Tuesday, 24 November 2009

18th Century Long Term Wilderness Survival 3. The little Things.

Little things can make a difference in a survival situation. There are some things that an 18th century person tends to carry that a 21st century person may not. Let us look at a couple of these items.
The Housewife/Sewing Kit.

The House Wife is a small cloth sewing kit that folds up neatly to fit in your knapsack. Mine includes: linen thread, needles, a small piece of beeswax, some rolls of sinew, some rolls of rawhide, some pins in an attached pin cushion, and some spare buttons.
This sewing kit is for repairing clothes, moccasins, and packs if needs be. The needles are handy for removing splinters.

The Awl.

I carry my Father’s awl with me in a wood sheath that is wrapped with waxed linen thread. With this awl and my sewing kit I can repair my moccasins and make a new pair if needed.

The Journal.

I like to carry a small leather covered journal and a pencil for taking notes of things that need doing, anything that I need to be reminded of later on. I carry a beeswax candle so I can see to read and write at night without having to get near the fire to see. It is a great comfort if I have an idea and I am able to note it down.

Blade Sharpening.

I carry a small whet stone in a wooden holder and a small file. Blades need to be kept sharp to be safe and to perform properly when needed. Blade sharpening is something you can do in camp which is pleasing and relaxing.

Fire lighting.

I have covered fire lighting before and the use of flint & steel & the tinderbox. I just wanted to emphasise the use of a beeswax candle stub for drying out any damp kindling. Fire is one of those things that really makes a cosy camp, especially in cold or wet weather. It warms me in my shelter, it cooks my food, it dries my clothes and moccasins if they get wet. It heats water for a hot drink, it sterilizes, it dries my gun if it gets wet and it dries the barrel out after cleaning. A blazing torch will keep wild dogs at bay and it lights the area around my shelter so I can see what is there.

Fire can be seen at night if I want to be seen or I can use it to send a smoke signal. With the heat from the fire I can straighten arrow shafts and spears and harden wooden tips. I can make items such as clay bowls, ball moulds, and grease lamps and harden them in my fire. I can dry meat over it and I can use fire to smoke brain tanned skins to stop them from hardening. I can heat rocks for boiling water in a vessel that can not be placed on a fire. Fire will help build a dugout. Fire can be buried under a bed for warmth on a cold night. Fire is a welcome sight to friends and an invite to come sit and chat awhile. Fire is very important.


Anonymous said...

After your last comment on my blog I have started carrying my old flint & steel in addition to my "feral" rod. I have include what I call a "rope candle" in my tinder box that I light with my char cloth. I just twisted up a piece of jute into 6 ply cordage and coated it with wax and it burns strong even in a stiff breeze. Not sure of the burn-time yet though. I am really enjoy this post series by the way. Watch your top knot and keep your powder dry!

The Black Widow said...

Dear Le Loup.....Love the post...I am 42 and I am amazed how our forefathers lived in this country and others. No money (barter system only) no cars.....I am amazed at how the trappers went west in the US....When I travel I dont have to worry about being scalped. Becuase of a pay cut this year I'm not going hunting or getting in the woods...Thank you so much for your post. I think it is so awesome. I am the type of guy who writes things down as well. I loved your journal part and I think I will go back to writing in that....Have a great day.

The Black Widow

Le Loup said...

Black Widow. Many thanks for your comment and feedback, I really appreciate it and I am glad that you enjoy reading these posts. Much appreciated.
Regards, Le Loup.

Le Loup said...

Norseman, as always good to get your feedback, always appreciated. The rope candle sounds like a good idea. I do much the same thing with a small beeswax candle which I carry in case I ever have any damp kindling to dry out. I lay the fire and light the candle from my tinderbox and place it under the damp kindling.
I do carry some small pieces of twig etc in my fire-bag as well so the candle is a back-up.

I think there is almost as much skill in knowing where to find dry kindling in the rain and snow as there is in the fire lighting itself.
Regards, Le loup.