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Bush Telegraph 2017

April 24, 2017

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World's Best Emergency Fire Starter - Made in the UK

StrikeFire Firesteel - The Most Reliable Fire Lighter in The World!

StrikeFire is a UK company, which currently manufactures several products for the outdoor market. Its primary product is the StrikeFire firesteel, available in large and medium sizes.

These firesteels have been on the market for approximately three years now and have accumulated quite the following, in a relatively short time. These humble firesteels are European made, from the finest quality ferrocerium stock, so can not be beaten for quality, ease of use and ultimate reliability. These are not cheap, Asian made knock offs. The ferrocerium stock is made from the purest, finest grades of magnesium, steel and other misch metals. Once formed, the stock undergoes precise heat treatment, in digitally controlled ovens, for the ultimate balance between spark production and longevity. 

They are widely used in forest and bush craft schools, as well as by enthusiasts and beginners. In our opinion, there is no better fire steel. Especially in light of the new improvements made by StrikeFire!

The new and improved StrikeFire striker adds a great deal to the overall usability of the product. The "super striker" consists of a very tough,  ergonomic handle which houses a large, carbon, tool steel striker. When used, this striker produces absolutely massive showers of sparks with very limited effort. This makes it a lot easier for children to use and in general, makes it a lot easier to get a fire going in all conditions.

The superior build quality and design means that the StrikeFire range has few (if any) rivals that can compete with it. You've tried the rest, now try the best - StrikeFire UK!

https://www.bushgear.co.uk/collections/fire

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Edible Of The Week - Week 10 - "Dandelion"

Botanical name : Taraxacum officinale

Common names : Dandelion, Dents de lion, Pis en lit,

Physical appearance : A hairy perennial with roughly toothed leaves which grow from the base of the plant. The plant features hollow stems and grows to between 5 - 40cm in height. Its flowers are large and golden yellow in colour, They are made up of many fine petals. The word dandelion actually comes from the French "dents de lion" which literally translated means "teeth of the lion", a reference to the shape of the leaves. Once the flower has matured, it transforms into a white fluff ball, made of individual seeds, which pollinate via the wind. 

Edible parts : The plant is edible in its entirety, including its roots.

Best places to find : Very widespread throughout England and Europe. Can be found most commonly on open, grassy land, fields and meadows.

Time of year : The leaves can be harvested all year around (if you can find them) although arguably, younger leaves are more tender. The flowers are best eaten when full and plump. The roots provide the best eating during early to mid autumn.

Serving suggestions : The leaves and flowers can be used in salads and sandwiches. The leaves can be prepared as you would spinach leaves.

The roots provide good energy in the from of carbohydrate. Try to remove the roots from the ground, whole and intact. Rather than trying to peel them, scrub them with an abrasive pad, the protective layer will come away easily. Best boiled or sauted.

Other uses : The roots can be made into "dandelion coffee" for a refreshing drink. Simply sun dry the roots thoroughly until crisp, grind them up fairly roughly and prepare as you would normal coffee grounds.

Dandelion is also a key ingredient in root beer, dandelion and burdock cordial and dandelion wine.

Dandelion is a good source of vitamins; A, C and K. It also contains calcium, potassium, iron and manganese. It contains several pharmacologically copounds which traditionally have been used to treat infections as well as bile and liver problems. Dandelion leaves are diuretic, hence the alternative French name for dandelion "pis en lit", literally "pee the bed".

 

NB - Please be sure you know what you are picking. Many plants look similar to one another and many can be poisonous! Please seek professional instruction if you are unsure! Don't risk your life!!!

Photos courtesy of Greg Hume.

Wild Edible Of The Week - Week 9 - "Hawthorn"

Botanical name : Crataegus monogyna

Common names : Hawthorn, Haws, Mayblossom, Maythorn, Quickthorn, Bread and Cheese.

