I’ve taken to hand washing our clothes. Our host is more than happy for us to use their super giant washing machine but with the lovely weather we’ve been having and the washing line Alfie made for me in the tree outside the Airsteam I’ve been enjoying doing this basic yet essential task without modern conveniences.
It also sets a good example for the boys, letting them see that there are other ways of doing things… Alternatives which can actually be enjoyable.
A friend of mine once commented that she couldn’t understand why we would want to try using flint tools when we have modern steel knives and so on. Whereas I couldn’t understand her inability to understand… It’s what bushcraft is all about, being able to live, in relative comfort with just the natural resources we have around us.
And the boys have certainly been embracing the natural resources around us to get stuck into some bushcraft. We built a den, we dragged fallen trees from the woods for the fire, we collected kindling and tinder and all the while I heard “Ray Mears would like this den, Ray Mears would think this was a well prepared fire, Ray Mears uses his saw like this, doesn’t he mum!”
Now I’m not sure we are quite at the “Den suitable for sleeping in” stage with this but for two boys aged 6 and 3, yes, Ray Mears probably would like this den. And preparing a fire properly was a key goal for Alfie who is prone to rushing to the lighting stage so he’s doing really well making sure he has it all ready first now. It’s hard for Alfie to use his saw with his left arm crossed over because his arms are still kind of short but he’s certainly practising and keen to learn the proper, safe techniques for these skills. We’ve started Patrick on “carving” sticks with a vegetable peeler which is safer for his stage and a great tip for parents wanting to get their kids into safe knife use, helping them gain control of tools and learn safety techniques like “elbows on knees”.
So our days have been full of fun, tracking deer through the forest, cooking on the campfire and spotting bald eagles… It’s amazing!