Wednesday, 31 December 2008

This blog has now moved!

This blog has been moved!

To visit my new blog please follow this link below


Fenlander's Natural Lore Blog

If you have linked from your site to my blog, please update your link.



Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Seasons Greeting

To all my friends, readers and contributors

Seasons Greetings, Merry Christmas and have a very
Happy New Year

Best Wishes
Kevin (AKA Fenlander)

New for blog, new name, new location.....see you there!
Keep watching for more details soon.

Saturday, 20 December 2008


Short circuiting Lithium batteries is apparently very dangerous and can result in the battery catching fire or exploding so only use this method in a true survival situation!!

I like to set myself challenges, so while out the other day I decided to see whether I could make fire with just the items in my pocket. The items from my pocket were a set of keys, my mobile phone, cotton wool from a small bandage and a small piece of wire wool.

I knew the cotton and wire wool could be used as tinders but I couldn't think of any way to use my keys or my mobile........but then I considered the methods I have previously used to ignite wire wool. I had no method to create a spark but I have used a battery with both terminals at one end to ignite it in the past and then realised that a phone (or camera battery) usually have such a battery inside.

I had never heard of or seen this demonstrated before I so I was rather sceptical about it working, so watch the piece of video below to see whether it did.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Grey Seal colony

This week I visited a breeding Grey Seal colony. Its latin name Halichoerus grypus means "hook-nosed pig of the sea". These were the types of views I was expecting to get of adults and their pups..

so imagine my surprise when I found pups sprawled across the footpath

This population are Eastern Atlantic Grey Seals. About half the worlds breeding population of Grey Seals are found around the coast of Great Britain.

The breeding site is known as either a rookery or haul-out. The pups are born with a white coat and start to moult at 2 - 3 weeks old.

They will suckle from their mother for about 21 days. After about 7 weeks the pups make their way to the sea and begin to feed.

One of the pups proved to be incredibly friendly and came so close that it was infact too close for me to then photograph.

I did get a nice piece of video of it though.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Frost pattern

I awoke the other morning to the most fantastic frost pattern on my car windscreen.

The previous evening it had been raining and then after the rain had stopped there was a frost.

The pattern reminds me of Ground Pine AKA Club Moss

which you can read more about in in one of my previous posts

Friday, 12 December 2008

Building a fire

As discussed in my previous post the various grades of material required to build a fire can be seen by looking at the branch of a tree.

Having cleared the ground around the fire sight I would then place half a dozen finger thick sticks on the ground to form a platform to build the fire on. I place the first two fine grades of material on the platform as the basis for the fire.

At this point I would light the fire (in this particular case, with a match).

Once the fire establishes you add the next grade of material

and then the next

The type and size of fire you require will dictate the size of fuel that you use. From a simple brew fire

to one that will keep you warm at night

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

How to build a fire

When I am teaching how to build/make a fire, I tell people to look at and think about the branch of a tree.

We will use this fallen Birch as our example.

For the first stage you need very fine material equivalent to that found at the very tips of the branches.

Next you want material about double the diameter

Now we move halfway back along the branch for rather thicker material which I would consider to be fuel

Once material of this size is burning we are ready to use fuel material closer to the base of the branch

Finally we can now burn fuel of the diameter found at the base of the branch where it joins the trunk.

I am not of course suggesting that there needs to be a convenient branch available each time you make a fire, but looking at a branch gives you a guide to the size of material needed. For a brew fire you would probably only need material up to the size featured in picture three.

In the next post I will put these steps into practise.

Sunday, 7 December 2008


As I said previously, there are many methods you can use to protect your matches. I favour a small plastic container with a screw-top lid.

You can also use two old shotgun cartridges to make a container. Remove the plastic from one cartridge by burning it in the fire and this will then be the container top. Remove the crimped plastic on the end of the other cartridge and the container is complete.

It is recommended to cover the nipple inside the lid with wax as it has been known for matches to "strike" and ignite on this while in the pocket.

You can also cover the matches in wax to protect them. One method is to poor a thin layer of melted wax in a matchbox tray and then lay matches into the wax. Then add another layer of wax and more matches until you fill the tray. Then just leaver out a match when you need one. I have found with this method that the stem of the match will often break as you remove it though (just like the one in this picture).

I prefer instead to individually coat the matches. First I wrap each match in a layer of cotton wool and then dip the match in melted wax, ensuring the whole thing is completely covered.

When I want to use the match I remove the layer of wax around the head and then strike it as normal. The cotton wool acts as a wick and the match burns rather like a candle. One of these matches will burn for up to two minutes!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


Whatever method you use to protect your matches, it should be able to withstand being in water for up to ten minutes without the matches becoming wet.

Do not be lulled into a false sense of security by carrying so called "waterproof matches"

Although the head has a waterproof coating, after ten minutes in water moisture has soaked up the stem of the match and inside the head. You can see in the picture below that the head has started to disintegrate as I tried to light the match.

and here is a close-up of the head

There are ways you can protect matches yourself and we will cover some of those in part three.


I always carry at least three different ways of making fire and probably the most reliable is the good old match. One of the issues here in the UK is that the majority of matches available to purchase are safety matches which means they can only be struck using their box. I always carry "strike anywhere" matches as at least if the box gets wet you can still strike them on any rough surface (such as a metal zip). One make of "strike anywhere" matches available here is the good old Swan Vesta.

The way to strike a match is to support the head and stem of the match, with the head pointed down.

Place the head of the match at the top of the striker with the head pointed down

When the match ignites move it into your cupped hands to protect the flame from the elements and to allow the flame to establish.

Of course striking the match relies upon the match being kept dry and there are several ways of achieving this, but we will cover this soon.