Physical appearance : A shrub that grown up to 8 metres in height and spread. Features green, glossy leaves, growing out of spiny branches. Its  flowers are white or sometimes have pink tones and are strongly scented. 

Edible parts : Leaves and berries.

Best places to find : Favours woodlands, hedges, scrublands and down land.

Time of year : Best harvested in April and early May.

Serving suggestions : Use in green leaf salads, jellies (to bulk out other fruits such as strawberries etc), sauces, syrups and puddings.

The leaves and berries can be eaten directly from the plant but the berries, in particular, should not be consumed in great numbers, without cooking. Over consumption can lead to mild stomach upsets.

Other uses : Good source of antioxidants including vitamin C. Hawthorn also makes for good fire wood, burning hot and clean.

NB - Please be sure you know what you are picking. Many plants look similar to one another and many can be poisonous! Please seek professional instruction if you are unsure! Don't risk your life!!!

Barmah Kangaroo Leather Belt

If you want the strength and durability of a nylon duty belt but want something a little smarter, which is also appropriate for an office or evening environment, then look no further than the new, genuine, kangaroo leather belts from Barmah (of hat making fame).

Made in Barmah's own factory, these belts are made from one of the toughest leathers on the planet - genuine kangaroo leather. Due to its superior toughness, the leather can be thinned down to a greater extent, meaning it is more malleable. This means it is more comfortable to wear against the body, without sacrificing longevity.

The belts age beautifully, developing a great patina and they are extra supple, compared to most leather belts and will mould to the shape of your waist very quickly.

Barmah's Iconic Australian cattlemen's belt, is 32mm wide, and uses linked pieces of kangaroo leather and solid brass buckles (chromed solid brass on the black version). Available in brown or black.

Wear something unique, comfortable and hard wearing.

Available exclusively at Bushgear!

April 10, 2017

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Wild Edible Of The Week - Week 8 - "Morel Mushrooms"

Botanical name : Morchella Esculenta

Common names : Morel, True Morel, Sponge Morel, Common Morel

Physical appearance : The morel features a distinctive cap which resembles a cross-section of a honeycomb. The deep pitting is a distinguishing feature which differentiates true morels from false ones. The stem is white to pale yellow whilst the cap is pale brownish cream and can include grey tones. The cap and stem form one continuous chamber.

Edible parts : Stem and cap.

Best places to find : Favours sandy soils, usually under broad leaved, hard woods. Can be found in pasture land, old orchards, woodland clearings and recently burnt arable or forest land.

Time of year : Best harvested in early Spring. 

Serving suggestions : The pitted nature of the morel's surface tends to accumulate a lot of debris and/or insects. Be sure to clean thoroughly before consumption. NB! - The morel should not be consumed in its raw state, as it contains a gastrointestinal irritant (hydrazine). Parboiling or blanching these mushrooms will denature this irritant, making it safe for human consumption.

Sliced and gently fried in butter with a hint of crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Also good for stews, soups and omelettes.

Other uses : These mushrooms are ideal for freezing and drying and can be stored for a long time in these states. Morels have also been used in Chinese medicine to help treat digestive problems and to control phlegm. Modern scientific research is being carried out, into the anti viral, anti fatigue and anti tumour properties of the Morel.

NB - Please be sure you know what you are picking. Many plants look similar to one another and many can be poisonous! Please seek professional instruction if you are unsure! This is all the more important whilst dealing with mushrooms. Don't risk your life!!!

How To Catch Food in the Wild - Basic Principles Of Trapping

In short term survival situations, feeding yourself is unlikely to ever be a priority. Adult humans, in average physical condition, can last weeks if not months, on very limited food supplies. The body stores energy in the form of fat and muscle. In times of limited food and energy supplies, the body breaks down muscle and fat to release the energy stored within. Obviously, this can not go on indefinitely but statistically, most survival situations are resolved within 72 hours. Longer term survival situations, or if you're simply trying to live off of the land, may require you to actively pursue sources of fat and protein for sustenance.

