Tuesday 28 August 2012

Small-sword vs Tomahawk & Longknife demo video.

Great Lakes Area Woodland Indians. Video.

Black Watch Tomahawk Fighting. Video.

18th Century Historical Trekking.

18th Century Historical Trekking. What Do We Get Out Of It?
Someone asked me recently how did I manage wearing sheepskin moccasins. What happens when I am in swampy ground and they get wet, do I have to turn them inside out to clean them? My answer was that I simply dry them slowly by the fire, and if there is no fire then they stay wet.
So what do I get out of Historical Trekking? I get a feeling of my own worth and abilities. I feel a strong sense of satisfaction knowing that I can cope. This is a feeling of self-reliance and self-sufficiency. Despite the fact that people know that we participate in living history so that we can experience an 18th century lifestyle as it was back then, they still can not get used to the fact that they will not be as comfortable sleeping on a bed of sticks and bracken fern as they would be on a modern camp mattress. Daniel Boone is quoted as saying:
 “It was on the first of May, in the year 1769, that I resigned my domestic happiness for a time, and left my family and peaceable habitation on the Yadkin River, in North-Carolina, to wander through the wilderness of America, in quest of the country of Kentucke, in company with John Finley, John Stewart, Joseph Holden, James Monay, and William Cool”.
The key words here are “resigned my domestic happiness”, that means that Boone knew that his time in the woods, no matter how much he loved it and was contented with it, was not going to have the comforts of home. You have to be as realistic as you can if you wish to experience that 18th century lifestyle. Let us just for a moment place ourselves on the trail in the forest 300 years ago, what are we thinking? What are we doing?
When I go on a historical trek, I am aware of the dangers that existed back then, wild animals and perhaps unfriendly Indians. I walk as quietly as I can, and every now and then I stop and listen. On this particular trek I am working as a Ranger for a community. They have had trouble with raiding Indians and before the militia can muster, the raiding parties have disappeared back into the forest. My job is to look for sign, and if I find sign that there are Indians in the area, then I have to try and get back to the community and warn them.
When I make camp at night I will simply lay on the ground with no shelter unless rain or snow threatens. I may make a bed of fern, but that is all. I will not light a fire for fear of being seen, so I will find a place out of the wind, perhaps a place with natural shelter. My food must be eaten cold, for that purpose I have brought along some cooked meat, cheese and bread. I also have some dried food stuffs in my pack just in case.
I can not tell how long I will be out. This Ranging is a hit and miss venture at best. I could be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the enemy may slip past me without either of us knowing the other’s presence. But I must try, I must think of the various possibilities regarding where they may be coming from and which trail they may take.
It is Autumn, an Indian summer. The leaves are still on the trees and bushes, enough to give the Indians cover. One last raid before winter? Could be. It is getting chilly at night now, I have been out for a week and my cold rations are gone.  Now I eat a little oats in cold water. It tastes good on a cold night. This is comfort, I have a good blanket and dry clothes. I have a spare woollen shirt and weskit rolled up in my blanket that I can put on over my other under clothes and under my frock if I get cold.

One time when a friend and I were on the Great Lakes in winter, our boat got swamped by a sudden storm. We were still a good 100 yards from shore, and had to get into the water and swim our boat to shore. The wind still blew a gale, and the rain hammered down. Whilst my friend unloaded the boat as fast as he could to minimise the damage to our supplies, I got a fire going and started to construct a shelter frame. Then we both finished the shelter together, I got my oilcloth over the frame and tied down, and my friend used the boat sail to give us more cover.
We stripped off our wet clothes and hung them over a rope to dry in front of the fire. I had made the fire large, so we could get warm fast and dry our clothes. We sat in our breechclouts, blankets and wool caps passing the port and watching our clothes steam. It was one of the best times I have ever had.

Monday 27 August 2012

Australia wide survey on Living History.

Click here to take survey

New England NSW Australia Survey

Click here to take survey

Off Topic-Off The Grid

I have had many requests to produce an Off The Grid video/DVD. As I have lived off the grid for over 30 years this was not hard to do. So the Off The Grid DVD will be available soon, & I will advertise it on this blog when it is ready for sale. The video itself plus 10 other videos that will be on this DVD are already completed. All I have to do now is send a hard copy off to my agents & await confirmation that it is ready to go.
Off The Grid itself contains information on basically how we live Off The Grid, our water & power supply, sewage & grey water disposal, lighting, gardens, cooking, washing & more. For those of you that may be interested, I will include the Index of videos below:

Saturday 25 August 2012

White Woodland Indians.

Zach Weisenburger
, and told
me he hoped I Should make as Good a heron, as
one John Honewell an English man that had Lived
with ym Near thirty years, and was maried amongst
them and had Severel Children, this Night they
placed me between two Indians, with a String Round
my middle, and Each End made fast to my Companions,”.
The Pote Journal 1745.

Trail Food.

