Saturday, August 31, 2013

Making Camp.

I don't like tents that completely surround me. I can't see outside, and getting out in a hurry is not easy. I can't gain any heat from a fire so I would need to carry extra bedding, and if I want to cook I have to go outside whatever the weather.
So I only use an oilcloth. I can use a reflector fire for heat and I can reach the fire to cook from my bedroll. I can roll out of bed fast if I need to, and can see everywhere but behind me. Sounds though I can hear very well.

Blades for Survival.

My Father taught me that I should always choose the right tool made for the job in hand, and he was right. Knives were not originally or traditionally made to cut down trees or to saw off limbs or to split wood. These tasks were reserved for the axe. Do you remember this old saying referring to survival tools; the knife, the axe and the gun ? This was true 300 years ago, and it is still true today, though you could use a self-bow in place of the gun.
The hunting knife was designed to skin and butcher game. It was also used to dispatch game and be used in self-defence. Its blade would be somewhere between 8 and 12 inches long, and it was rarely a heavy knife. In the 18th century the most common hunting knife used by woodsmen & woodland Indians alike were butcher blades. However, it was also common to carry more than one knife.
When living in the wilderness you need to choose equipment that will not only last, will not only perform the tasks that it was made to do, but also to add to your quality of life. 

None of these blades above cost me more than $14, except the tomahawk which at the time of purchase cost roughly $40.00, and it is hand forged.
Above are the blades that I carry with me all the time when trekking in the bush. My tomahawk is used for making camps, fashioning trap pegs and stakes, and it can also be used in the butchering of game. It is an excellent fighting tool, it can be thrown and it can be used for hunting. A machete does not even come close to matching the capabilities of this axe.
As well as my hunting knife I also carry a legging knife and a friction clasp knife that I made myself from second hand materials. 

Your life may depend on you making the right choices in tools and equipment. So think about the tasks that you tools and equipment need to perform, and choose accordingly.

For traditional equipment in Australia.
Tell Mick I sent you.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

$7,000.00 to move to the country.

The Australian government is offering $7,000.00 to anyone who is prepared to move from the city to a rural location. A good offer for some preppers.

Omega 3 Contamination.

“Millions of people who take fish oil for health benefits have been kept in the dark about the levels of PCBs and other contaminants they may be swallowing with the omega-3s.”

Radiation from Fukushima a threat to Australians.

Whether or not this contamination has reached Australian waters or not we don't know. The Australian government is saying nothing, and our own ARPANSA are saying nothing. Reports on the national news are little to zero, when with a disaster as great as this we should be getting regular updates and the results from medical research into the food we are eating !!!
Consider this, where does the fish come from that we are eating ? What about the Omega 3 capsules we are taking as a supplement ? There is a very good chance that these are in fact contaminated, but I doubt you will ever hear that these products are being recalled or even tested.


Fire-Bow Fire Lighting for Australians. VIDEO.

Making fire with a hand drill was not an option for me. I have had a Repeditive Strain Injury in both arms now for about 26 years. The fire-bow I thought was an option, but still I needed to make fire as quickly and easily as I could. Finally I perfected a way using Australian native flora materials, and by adding extra plant tinder into the process it made the fire lighting much easier and surer. Having done this I then needed to go through the whole process of making the parts, including the bow cordage, and fire in the rain. The day I went into the bush it was pouring with rain. I carried no tools with me. I made a rock tool, and with that I made the parts of the fire-bow, and I made fire in the pouring rain.

Field Preparation of Plant Tinders for use with Flint and Steel. VIDEO.

Sustainable Fire Lighting. No "charcloth" Flint, Steel and Tinderbox. VIDEO.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Primitive Skills DVDs.




Order from here, or the BUY NOW button in the column to the left of this post:

My Primitive Fire Lighting Book.

Primitive Fire Lighting-Flint & Steel & Fire Bow.

