Monday, 30 June 2008

I've Got A Sample For You!

The other day my office neighbour, she has the space next door to us, popped her head 'round the door saying 'I've got a sample for you' as she handed me this bottle.
You should have seen the look on the interns face!

Of course it's Elderflower cordial, and so delicious even the kids liked it!

The elder flowers in our garden have all gone now, roll on the elderberries!
Any elderberry recipe ideas gratefully received!

Thanks for reading

Friday, 27 June 2008

Two New Blogs - Well New To Me


The feedback from my OBS interview has exposed me to a couple of blogs that are well worth a mention.

First Rabid Outdoorsman's The Maine Outdoorsman
"Greetings fellow outdoor fanatics and welcome to the Maine Outdoorsman Blog. I started this blog as a way to share some of my favorite hunting, fishing and outdoor experiences with the general public. My goal for this endeavor, is to work to improve my writing skills so positive comments and suggestions are much appreciated. With that said please sit back, make yourselves comfortable and join me in conversing about a few of my favorite outdoor memories."

And Fish Hunter's Hunting Knive
"When you are in a position to indulge in it, hunting is one of the activities that can provide both a great deal of physical activity and bragging rights, not to mention an impressive amount meat and a truly epic trophy at the end."

Both struck a chord with me, hope you'll enjoy them too

Thanks for reading - leave a comment or two

Road Kill Rules

A little while ago the three ring circus that is the clan de la bushwacker were driving through the leafy lanes of Kent. As we entered a village I implored Mrs SBW to pull over. Bushwacker Jnr. and yours truly ran back down the road and recovered this delicious hen pheasant that had recently meet its demise at a passing vehicle's wheel and had not been there long.

How do I know it was safe to eat?

Well I'm no Tom Brown Jnr. but there were a couple of tracks that even I could follow:
1. It was about 11am and reasonably sunny - her blood was fresh and no flies had gathered.
2.It was about 11am and she was still there, if she'd died during the previous evening a fox would have had her during the first available cover of darkness.
3.Hung game has a strong smell and is still completely safe to eat. This one had hardly any smell.

At the butchers shop/game dealer you can buy a nice plucked pheasant (looking a lot like the one pictured bellow) that was shot on a shoot near by, it then sat around in a field for a few hours before being taken to the chilled game larder where it resided until at least the next day, when it continued its journey to the butcher/game dealer, where it sat in the chiller until it was plucked. Only then did it make it onto the shelf of the shop. We're talking £5.50 or eleven bucks from the butcher nearest my house, cheaper if you live out of town and up to a tenner if you live somewhere really swanky.

Mine had probably been clipped by a passing car that morning, took ten minuets to pluck (it would be less with practice) cost me nothing, and I got a really cool bag of feathers to use later.Bushwacker jnr. and I tucked in after Mrs SBW came over all squeamish and pushed hers to the side of her plate.Sucker!

Thanks for reading

Thursday, 26 June 2008

SBW Interviewed Again

The Outdoor Bloggers Summit have interviewed me!

Why did you start blogging and why do you keep blogging?
What is your "vision" for your blog - how do you see it developing?
Do you have more than one blog? Do you have another website?

1) Why did you start blogging and why do you keep blogging?
I've had a growing interest in wild food and hunting for it over the last few years, I'd seized the opportunity to hunt a whitetail 18 months before i started the blog but had done nothing since. I started blogging as a way of tracking my motivations, activity levels, and most importantly as a way of goading myself into getting on with it, as opposed to just talking about it.
As a wily old sales director once told me  "What gets measured gets done".

What keeps me writing the blog has been two things; its given me massively increased confidence with my writing (my grasp of grammar and spelling may be poor but at last I've found a 'voice'). The feedback I've received from my friends and complete strangers has been amazing.What I hadn't expected was the number of people who have dropped by to read it. I was over the moon to have six readers and gob-smacked when six became six thousand! Being an attention seeker by nature i, of course, feel compelled to keep writing the blog for my audience.

2) What is your "vision" for your blog - how do you see it developing?
That depends from day to day. Sometimes i see Brad Pitt playing SBW in the movie (we look so alike its uncanny!!) and sometimes I'd just be happy to shoot my compound bow at a target instead of watching it gather dust in my shed! I'm still a long way from my ultimate aim, but the journey has so far proved to be most entertaining, i've met some really cool people online and in person; James from Sporting Shooter magazine and Jeremiah from have been kind enough to give me some lessons. It had never occurred to me that I'd hunt rabbits with Ferrets, or learn to FlyFish within the confines of the city! As for the future further adventures beckon and I'll be updating the blog with my preparations and the trials and tribulations as i go. 

