Thursday, 13 September 2018

Food For Free - What Does This Pocket Book And Nature Have To Offer ?

Everybody likes something for free and who doesn't like food for free ? With this tiny little pocket guide by Richard Mabey, you will never go hungry... Well not when you're out in the countryside anyway. For less than a fiver you can learn all about what nature has to offer, when to pick and how best to eat the abundance of wild edibles.
I was first introduced to this amazing little book about five or six years ago, when I joined a fellow bushcrafter on a nature walk. I knew very little about wild edibles back then, other than blackberries and bilberries. However, after an hours walk I had been introduced to Wood Sorrel, Common Sorrel and Nettles. Not really enough to fill a hungry stomach, but it was enough to encourage me to learn more.
Before going our seperate ways, I was advised to purchase a copy of Food For Free, which is exactly what I did. After receiving the book, I was amazed to discover how many plants were listed, that I actually knew. But had no idea whatsover, that they could be eaten.
And so, off I went into my local woodland to see what I could find, using the book as a reference when identifying the different species of plant. I shot a video back in 2012 titled "Bushcraft - Searching For Wild Edibles - Foraging", which looking back is a little sketchy (video quality wise I might add... ha ha !!), but it gives you an insight into what I discoverd that day.
It goes without saying, that if you are ever looking for wild edibles and decide to taste anything, make sure you are 100% certain of what you are about to eat.
As I mention in the video, start with 3-4 plants that are easily recognisable, get to know them, learn all about them and when to spot them. And when you are happy you have successfully identified the plant, try just a tiny piece and see how it goes down. Once you are preficient in identifying them, move onto other species, slowly building up your menu... I mean knowledge !
If I had to suggest 5 species of plant to start with, I would suggest the following : (Of course, this list is based on what I have found in the UK)

  • Dandelion
  • Nettle
  • Jack By The Hedge
  • Wood Sorrel
  • Blackberry
  • In my most recent video, I revisit the Food For Free book once again, to highlight a couple more plant species. One of which, leaves a rather bitter taste in my mouth.

    Wednesday, 5 September 2018

    Simple DIY Kayak Paddle Modification - Two For The Price Of One

    A number of years ago, I purchased a Stearns Back Country inflatable kayak, which came with a four piece split paddle. This allowed you to disassemble the paddle into smaller sections, for ease of transportation.

    When paddling solo, I tend to use the paddle as a one piece. But if I had one of the Mini-Jesters with me, or they were both using the kayak, I needed a simple DIY kayak paddle modification that was a quick and easy method to reconfigure the paddle.

    I experimented with a few different designs, which were ok, but did require the use of a screwdriver to secure the moulded handle grips to the paddle sections. This very much restricted how quick we could change from a single to a double paddle. So, back to the drawing board I went. It was only when I spotted some nifty little locking pins on my Dad's lightweight scaffolding tower that a new design came into my head.

    These stainless steel shaft locking pins allowed me to create a quick release mechanism for the moulded handle grips, resulting in a paddle reconfiguration in a matter of seconds. The positioning of the pins through the grips and shaft of the paddle, meant your hands didn't catch the locking pins at all when holding the paddle grip.

    With the addition of an old vacuum cleaner tube, I created a seperate section to incorporate the second paddle grip and blade. This additional section was required due to the current design of the 4 piece paddle not having a sufficient end to accept the paddle grip handle. I also added a small piece of bicycle inner tube, just to reduce any slight movement between the two sections, due to minor size differences.

    Parts List :

  • 4 Piece Paddle
  • Moulded Paddle Grips
  • Shaft Locking Pins
  • Old Vacuum Cleaner Tube
  • Old Bicycle Inner Tube
  • With just a little time and effort, which I quite enjoyed, I now have a versatile paddle that can be used to satisfy any situation. The trouble then begins when a third member of the kayak is introduced... Anyway, this will do for now. Please let me know your feedback on this design in the comments below.

    Monday, 3 September 2018

    Dallmyd Has It, Why Can't We ?

    The Mini-Jesters love going on adventures with me and appearing on JesterBushcraft videos (Their words, not mine...ha ha!). And whilst they are no doubt proud of what we have achieved on the channel, they still have their own particular Youtube favourites.

    In my sons case, non more so than DALLMYD, a much loved Youtuber who is an angler, freediver, scuba diver and treasure hunter with over 5,000,000+ Subscribers!

    "Dad, why have we not got merch ?"

    And a phrase I have been hearing repeatedly from the Mini-Jesters is "Merch", which I have since learned means merchandise. And it seems a lot of Youtubers worth their salt, have "Merch". Subsequently they keep asking me "Dad, why have we not got merch ?"

    And yes, I know I'm not in the same league as DALLMYD or any other successful Youtubers or celebrities. But what I am, is a really cool Dad, who likes to keep his kids happy and the talk of their school. Which is why, a few days ago, I set to work creating some JesterBushcraft merchandise, which if nobody else likes, at least my kids will ask kindly for a few items in my UK Store.

    I've tried to provide a variety of apparel, to cater for all my loyal subscribers, be they gentlemen, ladies and not forgetting of course those Mini-Jesters.
    So please feel free to take a quick look round the JesterBushcraft UK Store (US Store in progress) and let me know what you think of the designs in the comments below.
    The Mini-Jesters have already browsed the store and picked out what they like, so that's Christmas presents sorted !

    Monday, 27 August 2018

    Additional Benefits And Exclusive Content For JesterBushcraft Followers

    I started my JesterBushcraft Youtube Channel way back in 2011, with a very sketchy video about firelighting. And what started out as a means to document my journey, has now become a reasonably well established channel, closing in on 10,000 Subscribers.

