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What do you see?

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Well alright then......... here's what I see.


#1. This is a Black Spruce tree that has a number of burl-like growths on its trunk and limbs. These growths are perfect for coal burned bowls as they have a growth pattern that conforms to its rounded shape making them less likely to crack during and after the burning process. Also, because the lower limbs of the evergreen trees die as the tree grows these lower limb growths are fairly dry to start with further lessening the chance of cracking. I would take off the large growth on the third limb up on the right, keep a length of the limb attached to use as a handle and burn away a bowl leaving about 1/2 inch thick walls of wood.


I also see a number of wounded areas on this tree which have accumulated balls of dried sap that are wonderful for helping light fires...espcially in wet weather.


#2. The rock. This large boulder has a geologic description know as breccia which just means that it is composed of all sorts of different smaller, angular-shaped stones. It is quite likely that one of these different types of stone could be either quartz or quartzite which would be one of the only rock-types in this region that will produce a spark when struck to steel. If I found an exposed chunk of quartz it would be relatively easy to remove from the larger boulder because the surrounding material is much softer than the quartz and is easily chipped away.


#3. Quite a few things actually, but... the large, standing dead tree mostly. This is an old, dead, rotten Sugar Maple. If I needed to start a fire(maybe using a piece of steel and some quartz from that breccia boulder) this tree would provide all I needed. With a length of rope I could likely pull down one of these large limbs because the tree trunk and limb bases are quite rotten and weak. Inside the base of this limb I'd find some rotten wood (punkwood) that, being as large as it is, would probably be dry despite the heavy rains of the last two days. This punk wood will easily catch and hold a spark. The very top end of this limb would likely be quite hard and once split open would be just fine for making fine wood shavings that would ignite into flames from  the heat of the punk ember. As well, that same split wood will make for my knidling and fuel. Being maple, the fire will be nice and hot and not through sparks that could catch onto my shelter made under that falled Spruce to the left in this photo.


#4. The roots. These are the exposed roots of a Spruce tree. Spruce root is some of the finest, toughest, easily acquired cordage in the forets. These thich exposed roots are followedto find to the thinner ones that can be pulled up by hand quite easily in fairly long sections (6-8 feet). These thin roots can then be stripped of t he bark and split lengthwise to make flexible strong cordage that I could use to make baskets, sleeping mats, or tie together the parts of my shelter.


#5. Hawthorn. Wow.... what a find.

Hawthorne is a very powerful herb!! The hawthorne berry is one of the best cardiac tonics available, and is often used to treat high blood pressure. Hawthorne berries are used to treat childhood diabetes. Hawthorne flower tea is a safe diuretic. Hawthorne berries, dried and crushed and made into a decoction, eases diarrhea and dysentery. 


The young hawthorne leaves can be used as a safe, and non-nicotine tobacco substitute for those who desire to quite smoking. Enhance the flavor and help heal the throat by adding yarrow, mint, coltsfoot or mullein.


Chewing the hawthorne leaf is a safe way to give nourishment, revive energy, and a feeling of well-being. Chewing hawthorne leaves takes away that "tummy grumble" when you"re hungry. That is why the hawthorne became known as the "bread and cheese" tree, giving as much sustenance as a plate of bread and cheese.


The hawthorne leaf-buds are good cooked (10 to 20 minutes) and have a similar taste to lima beans. They make a great addition to chilis and soups. You can make jellies and fruit sauces from the berries, just make sure you strain the sauce. Hawthorne berries contain their own pectin so the sauce or jelly will thicken nicely. Hawthorne flowers are edible and make an attractive addition to salads and other dishes. Hawthorne seeds can be roasted and used in a manner similar to coffee.


Cautions: Please don't try these uses without proper training!!


Hawthorne wood is fine grained and works well for artist renditions with inlays and delicate carvings. The root wood is finer still and suitable for making boxes and combs. Hawthorne wood is more prized than oak wood for wood fires, as it burns very hot. A hawthorne wood fire can produce fire hot enough to melt pig iron. The long, strong neeles can be heated over a small fire, bent and used for very nice fish hook. They can also be used to puncture birchbark or leather in preperation of lacing it together (maybe with Spruce root).


#6. This is Winterberry (Ilex verticillata). Looks yummy doesn't it? Well, it isn't. It is actually quite toxic and if ingested can make for a very, very bad day. Winterberry is often confused with other large bush berries like Hawthron, Wild Raisin, or Highbush Cranberry because it grows in the same habitat and, unless you have a good knowlege of these plants, looks fairly similiar. I don't really know of a single good use for this shrub other than possibly using its dead branches for kindling. This is a good example of why it's necessary to read up on the various plant/shrub/tree species in your region before attempting to use them for food out in the bush.


#7. This is one of my favorites.... Wintergreen. This patch happens to have lots of nice ripe, red berries. Wintergreen leaves has been used for centuries as an ingredient for teas. Just pick about ten of the fresh green leaves, cut them into smaller pieces and steep them in boiled hot water for 3-5 minutes.... the more the better. If tyou've been in the bush for quite a while, crush a few leaves in your mouth and suck on them for a while. You will no longer have "bush breath". Just be sure to spit out the "used" fiberous leaves as they are hard to digest. The berries have a bit less of the distinctive flavor but can be used to make a great jelly. They can be picked throughout the winter but are best picked the folowing spring when they are at their juiciest. A Canadian Maritimes favorite is Wintergreen berry pie.



So.... what else can you add to what I've seen in these photos?







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Woops you beat me to attempt and answer Blue. I would have missed most though    :P


2. Quartz is correct however its a little hard for good chipping but it will work in a pinch. Im more inclined to think tools are more important than points. Very sharp cutting tool can be made quite easily from this rock simply by hitting glancing blows with a rock on the surfaces of the outcrop.Watch for flying chips of chert their razor sharp.


Of course fire starting also.


4. The roots looks like a very good place to set up a triage for sprained ankels and broke legs.    :hugegrin:

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