Recent Projects

I got back home about a month ago, so I haven’t been able to post without the ready access to electricity. Here’s some of the projects I’ve been working on recently;

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Some knitting needles, crochet hooks, shuttles, little wooden containers, spoons, &c. I’ve never been a very good woodworker, and right now I’m trying to teach myself how to work with green wood raw from the log. Here’s my first attempt at something more complex:

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I admit, it’s pretty terrible, haha. I’m just going to use it as a birdfeeder. Right now I’m trying to learn ornithology, and as much as I dislike feeding the birds, I think that’s probably the best way to get and introduction to the topic.

My goal for this summer is to learn how to work with raw wood well enough to make a rabbit cage entirely from scratch with an axe and drill. Splitting all the planks and holding it together with dowels, that sort of thing.

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Here’s the inside of one of those little containers. I use allot of containers. I’m going to need to figure out a good way to make larger ones for things that can’t be stored in felt sacks soon, cause I plan on gathering all my food for next winter. I don’t like relying on bought rice, oats, and pasta to get through the winter. I can support myself entirely off the land easily enough throughout the summer, and doing so through the winter is just a matter of setting enough aside to store. I figure a reasonable goal is to gather two gallons of food to dry per day. I’d guess that’d average to about two hours of work a day. It’s probably quite a bit overkill. But I’d sooner have more than I think I’ll need than too little, and I’m already out gathering for both supper and to make a living all day anyways, so it’s not much different than just a bit more time in the woods each day. I’m going to really work on preserving allot of fish and root crops, those are easy sources of food I almost entirely use fresh.

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As always, spinning allot of wool. The white yarn on the left is from my dogs.

-mouse

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I was gathering mushrooms for supper a couple days ago when I came across this little girl. She was just sitting curled up under a spruce like little rabbits do, barely even moved when I scooped her up. I brought her inside and sat her down on my bed to take this picture, and she’s been living in my cabin since. I was planning on cooking her up with the mushrooms, but then I thought I’d give a try to taming her. It’s always fun to have wild animals that are friendly with you living nearby, you know? And even if you come to know the raven that always comes for your fish carcasses or the ermine that periodically clears out the family of shrews under your cabin (these are some of my neighbours), it’s a little different when they come up to you asking to be petted. Provided I can keep the dogs away from her once she’s back outside, that is. She does look awfully tasty though, mmm, snowshoe hare.

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I come across bones regiliarly while I’m out in the woods. I bring them back home to have them handy for various projects like sewing needles, knitting needles, or fishing hooks (I go through allot of fishing hooks). From left to right it’s piles of vertebrae, ribs, miscellanious jaws shoulder blades and hip bones, and leg bones. These all come from moose. Last night I found a very old carcass from a young calf killed by coyotes, which is what made me think to even take a picture of my bone pile in the first place. It’s just an everyday ordinary thing to me, I don’t usually realise how unusual that must be for people in the city.

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A sewing needle I made yesterday from my bone pile, for example. It’s wedge-shaped in its length because if you try to make them the same width all along their shaft they break much more often.

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A couple japanese knotweed containers. Very simple to make. I needed to make some more small things containers since I didn’t have anything to stick the hawthorn thorns I collected into, and those are the ones sticking out of the top container. Hawthorn thorns are all around generally useful. I usually use them as toothpicks, but they also make suitable awls or emergency sewing needles. My next project is to make a comb using dulled hawthorn thorns. I’ll post about it when I finish it. Speaking of dental hygeine though, hawthorn twigs also make an acceptable chewing stick, so I replenished my supply some at the same time.

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Blue bead lily berries, which supposedly make a blue dye. I’ve never seen them as plentiful as this year, so I decided to gather a pile for a friend to test out. Although, it could be that I’ve never seen them this plentiful because I’ve not really looked. The berries are inedible and have no other uses as far as I know, and the edible leaves have far gone by by the time the berries are out. On the right is a small handful of goldenthread rhizomes, which are a powerful antibiotic containing the same chemical as goldenseal. Goldenthread is much more common though. It also makes a bright yellow dye, or so I’ve heard. Need to get my friend to test this one too.

-mouse