    Watching that first ever video, all those years ago, has made me realise how far I have come. Not just from the new skills I have learnt, but the improvement in my video quality and presentation technique. Some may argue that...Ha ha ! But I am quite proud of how far I have come in those 7 years.

    With the ongoing progression of social media, you can make your chosen content available on may different platfroms. And I am no exception to this, with JesterBushcraft now listed on Facebook, Twitter and of course this blog.
    However, I have now taken this a step further, by offering additional benefits and exclusive content to followers of JesterBushcraft.
    As a valued patron to JesterBushcraft, members will be given access to the following benefits, depending on which level (or tier) they chose.

    • Priority Video Access - Watch latest videos, before they go public on Youtube...
    • Exclusive Content - Gain access to posts and video content, exclusive to JesterBushcraft patrons only...
    • Name Credit - Have your name listed in credits of latest video...
    • Channel Listing - Have your channel listed in credits and description box of latest video...
    • Kit Giveaways - Chance to win kit giveaways and prizes...
    For further information on how to become a patron, simply follow this link to view my Patreon Page... thank you.

    Wednesday, 15 August 2018

    Are Scotty Mount Accessories Worth The Money ?

    In todays post I take a look at a number of Scotty Mount Accessories, that I recently purchased. And decide whether or not I think they are worth the money.

    "When the price is long forgotten, the quality is always remembered"

    Is a phrase an old work colleague of mine once told me and I have always tried to stick to that philosophy. Granted you can't always afford to pay for a more expensive item, when there are so many cheaper alternatives available to you. However, if you want a piece of kit to last, you get what you pay for.

    And so, when in the market for a new camera mount for my sit on kayak, I began my research. After browsing several Youtube videos, Amazon and Ebay, it soon became apparant that Scotty were one of the market leaders, for this type of interchangeable accessory mount. The majority of the reviews for their wide range of products, were positive and my finger was poised on the Buy Now button.

    But, there was something holding me back... the price. The Scotty accessories are by no means cheap and you can easily rack up a sizeable bill, when combining the various components to solve your accessory mounting issues.

    So which accessories do I currently have ?

    At the time of writing this article I have purchased the following :

    But Are they Any Good ?

    My initial impression when I first removed all of the above accessories from their packaging, was how sturdy and well made they are. You can usually get a feel for a product when you first handle it. And I have to say these particular Scotty accessories are quality and more importantly, built to last.

    All the threads, brackets and securing points etc are chunky, ensuring everything operates as it should, no matter what conditions you may find yourself in.

    Are Scotty Mount Accessories Worth The Money ?

    Well, if you look at the prices below and add them up, it totals approximately £50.00 (At the time of writing this article).

    Which at the end of the day, is simply a way for me to mount my SJ4000 Action Camera (Or GoPro). But, the range of adjustment it gives me, along with the assurance that the Scotty accessories are going to last, far outweighs the price.

    This is of course, my own opinion and there are other, similar products on the market. But for me, I am very happy with the products and am willing to spend that little bit extra, so the quality will always be remembered.

    Thursday, 9 April 2015

    A Walk Up Skiddaw - Lake District

    Spent a gorgeous day at the end of March 2015, climbing Skiddaw in the Lake District. Despite the glorious sunshine, it was still very cold on the summit (931m ASL) where I witnessed relatively high winds and patches of snow.
    Join me on my trek to the summit and witness some of the amazing views...

    Wednesday, 11 June 2014

    The Ideal Frying Pan For Any Amdro Camper Conversion Cooker Or Motorhome

    For any campervan/motorhome owners, campers, or in my case Amdro Boot Jump enthusiast, you will no doubt be cooking your early morning bacon butties on a cooker similar to the ones shown in the photos opposite. And like myself you were probably using a traditional round frying pan.

    This of course is fine, we have all done it for years, but it has always provided a few little problems, that you may not even be aware of or just doesn't bother you.

    But when you see the alternative that is available, you may want to change the way you normally cook your breakfast on future camping trips.

    Let me start by highlighting a few issues that the traditional round frying pan has...

    • When sat on your cooker, heat is lost from the corners (loss of fuel economy)
    • Reduced cooking area, due to the wasted areas around the frying pan
    • Wasted storage space when storing your pan in a "square" cupboard or crate
    So what is the alternative ? Well, if you haven't already guessed, its really obvious and makes you wonder why we haven't changed our frying pan of choice sooner. It is of course, a square (or rectangular) frying pan and the one I recently purchased was the Boaties Square Frying Pan. Now that I have had chance to put it to good use, here are some benefits...
    • Due to the square design, more of the cooker ring is covered improving fuel economy
    • As the whole area above the cooker ring is covered, you get more cooking space in your pan
    • No more curving your bacon to the contours of a round pan, to get more rashers in, just lay them out straight
    • When your finished cooking, the square pan fits neatly into your cupboard or crate, without any wasted storage space
    Here are some features of the Boaties Square Frying Pan...

    • Stainless steel, non stick coating
    • 25cm x 20cm x 4.5cm vertical sides, creating a pan with a greater cooking area compared to a 25.5 cm round pan
    • Designed to fit compact recreational stoves which normally have a limited cooking area
    • Rectangular shape gives maximum cooking area for minimum stove area.
    And for all you Amdro Camper Conversion owners, this particular frying pan is the perfect accompaniment for the Origo 3000 alcohol stove , allowing 2 Boaties pans to fit perfectly alongside each other (Bacon in one, eggs in the other). The square design of the pan also allows easier storage in the area below the cooker (or just in a crate).

    I will probably be purchasing a second pan and may opt for the Boaties Frying Pan Square with Lid version, giving me more cooking options, not to mention keeping the bacon warm once cooked.