“I was Left behind at ye Camps, where they
was killing of Cattle and Laying in a Stock of Provissions,
for our Voyage, there manner of Curing
meate that they Design to keep any Considerable
time, is to Cut it in Large fletches, and Lay it over ye
fire, till it is So Smoakedryed, and Rosted, yt one
Cannot perceive any manner of moister in it, more
then in a Chip, this is ye Custom of both french. and
Indians, when they Design to Carrey their provisions
any Considerable Distance”.
The Pote Journal 1745.

Footwear For Travelling.

“Thirsday 23d This day at about 5 in ye morning
we began to pack up our bagage in order for marching,
I had my hands Loosned from behind me after
 they presented me with a Considerable quantity
of their bagage to pake up for my Load to Carrey To
menus, they also took my Shoes from me & Gave
me a pair of Dears Skin mogisons Such as they wear
themselves, and Told me they was better and much
Preferable to Shoes To march in.”
The Pote Journal 1745.

Accoutrements-The Spoon.

“my master told me to
Try if I Could make me a Spoon, and Gave me a hatchet
and told me he would assist me in it for he Said there
was nothing more Necessary for me to be furnished
with in my march, his orders I quickly obeyed, and
finished my Spoon with So much Dixterity, yt my
master was Verey well pleased with me,
The Pote Journal 1745.

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Mid-18th Century Foods in France, As Seen by Smollett. A Link.


Handmade Antler Pins & Needles By Yooper.

Yooper is one of our group members in America, and he makes a lot of his own gear. Below is an image of part of Yooper's sewing kit, showing the antler needles and pins he made himself. I think there is something very special in producing something practicle like this and actually being able to carry it with you and use it when needed.
I think these pins and needles are a work of art, beautiful.

Monday 20 August 2012

Quotes from the Diary of John Bartram.

At night I hung up my blanket like a hammock,
that I might lay out of the reach of the fleas,
troublefome and conftant guefts in an Indian
hut ; but I found my contrivance too cool for
a place open on all fides,

About break of day it began to rain,
and the Indians made us a covering of bark
got after this manner: They cut the tree
round through the bark near the root, and
make the like incifion above 7 feet above
it, there horizontal ones are joined by a
perpendicular cut, on each fide of which they
after loofen the bark from the wood, and
hewing a pole at the fmall end, gradually tapering
like a wedge about 2 feet, they force
it in till they have compleated the feparation
all round, and the bark parts whole from the tree,
one of which, a foot diameter,
yields a piece 7 feet long and above
3 wide : And having now prepared four forked
fticks, they are fet into the ground the longer
in front ; on these they lay the crofs-poles
and on them the bark. This makes a good
tight fhelter in warm weather. The rain was
quickly over, but as it continued cloudy, we
did not care to leave our fhed. Here our Ihdians
fhot a young deer, that afforded us a
good feaft.

Their way of roafting eels is thus;
they cut a ftick about three foot long, and as
thick as one's thumb, they fplit it about a
foot down, and when the eel is gutted, they
coil it between the two fides of the ftick,
and bind the top clofe, which keeps the eel
flat, and then ftick one end in the ground before
a good fire.

the night following it
thundred and rained very faft, and took us
at a difadvantage, for we had made no fhelter
to keep off the rain, neither could we fee it
till juft over our heads, and it began to fall.
One of our Indians cut 4 fticks 5 feet long,
and ftuck both ends into the ground, at 2 foot
diftance, one from another ; over thefe he fpread
his match coat and crept through them, and
then fell to finging : in the mean time we were
fetting poles nflantwife in the ground, tying
others crofs them, over which we' fpread our
blanket and crept clofe under it with a fire
before us and fell faft afleep.
I waked a little after midnight, and found
our fire almoft out, fo I got the hatchet and
felled a few faplings which I laid on, and made
a roufing fire, tho' it rained ftoutly, and laying
down once more, I flept found all night.

John Bartram 1743. Travells from Pennsylvania to Canada.

Sunday 12 August 2012

French & Indian War Game. Something to do at home.

How much do you think you NEED to carry?

I posted this same list a while back in a survival forum & recieved no response. This could only be because no one thought the post of any interest or use.
For those of us who try hard to interpret the life of our chosen persona, especially if that persona is a woodsman or woodswoman, then this list could be important. When we talk about life in the New World, we are talking SURVIVAL. Real survival. Surviving not only the hazzards that nature can place before us, but also the hazzards of enemy raids, & house invasion. If you relate this to a modern SHTF survival situation you will see the simularity.
Now this list, food wise, is for 24 people for just 40 days, just over a month. This is a winter trek but some game will be hunted along the way. A lot of people carry survival foods/trail foods, but just how long will these food supplies last? I think for those of us who are also into long term wilderness survival, it may pay to look at this list & re evaluate your thoughts on just how much food (and other gear) you may need to carry.

