A look back at 2019

A look back to 2019. The year started as every other year: stomach full, the feeling of needing to change diet due to excessive eating and looking ahead to what was planned to happen later in the year.

January.

A look back at 2019

I had planned to spend more time in producing youtube videos and the first video to be produced was something I had planned to have a go at for a while and this was adapting the Polish Army Lavuu and the Anevay Frontier Stove into a sauna.

This worked really well but there isn’t so much space so you would want to share the space with someone you weren’t that close too!

Continue reading “A look back at 2019”

Tapping Birch Trees in the Spring.

Its that time of the year when for tapping birch trees. 

Winter is trying to release its grip on Northern Europe, with the odd slip of a frost and recently a lot of rain coming of the land and flooding the river valleys.  

It is also the time when nature starts to wake from its winters sleep and life starts to flow through the veins of animals and plants. Continue reading “Tapping Birch Trees in the Spring.”

Medical Kit

I was reading a thread the other day on bushcraft Facebook page concerning what people carry in there medical / first aid kits. So it had me thinking do I carry to much or not enough.

The bizzare things I read people carry led me to think should you med kit depend on what you’re doing / going? Well yes I do think that the amount and contents should vary depending on what you are doing.

Someone had posted their message kit was in a large box weighing 5kg and included Israeli dressings, adrenaline, suture kit, full resus equipment and other items. Yes I’m a deep believer in ‘if you haven’t got it’ ‘you can’t use it’ but realistically look at the chance that you would need all of this. If you are camping out of a car then yes consider a larger kit.

Personally I have a small waterproof medical kit that is used in my day bag, a larger kit which is stocked for a longer duration and another pack that is used is I am a good distance from civilisation.

The other thing to think of is if the brown stuff hits the fan. How do you contact emergency service? We are lucky in the uk as mobile phone coverage is pretty good but if there is no signal how do you gain assistance?

The device I used whilst walking the Fjallraven Classic in Sweden was a SPOT tracker, this is a subscription device that locates you using gps and in emergency you can press a button and it will send a pre-determined message to emergency services in your area. The other great services it offers is you can press another button that will send an ‘OK’ message to predetermined email addresses and mobile numbers giving a link to your location to be viewed online. Also it can connect to your social media sharing your location.

But the question is what to take? So here’s a low down on what I carry in my hiking bag for a multiple day excursion.Extended duration medical kit

From left to right

  • Emergency blanket
  • Gauze
  • Impregnated gauze
  • Betadine
  • Bandage
  • Sack on

Bottom row

  • Wound glue
  • Scissors
  • Needle and thread (used for treating blisters)
  • Paracetamol and Ibuprofen
  • Smecta (diarrhoea treatment)
  • Stern strips
  • Plasters

Day kit

This is in a waterproof box and is taken on trips on water, hiking and fishing. It is relatively small but has enough for basics.

As we any piece of kit it is a good idea to have items that are use for instance if you replaced the betadine with potassium permanganate you would have something to clean wounds, sterilise water to make it drinkable and if mixed with glycerol is a great emergency fire starter.

Items in box

  • Plasters
  • Betadine
  • Surgical tape
  • Bandage
  • Steristrips

Obviously each kit should be tailored to your personal medical needs ie allergic reactions and regular medication should always be carried in a waterproof container. Also emergency contacts and medical he is handy to have kept on person or in medical box.

There really is no need to carry a personal A&E with you unless you are really that accident prone, if you are that bad then you need to consider if you have suitable enough experience to be out by yourself or a distance away from emergency help.

Everything you carry is designed really for self help.

Sami Knives and Sami duodji

Sami Knives and Sami duodji

I really love the intricacy of the carvings in sami duodji.  I’ve always wanted a handmade Puukko (sami knife).  The chance of purchasing one came whilst taking part in the Fjallraven Classic in Sweden last year.

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Why did I want one?

Many reasons really, the fact that they are a true all round knife, handmade and they can be so artistically made as well.

Sami Duodji

Sami Knives and Sami duodji is so beautiful and the hours that go into their work is unbelievable.

The Sami people, also spelled Sámi or Saami, are the indigenous people inhabiting the Arctic area of Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia.

The Sámi

The Sámi are the only indigenous people of Scandinavia recognized and protected under the international conventions of indigenous peoples, and hence the northernmost indigenous people of Europe.

Traditionally, the Sami have pursued a variety of livelihoods, including coastal fishing, fur trapping, and sheep herding.

Their best-known means of livelihood is semi-nomadic reindeer herding.

Currently about 10% of the Sami are connected to reindeer herding and 2,800 are actively involved in herding on a full-time basis.

For traditional, environmental, cultural and political reasons, reindeer herding is legally reserved only for Sami people in certain regions of the Nordic countries.

Having such a strong tie to reindeer, the basis for most of their handicraft, antlers, leather and bone are all used in many different ways.

Sami Knives and Sami duodji

Puukko or Leuku?

Sami Knives and Sami duodji
Puukko from carved antler in a antler and leather sheath.

The Puukko: The basic components of a puukko are a handle and a blade along with a sheath, which can usually be attached to a belt but sometimes to a shirt or coat button.

The blade is short, typically no longer than the handle and often less than 4″ (100 mm)

The Knike makers put great pride in carving their Sami Knives and Sami duodji Puukko’s handles and the sheath are made from reindeer antler this is normally carved as well.

The carvings are coloured with powdered bark.

The Sheath

The sheath is normally made from birch burlap and / or reindeer antler, the end of the sheath is normally curved to assist in gripping the sheath when wearing thick mittens.

Over generations, this knife has become intimately tied to Nordic culture and, in one or another version, is part of many national costumes.

A good puukko is equal parts artistic expression and tool. Making it requires a lot of different skills: not only those of a bladesmith, but also those of a carver, a jeweller, a designer, and a leatherworker to make the sheath.

Sami Knives and Sami duodjiLeuku: The handle is generally made from birch for better grip when used in snowy conditions.

This provides better control over the blade, particularly when using draw strokes, which are preferred when handling the knife with gloves.

The tang runs through the handle. The handle has no crossguard. Traditional material for the sheath is reindeer leather.

The blade’s edge often has a Scandinavian (or “Scandi”) grind, i.e. a single flat bevel. The blade should be strong enough to split (reindeer) bones, and tempered to sustain low temperatures. Some Sami knives have fullers.

The Sami people typically use two knives.

Components used.

Sami Knives and Sami duodji
Birch Burl Kuksa

The basic components of a puukko are a handle and a blade along with a sheath.

These are to be attached to a belt but sometimes to a shirt or coat button.

The traditional material for the handle is curly (masur) birch, great sallow root, birch bark, horn (especially elk and reindeer), scrimshaw and bone are also used.

The handle is made from various materials between spacers.

Today, however, industrially made puukkos often have plastic handles like the Mora Knives.

Sami Craftsman

I came across a Sami craftsman through instagram one day and found myself looking through his photos of his fantastic Sami Knives and Sami duodji covering kuksas, puukko’s (Sami knives) and other Sami handicraft.

The craftsman name is Jørn Are Keskitalo from Kautokeino in Northern Norway.

His work is typical Duodji.  Duodji is a traditional Sami handicraft, dating back to a time when the Sami were far more isolated from the outside world than they are today.

Duodji tools, clothing and accessories are functional and useful, and may also incorporate artistic elements.

This Sami duodji artist is able to bring function and art together in a delicate way.

These functional items include knives, jewelry, bags, kuksas, certain articles of clothing, etc.

His facebook page shows his work and you can purchase from there or contact by email.  Have a look at some of his work on his instagram feed @jakesk9
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