Christmas day bimble.

After being stuffed to the gills with turkey I took my dad on a little bimble to the local woods I camp in. We were glad we didn't have full kit with us as the wind was howling on the walk in. It a long open road to get there and we were being buffeted about alot.

Once we got in the the shelter of the wood the wind dropped completely for us though when you looked up the canopy was swaying lots.

We got to my usual camping spot and broke out the stoves. We both have crusader stoves so we had a bit of a race to see who would get a brew first. My Dad's crusader stove is one of the black ones whilst mine was the plain metal version. I had the small round fuel tablets and my Dad used the larger square ones. The race was on.  Both seemed to heat quite quickly but the black stove won. Think this was down the to better fuel tablets, may have to get some of them.

Behind where we were sitting was a fallen branch and growing on it was quite a collection of Jelly Ear fungus Auricularia auricula-judae 

Whilst enjoying our coffee I saw this collection (what the collective noun for Ladybirds?) of Ladybirds on a part of the camp fire heat reflector. Not sure if they hibernate for winter but I don't remember seeing them around at Christmas time before.

As we walked out of the woods we found these Trooping Funnel fungi. Infundibulicybe geotropa

Mora for scale


Last camp of September

Partickpebbles and myself got last night to go and hang on our local woods. We were planning on walking to the woods as its only a 1 or 2 to get there but due to a RTA and the motorways being jammed solid it took a lot longer to get home then usual so we had to drive to the wood.

We dumped the car in the usual spot and walked in to the woods across the fields. The farmer who owns the woods, also has the fields we have to cross so all is good permissions wise.

Got in to the woods and notice it was quite a bit darker in there. The camera does make it seem even darker.

We got the hammocks pitched quite quickly and did wonder if we needed the tarps but decided as we were away from the family, a sleep in would be a good idea so put the traps up so it would not be as light in the morning

Then we started to get the fire going. I had collected some dry grass earlier in the week and had left it in my car so it was really nice and dry and ready to use. I got Partickpebbles to practice using a firesteel on a piece of amadou I brought along in my fire kit, he didn't have much joy with that. Whilst he was doing that i got lots of twigs and small bits of wood ready for the fire. He then tried getting a spark on to some char cloth which worked. Then he put that in the dry grass and after a few blows we had fire!

This was Partickpebbles first fire with out matches or lighter, so well done!

After the fire was going we settled in to cook our tea, burgers and onions wrapped in foil and yummy it was washed down a nice red.

We have been using these woods for nearly a year now and have never really seen or heard any wildlife apart from birds but last night we heard a pair of owls and I saw an owl scat as i put my hand in it in the dark :p  It was about the same size as my thumb but twice as long.  There was also something else moving through the woods last night, we did not see it but heard it a few times.

Woke up this morning feeling really refreshed for a great night out in the woods.  Roll on the next time.


My first carved wooden soon

Finally got round to carving a spoon from a bit of wood I picked up at the BCUK Bushmoot.  Not sure what type of wood it is but it still looks nice I think.

Also got a few pieces of Apple wood and have made another spoon now from that.

Spork is for scale.


Coffee on a Honey Stove

As it is Fathers day to today I got o to have a little play in the garden today. Thought I would make a brew on my honey stove. Whilst getting the honey stove I out I found my GSI Outdoors 1 cup aluminium espresso machine which I don't think I have ever used and thought why not make an espresso.

Got the fire going in the honey stove OK apart from my 3 year old wanting to help by holding the bits of wood I was splitting with my hatchet. A quick bar of chocolate soon distracted her so I could continue splitting the wood.

Then I boiled some water for the kids warm juice.

After they had their drinks I could then got on with the main task. An Espresso!

It was very quick, I planned to film it but only managed to get the end of it as I wasn't ready for how quick it boiled.

And for those who have nothing better to do here is the clip of the final brewing


Hammock set up complete (for now)

So now I have the soft shackles made my hammock set up is complete for now.   The way I have it set up is as follows:
Tree huggers with a marlin spike hitch to the whoopie sllings to the soft shackle to the continuous loop.
This method works really well for me, its quick to put up and easy to alter to get the hang just right.

I may latter look at putting in a structal ridge line but for now I happy with the set up.

Pics to follow.


Soft Shackle

Got my 200' of 7/64 Amsteel so thought I would have a go at making a Soft Shackle. I followed the instructions from here http://l-36.com/soft_shackle_howto.php.

