Friday, 12 April 2013

Blog 'How to' Page

'Paracord knitting' explained so that you can make useful kit using paracord 550. It's a weave that is simple to learn and yet produces something useful be it a bracelet, key ring and so on. See also more paracord knitting too.

How to get soap out of easy to find leaves. There are several different saponin sources to be found in the wild and this page covers the more commonly found ones.

The humble washing machine drum makes a really resilient off-the-ground fire pit for camps with only a little modification.

Bombproof ironware that is a real asset around the campfire. It's also got more about it than just cooking up stews and cowboy hotpots.

Yes, Nettle syrup. This version does have a high sugar content but it makes the most fantastic cordial to mix with either still or sparkling water and is so easy to make.

How to make the classic cordial. This version was described as 'sensational' in a Bushcraft & Survival Skills magazine article and indeed made the letter of the week in the said magazine when I sent the recipe in.

Not something that necessarily springs to mind when you think of Elderflowers. It is essentially a 'How to' on reducing Elderflower cordial to make a tasty syrup which is sensational on ice cream!

After a slightly more unusual Elderflower idea comes another well known classic of battered flower heads. Easy to do and are as showy as they are tasty.

And back to something a little less well known. A simple and easy confectionery again made from Elderflower cordial. I absolutely love rose flavoured Turkish Delight so these really do tickle my fancy.

I don't often tap for Birch sap and certainly not every year. If I do this simple homemade piece of kit is excellent for extracting  a little birch sap with the minimum of effort.

Turkish Hazelnuts are actually a commonly planted  tree in towns and, like it's country relative, has  tasty and recognisable nuts. They aren't as easy to extract whole as the Corylus avellana version, but worth pursuing nevertheless.

An easy to make trap that is made from a humble plastic bottle. They are actually just as good in the sea as they are a lake or river.

An easy to make long life snack, this link is a Christmas version but there are plenty of fruits (both foraged and purchased) that be made into leathers.

A Fergus Drennen recipe that appeared as a Bushcraft & Survival Skills pullout. A simple to  follow process to make a common fungus into a cross between a petit four and an adult sweetie if booze is used!

A simple method of adding diffused light to your campsite using just two/ three things to make it, namely a light source, water and a plastic bottle.

A very simple project that can utilise old scraps of wood. Having the ability to steam wood can open up a lot of projects.

Coltfoot's Latin hints towards the fact that it is well regarded as a useful plant as a way to combat a chesty cough. 

I saw this as a how to  in Bushcraft and Survival Skills magazine  and despite a limited knowledge of working leather I decided to have a go. It isn't an overly hard project but it did take a fair amount of time. This one used old setee leather and not buckskin.

I'd always assumed that dehydrators were big and expensive and indeed there are big and expensive ones out there. My affordable budget model serves my needs well and the more I used it the more bushcraft applications presented themselves. They even make decent jerky which is how a lot of the commercial stuff is made. A dehydrator works well if used with a vacuum sealer.

This was almost a necessary purchase to fully utilise my dehydrator. Not only does it put your camp food into handy pouches, it also has a few non-camping uses too.

A stylish way of hanging a pot over a fire. You only need a few lengths of wood and a couple of basic knife skills to make one.

An iconic method of obtaining fire through friction with wood combination notes. Also see the articles on making a Bowdrill From Scratch, using Firewood Silver Birch and Cedar wood from a fence post to make sets! 

This link is to a blog page detailing the basics of construction, there is also a link to a 'warts and all' blog page contained on it too. Jerky With Shop Brought Sauces. Slow Cooker Jerky Retro Jerky Smoking

A tonic that really does taste better than it actually looks!

An easy to make storage container using spent shot gun cartridges.

Got a  friend/ partner/ Scout who is has a wheat allergy? 

This common countryside plant packs a root with plenty of punch. See how it works with smoked mackerel too.

An alternative to a bannock.

A simple method of obtaining water from a 'hole in the ground'. Further processing is needed after the water is gained.


A limited burn time method for boiling water for a brew.

I try and instill into my Cubs that practicing knots does have a use other than just knowing them for the sake of it. One example I give is the amount of knots that I can potentially utilise in a tarp and hammock set up.

I use the same three tried and trusted knots on a tarp and hammock system which are described on the page in words and video clips.

It is really satisfying as a 2 dimensional tarpaulin becomes a functional 3 dimensional 'tent' with the use of a pole, pegs and guy lines. I did a how to article for Bushcraft Magazine and one of these tents formed part of the Scout Survival Skills badge although the work sheet isn't abundantly clear!

This is a close relative of the 3 x 3 tent. The initial pegging is slightly different, as is the insertion of the pole but essentially this gives the user a closed version of the standard tent which has an open doorway.

An elegant technique that originates from the Native Americans and is a fantastic and quick way to prepare and cook a double fillet fish or indeed bacon over a few hot embers.


I had a few sessions of just putting up a tarp in different ways to see if I could be tempted to try any other way of sleeping other than just chucking it up in the classic 'roof' way. 

Two slightly different projectiles which are both satisfying and easy to make with easily gathered materials.


An easy to make adhesive using natural products which has the advantage of being re-moulded once it's set if gentle heat is applied.


