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My latest Book, titled: Willow Basketry A How-To Guide January 2016
 

 

I have just published my third paperback book, titled: Willow Basketry: A How-to Guide. I am very excited and proud to have finally completed this.

Brief book description:
Through a series of easy to follow step by step projects, this book will teach you the fundamental skills and techniques as used in many every-day baskets. Clear instructions and more than 280 photos and diagrams will guide you through every aspect. Projects include ‘your first basket’, a simple bowl; a log basket; a garden trug; a potato basket; and a foraging basket.

The book is available as a paperback from Amazon, or as an eBook (at a reduced price) from my website.

For the product page which includes a full description, click here

 

 

 

 

 My move to Norway - My dream and path January 2016
 

That’s right; I am now a resident of Norway! Telemark is my home county. I moved here from the UK last year (mid 2015). Wow what an adventure!

As much as I love Britain and its nature, over the past years I began to feel like a wild bear in a cage; particularly with there being no right to roam in England or Wales. What’s more, for a long time my dream has been to work towards being as self-sufficient as possible. Realistically, I didn’t feel that this could be achieved in the UK, at least not without lots of hassle. And so, for my personal freedom and sanity, moving to another country was the logical option in my mind.

Apart from the epic landscape and freedom, Norway is home to one of my best friends: Torjus Gaaren of livingprimitively.com . He is a true expert in wilderness living skills. I saw what kind of life he has, and thought, “I want that too!”.

Torjus has taught me an incredible amount of skills, which are needed for living off this land. For that I am very thankful. By combining these things with my existing skills, I have already made huge steps on my path towards self-sufficiency.

I could go on for hours about all the things I have done and made in the last year. However I would rather sum things up with the lessons and realisations which have been most profound to me; many of which are actually psychological:

Some realisations & lessons from my time in Norway so far:

  • Community and friends are everything! This is the case in so many aspects, and is not to be underestimated.
     
  • Share what you have without worry that you won’t receive back in some way. Giving is receiving as they say…
     
  • As expected, self-sufficiency is not an easy life, but it is a fulfilling life. I have felt many times that no matter how worn-out or uncomfortable I am (e.g. cold and wet), deep down I am still happy and feel that I wouldn’t rather be doing anything else. There is actually a lot of happiness to be found in hardship
     
  • In the beginning, if you are not used to this life, there will most likely be times which are very psychologically challenging. Any weakness in your mind will be trying to convince you to give up and return to the comfortable life… The trick is to push past this. It can sometimes take days, but one day you’ll most likely wake up and feel optimistic again. You will be stronger for going through these mental tests and your thresholds will be pushed to higher levels.
     
  • Hardship makes you stronger.
     
  • You don’t have a God-given right to anything. You have to make your reality...
     
  • Determination will get you to where you want to be.
     
  • In life I have learnt to Instinctively try to follow my 'path'. In terms of direction and lessons, I have learnt to trust in the universe to bring to me what I need. My experience in Norway has confirmed this.
     
  • Living this way of life which is so in touch with nature makes you realise how far we have come from what is natural for us physically, mentally and spiritually. All people used to live off the land a relatively short time ago; our modern way of life is a mere scratch at the end of a time-line of human existence.
     
  • It is easy to underestimate how much food you need to hunt, gather and grow.
     
  • Animal parts which most modern people refuse to eat are actually the best parts, both in terms of flavour and nourishment. I am talking about things like:  liver, kidneys, spleen, brain, tongue, nose, hooves, bones and very fatty meat. People are seriously missing out! In fact, if you are a hunter-gatherer and you don’t eat these things, you will probably die before long.
     
  • In order to overcome fears, you have to face them; for example, believe it or not, I used to be quite squeamish about the idea of gutting and butchering animals. But since just getting stuck-in, I now really enjoy the task! To overcome a fear is incredibly rewarding!
     
  • You cannot live off protein and greens alone, you need plenty of fat or carbohydrates too (I choose mostly fat), otherwise you’ll become ill from protein poisoning. For example, if you catch a ton of fish, if they don’t have a good amount of fat content, then you can’t survive off that alone.

My rented cabin
 

A catch of brown trout one Spring morning

 

Preserving: smoke drying trout in a tipi
 

 
 


 
My latest Book & eBook - Willow Craft 10 Bird Feeder Projects February 2015
I am very happy and proud to announce the publishing of my second paperback book! Titled: Willow Craft 10 Bird Feeder Projects. This is also available as an eBook (see below). The paperback book is available for purchase from online retailer Amazon. See the product page here:
 Amazon.co.uk or  Amazon.com

E-Book version:
(pdf file) is available for £6.50 HERE on my eBooks page. (Delivery to your email within 15 minutes)

Book description:
Through detailed stage by stage instructions, this book will show you how to make 10 different bird feeders from willow using classic basketry techniques.

You do not need any prior basketry experience to undertake the projects. Everything you need to know is here, including guidance on tools and materials.

"As a basket maker and nature enthusiast, I have had a lot of fun making the projects presented in this book; as well as the continued joy of watching the birds feed from them. My aim in writing this book is for you to experience the same, and also be inspired with the basketry; a craft which can be put to so many uses!" - Jonathan Ridgeon

 

My First Physical Book - Willow Craft 10 Simple Projects November 2014
 

NEWS UPDATE

Book reached #1 best seller in basket making category on amazon.co.uk!


I am proud to announce that my book Willow Craft 10 Simple Projects, (first published as an eBook), is now published in physical form and can be purchased as a paperback book from online retailer Amazon. See the product page here:

 amazon.co.uk

or

 amazon.com

Alternatively, this book is still available in eBook form and can be bought from my eBook page HERE. (Delivery to your email within 15 minutes)

Book description:
This eBook will show you how to make some of the most popular and inspiring willow craft projects other than baskets. There are items for both the home and garden, and all are great fun to make. You do not need any previous experience, the detailed instructions have been designed to guide you every step of the way. Packed with colour photographs and diagrams showing clearly how to complete every stage.

 
New How-To Article Added  -  Making an Ammo Can Stove
 

I have made this portable stove as a source of heating for inside my canvas bell tent, it should be ideal for winter camping when temperatures drop below zero. Also, I just thought it would be a fun thing to make...

People have made such stoves in many different ways. They are mostly used in colder climates like Canada and Scandinavia. The following article shows my own design, bear in mind that this is the first stove I have ever made, I am not an expert where stove use and design is concerned so the design may not necessarily be the best.

To see my full step by step instructions on how I made this stove click here

 

New Article Added  -  Making a Berry Picker
 
I have updated an old article showing how to make another design of berry picker; the 'berry scoop'/ 'berry comb'. They are excellent for picking berries such as Bilberries and Cowberries. Both designs have multiple prongs like a comb, the picker is used by pushing the comb through the foliage of the berry bushes, the fruit which is too large to pass between the prongs gets plucked free. Many berries can be picked at once and the picker is frequently emptied into your foraging basket. With a good berry picker you can potentially pick huge quantities in just 1 day!

 

 
     
 

Cowberry Harvest - Late summer at Cannock Chase park north of Birmingham

 

Materials used - small wine crate and broken garden rake

 
         
For this project I recycled some items I had lying about; a mini wine crate and some tines from a broken garden rake. You could of course use other materials, some plywood off-cuts would be perfect for the box, and for the prongs you'll need to be a bit inventive, there are some suggestions of other materials in the article.

To see my full step by step instructions on how I made this berry picker click here

 

 

 

 



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