Just finished making these baskets...They are made
from Blackberry Brambles. The one without a handle is a
fishing creel which is used to put your fish in once you
have caught them, I still need to fit the shoulder strap
on this one. The other two would be good for foraging
berries and fungi etc.
I think brambles are a fantastic
basketry material, I feel they are better than Willow in
To collect the brambles I wear leather gloves and hold a
scrap of thick canvas in one hand. I find a suitable thin
and long bramble, which I have found like to grow in the
light areas of woodland. I take the growing tip of the
bramble and fold the canvas around it, whilst grasping the
canvas I run it down to the length of the bramble to strip
all leaves and thorns. The process is very easy... last
time I collected brambles I gathered about 140 runners in
one go. But you do need quite a lot of material to make a
single basket. I hold the canvas around the bramble so
that it does not wear out my leather gloves.
I then leave my harvested Brambles to dry which only takes
about 1 week. Although I got rid of all the thorn tips
during the gathering process they are still very rough and
so I run each bramble through a piece of sandpaper which
makes them really smooth. Before I weave them I soak them
in water just with the hose pipe... no need to submerge
them in water for days like you do with Willow. Just spray
over until they are soaking and then leave for about 15
mins in a cool place so that the water soaks in.
There you go... all ready to weave.
main Longbow snapped not long ago so it was time to make a
new one. The tiller on my old bow never was perfect and
thats why it snapped.
I finally believe I have got a good tiller on this
longbow. It it 6 foot 5 inches long and had a simple 'D'
shape cross-section. At full draw it it measures 57lb at
28" (thats the amount of power in poundage)
I scanned in a template from a book of
what a perfect tiller should look like for this type of
bow, then using the computer I placed this under my bow in
the photograph to see how the tiller looks. I think its
probably the best tiller I have ever managed to make on a
I successfully fired these pottery items in a big
campfire. To make the pottery I used the clay I had dug
out of the bank of a small stream. I added 'temper' to the
clay to make it more forgiving during the firing stages.
When the pot was finished I even cooked up part of a
primitive meal in it which consisted of Burdock root and
Cattail reed parts.
First of all I carved the
basic fish shape from a piece of wood. Then I filled a
bucket with water and wrapped a small piece of lead around
the fish. The lead was enough to sink the wood rapidly to
the bottom. I decided that it may be best to weight the
fish so that it does not sink so fast, I kept snipping a
piece of lead off until the fish was slightly heavier than
it was buoyant, making the fish dink much more slowly. I
then cut the piece of lead into two halves and hammered
them over and over into thin sheeting. I wrapped the thin
lead around the wood which gave me the correct colour and
weight for the fish. The lead is held on with small pin
tacks. I could now easily tool the lead to add an effect
which would mimic the fish scales. Finally I painted on
the eyes and other details.
I attached the lure to my fishing rod and dangled it off a
bridge near some weed and Lilly pads. After a while of
trying different areas around the weed a Pike shot out and
tried to take the lure! I couldn't believe it! I have
never done anything like this before. I had not yet got
hooks on my lure because I was purely interested to see if
it would attract a Pike or not. However I will now attach
hooks and catch my dinner some day soon.
I made this net recently, all
the string and mesh work is made from inner Lime bark
which I retted and prepared myself. The net has a bar mesh
size of 4.5cm and I believe this would be good for
catching small or medium sized Pike and other fish. The
floats are Lime wood and the the sinkers on the bottom are
sandstone. Overall length of the net is about 5.5m. The
net took a lot of time to make, Overall with making all
the cordage and tieing all the knots etc the whole project
took me a week to complete.
The bottom line is is 20% longer than the top line,
Which is an important part of the design. Also the lines
are only knotted to the corners of the net. There is one
thinner line which runs through the meshes at the top and
then a thicker rope that runs above that. Both lines are
then tied together about every 5 meshes so that the net
can slide along the lines a little which makes the net
more slack when a fish hits it. The same is done for the
weights on the bottom.
Traditionally I think Linen was used, it is supposed to be
very good for making nets. I am planning on making a cast
net some day and I will be making that from Linen thread.
I collected all of
these Hazel nuts, somehow I got there before the squirrel!
I have never even seen so many hazel nuts before. This
year seems to be very good for all kinds of nuts, berries
and fruit. There seems to be an abundance of Damsons here
too. I think all of this may mean we are going to have a
very cold winter this year!
I roasted the Hazel nuts using a quick burning fire the
way that Ray Mears shows on his Wild Food series. I did
not have any sand so I used a mix of dry sandy soil and
ash from previous fires. I spread a single layer of the
nuts on the ground and then spread a thin layer of the ash
over the top. A quick burning fire is then lit on top
which roasts the nuts. The flavour and digestibility of
the nuts is enhanced dramatically.