3) Do you have more than one blog? Do you have another website? If so,
what are the URL's of the additional blogs/websites.
With a group of friends I have been making and collecting everything needed for a suburban smithy. The forge has been welded up and I've been collecting scrap brass to smelt and steel to work.

Thanks for reading and be sure to have a look at the other OBS blogs, some of them are really good!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Wild Camping - The Responce

This Government appreciates the potential benefits of wild camping in England and its attractiveness to campers who already have the opportunity to camp in the wild in Scotland.

The Land Reform Act in Scotland allows for wild camping, but the land issues and the legislation in England are somewhat different. The introduction of wild camping in England would be a controversial issue, which would require both significant consultation and legislative change.

On open access land wild camping is prohibited under Schedule 2 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, which lists all restricted activities. Therefore, new Regulations would be required to exclude wild camping as a restricted activity. Any change to the current rules on wild camping in National Parks and Ministry of Defence land would require new primary legislation.

The Government has no plans to allocate the necessary resources to consider proposals for such legislation at present, and is concentrating on following up the successful introduction of 750,000 hectares of open access land with new legislation on access to the coast in the Marine Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.

So that's two petitions and twice the government has decided to do nothing!

I was going to write you a long post moaning about the state of the nation and the lackwits who are governing us, but to be fair Aktoman has raised all the necessary points without sounding like an old fart so I'll just point you in his direction.
And for those of you resident in the UK, or carrying a UK passport, urge you to get involved in stage two of the campaign for us to be able to take a nap in the big out doors that our forefathers made such sacrifice for, before some bright spark in the cabinet office invents a way to put a meter between us and the fresh air.



Monday, 23 June 2008

Knots And Brolly

BoB was in town over the weekend and was appalled to hear how bad a job I've been making of learning to knot my own purse nets for Ferreting. Ever the gentleman he limited his disappointment to a weary sigh, and offered to set me on the road. As James had first said "just one knot, tied lots of times". With BoB's patient guidance I'm finally getting the hang of it. I would have a picture to show you by know if it weren't for a curious incident that took place. The Garden umbrella BoB is pointing at in the picture came tumbling over the garden fence and missed braining me by about six inches. Much to BoB's amusement. By the time we'd finished laughing about that the oven was beeping and it was time for me to make the gravy and get dinner on the table. Such is suburban life.

Your pal
The Bushwacker.

Friday, 13 June 2008

The Elusive Obvious Pt1

There's a fortune at stake, there are countless review sites and everyone has an opinion (or two). What to wear outdoors?

As regular readers will know I'm quite a fan of The Gun Nut. My family and friends sneer when I recommend this blog, but whether you’re interested in firearms or not, David E Petzal has a voice that leaps of the page and an understanding of his audience that anyone could learn from. A bit more worldly than many of his fans, (as judged by reading the comments section) he never acknowledges his expertise, choosing instead to portray himself as weary traveller, incidentally dispensing knowledge while dismayed at the way the worlds going.

On the Gun Nut Blog this week David E Petzal talks about the clothes needed take a hike and THEN to sit still for long periods of time during a hunt.

In the comments section I saw this pearl of wisdom

"The quickest way to figure out how to deal with all that is to go to the nearest construction site nearest to the area you want to hunt and see what the guys who are out in it all day long trying to do their job wear. It's not that different from the needs for hunting. They work, they sweat. They can't quit and run home every time they step in a puddle, get sweaty or it rains a little." - Jack Ryan

If you've got any tips for clothes that protect you from the worst of it without costing the earth - post a comment and let us know

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Wood That I Could

I cant remember where I saw this, but I liked it and thought you might too.

Beechwood fires are bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year.
Chestnut's only good, they say
If for long it's laid away.
But Ash wood new or Ash wood old
Is fit for a queen with a crown of gold.

Birch and Fir logs burn too fast,
Blaze up bright and do not last.
It is by the Irish said.
That Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread
Elm wood burns like churchyard mold;
Even the very flames are cold.
But Ash wood green or Ash wood brown,
Is fit for a queen with a golden crown.

Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills your eyes and makes you choke.
Applewood will scent your room
With an incense-like perfume.
Oak and Maple, if dry and old,
Keep away the winter cold.
But Ash wood wet and Ash wood dry,
A king shall warm his slippers by.
- Anonymous

Go on! Light one, you know you want to!!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Ashleys Site - Natural Bushcraft

Imagine if you wanted to find (nearly) all of the cool things that appear on the bushcraft websites and forums but you didn’t have the time or inclination to wade through the arguments and pomposity. Good News. A fella called Ashley has painstakingly collected together most of the best bits! Natural Bushcraft has the videos, the tutorials and a fantastic bushcraft quotes section. Life just got easier!
Well worth a visit, he really puts a lot of effort in, every time I visit I've seen something else interesting.

