The cup is now finished and it has been sealed using Pine pitch. Pine pitch is the resinous substance that heals wounds and exposure from broken bark on a Pine tree. In these pictures you can see I had previously melted and moulded the pitch around a stick for storage purposes. I have now combined it with with ash to bind it together and make a durable natural glue This has been applied to the base of the cup and where the bark is woven together.
Outcome after testing: It is not 100% waterproof but it still works as drinking vessel as the rate of water loss is slow compared to the speed at which you would drink water. Perfectly useable and all made from materials found in the woods.
Nature has many wonderful resources that our ancient ancestors knew so much about and used it their daily lives. Knowledge of what nature has to offer can be life saving in certain circumstances and it can also be a joy to learn about and engage with in times of safety and prosperity.
Fatwood for fire
Fatwood – nature’s best fire lighting material. Fatwood is also known as lighter wood, pine knot, lighter knot, or heart pine. Fatwood is the resinous remains of a pine tree that has died. When a pine tree dies, either upright or fallen, the sap settles into the heartwood of the branches and trunk. As the tree rots the sap hardens into resin soaked wood, this is the fatwood.
A closer look at the features of a live female stag beetle. Find out about where they live, what they look like and what you can do to help this nationally scare beetle to survive and thrive. Half way through we switch to a macro lens to see the features up very close. Find out more about stag beetles and join in with the Great Stag Beetle Hunt at The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES)
Latin name Lucanus cervus
3-7 years as a larva that eats only decaying wood underground. They are great in the garden as they don’t attack living plants or timber. They can grow up to 110mm long!
Adult beetles can’t eat and don’t live long. They are usually seen between May and August.
The males have mandibles shaped like antlers – hence the name Stag Beetle.
Males can fly about 500m but females rarely move more than 20m from where they emerge.
Extinct in some European countries!
Staying Grounded in Time of Uncertainty
Sam has just written a great blog post on staying grounded and helping our wellbeing during this uncertain time. Check out his easy to try activities to find joy in the simple things in life: eat a meal mindfully, connect with the natural world, get creative.
Sam is our Polaris Outdoor Psychotherapist and has been a great help to both the team and all of our customers during lockdown. Drop us a message if you’d like a chat.
Plant Profile – Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)
Sam set a challenge to identify this plant… he was a bit mean and didn’t include the flowers! Well done to Mhairi Hughes for guessing correctly.
Herb Robert is a member of the geranium family which all have a distinctive strong smell (some say it’s horrid, others like it!), when the leaves and stems are crushed. This scent is said to keep insects away – just rub on the skin.
Small Pink Flowers (8-12mm) with 5 petals, 10 stamen and 5 stigmas, divided leaves (6cm) and reddened stems. For more images see The Wildflower Finder Website.
Often called Crane’s Bill due to the shape of the developing seed pods: the pods have an explosive catapult mechanism which widely disperses the seeds.
Mainly used as a medicinal – good for reducing inflammation, antispetic, nosebleeds, used for diarrhea (it contains geraniin) and prevent kidney stones/ gall stones. Flowers, leaves and roots can all be used in teas and fresh in salads.
You can pick and chose between historical folks who it is said to honour: Saint Robert of Molesme, an 11th-century herbalist, abbot, and founder of the Cistercian order; Robin Goodfellow, pseudonym for the forest sprite “Puck” or the bandit Robin Hood.
It is a nectar and food source for many invertebrates including: barred carpet moth, bees, hoverflies and the wood white butterfly. All of them have long mouth parts to reach the nectar. If you are interested in finding out more about food source plants for butterflies you can find a big list on the UK Butterflies site.
We can’t wait to see you all soon. In the meantime we hope you enjoy the sunshine and discovering new things outdoors each day.