And the King of Lochlainns' helmet,
These were in it to be told of,
And the bones of Asals' swine.

A girdle of the great whales' back was in the shapely crane bag;
I tell thee without harm
It used to be carried in it.

When the sea was full,
Its' treasures were visible in its' middle;
When the sea was in ebb,
The Crane Bag in turn was empty.

Likewise, the modern-day bushcrafting Druid needs a small “bag of tricks”. Here’s mine, with some of the items I carry with me on various adventures. This is a "dandering" bag for casual jaunts with my lads. More serious trips require appropriate kit.
cranebag1.jpg
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Contents include a saw, bushcraft knife, a few carving tools, pen & notebook, a couple of reference books / cards, dowsing rods & pendulum, brew kit, bikkies and sweeties, latex gloves and couple of black bin bags (litter picking), a few first-aid items, a torch, roll of gaffer tape, several personal momentos, a compass, a whistle, fire steel & tinder, space blanket and sundry other oddments.

It might be a fun project for readers to consider what mix of esoteric and practical tools they might carry with them outdoors. Like a Boy Scout, it’s always good to “Be Prepared”. Your kit need not be complex, expensive or heavy, but some things are handy to have.

Pikkie taken at Kilclooney dolmen, a definite "leave no trace" site.
Kilclooney.jpg
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Re: October 2012 Seminar. Druids & Bushcraft

Postby skydove » 08 Oct 2012, 16:05

Hi Dathi, Thanks for including the Innisfree poem by Yeats, it remains one of my most favourite poems, in fact I just need to read the first line to get a lump in my throat. I was very lucky to go there a couple of years ago and walked through the woods by the lake, magical and grounding at the same time. The aspiration of living the simple life alone and self contained, you can do it in your head even if not in reality, the power of poetry a vessel to take you there. I would be fine building a shelter and growing and foraging, I don't think I could kill anything and eat it though. Yesterday I chickened out of killing a collared dove who I think had dislocated it's neck and I felt really bad about leaving it to suffer all day, I did not know what to do whether to leave it alone or try and kill it, I did not have the skills or confidence to deal a death blow and did not know if I should interfere anyway but a great part of me thought that I should. I went back today and thankfully it had died. Apart from being sad about it I noticed a thing of great beauty , it's eyes were closed but the underneath eyelid was a remarkable sky blue colour which I never would have seen if it was alive.
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Re: October 2012 Seminar. Druids & Bushcraft

Postby Dathi » 09 Oct 2012, 19:11

Yup skydove, there is much to be learnt from and seen in the visceral aspects of the wild.

Earlier I had made some cautionary observations about foraging. This just reinforces the message:
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/bre ... ing44.html
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has warned about the dangers of wild mushroom foraging as seven people have been poisoned so far this year.

The authority said that 27 varieties of the fungus are toxic. There are 13 highly dangerous species in Ireland which are life threatening and can cause liver and kidney damage, while another 14 native species lead to gastrointestinal upset, it said.

Last year the National Poisons Information Centre of Ireland was notified of 22 cases of food poisoning related to wild mushroom while there have been seven cases so far this year.

Ray Ellard, director of consumer protection, said it is extremely difficult to identify the safe mushrooms growing in the wild, as opposed to the poisonous varieties.
Here is an interesting presentation by a buddy (4.5 meg download): http://www.donegalgardensociety.net/talkmushrooms.pdf

The Penny Bun and Death Cap look just the same to me!!!!
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Re: October 2012 Seminar. Druids & Bushcraft

Postby Sciethe » 09 Oct 2012, 20:42

Phenomenal goodly seminar and postings.
I resonate so strongly with the drive of it all, as a sole gardener looking after 15 acres in two varied lots (and trying to do so sensitively) it all makes sense. So too with the spiritual aspect, I'm lucky that my job allows this. Tool kit looked hauntingly familiar too, that's what I've come down to over my 25 years or so of working, plus a rake of course.
I like the file-knife transformation, keen to try that one.
Thanks Dathai
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Re: October 2012 Seminar. Druids & Bushcraft