A classic low impact cooking method that mimics a domestic slow cooker and produces really moist and tender food.

These cost several pounds to buy in the shops but are actually cheap and easy to make. The one pictured above is for popping several marshmallows on.

I did this design as an article for the Scouting magazine's now defunct Cub supplement and latterly thought that it might work with Birch bark as opposed to foil or parchment  paper. 


Can you spot them in the hedgerow? did you know they can be found in the UK countryside? This blog is a quick guide to the telltale signs that you will lead you to raspberries, and not the unripe blackberries that you first thought.


I got this recipe from a Facebook page  and it is a potent but palatable mix of natural ingredients that prove effective against colds and sniffles.


In the wild Food series Ray Mears and Gordon Hillman roasted some foraged hazelnuts in a bed of sand with a covering of embers, but what they didn't stipulate were the the timings of the process. I had a session whilst out and about to experiment.


This was initially a gap filler for a spare evening at Cubs but the results were really pleasing.


This was one of the things that I'd always meant to get gone but found it on the to do list. It's a sinch to make and is great on a steaming bowl of porridge.


This syrup is one that's been on the to do list for a while. When I finally got making it it was worth the effort...It's excellent with porridge.


I'd never made wine before but I knew that Mead was one of the oldest and simplest to make. I didn't know how to stop the fermentation and the results were therefore on the very dry side, but another project ticked off nevertheless.

On a cold day this simple and very easy to prepare spiced concoction really warms the old cockles, whether as an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage.

There was a knotting query on the 1st Facebook Scout Group that asked for ideas for a simple night of knotting. I suggested an overhand knot session and build on this simple but useful knot. This blog page lists a host of knots that can stem from this stopper knot.

Reputed to have been invented at Tolmers Scout Camp in Hertfordshire, this simple but effective fire starter uses only three natural materials.

I guess pretty much everyone knows about eggy bread, to be honest I can take or leave the mk I version, but this posh makeover is delicious.

This was a project I did a how to for that became part of the Scout Survival skills badge. It's a nice simple carving project that has more camp uses than just eating food with.

Does what it says on the tin really, a light made from rushes. Prepping the rush is a little fiddly but it does make for a elegant light when finished.

Arguably the best natural bushcraft  cordage. The one disadvantage is that it takes a few weeks of prep and soaking but this blog shows the steps needed.

I have a wooden 'Meccano kit' to make either shelter with the cubs. Building one can take an individual several hours but many hands make light work and a reasonable one can be made during a cub meeting.

A slight variation on a recipe that Jason Ingamells posted in Bushcraft and Survival Skills magazine. I used this repellent on a Summer holiday to Scotland and survived unscathed.

Another tough cordage but unlike Lime bast cordage this takes less prep.

The ability to bend wood in a smooth curve opens up all sorts of projects, so I decided to make a wood steamer to able to do so.

I'd always fancied making a sourdough culture and hit upon the idea of using the naturally occurring yeast from a wild plum to kick start a culture. It worked and created a robust base.

This was an idea that came to mind whilst holding a zip lock A4 plastic bag. It makes a fold flat seat and also has a plastic insert to use as a 'footprint' in a tent or under a tarp.

This less than catchy title is something that has interested me for some time. This blog shows details my early steps into lacto-fermentation and also looks at how to use the solids created in the making of the liquid that is used.

A super simple project to undertake which not only gives your carving skills a basic work out but also makes a variable height pot hanging system too.

Alexanders belong to the Apiaceae family which has some deadly members. this quite recognisable plant grows locally to me and makes a fantastic soup.

Find it frustrating when you are trying to help someone spot some nature but it's hard to see it unless you know where it is? Use your camera!

All the whistles are fairly easy to make with easy to get hold of materials. They are all a little different from each other however.

A simple way of making sure that your liquids stay cold for an extended time when out and about.

I'm no fisherman but this starts with the making of my own lures to smoking my catch within a short time of landing it.

An easy to use adaptation to apply seasoning and spices to any dishes that don't quite pass muster in the taste department.

A sort of jerky from South African. The name translates as buttock which is a reference to the cut used and has it's own selection of spices and seasoning.

A quick and easy to make bacon nibble.

A few easy to do savoury recipe ideas from the hedgerow.

A simple but classic fire lighting process with one match. 

Who can resist simple breads cooked in, over or on a fire? Not only are traditional ones covered but also international themed and wheat free versions are shown or linked.

I tried this after having a go at a May Day meet. It's quite cheap and a fairly straightforward procedure.

A pretty simple ketchup to make that's actually very tasty and of course Hawthorns are readily available in the Autumn (at least in the UK).

Traditional old matches that require a few basic ingredients to make. This blog page covers making them plus experimental ones too.

Not technically how to blogs but these article lists which I keep updated mean that anyone who has copies of the magazine can use these blogs to find specific articles, rather than trawling through copy after copy. By clicking the magazine title link you will go to the page detailing issues 1-30, with links to the other two pages which are issues 31-60 and finally issues 61-90 respectively. The cover in the picture is no coincidence as I have an article in it.

I'm also the keeper of the reference list for Bushcraft magazine, the page can be found here

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