Thanks for reading

Saturday, 7 June 2008

BASS Petition

Way back in the early days of my blog I posted about Dr Mike Ladle and his site, I added a link to a petition to increase the minimum size of landed sea bass. Well time has passed and in its wisdom the government has decided to do ........wait for it...nothing. I used to know a very dry and funny Russian chap who introduced me to the expression
"We wanted it to be different, but it happened just the same"
Ho Hum
Your pal
The Bushwacker

Photo credit

Friday, 6 June 2008

SBW interviewed!

I was recently approached by the folks who run a website dedicated to helping you find presents for people who are a problem to buy presents for. They asked me to answer some interview questions. Obviously as the worlds leading authority on my own opinion I jumped at the chance!

"As we're heading into Father's Day, it's time to have a man back on interview of the week, as the women have been dominating for a while. The Suburban Bushwacker blog is on Dr T's feed list, and SBW is a man with a mission and a passion. You might not agree with it, but it makes great reading, and, as with the answers we got to our questions, really well argued."

From Fat Boy to Elk Hunter.
It's a long journey between the rotund desk jockey my family and friends see me as, and the super fit backwoodsman Elk hunter I really am. My blog is about all the things I do outdoors and all the stuff I buy to do those things. Hopefully it’s also about the stuff I learn on the way to the hunting and fishing adventures of my dreams.

What do you do for a living?
I work in the sales industry, usually as a sales trainer.
I like to make out that hunting and fishing are my hobbies, but really it’s blogging and buying kit.
Owing to the positive feedback I’ve had from the blog I now have delusions of grandeur and see the blog as a starting point of an internationally acclaimed (and syndicated) newspaper column of the same name. Brad Pitt will be playing me in the movie.

Why did you start blogging about this topic?
There are plenty of self-proclaimed experts blogging away out there. A lot of them are a bit po-faced for my taste.  My angle is: while i may not be able to give expert advise i doubt you’ll meet anyone quite as enthusiastic as me.
The main reasons are:
1.The journey would be more achievable if i kept a record of it, Keeping a record would keep me honest about how much i was actually doing to achieve my goals.
2.As I’ve started reviewing equipment it would be good to have a second opinion after a few months of using the kit. Most people seem to have a box of junk they never use which they bought having read a review written by someone who either, only had the thing for an afternoon, or worked on a magazine that was funded by the manufacturer advertising.

How long have you been working on this blog?
I’m a relative newcomer to blogging I started this blog in may of this year (07)
How many visitors does your blog get per day?
I’ve not put a counter on it yet, but 111 people have now viewed my profile and a few people have emailed to say nice things.
Does your blog have an income? Which ways have worked, which haven't? How succesful has it been?
I do plan to put ads on my blog, if only so i can claim its a business to the tax office and claim back all the money i spend on kit!
What kind of person would be interested in this type of blog?
Irreverent bushcrafters, hunters, fisherfolk, lovers of wild foods, and gear freaks.
When i imagine my reader he’s a guy who’d love to get out more but the house, the job, and family life always seem to come first, he maybe a desk jockey at first sight, but really he’s an adventurer! It could be I’m just talking to myself!!
About how much time do you spend blogging per day?
I aim to post at least every other day, sometimes the average drops well bellow this. Most of my posts are written in one sitting. Due to work, getting the kids off to bed, ect i usually spend no more than an hour on a post.

Tell us why we should subscribe to your blog.
For the same reason as every other blog you subscribe to. It was funny and thought provoking the first time you read it, so you put it in your RSS feeds. And now it only takes a second to see if you’re interested in the latest offering. More often than not it’s quite funny so you’ll keep looking in case you miss a good ‘un.

What advice do you have for other bloggers trying to succeed?
The same advice my writing coach gave me
“Only one thing separates writers from non-writers. It’s called writing”.
What are your favorite blogs? (List at least 3 urls)
the American bushman comes across as such a nice guy, and we have similar interests.
The trials and tribulations of this lad’s life are life affirming. He’s not happy and he’s doing something about it. Gotta love a tryer.
The phantom can really write and he’s very knowledgeable about the area we both live

Thanks for reading, post a comment or two

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Guns,Bows,Trebuchet and Pumpkins

C'mon what's not to like?