Postby Dathi » 11 Oct 2012, 10:08

Magic of Transformation

To remind ourselves; us Druids practice three forms of magic, these being questing, making and transforming. What most people here have found to be the most exciting aspect of the Bardic work, is the challenge to unleash our creative powers. And scattered across DHP you can see examples of poetry, quilting, graphic design, wood carving, prose, triads, jewellery, glass staining, sketching & painting etc. All involving the transformation of raw materials into something new and beautiful. There are some very talented folk here, and many people have discovered these talents as a direct result of their Bardic activities.

Bushcraft opens up several new crafty avenues for us. What follows is a quick project completed during a quiet couple of hours over the weekend.

The starting point is a cheap and cheerful (but not very "Druidy") Hultafors Craftsman knife.
knp1begin.jpg
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Which (after taping up the blade for safety reasons) got some hefty abuse to get rid of the plastic handle.
knp3off.jpg
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And was matched to an old bit of yew gathered (windfall, not chopped) from a special place.
knp4yew.jpg
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Seminar. September 2010: African Druids? Sangomas, Inyangas http://www.druidry.org/board/dhp/viewto ... =2&t=36777

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Re: October 2012 Seminar. Druids & Bushcraft

Postby Dathi » 11 Oct 2012, 10:18

And followed by an outdoor ruminatory carving session. The wooden block with nails is a really useful bit of kit for all sorts of carving activities.
knpworkshop.JPG
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Followed by the fitting of a handle.
knp6fin.jpg
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And voila! A fine bit of Ovatey kit. Total cost... less than 10 quid. Personal value..... priceless.

One for you Sciethe!
:owlhorn:
Seminar. September 2010: African Druids? Sangomas, Inyangas http://www.druidry.org/board/dhp/viewto ... =2&t=36777

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Re: October 2012 Seminar. Druids & Bushcraft

Postby Bracken » 11 Oct 2012, 10:31

I hope Mark the Compost Elf won't mind me posting a picture of some of what he got up to over the weekend. And there are more than this. This was just a few. I was dead impressed.
blades.jpg
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Re: October 2012 Seminar. Druids & Bushcraft

Postby Dathi » 11 Oct 2012, 10:36

WOW!!!! :wow:
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Seminar. September 2010: African Druids? Sangomas, Inyangas http://www.druidry.org/board/dhp/viewto ... =2&t=36777

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Re: October 2012 Seminar. Druids & Bushcraft

Postby Sciethe » 11 Oct 2012, 21:15

And followed by an outdoor ruminatory carving session. The wooden block with nails is a really useful bit of kit for all sorts of carving activities.
knpworkshop.JPG
Followed by the fitting of a handle.
knp6fin.jpg
And voila! A fine bit of Ovatey kit. Total cost... less than 10 quid. Personal value..... priceless.

One for you Sciethe!
A Ma ZING!
Right, time to rummage among my grandfather's old tools he left me. Ancestral too has to be good.

Superimpressed by Mark the Compost Elf's efforts as well... what a talented crafty bunch. Right. I'm home.
Sciethe
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Re: October 2012 Seminar. Druids & Bushcraft

Postby Bracken » 11 Oct 2012, 22:25

WOW!!!! :wow:
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Re: October 2012 Seminar. Druids & Bushcraft

Postby Twig » 12 Oct 2012, 06:51

I feel unqualified to even comment on this seminar, Dathi. I very much enjoyed reading it, and especially appreciated the intimate, conversational tone of your writing. Loved all the photos and poems as well. Quite an accomplishement.