If this is the case, then there are several ways to go about procuring sources of protein (in the form of game). Naturally, there are other forms of protein available, apart from fish and animals. However, finding these alternative sources, in the wild, can be extremely difficult if even possible.

An old adage, given naissance by famous British survival expert Lofty Wiseman, is "strangle, dangle, tangle, mangle". This is a reference to how an animal can be caught, in the name of energy procurement. Every trapping technique will employ one of these principles in order to catch the game animal in question. Although this may sound brutal, you must bear in mind that ultimately, surviving is the goal and meat is an excellent source of protein, fat and energy. Remember, a good trap is a humane trap, i.e. one that minimises the distress of the animal by killing it instantly, or by keeping it unharmed until the trapper can dispatch it quickly without it suffering unnecessarily. Make sure that all traps are checked regularly to minimise suffering. When a trap is no longer needed, be sure to disengage it. Do not leave a trap set if you have no intention of coming back to it!

A further advantage of traps is that they are passive, meaning you don't have to waste energy stalking animals or even waiting for them to be triggered. This means you can be catching food whilst performing other important camp tasks such as building shelter or processing water. Remember -  the more traps you have set up, the greater the chances of catching your prey. 

With regards to capturing land dwelling game, there are four types of trap groups. Each group uses one or more of the above mentioned techniques to catch prey.

Strangle - as they name suggests, the prey animal is caught by the neck, which in turn deprives the animal of oxygen leading to death by suffocation. This technique is favoured by trappers as it is least likely to damage the animal pelt/fur. This type of trap is based on catching prey with a noose made from wire, rope or natural cordage.

Dangle - this type of trap works on the principle of suspending the prey in the air, thus preventing it from escaping. Suspending the prey in the air also minimises the chances of your quarry being stolen by other predators. As this type of trap keeps the animal alive, you will have to be prepared to dispatch the animal once caught. Again, this type of trap will employ a noose at some point within the mechanism.

Tangle - This means that the animal gets tangled up therefore preventing it from escaping e.g. fishing net. This type of trap needs to be checked regularly. As with "dangling" you will have to be prepared to dispatch the animal once caught. The tangle principle even extends to pre-made steel traps which catch a prey animal by an extremity.

Mangle - Usually using a large, heavy dead weight, such as a flat rock, the prey animal is literally crushed to death. This trap usually kills the prey instantly. In addition, the prey is secured in place by the heavy "deadfall" weight meaning predation is less likely. Traps such as the "figure four deadfall" (pictured above) are ideal when resources are at a minimum, due to the ease of build. Another useful feature of "deadfall" traps is that they can be scaled up or down depending on the size of the animals you are intending to catch.

Remember - more traps means a greater likelihood of catching diner. Make sure your quarry does not suffer unnecessarily.

Good hunting!

The Bushgear Team

 

Wild Edible Of The Week - Week 8 - "Sea Beet"

Botanical name : Beta Vulgaris

Common names : Sea Beet, Wild Spinach, Sea Spinach

Physical appearance : A perennial growing up to 1 metre in height. It has shiny, fleshy leaves which are available throughout most of the year. Its flowers consist of tiny green blooms in long leafy spikes.

Edible parts : Leaves, flowers and roots.

Best places to find : Easily found in the UK on coastlines, dunes, sea-walls, cliffs and shingle banks. Can also be found in other temperate environments.

Time of year : Best harvested between April and October. Try and pick the big, fleshy, leaves from the bottom of the plant as well as the younger shoots from the top. The larger leaves will "squeak" when you touch them, similar to the feel of paper. Always wash thoroughly before consumption. 

Serving suggestions : Sea beet can be used in much the same way as store bought spinach. Tasty when cooked with garlic, salt and butter. Alternatively, use it in stews, tarts, soups, salads or served with pasta.

Other uses : ?

NB - Please be sure you know what you are picking. Many plants look similar to one another and many can be poisonous! Please seek professional instruction if you are unsure!

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