Europe

Bow Drilling – following the method of Mattias Norberg

At the Global Bushcraft Symposium 2022 in Wales/UK, the Swede Mattias Norberg demonstrated his method of creating fire by bow drilling. Sweden has a rich outdoor tradition, and it was a privilege to meet him there, as he has deep…

Giant Fennel stalks for lighting fire

Various internet pages and YouTube channels describe lighting fire with stalks of giant fennel (Ferula communis) as easy. I doubted these claims, so I tested them myself. The outcome was sobering, which I will describe in the following article. Lighting…

Giant Fennel stalk wood as building material

Giant Fennel (Ferula communis) is a common weed in Mediterranean countries and Central Asia. Except for one genetic variety in Sardina, all green parts of the plant are strongly haemotoxic and lead to the poisoning of livestock and humans. This…

Wild asparagus in Sicily

Wild asparagus, a unique culinary delight, is prominent in Sicily’s springtime cuisine. The region boasts two distinct species: Asparagus albus, White asparagus, and Asparagus acutifolius, affectionately dubbed ‘Wild asparagus’ in English. Another edible part of these plants is its ‘crown’…

Stone huts at Mount Etna in Sicily

Stone huts on the northern side of Mount Etna in Sicily were built at least since pre-Hellenic times, around 4,000 BC. The building materials were basalt blocks from eroded lava at this location. The builders used dry-stone wall construction without…

Egg carton fire starters

Fire starters are convenient aids in Austria’s cold winters. Wood shavings lighted wood- and coal-burning stoves one generation ago. These shavings lighted spruce kindling, which in turn started burning bigger pieces of wood. Nowadays, it’s easier. Either commercially available or…

Swiss pine cones and their uses

The Swiss pine (Pinus cembra), goes by different names in German-speaking countries, such as ‘Zirbe,’ ‘Arve,’ ‘Arolla pine,’ or ‘Austrian stone pine.’ For generations, people have used the nuts of this particular pine species as food during the winter months,…

Beachcombing for Vongole clams in Northern Italy

Vongole clams (Ruditapes philippinarum) are the main bivalve species collected from the flat beaches of the Adriatic Sea in Northern Italy. These clams were introduced to aquaculture facilities in the lagoon of Venice in 1983 and are now considered an…

Using Honey Locust Pods as Food

The Honey locust tree, also known as Thorny locust, derives its genus name (Gleditsia) from a former director of the Botanical Garden in Berlin. Its species name (G. triacanthos) means ‘Three thorns’, which refers to the typical arrangement of its…

Water dispensers for handwashing

In the former Soviet Union- and its satellite states, many citizens had and have water dispensers in their so-called ‘Dachas’ (Russian: дачи). Dachas are typically simple, free-standing houses, either located in city suburbs or the countryside. And most of them…

Brief historical overview of man’s use of fire

Mankind’s use of fire goes back an extraordinary length of time. From humble collecting and guarding natural fires to producing fire by sparks or friction took about 1,5 million years. For more than 500,000 years, mankind has been producing fires…

Is your firewood wet or dry?

If you are outdoors in boreal forest biomes worldwide, it is of primary importance to protect yourself against wind and wetness. And, to light a fire for warmth. The necessary firewood should be dry to burn hotter and with less…

Dormouse trapping in southern Slovenia

Worldwide, the dormouse family consists of three sub-families and 29 species and in Slovenia the ‘European edible dormouse’ (Glis glis) is native. There live three other dormouse species: garden dormouse (Eliomys quercinus), forest dormouse (Dryomys nitedula), and hazel dormouse (Muscardinus…

Bushscout UK’s fire bundle basket

Terry Longhurst said, “Bundle baskets are what we use with young people when fire lighting, using a bundle prevents them getting burnt, it also helps if they have special needs.” Such a fire bundle basket is chicken wire, which was…

Fire lighting with Flint & Steel

Originally, Stone Age- and Bronze Age man in Europe created fire by striking flintstone on marcasite and catching resulting sparks on tinder made from horseshoe fungi. Marcasite is crystallized pyrite (iron sulfate mineral) and is not readily available but has…

Hand drilling in UK as taught by Dave Watson

Friction fire hand drills are normally not the first choice for fire lighting in the Northern Hemisphere, as it is regarded as a strenuous technique, especially in cold and humid environments. Dave Watson proved under overcast Northern Wales weather conditions,…

Bow drill standard procedure by Dave Watson

The approach of friction fire lighting with bow drills in the UK is slightly different from other countries. In the following, these differences will be explained. Materials and shapes of the various bow drill elements Hearth board of the bow…

Finding direction with the Pole Star

Finding the Pole Star with the Constellation of Ursa Major Only in the Northern Hemisphere, the Pole Star is visible, and its location is mainly indicated by the position of the two pointers of the Great Bear (also called the…

Finding direction with the Constellation of Orion

The Constellation of Orion, or ‘The Hunter’ can be best viewed in the evening skies from November to February. During that time, it holds for both the Northern- and Southern hemispheres. Although Orion is still visible in the night sky…

Solar fire lighting

The energy received by the earth from the sun is called the Solar Constant, which describes the effect that every 1 m2 of planet earth, facing the sun rays in a 90-degree angle (directly overhead) will receive 1375 Watts (Joules/sec)….