I often wanted to go primitive camping, as we call such excursions here across the pond. The challenge of getting everything one needs for living several days into a backpack really did appeal to me. When I was young and healthy, being able to do this was one of my major goals. Alas, that goal went unfulfilled, but I was able to do more conventional types of camping, always having as my guidepost to leave a place exactly as I found it. Reading your seminar stirred up these old feelings, and lo! It is a good thing. Thank you.
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Re: October 2012 Seminar. Druids & Bushcraft

Postby DaRC » 12 Oct 2012, 12:24

I often wanted to go primitive camping, as we call such excursions here across the pond. The challenge of getting everything one needs for living several days into a backpack really did appeal to me.
Well Twig your point does remind of a discussion on why British MTB'ers do a lot of night biking and why our counterparts in the America's don't - we don't have to worry about lions & tigers & bears (nor snakes or spiders)! It does take some of the stress out of travelling into the British & Eire wilds.

When I was riding in the hill country over in Austin it was getting close to dusk and we were looking for the fastest trail back. We saw a nice downhill, narrow & twisty track... it was very tempting until we noticed the spider webs and what looked suspiciously like black widow spiders. We chose the more open, less tempting, route.
Back here in Blighty the nastiest thing I've seen is an Adder (once) and their bite is still not as bad as Black Widow's.
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Re: October 2012 Seminar. Druids & Bushcraft

Postby Twig » 12 Oct 2012, 18:53

We do have considerable amounts of wee and not-so-wee beasties here, such as rattlesnakes and the spiders you wisely avoided. Skunks and coons will brazenly step out of the bushes to steal your food, too. They aren't scary (OK, maybe the skunks are :grin: ), but you just have to plan very carefully. The larger critters down in South Texas are skittish deer and shy foxes, but we do have the occasional mountain lion show up here. In the northern US, the tigers and bears you mentioned are a bit off-putting for primitive camping!

It's also become more and more of a problem for women to venture out into the wild alone. Unsavory guys seem to be able to smell us from miles away, no matter how recently we've bathed! :blink:
"...some part of me is tree." -- Stephanie Kaza (Buddhist author)

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Re: October 2012 Seminar. Druids & Bushcraft

Postby Dathi » 12 Oct 2012, 23:46

Thanks for the comments and observations Twig and DaRC. One thing about bushcraft is that it does not require a rigorous trek into the wilderness. The wild can be brought closer to you by dabbling in the craft and skill elements at home or in the back yard. Consider e.g. cooking. Bush cooking recipes can be done in your kitchen oven - but you can still vicariously imagine to be in a remote outpost. My oldest and best bush cooking recipe is actually far tastier (and less "flavoured" with grit, ash and twigs) when done in an oven. This recipe is very simple.
Ingredients:
A can of beer.
Pound of self-raising flour.
Whatever flavourings you wish for taste - salt, masala, bits of nuts, chopped nettles or ramsons, grated cheese, finely chopped choriso sausage, onion, garlic or chilli peppers - anything goes (and it's quite tasty with a bit of everything!).
Preparation:
Mix the whole lot thoroughly together.
Cook by:
Baking in a bread tin.
Frying in oil in a deep skillet.
Wrapping around a stick and cooking over an open fire.

Regarding "wee beasties". I'm not at all Druidic about these. Best avoided by whatever means.

Snakes were a persistant problem in my "previous life". I have neither affection or affinity for them, BUT have seem to have been a snake magnet in my time. Luckily the only time I've been struck (fat, lazy pufadder kipping in a path in the morning sun) was when I was wearing fishing waders. This was the only time in my life that I have levitated!!!!

The lesson (as always) is SITUATIONAL AWARENESS. Basic rules are:
Don't mess with them and (generally) they won't mess with you.
Proper footwear as appropriate.
Don't stick your hands in holes or other obviously snakey places (mind the wood pile).
Keep your tent zipped closed when not in use.
Shake your boots out before putting them on.
Be careful when clearing up camp.
Learn about what you may encounter in your locality (recognition, bite protocols etc.).

I'm not going to give treatment advice here (Initially trained, as I was, in the era of: tourniquet, cross incision on bite locality, suck poison out, put potassium permanganate in cuts :anx: :boggle:

Get to an expert asap, and have a photo of the beastie in question.

