Due to lots of interest I will be holding a summer Primitive Survival skills 101 workshop on June 23, 2018. This will be held at Pleasant Grove Park in Fluvanna Co., Va. The April 28 class went really well and was a great group. Last week I did a 2 hour demo for the Crozet library at Mint Springs Valley park outside of Crozet. We didn't do any hands-on but much information was exchanged.
Just a reminder that the yucca's are showing their flower stalks now, by the end of June they will be full length and the flowers will be starting to fall off. That's the best time to harvest, remember to get the straightest ones you can find. Remember, for friction fire spindles less wobble means more success !!
If you are on Facebook, check out my page www.facebook.com/primitivesurvivalskills/?ref=bookmarks for good articles on edible/medicinal/utilitarian plants and other survival info.
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Spring wild flowers are blooming which means there are so many wild edibles already up. I have been posting edible and medicinal plant articles on my Primitive Skills Facebook page but if you don't have Facebook I will post some here as well.
The cattail is probably the most useful plant out there when it comes to food. It has food value all 4 seasons. A Syracuse University study found that cattails have 10X more food per acre than potatoes. www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/survivalist/2013/07/survival-skills-how-use-yucca.
The yucca plant in my opinion is probably the most utilitarian plant to use. Remember Food, Soap, Fire and Rope. www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/survivalist/2013/07/survival-skills-how-use-yucca
Not sure of the plants ? here's a link on how to check plants for safety. www.offthegridnews.com/off-grid-foods/survival-101-the-right-way-to-determine-if-a-plant-is-edible/
My last scheduled Primitive Survival Skills 101 workshop until fall will be on April 28, 2018. There are 5 spots left at this time so please put the word out if you know of someone who may be interested. www.stevepullinger.com/primitive-survival-skills.html
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this is an interesting chart on what we carry in our packs today and what folks used 40,000 years ago. I really like having today's 'tools' but it can be empowering to know that you don't need them if you have basic primitive skill sets.
Next Primitive Survival Skills 101 is now set for April 28, 2018. Go to the workshops tab for details.
Winter is almost over and it's time to start doing some workshops. The next Advanced Friction Fire workshop will be March 24, 2018, a Saturday, at the Scheier Natural area in Fluvanna from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. You can go to the 'workshops' tab for more details. Primitive Skills 101 will be scheduled soon.
I want to talk about 'seeing'. Have you ever noticed that as soon as you get interested in something you start seeing it everywhere. Buy a motorcycle, you start seeing bikes around every turn. It is the same way with nature. If you get interested in something it just seemingly starts appearing everywhere. My passion is friction fire. Once I was at Shenandoah River State Park and found a dead snag off of a Cottonwood tree. I tried using it for the fire board in friction fire, it worked amazing!! It is now one of my top 3 native ( out of 16 so far ) woods for the fire board. Now I see Cottonwoods in Fluvanna, there are several on I64 W heading up Afton Mountain, I81 exit 225 has several on the left of the exit ramp. I would have never taken the time to study/get to know the Cottonwood if it wasn't for fire making The best spindle ?? Yucca flower stalks by far, once you start using them you will see yucca plants everywhere. BTW, remember Fire, Soap, Food and Rope when thinking of yuccas. The flower stalk is the #1 spindle, the roots will make a natural soap, the white flowers are edible and the leaves make one of the best natural cordage materials. While hiking, I constantly find the remnants of squirrels nests, the shredded cedar bark, since cedar bark is the best tinder.
My goal is to get kids ( and their parents ) involved with nature, that is the only way that they will develop the desire to understand and protect it. If you can hook them on friction fire, and what kids of any age don't like fire, then you have taken a huge step in getting them outside. When you start seeing all these 'just plants' as useful, whether food-fire-shelter-cordage, then you will be more likely to protect them and the habitats that they live in. Your drives/hikes will never be the same !!
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Everyone talks about BOB bags, EDC kits,etc. I want to discuss a 'car' bag that will cover the needs of the soccer mom, average Joe who is on the road. Winter is coming on and that ups the ante even more in having one of these in your vehicle. Look at the natural disasters of the past 6 months that have hit our country, think back to the winter of 2009 when central Virginia residents were stranded on the road for days without help/supplies. You never know when or where you may be stranded away from home. How do you get back ? How do you survive for days ? That's where I think a car bag will come in handy.
To start with, lets look at the 4 requirements needed to stay alive. 1) shelter/warmth 2) potable water 3) fire 4) food. Fortunately a 'car' bag doesn't have to be as compact/light/efficient as a BOB bag. We can afford to carry more supplies/tools than you could easily carry on your back. However, a backpack to consolidate supplies to head out on foot is highly recommended.
When reading this blog just remember that this is only my opinion of what to carry, there are many options/ideas when it comes to making these bags. 1) to cover shelter/warmth, I would carry a good sized tarp ( with plenty of cordage ) and a quality sleeping bag. Between your vehicle, a tarp and the sleeping bag you should be able to stay warm and dry. 2) for water I would have several bottles of water, ( maybe some coffee ), a metal container that you could boil water over a fire and carry a Sawyer mini-straw. The Sawyer mini-straw is very light weight water filter that is easy to carry in a small fanny pack. 3) for fire, I carry 2 lighters, 2 packs of matches in double zip locked bags, a 9V battery with some 0000 steel wool and several types of tinder/paper. 4) to supply your caloric needs I take cereal, protein bars, GORP, jerky. These are good food choices that do not need refrigeration or cooking. Everyone has favorites of course but be sure it will stay good in the car without care. Remember the average person needs 2,000 calories daily to maintain weight.
Adding to the 4 basics above: I would pack extra clothes if you get wet, a poncho or rain gear, hiking shoes and a good outdoor hat, bandana and gloves. Some type of protection, small pistol/pepper spray or whatever you feel comfortable carrying. Take extra meds, glasses, Aleve, vitamins, bug spray and sun block to cover your health needs. A sturdy camp knife/hatchet for firewood or cutting a small tree out of the road. A quality multi tool, there are tons of good, used Leatherman tools on Ebay. A small first aid kit. Several flash lights and extra batteries. A hiking staff if you have to walk it out. Phone chargers/cords.
This looks like a lot of stuff but it will easily fit into the old suitcase you no longer use or a duffel bag/back pack. Be sure to always, winter or summer, keep your gas tank at least half full.
Lastly, if you loose all this stuff, you can take my Primitive Survival Skills 101 workshop and still be good to go. Thanks for reading and I would love to hear feedback from you about your bags.
The June Primitive Skills 101 workshop went very well. The weather was perfect and everyone was successful with making/starting fire with the bow drill. I've never had a class before with 100% success rate.....
Speaking of friction fire, the yuccas are losing their flowers now. This is the best time to harvest the flower stalk, the yucca flower stalk is the best spindle material that I have tried. Look for very straight ones, it should be true and round and roll like a dowell. Any wobble in the spindle will result in a much harder attempt at fire making. Once harvested, it will take a month or more to dry for use.
I found out that the Cucumber tree ( native to the Alleghany Highlands ) makes a very good fireboard. To date that makes 16 native trees to that I have been successful with in friction fire....
The next Primitive Skills 101 workshop will be October 21, 2017 at the Scheier Natural area in Fluvanna County. Also, I can always bring my workshop to you with a minimum of 6 attendees......This month I attended the SOLO Wilderness First Aid class taught by Matt Rosefsky, I wholeheartedly encourage anyone who plays in the outdoors to take this workshop.....Enclosed are pics of the last debris shelter. BTW, I will be trying this one out this winter. It still needs a little more debris to make it functional down to 10 degrees but it is basically finished except the door.
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