Friday 25 May 2007

New Link

I have just added a new link to the blogroll. This should be of interest to those reinactors interested in things martime. The site is "Bonaventure" Reinacting Maritime History from 1560 to 1660. The site also hosts the UK re-enactment webring, the 17th century site webring and the history ring. This would be a good place to visit if you are trying to get an idea of what groups and resources are out there. Good hunting.

Tuesday 15 May 2007

The Yacca Plant

The yacca plant is also known as the grass tree, kangaroo tail and goonagurra. A similar plant exists in America, which is called the yucca.

Sunday 13 May 2007

The Warrior's Path.

COPYRIGHT@ Keith H Burgess

The sun has not yet risen as I make my way along what is known as “The Warrior’s Path". Up above me is. Dragon' s Tor & I am traveling west. To my right & north the ground drops steeply through the woods to another trail far below. I stop every once in a while to look & listen. All is quiet, but not too quiet, there are plenty of birds in this forest. I look for sign along the trail & for anything else of interest or use. It is lighter now & I can see heavy dark clouds moving in from the west. With the promise of rain to come I decide to pick up some kindling & store it in my haversack; dry light sticks & a handful of dried grass. I look about me for any plant materials I can use for tinder, but can’t see any. I knew I had enough tinder in my tinderbox to light a good many fires but I always like to carry some spare tinder in my knapsack.

After negotiating a fallen tree that blocked the trail I finally came to Pilot Rock. The Warrior's Path runs below & beside this huge boulder & then turns sharply north & down the steep valley side. Here I need to move carefully so as not to loose my footing. I grasp at trees to help keep my balance as my moccasins: occasionally slip on patches of loose stones.

When I reach the bottom I only have a few paces to go; crossing a header-stream I pick up the trail again which winds upward towards a gap in the next ridge that will take me into Fox Valley. Here the forest floor abounds with ferns & once again I have to work my way around & over a series of fallen trees. Here too grows the yacca plant so I keep my eyes open for a dried flower stem that I can use to make tinder.

As I pass through the gap into the next valley the ferns are even more plentiful. Again I stop & listen & look to make sure I am alone & to see if there is any game about. Part way up a stringybark tree I spot the bracket-fungus, Piptoporus Cretaceus. This plant makes excellent tinder. The fungus is too high & out of my reach, but a well-aimed rabbit-stick brings the prize down on the second throw. This I place in my haversack along with the dry kindling so I can char it in tonight 's cook fire.

A sudden flurry of wings as two wood duck take flight from a nearby pond startles me into stillness as I watch the two fowl negotiate the forest trees at high speed looking for a way out through the upper foliage. My campsite is only a stones throw from the pond & although I have camped here many times in the past, I never fail to look up & about my campsite for "widow makers”. These are broken branches, which hang or lay in wait to be bought to the ground by a wind or sometimes by only a slight breeze. It is always wise to look up as well as down, something it is said white men rarely do.

With some downed timber & some leather thongs from my pack, I soon construct my shelter with a crossbeam between two trees & my small piece of canvas pegged to the ground. The pegs cut sharpened & driven in using my tomahawk. My bed is a mattress of sticks to get me off the ground. This is important in cold or wet weather. After collecting a good supply of firewood & storing it within reach beside my shelter, I collect a. store of dry kindling & place it behind my bed of sticks. This is in case my fire should burn low, in the night or even go out.

Now, my blanket is placed on my bed of sticks & I store my knapsack, haversack, shot pouch, powder horn & flintlock fusil under cover in the back of' my shelter. The small fire-hole is dug out & as I start to lay rocks to help contain my fire & reflect warmth into my shelter, the first drops of rain start to fall. I quickly retrieve the dry kindling from my haversack & get out my tinderbox with flint & steel. As the rain gets heavier I move into my shelter to make fire there & then transfer it to my fireplace. Soon the kindling is alight & I can add larger pieces of wood to keep my fire going in the rain. Only now do I realize that I have failed to make a tripod from which to hang my kettle.

The rain looks as though it is here to stay, but I manage to fashion a tripod from sticks from my firewood supply. Soon my small tin kettle of water is boiling & I drop in a. good-sized piece of chocolate & wait for it to melt. From my knapsack I take out a. chunk of homemade bread & some boiled beef. Food somehow always tastes better in camp. My chocolate drink is ready so I remove it from the fire & set it aside to cool. This kettle is also my cup. Later when I have finished my drink I will find a suitable place to put my kettle where it will catch rainwater from my shelter. Then? Then I will rest on my bed & watch the beautiful rain falling from a leaden sky.

Saturday 12 May 2007

A new book on the pirate Captain Qulech

I recently come across a link to a book that may be of interest to those of you interested in pirates and privateers. This bookis the history of Captain Quelch. It is in the early 18th century. If you check out the website you can read the books introduction . http://www.captain-quelch.com/

Tuesday 1 May 2007

Second Hand Material.

Clothing and equipment is even more inexpensive if made from second hand materials. My first real linen shirt was made from a tablecloth. Wool blankets, tablecloths, heavy bed sheets and leather clothing are all good sources of materials. Remember to sew with linen or cotton thread not synthetic.