Supplies for 24 Abenakis and Iroquois who have joined our party:
24 pounds of gunpowder in one bag of half an ell
48 pounds of lead and ball in one bag of one eighth of an ell
24 butcher knives
24 flint and steel and tinderbox with tinder
24 worms
24 awls
100 musket flints
15 pairs of snowshoes
10 tomahawks
5 large axes
24 deerskins weighing 65 pounds
6 toboggans
100 arrow heads
6 stone pipes
8 ells of mazamet in 24 pairs of mittens
3 crib blankets for shoe liners
24 pounds of tobacco
2 pounds of vermilion
2 muskets
1 kettle weighing nine and a half pounds
500 pounds of whole wheat flour in 24 bags of one quarter of an ell
4 small files
5 bushels of corn meal in 12 bags of one quarter of an ell
2 bushels of peas in 8 bags of one quarter of an ell
50 pounds of grease in 5 kegs
150 pounds of salt pork and 300 pounds of hardtack in 8 bags
48 pounds of beef
72 pounds of bread
1 pot of cheap rum
Reference (7).
(Taken from "The New World Woodsman, his clothing, tools & accoutrements." By Keith H. Burgess ).

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Woodland Indian Travel.

Their Travels they perform altogether on foot, the fatigue of which they endure to admiration. They make no other provision for their Journey, but their Gun or Bow, to supply them with Food for many hundred miles together. If they carry any Flesh in their marches, they barbicue it, or rather dry it by degrees, at some distance, over the clear Coals of a Wood fire; just as the (haribees are said, to preserve the Bodies of their Kings and Great men from Corruption. Their Sauce to this dry Meat, (if they have any besides a good Stomach) is only a little Bears Oyl, or Oyl of Acorns; which last they force out, by boyling the Acorns in a strong Lye. Sometimes also in their Travels, each man takes with him a pint or quart of Rockahomonie, that is, the finest Indian, Corn, parched, and beaten to powder. When they find their Stomach empty, (and cannot stay for the tedious Cookery of other things,) they put about a spoonful of this into their Mouths, and drink a draught of Water upon it, which stays their Stomachs, and enables them to pursue their Journey without delay. But their main dependence is upon the Game they kill by the way, and the natural Fruits of the Earth. They take no care about Lodging in these Journeys; but content themselves with the shade of a Tree, or a little High Grass.
When they fear being discover'd, or follow'd by an Enemy in their Marches; they, every morning, having first agreed where they shall rendezvouze

at night, disperse themselves into the Woods, and each takes a several way, that so, the Grass or Leaves being but singly prest, may rise again, and not betray them. For the Indians are very artful in following a track, even where the Impressions are not visible to other People, especially if they have any advantage from the looseness of the Earth, from the stiffness of the Grass, or the stirring of the Leaves, which in the Winter Season lye very thick upon the ground; and likewise afterwards, if they do not happen to be burned.
When in their Travels, they meet with any Waters, which are not fordable, they make Canoas of Birch Bark, by slipping it whole off the Tree, in this manner. First, they gash the Bark quite round the Tree, at the length they wou'd have the Canoe of, then slit down the length from end to end; when that is done, they with their Tomahawks easily open the Bark, and strip it whole off. Then they force it open with Sticks in the middle, slope the underside of the ends, and sow them up, which helps to keep the Belly open; or if the Birch Trees happen to be small, they sow the Bark of two together; The Seams they dawb with Clay or Mud, and then pass over in these Canoes, by two, three, or more at a time, according as they are in bigness. By reason of the lightness of these Boats, they can easily carry them over Land, if they foresee that they are like to meet with any more Waters, that may impede their March; or else they leave them at the Water-side, making no farther account of them; except it be to repass the same Waters in their return.

Robert Beverley 1705.

More on Ranger Trail Foods.

(October 20th, 1760, to February 14. 1761) 

The 8th I halted at this Town to Mend Our Mogosins, & Kill some Deer, the 
Provisions I brought from Detroit, being entirely Expended, I went a hunting 
with ten of the Rangers, and by 10 o Clock Kill'd More Venison than we Wanted.
On the 10th Set out Travelled E : S : E : half a Mile, Cross'd a Meadow three 
quarters of a Mile Wide, East half a Mile S : S : E One Mile, S : E : half a Mile 
Cross'd a Brook running East, travelled S: E (23) Four Miles and Cross'd a 
Brook run[n]ing E: by N: Travelled S: E: One Mile, E: N: E: One Mile, 
Cross'd a large Creek about ten Yards Wide, it Runs W : S: W : E : S : E : half 
a Mile, travelled up a Small Brook about half a Mile to our left where we en- 
camped; this Day on our March Kill'd tree Bears & two Elks besides other 
On the 12th travelled S : E : half a Mile, East two Miles, Cross'd a River about 
20 Yards Wide on the Ice, the River runs N : Travelled S : E : half a Mile, E : 
by N : half a Mile. S : E : One Mile, East One Mile, & came to the same River 
we Cross'd this Morning, at this place it is about 23 Yards Wide, a Swift Cur- 
rent runs South, at this River encamped, this evening went a hunting for Beaver 
killed some.
13th. At this Town I stayed till the 16th in the Morning to Re- 
fresh my Party, & get some Corn of the Indians to Boil with our Venison. 

[Signed:] Rob Rogers 
New York February 27th 1761