The best snake resource on the internet is this forum: http://www.sareptiles.co.za/forum/index.php

In particular, this subsection needs to be studied by anyone who wants to mess with "Hots". The top experts on the planet develop advanced snakebite research here, some through the, uhh, experiential method: http://www.sareptiles.co.za/forum/viewforum.php?f=45
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Seminar. September 2010: African Druids? Sangomas, Inyangas http://www.druidry.org/board/dhp/viewto ... =2&t=36777

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Re: October 2012 Seminar. Druids & Bushcraft

Postby Dathi » 14 Oct 2012, 22:54

Stumbled across this amazing forum over the weekend: http://www.kelticos.org/forum/index.php

Kelticos. There are enough ideas here to spark off hundreds of crafting projects!!!
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Seminar. September 2010: African Druids? Sangomas, Inyangas http://www.druidry.org/board/dhp/viewto ... =2&t=36777

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Re: October 2012 Seminar. Druids & Bushcraft

Postby Whitemane » 15 Oct 2012, 12:18

Regarding "wee beasties". I'm not at all Druidic about these. Best avoided by whatever means.

Snakes were a persistant problem in my "previous life". I have neither affection or affinity for them, BUT have seem to have been a snake magnet in my time. Luckily the only time I've been struck (fat, lazy pufadder kipping in a path in the morning sun) was when I was wearing fishing waders. This was the only time in my life that I have levitated!!!!

The lesson (as always) is SITUATIONAL AWARENESS. Basic rules are:
Don't mess with them and (generally) they won't mess with you.
Proper footwear as appropriate.
Don't stick your hands in holes or other obviously snakey places (mind the wood pile).
Keep your tent zipped closed when not in use.
Shake your boots out before putting them on.
Be careful when clearing up camp.
Learn about what you may encounter in your locality (recognition, bite protocols etc
I have a friend who once thought it appropriate to check his sleeping bag for rattlesnakes on a training exercise in the western desert by emptying his M-16 into it.

They stopped issuing live ammunition for that that exercise shortly after that.
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Re: October 2012 Seminar. Druids & Bushcraft

Postby mark the compost elf » 15 Oct 2012, 13:28

Some great points raised here - really enjoyiong reading through this seminar come debate :)

As a note on the knives i made - the antler handled ones were pre made blades while the pear wood handled ones were my first attempts at making a knife from an dull (hardpoint toothed - cannot be resharpened :( ) saw. It's all thanks to Dathi really for inspiring me to try something i'd been pondering for a good while. :)

The Yew handled blade is also awesome :) Some may disagree on here, but try and find an older knife - something in hjigh carbon stell (I.e. it can rust) as they hold an edge better. Ultimately a sharp knife is safer than a blunter one in times of need. A clean cut will heal quicker than a blunt bladed tear too.... (for those accident prone folk like myself :) )
From decay comes growth, fungal or otherwise. All stages of death are filled with life and life to be. Creation is made up of ugly beauty that is gorgeous to those who can feel as well as they can see.

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Re: October 2012 Seminar. Druids & Bushcraft

Postby Dathi » 15 Oct 2012, 21:40

Yeah, Whitemane. That's the problem with snakes. They like to get cosy. I'll try to get permission to share some pikkies from an Army buddy who killed a snake (and ate it) during a recent exercise. He posted the photo on a closed news group and attracted a stream of criticism from people who actually LIKE these creatures. Turns out the snake was a highly endangered species with an estimated 100 to 1500 left in the wild.

Mark, your cutlery is great. I have some bits of antler to try working with. It's new to me and very hard material, so it might take a bit of experimenting to get right. I'm only a hobbiest in this field and there are some serious knife artists around. I like this guy's stuff (and approach) http://www.davebudd.com/index.html Look at the quality and finish of these, made with no modern tools, only what was available during the Iron Age. http://www.kelticos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1922
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