Title: Primitive Firelighting
ID: 9784776
Category: History
Description: “Primitive Fire Lighting”, is a hands on guide to how to make fire with flint and steel and fire bow. This includes some history, a variety of methods, tinder plants identification, and tinder production, tips on fire place construction and use, how to prepare and lay a fire, wet weather fire lighting and magnifying glass fire lighting. The skills and methods in this book will be of interest to a wider range of readers including survivalists, historical re-enactors, bush-walkers and campers, historical–trekkers and even historical novel writers. Although the plant identifications list is mainly Australian it also has some information for England, Europe and America.
Publisher: Keith H. Burgess
Copyright Year: © 2010
Language: English
Country: Australia

Table of Contents
Illustrations. 4
Tinder preparation-charring: 15
Emergency methods: 17
Introduction 24
A Brief Overview. 25
The Parts of the Fire-bow. 26
The Bow. 26
The Drill Piece. 27
The Fireboard. 29
The Tinder-board. 30
The Bearing Block. 31
The Bowstring. 32
Tinder. 32
Making Fire. 32
Making Cordage. 37
The Step for making Cordage. 38
Fire steel suppliers. 45
About the author. 45

5.83" x 8.26", saddle-stitch binding, white interior paper (60# weight), black and white interior ink, white exterior paper (100# weight), full-colour exterior ink.
Cost: Book $11.00 US. Plus P&P. Download $7.00 US

17th Century Colonial Survival. Bug-Out Settlement. A Link.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Travois.

I made this travois for travelling on foot. It is made out of bush poles and plant fibre cordage.

The Trekking Trolley.

The Bug-Out/Trekking Trolley.
This project started out with a post on one of the Aussi survival forums. A chap said that his pack was just too heavy when carrying enough water for a long trek. So I thought of a Trekking Trolley. Only to find out later from another forum member that the trekking trolley had already been invented and marketed!

Well I decided to make my own anyway as a cheaper alternative. I made this one out of old wheel barrow parts and a couple of bush poles. No doubt you will recognise the parts I used.

Uses For Urine.

Uses For Urine In The Wilderness.
1.    Urine when it is fresh and free from infection, can be used to wash out wounds.
2.    Urine can be used in the mix when making gunpowder.
3.    Urine can be evaporated to produce potassium nitrate.
4.    Urine can be used as a garden fertilizer if diluted 8 parts water to 1 part urine.
5.    Urine used neat can be used as a weed killer.
6.    Used in the process of tanning animal skins.
7.    Dyeing.

Uses For Wood Ashes.

Uses For Wood Ashes.
1.    For removing fur from animal skins.
2.    As lye for making soap.
3.    I have washed my hands using water and wood ashes.
4.    Spread around plants to stop slugs and snails.
5.    As garden fertilizer.
6.    For controlling mites on chooks and other fowls.
7.    Charcoal as a water filter.
8.    For protecting dry foods.
9.    Using in the toilet pit.
10. For testing wind direction.
11. Laying down to catch animal tracks.
12. Bury a fire in ashes to keep it in at night.
13. Charcoal will attract moisture.
14. Charcoal as an antidote for poisons.
15. For drawing, writing, and marking patterns on animal skins.
16. For camouflage on your face and hands.
17. Charcoal used as a slurry in a poultice for insect bites.
18. Charcoal for controlling Diarrhea

The Survival Connection.

