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Confession is good for the soul.

Discussion in 'Bushcraft and survival skills' started by Laurentius, Aug 23, 2018.

  1. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    The UBC Museum of Anthropology has several examples of bowdrill fire kits from the Pacific Northwest where I live.
    I expect, likewise, to use cedar on cedar and my carved birch bows.
    Recommended. No hazel. No Ivy. This is Boreal Forest = Taiga.

    I was taught the unwritten tricks for freehand sharpening. I am very proficient but that took (years?) practice.
     
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  2. Billy-o

    Billy-o Native

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    I cannot for the life of me tell one star from another. I have tried and for a bit I can remember what the plough is and where the north star is and whatever, but a week later I'll forget. I have stared and stared adn read books and compared and I can see them then ... but later .. pffft! Gone!

    I still like looking though. I have difficulty telling my left from right too. Meaning I actually have to look at my hands and think about it. There's nothing automatic there. My view is that they are related phenomena.
     
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  3. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    Billy-o: Help is on the way. There's a thing called a Star Compass. I have one, see them in the science shops.
    Rotating sheets of printed plastic. Rotate the top sheet to show the sky for the hour you are in at your latitude.
    Match to north, hold it above your head and all the brighter stars are labelled! The planets are cool. Astronomical web sites.

    Thumb and first finger make an "L" for Left on your left hand.
     
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  4. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    RV, first he needs to learn how to find Polaris ( you call it North Star?)

    Once you know the trick, it is easy. But the sky needs to be clear, no light pollution and the most important, very clean glasses!
    :)
     
  5. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    I have an app on my Ipad called Skyview.
    It even tells you where the ISS is situated in the sky.
     
  6. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    I need no batteries. In the day time, point the hour hand of an analog watch at the sun.
    South is always 1/2 way to the minute hand. If I'm wrong here, I need to go out for a refresher tomorrow.
    Pay attention to where you came from = that's what you see going home.

    Night time, find Polaris, the north star. If you can find what many call the Big Dipper constellation,
    Polaris is 5X above the height of the front rim of the pot. I like to see the Big Dipper then hit the sack.

    More branches grow on the south sides of western red cedar. Easy to see.
    That's how you plan for a totem pole or a story pole or a mortuary pole.
    I never carve any totems as I have not been gifted any.

    Does more moss grow on the north sides of tree bases in the UK than on the south sides?
    Really a dodgy observation here from tree to tree.

    I'd rather be in bed than stumbling around in the dark. Stay in camp, OK?
    Bears are active in the dark and very quiet.
    You won't know that you have foolishly walked between Momma and the cubs until she is killing you.

    I'm old. I'm happy now to make long day trips into the wilderness of the mountains that are so close to my house.
    Then at night, we sleep in my huge wooden hot tent with 3 indoor dunnies. Nothing out in the rain and snow.
     
  7. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    I do the Big Dipper way too. Easy. Do it a couple of times, with increasing cloud base.

    Finding North is an essential survival knowledge in arctic Sweden during winter, where the sun is not visible or visible much during the day.
     
  8. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    I want to make fire with a bow drill and hearth board.
    My kit works perfectly if I substitute an electric drill for the bow.

    I'm cutting raw bison meat with flint so that accomplishment is off my list.
    Next up is to joint a meat rabbit that I bought.

    I've got a great house but there's no fireplace and hearth to experiment on.
    Magnesium, sparking metal, birch bark tinder and a knife is easy. 30 seconds is my best time.
     
  9. leon-1

    leon-1 Mod
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    Page 2 of 2

    Nope. That's one of those really dodgy ones that gets people lost.

    Moss tends to grow on the darkest and dampest side of a tree and I know places in the UK which look like they have been extracted from middle earth which are covered all over with moss.

    You can use growth rings on felled trees to give an indication as long as you take an average from a group or as long as it's a solitary tree.

    You can use hand angles to assess direction and time from the sun.

    Remember when using a watch it can't be an adjusted time it has to be local and that the sun only actually rises in the east and sets in the west at the Vernal (20th March) and Autumnal (23rd September) Equinoxes.

    The full moon at midnight in the northen hemisphere is due south.
     
