Wilderness & Urban Tips



1. Pure and Natural Insect Repellant - From the kitchen of Barbara Kavanagh
This spray is so pure and good for you that you can spray it freely all over your skin, including your face. You can even safely inhale it.

In an 8 ounce spray bottle mix:
1/2 tsp. peppermint
1 tsp. cedarwood
1 tsp. eucalyptus
2 tsp. citronella
1 1/2 tsp. lemongrass
 In a 24 ounce spray bottle mix:
1 tsp. peppermint
2 tsp. cedarwood
2 tsp. eucalyptus
3 tsp. citronella
3 tsp. lemongrass

Filling the remainder of the bottle with Witch Hazel. SHAKE WELL before each use and apply often.

Essential oils can be bought at health food stores. Be sure the bottle says "pure" essential oil, otherwise you are wasting your money and will not get the desired results. Treats in San Andreas, California has the best price in town for Witch Hazel.


2. Keeping Your Fish Moist
To keep your fish catch from drying out while transporting it to your cooking site, wrap the fish in grass and dip the bound bundle in creek water to moisten the fish. Field dress your fish first, if you will be traveling for a long distance. The cordage for tying the bundle was made from braided grass.


3. Gathering Fire-by-Friction Wood
When looking for a spindle or a hearthboard to use for the fire-by-friction method, gather dead wood off of the appropriate plant. The dead wood found on the plant should be completely dry and have some firmness to the structure. Disregard dead wood that is too crumbly or breaks very easily in your hands. Do not use wood that has been lying on the ground for a long time. Decomposing or punky wood do not make suitable spindle or hearthboard materials. Some large, downed dead wood that still has a firm core can still be utilized for a hearthboard. Check to see if the center is still solid and not rotted or soft.

If you are going to use the material immediately, do not gather green wood directly from the plant. Green wood can still be utilized, but only if you thoroughly dry out the moist material or the sap in the cells of the wood. Drying time depends upon the size of the wood, its age when cut (older trees have less sap), season of cutting, and climate. If you have the time, it's best to prepare your spindle and hearthboard by drying out green material.


4. Coyote Brush (Baccharis pilularis)

Coyote brush or coyote bush is a common shrub around riparian or creek areas in California. It tends to have a rounded shape and grows up to 8 feet tall. It is covered with small, toothed leaves that remain green year round.
The coyote brush is used today as a salve for an itchy mosquito bite or the effects of Stringing Nettle. First, chew up several leaves (note: never put any plant in your mouth unless a trained professional has identified it for you and said it is all right to do so). Next, spit the chewed leaves into your hand, form a green poultice and place it on the irritation. The itching is quickly relieved as the astringent properties of the plant dry out the bite or stinging effects.

A leaf poultice for insect bites and cuts was also made from Broadleaf plantain and Narrowleaf plantain.



5. Paul Krebaum, a chemist at Molex Inc. added a dash of soap to hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, and developed the first home remedy for skunk spray.
How do you get rid of the smell that comes from two tiny but ingenious glands at the business end of a skunk? A garden hose is impotent, soap is utterly useless, and tomato juice is a quaint old wives' tale that has left many people with skunk-sprayed dogs that not only stink, but are pink.
Krebaum came up with a formula that neutralized the foul smelling thiols in skunk spray. His formula was 1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, which costs about $2 at a drugstore, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap, which breaks up the oils in skunk spray and allows the other ingredients in the solution to do their stuff. The solution, after applying, should be rinsed off your pet with tap water. It works!


6. Carving with Green Wood.
Keeping a carving of green wood covered in plastic between carving sessions will prevent rapid drying and changes in stress. Splitting as the result of drying always starts from the outside of a log as the sapwood shrinks more than the heartwood. If you cannot work on your roughed out wood for a long period of time, submerge the carving in a bucket of water and add some bleach. The outer surface color will darken over time, but it can be removed with additional carving and sanding. The wood will still have it's natural color under the surface. It will be odor free and with no cracks. When you're finished with your carving, apply a coating of Saffola (pure safflower oil) or mineral oil.
If you have the time, it's best to seal the ends of the log and let it dry naturally until the wood has stabilized. This may take months to a year, depending on the type of wood and the climate.


7. Aging clay
The 12th and 13th century Japanese potters used a clay mixture of equal amounts of clay and volcanic ash. To age the clay, they placed a bit of yam peels wrapped in rags and added it to the mixture to assist in the aging process. It started bacterial growth that melted the ash and clay. The clay was aged for several months before use.


8. Fire Starting Tinder

Create your own fire starting tinder with petroleum jelly, cotton balls (100% cotton), and an empty film canister. Saturate the individual cotton balls in petroleum jelly. Then store the cotton balls in the film canister. That's all there is to it. Whenever you need a reliable tinder to ignite your campfire, take out one of the cotton balls, fuzz up the edge by pulling on the loose cotton fibers, and light it with a match. The cotton ball will burn for a long time, enabling your twigs and logs to catch on fire.


9. Western North Carolina Fire Starting Tips
During the wetter months in the mountains of Western North Carolina, dry wood for fire starting can be difficult to acquire. The best method I've found is to look for the hemlock trees. The thick foliage acts as a natural umbrella. An umbrella so efficient that the lower few branches tend to die out from lack of light. You can usually find them still attached to the tree, bone dry, everything from 2 inch thick branches to thin little twigs. Also, at the higher altitudes, mountain laurel makes a great fuel for cooking. The best are the pieces that have died and snagged above the ground so that they're bone dry. It burns fast, but it puts out a lot of heat and a lot of light.
Submitted by kagemusha8@aol.com



What are your wilderness or urban tips?
Send us your suggestions and we'll add it to the list. Inquire about how to send photo files.

E-mail your comments to "Dino Labiste" at KahikoArts@yahoo.com

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