Before we talk about cordage, just want to mention that the Primitive Survival Skills 101 scheduled for Nov. 5, 2016 will be the last scheduled class of 2016. There are still spots open so if you know of anyone interested please let them know. Thanks !
Now is the time to harvest cordage plants. Dogbane, milkweed and stinging nettle should be harvested now. Yucca can be harvested most any time. I like to let the dogbane and milkweed dry a week or so before using. Use a smooth round rock or small log ( think small baseball bat ) to lightly pound the stalks. The goal is to separate the stalks into 4 equal lengthwise pieces. Then you carefully start bending each piece every few inches or so, this will break up the pithy,woody inside so that you can separate it from the usable bark. Once you have removed all of the pith you should have several feet of good useable bark to start making your cordage. Not all plants work, some bark just seems to break no matter how careful you are. Just like any other survival skill, it takes lots of practice to get the hang of this. However, I have had students in their first workshop make amazing cordage. If you don't have cordage plants around your area, go to the hardware store and get a roll of jute string. It is a 3 ply cordage. It is a good inexpensive twine to practice making your own cordage. Next month we will discuss why cordage is so important and how to make it once you have your processed materials.
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