A new knife

I have just completed a new knife to go with my new kåsa

I have used the same wood in the middle section as I made the kåsa from.  I makings are caused by a tree fungus that was in the tree

The darker wood is from a Sallow root bur

I have used sheath leather and3 pieces of Moose horn to make the end of the knife

 

A new kåsa/guksi

I have just completed a new kåsa.   Guksi (pronounced gooksee) is the Sámi name for a wooden coffee cup.

I made it out of a 15 year old Birch bur given to me by my neighbour and it was bloody hard work to carve (especially the inside)!!

The dark lines are caused by a fungus that would have been growing in the tree

I have soaked the cup in rapeseed oil to bring out the patterning in the wood

In the next issue of “The Bushcraft Magazine” (coming out very soon) I write about how to make a kåsa

Items I have made recently.

We have a lot more snow now and another 20cms is forecast to come tomorrow.

I haven’t been out and about much recently, but I have been busy making items to sell at a Christmas market this weekend.

I have used pig intestine to stitch the birch bark containers. I wrote about processing pig intestine here.

I am using the mystery braid a lot now in the leather armbands I make

Natural Lore Flint & Steel Set

I had been wondering what to write about, but then my friend Håkan made me this as a gift

It is a traditional snuff or tinder container,

made from Birch bur, thin strips of Pine and sewed with Birch root and he has set Reindeer horn into the top.

Inside he had put a Bic lighter as a joke and I will explain why…

I have started selling Natural Lore Fire Sets here in Lapland and I am using old PLASTIC snuff containers (people here throw thousands away every year and I thought I would recycle some) but Håkan thinks I should make something like the container he has made to contain the fire sets.

The fire set includes a specially made fire steel, with a piece of flint, some True Tinder Fungus

and some Hemp string in the top compartment

I am going to make a container like Håkan’s (without Reindeer horn in the top) to see how long it takes me to make one.  Maybe I can use them as a more expensive version of the Natural Lore Fire Set……we shall see.

Training with skis

I’m still not that good on skis so I’ve been out in the forest training.

The weather and scenery are beautiful just now

The Birch trees are sheding their winter coat now and I am collecting the thin, pappery outer bark for teachingfirelighting later in te year.

Of course I made fire I cooked coffee.  I collected resin rich, standing dead wood to use for making fire

I used a thick layer of Pine as a base to build the fire on

It ignites easily and burns very well due to the resin

Soon the snow was melting

and coffe was made

Lapland in early spring

Nature is becoming more and more active here now with all the beautiful sunny days we are having with temperatures around 0 degrees.

I have been spending some time out and about.  The other day I was out collecting the outer layer of Birch bark now being shed by the trees, for use in demonstrating fire lighting later in the year

The Blue tits, Great Tits and Willow Tits are singing in the forest, the Woodpeckers are drumming and the Crossbills have nests with eggs and will soon have young.  The Siberian Nutcracker appears to have left us now and has probably commenced his journey back to Siberia.

While out walking I noticed what looked like recent activity by the Beaver who lives near our house.

On closer inspection I found much fresh activity

and fresh wood chips on the snow from where he had been gnawing

There was also a clear trail in the snow where it had been dragging branches (seen here in the middle of the picture)

which led me to this hole

situated on the edge of the river bank. allowing the Beaver access under the ice and into the river, to carry its food across to the lodge.

You can see disturbance in the snow around the edge of the hole caused by small branches as the Beaver drags pieces of Birch down the hole.

I have spent a couple of evenings laying out in the snow until well after dark, waiting for the Beaver to appear

but so far I have not seen it.

Palt skedar (dumpling spoon)

Teres’ mum asked me to carve her a new “palt skedar” (translated to English it means dumpling spoon).  I looked through my pile of split firewood logs and found a nice piece of Birch.  I haven’t carved any spoons for some time so this one took about 6 hours to make.

The traditional palt skedar has holes in it to drain water from the dumpling as you can see on the left of the picture below

but because Teres’ mums name is Anki I put an “A” into the bottom of the spoon.

Here is a final picture of the shape of the spoon from the side, showing the hook to hang it up with.

 

A knife hand-made by me.

I have now completed my new website.  Learning to work with html code hasn’t been easy, but I am now happy with the look and content of the site.

http://naturallore.com/

I also have the first item for sale in our shop.

http://naturallore.com/shop.html

It’s a knife hand-made by me using my favorite blade

which is 8cms long and made by Leif Carlsson.  Here is the knife and sheath.

I have made the knife handle from Reindeer horn and Birch bur, with Lapp leather between each piece.  The sheath is also made from Lapp leather (half tanned Reindeer leather) and has my Natural Lore design on it.

Rådjebalges/Gränsleden Guiding Course – Part 6

We walked up a rocky slope, through Mountain Birch forest to join the trail

We walked for about 1km and then took a short break to talk about this new section of Rådjebalges/Gränsleden

In the middle of the afternoon we stopped to make coffee and eat some food.

Per-Erik explained that Sami people remove their boots whenever they stop to allow both the feet and boots to breath and dry, reducing the risk of blisters.

We located two old burial sites but I decided not to photograph them.  We also found sites where would have been staying and milking the Reindeer.  Here is one

The pale area of ground on the left of the picture is where the kåta would have been situated and on a flat area of lush green grass in the top right corner of the picture they would have milked the Reindeer.  It was over looking this area that we decided to set up the laavu and make camp

The laavu was soon up and water gathered from a nearby spring

Within a hearth made of stones a fire was made and we made coffee and cooked food

and here is the view from the laavu as I prepared to sleep

Random days

I have not had time for staying over t the cabin recently, but have been there for some days.

The clothes drier is now completed

The mosquito’s are out in force now and we use many different methods to try and keep them away (the beer isn’t one of them!)

I have put a metal kitchen sink in the cabin so that it is easier to wash clothes and do the dishes.

I have seen pictures of Russian Birch bark craftsmen using a tool called a “sochalka” to remove complete cylinders of bark from the tree to make seamless containers.  I purchased a cheap, stainless steel, long-bladed fish filleting knife from  the Dollar Store to experiment with

It was surprisingly easy to cut around the inside of the bark, but I found impossible to remove the piece of wood from the centre.  I will let you know if I succeed with this method.

The Black Spruce Picea mariana look fantastic in bright sunlight now with bright red new cones forming on the ends of the branches.

Labrador Tea (Skvattrum in Swedish) is now in bloom on the floor of the forest

and last week a pair of Swallows appeared and commenced building a nest in my boat house.  And yesterday their presents proved very rewarding to me as their alarm calls alerted me to a Northern Hawk Owl Surnia ulula flying low over the cabin.  Unfortunately it disappeared over the forest and dispite searching I was unable to locate.