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Category: Living off the Land

How To Identify Giant Hogweed, Heracleum mantegazzianum

How To Identify Giant Hogweed, Heracleum mantegazzianum

Giant Hogweed is an invasive species of plant originally from Central Asia. It’s a member of the carrot family, or Apiaceae. This species is in the news again as another child has been injured by coming into contact with the plant while playing outdoors. The following blog post contains a video I made on the plant and how to identify it…

Favourite Films: Cree Hunters Of Mistassini

Favourite Films: Cree Hunters Of Mistassini

This is an anthropological documentary about a band of Cree hunters from Mistassini, Quebec who travel to live and hunt on their traditional hunting grounds. It’s a sympathetic film made during a time when these people’s traditional lands were under threat from hydro-electric development and the associated infrastructure. It puts across the Cree point of view about their traditional way of life and philosophy. For the student of northern forest bushcraft, this is a treasure-trove of techniques, skills and knowledge. In almost every scene there is…

Careful With Your Carrots: A Case In Point

Careful With Your Carrots: A Case In Point

The wild carrot, Daucus carota, is a widespread and relatively common species, native to Europe and Asia. It has been introduced and naturalised in Australia and North America, where it is often referred to as Queen Anne’s Lace. This species also lends its common name to what is often referred to as the carrot family, […]

Rosebay Willowherb: Taking The Pith

Rosebay Willowherb: Taking The Pith

Rosebay willowherb, Chamerion angustifolium (also known as Epilobium angustifolium) is a widespread plant of the Northern Hemisphere. Known as Fireweed to many, particularly in North America, this name reflects the plant’s appearance following forest fires and other events which leave the earth scorched. With greater light on the earth again, C. angustifolium seeds then germinate and grow in the cleared areas until competition crowds them out. This tendency to appear from scorched earth also gave rise to the name Bombweed…

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Five Survival Plants Every Forager Should Know

Five Survival Plants Every Forager Should Know

In a previous article I outlined a realistic approach to survival foraging. In such a situation, you would have nothing stored or preserved from previous seasons, little or no gathering or processing equipment (such as baskets, bags or grinding vessels), limited experience and possibly little or no familiarity with the geographic area. In short, if you do find yourself needing to keep yourself alive from only what you can forage, you are starting from a tough position. Types Of Plants…

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The Difference Between Foraging and Living Off The Land: Bushcraft Show 2013 Presentation

The Difference Between Foraging and Living Off The Land: Bushcraft Show 2013 Presentation

I was among the expert speakers on the main stage at the Bushcraft Show 2013. Since then, I’ve had a lot of people asking me about the content of the talk and I’m delighted to be able to share it here on my blog. The video combines a recording of my talk with the slides I used for the presentation…

Survival Foraging: A Realistic Approach

Survival Foraging: A Realistic Approach

There are many edible wild plants. Leaves, shoots, flowers, berries, nuts, seeds, roots, and bark of different plants and trees can provide us with some form of sustenance at different times of the year. What’s more, foraging is fashionable, having featured on several TV programmes in recent years. Wild foods are even showing up on restaurant menus. Whether harvesting from nearby hedgerows or purchasing from a local market, many people are taking a greater interest in wild foods gathered from…

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Boost Your Bushcraft With Urban Botany

Boost Your Bushcraft With Urban Botany

Urban Bushcraft is a phrase which appears to be gaining popularity. Certainly, I see and hear it more frequently now than a couple of years ago. In the UK 80% of the population live in urban areas *. It’s a similar story in other European countries – 77% in Spain, 74% in Germany, 83% in the Netherlands and 86% in France *. In the USA the proportion is similar at 82% of the population being urbanised. In Canada it’s 81%….

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Red Currant, Ribes Rubrum

Red Currant, Ribes Rubrum

Red currant, (or redcurrant), Ribes rubrum is a member of the Gooseberry family, Grossulariaceae . Its fruits are edible and it is relatively easy to recognise and distinguish from other species. Geographic Distribution and Habitat Red currant is native to parts of Western Europe but is also widely cultivated, with some wild populations being formed by naturalised escapees. Red currant tends to grow in isolated but dense stands. It is typically found on river banks and in damp, shady deciduous…

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