Friends, food and fire

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had a weekend in the woods last weekend with Stuart, Dave, Mike and Ollie.


After we had set up camp, collected firewood and made a fire,  Stuart cooked some soap and bannock bread for our lunch.


We soon learned that  Hornbean (Carpinus betulus) is certainly not a good wood to burn as it burns slowly and gives out very little heat.  Instead we collected some Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and Birch which had been felled as part of the coppice management of the site.


After lunch I “tapped” a Birch tree to obtain some sap.  After about 5 hours we had enough sap for a cup full each.


Ollie and Mike were cooking our evening meal and had brought along a joint of pork to cook in a dutch oven.  We experimented with making a “dakota firehole” to create embers, heat the dutch oven and cook the pork and I must say that it worked very well.  In the picture below the angled airhole is facing forward.


Once our meal was cooking I spent some time teaching friction firelighting with the bow-drill


At about 7pm the pork was cooked as were the foil parcels of vegetables and the cider gravy.


here is the sliced pork joint which had been basted with honey.


After a good nights sleep, it was Dave’s turn to cook breakfast.


Bacon, tomatos, baked beans, omlet and something I really enjoyed….eggy bread style crumpets.


Once breakfast was completed we had another session with the bow-drill and everyone achieved a good ember and produced flame.  I also demonstrated other firelighting methods including fire -by-condom!  I cooked pasties for our lunch


and by mid afternoon it was time to break camp and head for home.

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