Archive for December, 2010

Dec 31 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy 1929… Sorry, 2011!

Since I’ve spent most of my time in the city with my kids this Christmas, I haven’t been doing a lot of practical stuff except gathering some seeds for my forest garden and cutting up some antler for various future projects. Done a ton of research however and pretty much finalized the website mentioned in the previous blog post.

To have something to show you I present to you two caps I made for my daughters last year. They’re made from reindeer fur, made to look like the behind of a reindeer with the tail sticking out the back of the head. Unfortunately they refuse to use them in public and one of them is a bit off size and has to be modified before it can be put to use. In this picture my youngest daughter is wearing one of them and is holding the other one in her hands.

Hope you’ll all have a fantastic new year! 😀

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Dec 30 2010

Courses – Telemark Survival School

I am going to start running more courses. The company website is Traditional subsistence methods and relevant crafts is the focus of these courses, rather than pure primitive skills or army style survival. In the longer courses you will be able to take part in actual subsistence. Some of it small scale, some of it large scale, in which case we will potentially bring in enough to feed the whole group.

As of yet, only dates for one day plant courses in Oslo are up, but dates and locations for other courses will be up soon and I will announce the details here as they become available.

PS! I have some design problems on this website. I can not wrap my head around it although the problems are probably minor. If someone would help me with fixing the menus and safely removing the search field on the front page I will offer that person a gift card to one of my courses worth 700 NOK. (FIXED! A great thanks to Manuel!)


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Dec 24 2010

Lazy Days

I’m currently in Trondheim, visiting my kids for Christmas. There are some opportunities here that I’ll exploit while I’m here. Suburban gardens has a lot of interesting plants and I hope the owners don’t mind if I take some seeds from them. The plants I’m especially after for my forest garden are sea buckthorn and burdock, both of which should do well in the climatic conditions back home.

It’s been a very cold winter so far, appearantly looking like it’s going to sum up to be the coldest December in 110 years. My wool cap was no longer adequate for the cold, so I made a fur cap inspired by Mongolian designs from some left over bits of reindeer skin. To show a bit of the pattern, I have my oldest daughter wearing it on some of the pictures.

Also been coppicing a bit. I coppice willow as mentioned before, but also hazel, birch, rowan, rose and guelder rose for various purposes. Not always deliberately, but I find myself returning to the same stands to take the new shoots. The hazel bush seen here had gotten too old to produce nuts well. The trees were also very tall, making harvesting difficult. So I chopped down all the ones that are not still light brown in the bark and in a couple of years they should start producing again. To keep vegative growth down and force it to produce nuts earlier, I will burn underneath the bush next spring and then every fall after that preceding the harvest. The reason why I want to burn right before the harvest is that it can be very difficult to find the nuts in the high grass. Hopefully this strategy will work. In the picture I have taken about half the stand to show you what I leave to grow and what I remove.

I’m falling in love with fur clothing. Although my parka is of a pretty drafty design, it keeps me at the point of overheating even when doing light work in -20C! For January I have two plans: Trapping and making more clothing.

And by the way: Merry Christmas!

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Dec 09 2010

Tough Times in the City

Since the beginning of November I have been in Oslo, working in construction laying pipes in the ground. I’ve been attempting to live out in my lavvo at the same time and see how well it worked. It’s been an interesting experience as I for the first time HAD to get some routines into living out.

In summer time it might be possible, but in winter since we’re talking pain and misery, which is certainly what I experienced. With two regular weeks of 40 hours, two weeks of 55 and one of 70 hours, it was just too much. Coming home from work there was not really enough time to cook food for the next day before going to bed and sleeping for maybe 5 hours. My face turned all red from sleep deprivation, fat percentage dropped dangerously low and ontop I got a pretty bad memory loss.

With an ozan and a stove it might have been better, but it still would have been a tough job. Especially since this was the coldest November in decades.

Conclusion: If you need to be a wage slave during winter, rent a place… 🙂

There has been time for some experimentation. The only berries/fruits still available are yew, rosehips and guelder rose. Guelder rose is acceptable raw if you only eat a few berries, but much more than that the taste becomes sickening. I have tried to reduce this sickening compound by cooking it with hot rocks. It made it slightly more palatable, to the degree where a couple of tablespoons might be consumed. The rest of cooked berry mash I am attempting to dry, to see if it further increases palatability. Results are pending.

In the beginning, while out, I tried to subsist on paleodiet only. For a while I kept it pretty well paleo, but I find that when working unnaturally much, you need grains and maybe also refined sugars to be able to keep going. The picture is of roasting beaver meat, fat dripping into a bowl.

I have been home in Telemark on a couple of occasions and I’ve gathered quite a bit of willow for basketry. The cold makes the wood so brittle that harvesting it is easy by just breaking them off. The willow species I use are goat willow (Salix caprea) and grey willow (Salix cinerea). Grey willow is by far the best of them, goat willow is only usable while the shoots are still brown in colour. I coppice a number of grey willow patches in cooperation with beaver, moose and some human neighbours with an aimless management scheme.

One more week now and I’m taking the rest of December and the whole of January off…

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