Happy Blogday To Me! Bushwackin’ 365

Suddenly it’s time to do one of those ‘that was the year that was’ reviews that TV stations use as cheap programming on new years eve. A whole year has passed since I formalised my journey and started telling all of you about it. I’ve not been deluged with animal rights nutters telling me I’m a cheerleader for the forces of darkness, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of people who have told me that they couldn’t do it themselves but understand why the wild food journey is so important to me. First things first, I’m always a bit amazed that you are actually reading this, and enduringly grateful to those of you who could be bothered to chip in with the odd comment, it’s made keeping the blog going a lot easier. The year has been full of soaring highs and crushing lows in my other life, the one I lead outside of the adventure in this blog, and the blog has helped. It’s given me a focus outside of work, a perspective, a purpose. The other positive output has been a new found confidence in my writing. Like it or loathe it, mock my spelling and poor grasp of grammar, but there’s no one else writing anything quite like it, it’s mine and, there are a growing number of posts that I’ve started to feel quite pleased with.
I’ve done errhm ‘some’ work on the skill set that my hunt will require, re awakened the kit fetishist within, took a bit more exercise (ok babe a very little bit – but I have dug the vegetable patch over!), expanded the range of my reading, learned the basics of bare bow archery, hunted rabbits with ferrets, used a shotgun to turn flying ashtrays to dust, and cast my first fly at a wild trout. My compound bow still languishes in the garage, certainly not unloved, but unused. I’ve found an archery club I could attend but they are stickbow only as their secretary told me her butt wasn’t big enough. I was confused too until I remembered that a butt is the traditional name for an archery practice ground!

Lessons in feral failure?
When I stared fishing I learned three knots, and for some reason my brain has only assigned enough memory to its knots database to remember those three, I can tie them in the dark, in the rain, wherever. Regular readers will have noticed that while I confidently announced that I would be making my own set of purse nets for rabbiting, so far all I have to show for my efforts are some tangled pieces of string – described in the word[s] of one observer as ‘shocking’.

Tanning Hides?
Firstly I’d like to try to shift the blame onto Mrs SBW – she found my rabbit brains in the freezer and chucked them out. So that was brain tanning out the window. Sadly the rest of the failings are mine. Tanning hides is harder than it looks, one rabbit skin is now hard enough to make a knife sheath from and the other two are still hiding from Mrs SBW in the freezer.

Fitness and Mass Reduction?

I’m too embarrassed to talk about it; there is only one worthwhile prescription.
Eat less and do more

The wild food highlights were;
Bunnies ferreted out by James’s little helpers. The legs cooked with tomato, paprika, and black olives. The loins rolled into spirals, poached, browned and served on top of large slices of black pudding (traditional English blood sausage).
A haunch of Muntjac; which turns out to be the perfect size of eating deer for suburban dads on portion control, skinny bints and picky city kids. I casseroled mine in a gravy of shallots, plonk red and Hoisin sauce. Yummy.
GMT Chestnuts (harvested in Greenwich park) eaten with pancetta and leeks in a cream sauce.
Road kill Pheasant – Although I haven’t had the opportunity to either attend a traditional English pheasant shoot (which looks from the outside like a sort of real life video game shoot ‘em up - for £1000 ($2000) a day!!) or join a walked up woodland hunt. I have been keeping my eyes open and have been pleasantly surprised by the number of daft birds who made the mistake of playing in the traffic. With delicious consequences!

As with every ‘that was the year that was’ round up there are of course some awards to dish out.

On the kit collecting front the Best in Test award is shared by the
Fallkniven F1, covered in scratches, sharpened, blunted and sharpened again, a genuinely bombproof confidence inspiring tool.
The Bahco Laplander Saw: which has proved itself to be thoroughly deserving of its ‘bushcraft’ reputation - lightweight, cheap and a very, very efficient cutting tool. [Apparently there are; hardwood, softwood, and greenwood blades available, but the card mine came attached to made no mention of which blade it’s equipped with. It has happily cut all three.

If there were a category for best gadget (ok there is) it would have to go the spyderco Sharpmaker. It does what it says on the tin.

The Bushwacker Style Award
Rogue for their great hats – described by one observer as ‘Like and outdoor Bez hat, way cool’

Services To Bushwacking – furthering the cause.

In the afield category
James Marchington – for teaching me to hunt with ferrets

In the a-stream category
Jeremiah Quinn – for his inspirational fly fishing lesson

In the best blog comment category
Mungo – Butcher, Bushcrafter, Project manager and Surrealist.

Thanks for reading, stick with it – it gets better!
Your pal