18th Century New World Colonial Settlement.
The Survival Connection. © Keith H. Burgess.
In an urban survival scenario where police and military protection is none existent, most people will agree that unless you are well fortified, well armed and have an abundance of supplies, you are better off getting out of built up areas. Personally I would not stay in the city at all, it is just too easy for someone to set fire to your house and burn you out. Your choices once you leave city or town are either moving to a country retreat or farm, or moving into a wilderness area where you can hide and survive.
Settlers from England and Europe moving to the New World were faced with a harsh wilderness in which they needed to build their homes and plant crops. They needed to hunt and trap wild game for food and skins, and there was the ever present danger from the woodland natives whose land they were trespassing on. The settler’s homes had to be fortified against attack; small windows with shutters, strong doors, guns kept close to hand and plenty of gunpowder and lead. Everyone in the house strong enough to handle a gun knew how to shoot. Small children would melt lead in the open fire for moulding round ball and shot, they would also know how to load the guns for those who were shooting at the enemy.
Supplying their own food was essential, as there were no shops or stores close-by. Crops from the field and the garden were preserved for use in the winter months. Meat could be smoked or dried, and the skins were used for clothing, making moccasins, for bed covers and for trading. These people had to be totally self-reliant and self-sufficient just as the woodland Indians were.
Now a lot of discussions revolve around the need for modern equipment, tools and gadgets, but do these modern aids in fact help us survive in a situation similar to the above scenario? In such a situation having the knowledge and skills to construct shelters, grow foods, hunt and trap, make cordage, make clothing etc would be as important as having the right tools in order to complete these tasks. With the right fortification a large number of attackers can be held at bay by a lesser number of people with less firepower. Providing they have good supplies to hand they can stay holed up indefinitely. Where as the attackers will need shelter, food, water and munitions in order to carry such an assault. Where as the settlers can afford to take their time and make their occasional shots count, the attackers will be obliged to try and expedite the attack by taking risks. At night the attackers risk being attacked themselves.
The enemy simply can’t afford a long drawn out assault which will deplete their munitions and supplies. These marauding gangs need to end such an assault as quickly as possible so they can pillage new supplies and munitions and move on. Their road does not lead to permanence and self-sufficiency; it is a path of constant mobility and assault on easy targets. It is doubtful indeed that these people will in fact ever venture far from built up areas. Their skills or the lack of, and their equipment choices will simply not support a venture that takes them too far into the bush.
It is my opinion that those people who are equipped with primitive skills and the right tools will carry the day when it comes to retreat and wilderness survival. In a retreat situation it would undoubtedly be wise to have some modern firearms amongst your number. Even if you have to leave your farm it would be advisable to take some modern firepower with your number. But I think it would be unwise to depend on any modern equipment for your survival in the long term unless you have the ability to service, repair and if necessary replace that equipment should the need arise.
Problems that can arise from carrying only modern firearms include: Unable to service and keep in good working order. Unable to make repairs. Unable to make new projectiles and reload cartridges. Unable to limit the fire to single shots when used to firing multiple shots from a semi-automatic weapon [this is the fault of the shooter rather than the firearm per se].Unable to carry large amounts of large calibre munitions due to the excessive weight. If reloading equipment is carried the primers can fall foul from damp and wet, and the reloading equipment adds to the weight an individual has to carry.
Advantages of carrying a flintlock muzzle-loading gun and having the attending skills needed to use this tool include: The ability to retrieve spent lead and remould it into shot or round ball. The ability to use the lock for making fire without the use of gunpowder. The ability to service and repair, and if necessary convert the firing method to a different system. The ability to shoot a variety of projectiles, some in combination. The ability to carry more gunpowder in weight and less lead therefore extending the time that this gun may be in use.
This article first published on the New England Colonial living History Group forum in “The Survival Connection”.

Off The Grid 1.

I don’t see why we cannot include pre & post shtf off the grid information here. Some preparations can only go so far. It would not be practical to enclose our retreats within a fortress at this early stage.

Elm Cottage:
We live in a forest that I purchased many years ago. It was necessary that an area be cleared for the construction of our house, & that a roadway be cleared to get into the forest. Fortunately & found a rock plateau on the side of the first valley on the west side saving me a lot of work clearing trees. I found an old late 19th century to early 20th century house sitting disused in a paddock not too far away. After considerable haddling I managed to talk the farmer down from $3000.00 to $300.00 for this house. I numbered all the pieces of this house & then pulled it apart & transported it piece by piece on a small trailer to our chosen house site & then rebuilt it. The early era windows were far too small, both for light & for housing regulations, so I fitted the windows I had taken out of the log cabin I have previously built up in the mountains above Guyra.
There are just 4 rooms in Elm Cottage, two bedrooms, kitchen & living room. We used a tin bath for bathing in front of the living room fire in winter, & I built an ash can log cabin style outhouse. The fire place I built in the fashion of a larger early 18th century fire place with a buggy axle in the large chimney from which I hung two chains with kettle hooks. On these we hung our large old kettles for boiling water for bathing & drinks. Cooking was also done on a small wood burning stove in a large chimney in the kitchen. Lighting was by fat lamps & candles. We grew our own food & I hunted for meat using my flintlock fusil which is less expensive to use than a modern firearm. I found an old small chest freezer discarded, & claimed this for use as an ice box in summer when we had anything that needed to be kept cool.

I found three damaged iron water tanks down at the tip. One of these I turned into an outside shower with a canvas shower bag on a pulley, & a wood heater for use in winter. The other two water tanks I placed on their sides & used for storing firewood. We lived in this manner for 20 years. Shortly before having a new much larger house built, we installed a 12 volt solar power system for running a car radio/cassette player & lighting.

