Lime Bark Cordage

Having processed the Lime bark I have now been making some cordage. Lime bark has long been used for cordage and rope. The latin name of Small-leaved Lime is Tilia cordata (cordata meaning cord).

The cord in the picture below demonstrates different sizes of cords for a variety of uses; starting with a fine cord suitable for sewing and progresses through various sized cords, terminating with a piece of rope.

This cord has been made using the twisting method. Here is a closeup

This fishing line I am making is platted however.

Here in this closeup you can see the three strand platting

Processing Lime bark for cordage

8 weeks ago I placed some Lime bark into a stream to begin the process of “retting” (Retting dissolves pectins which bind the fibers together, by the actions of bacteria. The bacterial decomposition that occurs during water retting produces a sweet smelling odor.)

Now that the retting process was completed it was time to remove the bark and process it for cordage.

The retting process allows tissue thin layers of the inner bark to be removed

in long lengths

The thin strips are hung to dry and can then be stored for use when necessary.

Sweet tin smoker

I decided to cook my family Salmon for dinner this Christmas, but rather than baking it in an oven, I utilised an empty sweet tin to make a simple hot smoker.

I drilled a series of small holes each side, through which I inserted thin metal rods (cut from an old oven shelf) as a shelf for the fish to rest on. I also drilled a hole in the lid to allow the smoke out.

I cut a small branch from a Wild Plum tree and shaved with my knife. The shavings I then placed in the bottom of the tin as flavouring for the fish.

The fish had to be cut into four pieces and smoked individually. I used tyme and garlic butter to add flavour.

I ignited some charcoal in a metal tray, placed the lid loosely on the tin and then placed the tin one the charcoal. As the shavings in the tin were heated by the charcoal, they gave off smoke which was absorbed by the fish and the heat generated also cooked the fish.

After only 15 minutes the piece of Salmon was cooked perfectly and had a fruity smoked flavour.

Sewing needle holder

I wanted to add a sewing needle to my neck pouch for repairing clothes, bit needed to find a way of carrying it securely and safely.

I decided to use a small bone and first cut the bone a quarter of the way along it’s length using a piece of flint.

I abraded the two ends to give a smooth fit and then needed to devise a way of keeping the two parts of bone together . For this I cut a piece of quill from a feather

and inserted this into the long piece of bone. The hollow quill provides a snug fit for the needle once inside it.

Part of the quill protrudes, allowing the top to fit securely onto it. The picture below shows the two pieces of bone pulled apart slightly to enable you to see the quill.

Here is the needle and completed holder.


A friend of mine has just returned from a three week trip to Costa Rica and brought me back a rather nice gift, this machete

The blade is made from Japanese steel but has no edge to the blade when purchased, so I have spent some considerable time filing and honing the steel to produce a fine cutting edge. I removed the branches from a fallen tree with it and I have to say that it performed very well.
I plan to put my own handle on it though.

Netting and smoking fish

When I was last in Lapland I was able to catch fish using nets for the first time. We put out 100m of nets and caught over 60 fish.

The majority of fish caught were White Fish and there were also a few Perch and Pike. To preserve the catch, we were going to smoke them, but before this they had to be gutted and their scales removed.

The picture below is of my smoker.

There are two chambers in the box; the lower is where you make a fire and in the top half of the box you first put items to create the smoke and help flavour the fish (I used Alder shavings and Juniper), then on a tray above this the fish are placed and the lid is then closed.

Ideally the fish are put into salt for a few hours prior to smoking to help remove moisture, but we had no slat available to do this.

After about 40 minutes the fish were completed.

If you are not fortunate enough to have a smoker, a biscuit tin can be utilised to create a smoker for use on a campfire.

Long-tailed Field Mouse

When I went to measure the weekly rainfall on the reserve, I opened the wooden box containing the measuring gauge and to my surprise, there was a Field Mouse which when I opened the box, ran into the measuring tube.

It had also made a nest in the box where we keep the measuring gauge and after I released it from the tube, it disappeared into the nest.

Securing tarp lines

I currently carry a piece of Pertex material in my pocket with three pieces of para cord to use as a tarp shelter. It packs down very small and is relatively lightweight.

Rather than cutting holes in the material to enable me to secure the para cord (which can lead to tears or runs in the material), I take something like a pebble, handful of grass or leaves or even an old snail shell

I place this on the underside of the material and then wrap the material around it. Then I make a loop in the para cord and place over it and pull the cord tight.

Then I can suspend the shelter using available trees.