Made 2 in the end, they weren't to hard to make just need a better tool to thread the Amsteel through itself.

Soft Shackle Closed

Soft Shackle opened


First fire using flint and striker

 Was out at our camping spot with my mate. It was his birthday earlier this month and I go him a John Fenna's Dragons Breath fire starting kit. Its a small leather pouch with a steel striker, flint, char cloth and bits of birch polypore fungus. He had got the polypore burning before but had not yet made fire with it. I collected lots of tinder and small twigs ready for the fire then Mike set to work starting the fire. After a minute Mike had the dry grass smoking and then it started flame! He placed it on to the fire area and we put the small twigs round it and then some larger ones. As the below picture shows it stayed lit and Mike's enjoying it.

I have to say the food tasted even better when it was cooked on a fire we lit ourselves.


Wife's first sleep in a hammock

Took my wife and kids up to Brockwell Woods near Newcastle to go try out her new DD Frontline Hammock.

Got up to the site just as the owner was going to feed the lambs, he asked if my girls would like to and they loved it, great timing or what. Then we went and found ourselves a nice quite piece of the woods to make camp.

We got both our hammocks up and put the kids tent between us. Once we had eaten I got a fire going as my wife got the kids to bed. Then we sat down and enjoyed the fire and a nice glass (plastic cup) of red.

In the morning my wife said she had, had a great nights sleep and thought hammocks are the way to go.!

We all had a great time but not ever one as happy to leave in the morning.


First Grass Snake of the year

Out on a bit of walk with wife, kids and my mum and on the way back to the car we found a grass snake, well I think it is. 

It was sunning itself on the road. As we stopped to a take a photo or two it slithered off in to the undergrowth.

Managed to get a video of it moving off. Was impressed at how quick it moved. 

My girls were very impressed with seeing the snake, the have never seen one in the wild before.
We had my mum's boarder terrier with us who didn't even notice the snake just walked past it and carried on whilst we stopped and took the pics.


New Tarp and first solo over night

Just got my new camo tarp from DD Hammocks. Been itching to get out and use it. Had a 2 night camp planned this weekend but a good dose of man flu the week before put the kibosh on it but by the end of the week I felt well enough to try an overnighter. So got my kit together and and headed out to the local wood on my own.

Once I got my hammock and tarp set up, it was time to get a fire going to cook my tea. There is plenty of dead wood around so only took a few minutes to get some together and get the fire going. Built a little wood  reflector to hide the fire from the road and to keep me a bit warmer.

Tea was "Look what we found" chile and it was very good, for pudding I had an army issue ration pack Treacle Sponge, bit too sweet for my liking.

Had a good nights sleep and woke up to bird song and the sound of a woodpecker.  Got up and got the fire going again to make breakfast. Whilst waiting for the water to boil for my coffee had some more bits out of the ration pack, oatmeal block with yeast extract spread on it. Not bad at all.  Once I had a cup of coffee, I got the packet of sausage, beans and omelette heated up.

After breakfast I got packed up and headed home. Had a nice overnighter and was an interesting experience camping out on my own.


Paracord Watch Strap

After more current watch strap broke thought I would have a go at making a paracord one after seeing one on stormdrane's blog

Quite impressed with my first attempt. Only took about half an hour to make.


Hammock set up is complete

Well after looking at my whoopie slings and thinking that they might be a bit to long. I decided to cut them down a little bit and use the excess I cut off to make 2 continuous loops.
These go through the channels at each end of the hammock and then loop over themselves. They then attach to the whoopie sling via a carabiner which also works as a drop line to keep the hammock and its occupant dry in case it rains.
The whoopie slings then attach to the tree hugger's via another carabiner. I am tempted to look at a marlin spike hitch for this instead but thats something to do in the future.


New google blogger app

Just got the new google blogger app for android and it's not to bad. Was more impressed with the fact I could install it from the web via the android market store and it pushed it out to my phone automatically.


An afternoon in the woods

Spent a pleasant afternoon in the woods with my kids and a mate.  

Testing the hammock before the tarp goes up

Hammock, looking good.
Picnic and brew, life's good.


Whoopie slings IV

Well I have now used the whoopie slings in anger and I am very impressed with them, they make putting up the hammock very easy and quick to alter the sag of the hammock.

Now its up time to enjoy a well earned brew.