Leaving Home. Survival Needs.

This article was originally written for a survival forum.

What survival scenario are we prepping for? Anything & everything. Basically any situation that threatens our quality of life. Any major survival situation that arrises will mean, if we are sensible, leaving the city. Life in the city would become one long firefight & no place for honest citizens & their families.
So let us think seriously about those needs. Are we going to be military soldiers in a war? No we are not. We will have no back-up ammunition supplies, food supplies or anything else. Our main purpose is to survive, not get into a prolonged firefight.
So with this in mind, let's think seriously about what our needs are. Firstly we will be on the move looking for a suitable place to set up home. We can not afford to carry too much weight, but at the same time we need to make sure that we have all the things we 
need to survive long term in a wilderness situation. In any trekking scenario there needs to be a compromise between minimum weight, & maximum self-reliance. So what are our major needs:
Water) We need to carry water with us, but it is heavy, so we must limit the amount we carry. We need to know where water can be found.
Food) We need to carry food. Dry foods are the lightest, but they also often require water to make them edible. Some dry foods however do not require water, dried meat for instance. We need to carry some foods that do not require cooking, because we may not wish to make fire. We also need to be able to set up a trap line, forage & hunt.
Fire) We need to choose a sustainable fire lighting system. Flint, steel & tinderbox fills this function. We also need to know of one other that can be made from nature, such as the Fire-Bow method.
Shelter) No frills needed here, we need something that is versatile, easy to use, & light. An oilcloth serves this purpose better than a tent.
Tools) A kettle for cooking & a cup. A gun or bow for hunting & defense. Blades for hunting, eating, cooking, chores & defense. Rope for trail snares, & the skill to be able to make your own traps. Blades for digging. A small mattock head without the handle should suffice.
Bedding) This needs to be reasonably light, versatile, & warm when wet. I carry one wool blanket, plus spare clothing that I put on at night over my ordinary clothing. This is lighter than carrying two blankets. If my partner is with me, then we have each other plus two blankets to keep us warm on cold nights.
Medical) Some form of medical kit, the best you can get. This should also include a supply of vitamins to take up the slack in a poor diet.
Seeds) When you get to where you are going, you will need to set up some gardens, so carry a good supply of seeds & root stock. Jerusalem Artichokes are a must in this situation.

As you can see, our needs are pretty basic. Do 
not get drawn in to purchasing gadgets & electrical items. We are not in the army, our sole purpose is the travel, keep a low profile, set up a new home, & survive.

Before you start purchasing firearms, think about this: Can you repair this gun if it malfunction? Ammunition for a modern gun can be heavy, how much can you afford to carry & how long do you expect it to last?
Remember, there has to be some compromise. We may be talking years here, not months. Maybe a life time. What are you prepared to leave behind in order to carry this much ammunition? Anything?
But there are alternatives. The primitive bow is one, but this can also be made in the bush if the right timber is available. The other option is a flintlock muzzle-loading gun. This arm has many advantages over the modern breech-loader. If you are a part of a group, you can perhaps afford to carry some modern firearms purely for self-defense, & thereby limit the weight of the ammunition. The flintlock will be your mainstay & carry you through long term.

My Blades.
My Flintlock Fusil.
Woodsrunner’s Skills.
This is a list of basic skills in which I personally would expect an 18th century woodsman or woods-woman to have some experience with.
•   Flint & steel fire lighting
•   Wet weather fire lighting
•   Fire-bow fire lighting
•   Flintlock fire lighting
•   Flintlock use, service & repair
•   Field dressing & butchering game
•   Blade sharpening
•   Tomahawk throwing
•   Making rawhide
•   Brain tanning
•   Primitive shelter construction
•   How to stay warm in winter with only one blanket
•   Cordage manufacture
•   Moccasin construction and repair
•   Sewing
•   Axe and tomahawk helve making
•   Fishing
•   Hunting
•   Evasion
•   Tracking
•   Reading sign
•   Woods lore
•   Navigation
•   Primitive trap construction & trapping
•   Open fire cooking
•   Fireplace construction
•   Clothing manufacture
•   Drying meat & other foods
•   Knowledge of plant tinders & preparation
•   Knowledge of native foods & preparation
•   Knowledge of native plants in the area and their uses for other than tinder and food.
•   Scouting/Ranging.
•   Basic first aid.
•   Finding and treating water.
•   General leather work.