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  10. Broch

    Broch Full Member

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    I have two oak trees in our wood, metres apart, that have moss growing on opposite sides of the tree. When I tell people this they say 'ah, but in general it's true' and so I have to point out that a navigation rule that can sometimes be right is useless!
     
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  11. leon-1

    leon-1 Mod
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    Broch, where I work we have a track that follows the east west line, the trees on one side have moss on the northern side, the trees on the other have it on the southern side. where there is no track the moss seems to be pretty much evenly distributed towards all cardinal points. When we have courses in we point this out to people.

    So I know what you mean, using this method to find direction would be like standing someone in a barrel and telling them to pee in the corner.
     
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  12. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    Thanks, About what I expected to read (hopefully) that the moss thing is a bunch of hooey. Very ambivalent. Same as here.
    Oddly, the branch thing really does apply to western red cedar = more branches on the south side.
    So most totem/story and mortuary poles have carved north side in better clear wood.

    If you need to go bush bashing and then return, you are far better off here to break branches as you walk along.
    The Salal is a vine-like understory shrub. You can tip over 45 degrees in it and never hit the ground = quite dense and 8' deep.

    I have a new bow drill blank roughed out., Unlike a pair of Ravens to hold the cord, I'll carve 2 frogs instead.
     
  13. Laurentius

    Laurentius Native

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    Happens to me too, perhaps it is my age.
     
  14. leon-1

    leon-1 Mod
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    There are many things I would like to be better at. I teach most things, but everytime I learn something else it highlights just how little I really know (well in my mind anyhow).

    I wish my plant ID was better, I can get by, but my knowledge is far from exhaustive. Most trees I am okay with, there are a few which I am a little wobbly on. I wish my craft work was better, I carve, but I wouldn't say that they are more than functional. I would like to be better at making cordage. I would like my natural nav to be better (I have never used a sextent and although I can recognise a few constellations (Ursa Minor and Major, Casseopiea, Orion, Vega, Southern cross, alpha and beta centauri (pointer stars for the southern cross)) my knowledge of constellations is quite limited.

    Although I can get handdrill it's hard work and I have to work my rear end off to get it, I can get fire saw with bamboo, bow drill (left and right handed), archimedes pump, but hand drill I struggle with. I hate fire pistons.

    There are still shelters that I have not yet made and there have to be ones that I haven't yet come across.
     
  15. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Another of my failings.
    Bird recognition. Specially small birds. I think I can name like 5 small birds in total.
     
  16. Billy-o

    Billy-o Native

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    This is true about the damp, (thought he damp side can frequently be where the sun doesn't shine - which is also the North side). What is also true is that mosses grow on the leeward side. Basically they just like it sheltered from pretty much everything except water :lol:
     
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  17. Broch

    Broch Full Member

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    I really wish that was always true, but, in the space of only a few metres, I can show you moss growing on different sides of mature trees. It is just not a reliable navigation method.
     
  18. Billy-o

    Billy-o Native

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    I agree. Admittedly without much clarity, Broch, I was trying to say it is a rubbish navigation method, :lol: but that there maybe a reason why it had entered the handbook of approximate skills.

    That said, I could equally show you a few sites where things are growing on this side and that, but that 80% are growing on the leeward. Maybe it can be read as a mean indication. Still, I wouldn't go by it, as the wind prevails from where it does, not always the South.
     
    #38 Billy-o, Aug 31, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  19. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    To say it is unreliable is an understatement.

    Many books just regurgitate old falsehoods. People like Mors, Cody Lundin (and Robson V here) know the real stuff because they have lived in the wild. We should listen and learn from them.

    Nature is unforgiving. You mess up - you die. To rely on tree navigation ( moss, branches, leaning of bole) to survive is madness.

    The last resort if you really, really mess up is to follow water with the flow.
    In worst case you will not die thirsty.
     
    #39 Janne, Aug 31, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  20. Billy-o

    Billy-o Native

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    Well, I don't know about books. Most of them seem fine to me. It's people just idly nattering or going on about things they have no clue of, or just a determination to be the leader of the pack, dominate any given conversation or have the last word no matter what, that's where the falsehoods come from ... vanity, mainly; that and an inability to listen. Well, that's what I find about myself when I start talking nonsense. But it doesn't really matter except, of course, when it does.
     
    #40 Billy-o, Aug 31, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018

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