I also have a full list of equipment that our group members carry if you are interested.
Regards, Keith.

Comments & questions are welcome, but please keep them polite & constructive.

Firearms For Long Term Wilderness Survival. The Flintlock.

The author's Flintlock Fusil.

The author's .32 caliber Flintlock Mountain rifle.

Advantages Of A Flintlock Muzzle-loader.
1)    Ammo is less expensive than a modern equivalent calibre firearm.
2)    The smoothbore is very versatile, being able to digest round ball, bird shot, & buckshot, or any combination of two of these (can also use minies).
3)    The fusil is lighter to carry than a modern equivalent sized gun.
4)    You can vary the load if needs be.
5)    The smoothbore will digest other projectiles besides lead.
6)    Lead can be retrieved from downed game & remoulded with a simple mould & lead ladle. This means that you can carry less lead, & more of the lighter gunpowder.
7)    You can make your own gunpowder.
8)    You can use the lock to make fire without the need for gunpowder.
9)    You can use gunpowder for gunpowder tinder fire lighting if needs be.
10)  IF the lock should malfunction (these are very robust & it is not likely)you can easily repair it if you are carrying a few spare springs & a few simple tools.
11) If you do not have any spare parts & the lock malfunctions, you can easily convert it to a tinderlock or matchlock & continue using it.
12) You do not need a reloader, brass shells, caps, or primers. The latter have been known to break down in damp conditions or if they are stored for too long.
13)  Wadding for ball or shot is available from natural plant materials or homemade leather or rawhide.
14) Less chance of being affected by future ammunition control legislation.
15) Gunpowder is easily obtainable providing you have a muzzle-loader registered in your name regardless of caliber (only NSW is looking at this legislation at present).
16) A .32 caliber flintlock rifle is more powerful than a .32 LR, less expensive to feed, more accurate over a greater distance, able to take small & medium sized game, & other than not being able to use shot (unless it is smoothbore), it has all the attributes of the other flintlocks.
17) Damage from a .62 caliber .75 caliber pistol or long arm is in the extreme. Wounded prey is unlikely to escape.
18)  By using buck & ball you are unlikely to miss your target. This load is capable of taking out more than one target.
19) There is less kick-back from a muzzle-loading gun.
20) Antiques do not require a license, registration or permit to purchase in NSW.
Smoothbore Flintlock Pistol.

Preparing For What May Come.

None of us can foresee the future, but from my previous experiences I have learnt that it pays to be prepared. I don't think I have ever been guilty of viewing the world through rose coloured glasses, but I have none the less had a few survival situations arise that I did not expect.
The world is not a safe place, and the most dangerous animal we are likely to encounter in Australia is other humans. There are predators out there, I know, I have met some of them. They will invade your property, your home, your camp site, and possibly you as a person on the street or in the bush. If you think this sounds bad, imagine what it would be like in a real TEOTWAWKI survival situation.

If you believe that in the future we will possibly have our world turned upside down and possibly our lives placed in jeopardy, then we need to make certain provisions for our future survival just in case. Here are a few suggestions:
1) Purchase some land out bush and fence off a good garden area. Even if you can't live there right now, visit as often as you can and prepare the gardens and start growing your own food. IF there is a financial crises, you will then be in a good position to survive. Work on constructing a dwelling as time and finances allow.

2) Make sure you have evacuation packs for each member of the family, even if you have to do it without their help or knowledge. IF for ANY reason you should have to leave your home, these packs will help you survive. You may get emergency housing from the Department of Housing, but you will only have this for a short time. You may be able to get help from family, but even so these packs may still be needed. In a worst case scenario you will at least be able to camp somewhere and be reasonably comfortable with what you have in and on these packs.

3) Save money, no matter how little at a time. 

4) If you smoke, give it up. If you enjoy a drink, keep it moderate. These vises will cost you a lot of money that can be better used elsewhere, and smoking could cost you your life or the life of one of your family because you are simply not fit enough to do what needs to be done in a crisis.

5) Learn and practice primitive skills. These weigh nothing and could save your life.

6) when adding items to your pack/s there must be a compromise between maximum self-reliance, and minimum weight. Choose your equipment wisely and do not get caught up in purchasing a lot of modern gadgets. 

If there are any particular subjects you would like me to post on, please comment.