Thursday, December 20, 2007

Aboriginal Teachings

I was at a church meeting with Ashley's family last night, and there was a 3 month old there crying. I had learnt a technique from Prof. Gary Kerr at University of Montana that is used by aboriginal men in Australia. It's essentially whistling and humming simultaneously. It's also only done by men, and is very difficult for women to do. The idea is that the sound sooths children, and stops them from crying, and in some cases puts them to sleep. I tried it and was met with success. It seems to me that it works best when the cause of the crying is from general distress or discomfort, as opposed to crying for food.

Monday, December 10, 2007

More hide work

I went back to WolfKeep with Jared today to soften hides. We softened up 2 hides, but didn't get to finish the elk hide, it was simply too big to deal with at that moment.

The hides were brained then smoked in a tipi, then we took them out and dried them by some heaters (its very cold here so thy were frozen), then worked them over a piece of lumber in a vice.

Carl, the guardian of WolfKeep, also gifted me a wetscraper/flesher that he made. Its got some different features than the one I was using before, and therefore works differently. Instead of using the sharp 45 degree edge for scraping, you use the 90 degree edge on the other side. I haven't used it yet, so I cant report on how it works out, but I'm anxious to use it.

Theres also a groove on one side which helps give the hide room to lift up, thus making it easier to remove membrane and grain.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Dinner with Wolves

The other night I went to a Wolf sanctuary called WolfKeep. Its an amazeing place, and if you're ever in the area of Missoula, Montana (about 30 or so miles from where), make a point to stop and visit.
We also worked on finishing the elk hide we've been trying to finish for months. Hopefully it's all done by now.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Snow Shoes

Kind of a delayed post. Over Thanksgiving Break I was in Helena, Montana. I finished my show shoes there, except for the rawhide lacing's.

The first snow shoe is Dogwood from Missoula, but I didn't have another piece of Dogwood, so I had to use willow from where I was at the time. I cut a flexible willow branch with my chert knife, and removed any sticks or switches so I had a nice clean loop. I also cut two cross braces.

Here is the materials I used and one semi-completed snow shoe. I used mule deer buckskin and dogbane cordage to lash the framework together. This particular style can be seen in Man Vs. Wild. I haven't had the chance to test these out, since we haven't had snow deep enough to warrant them.

First, tie the ends together.

Then place the rear cross-brace. I fitted this one to sit in front of my heel. I fitted them to be used with my boots.

Then place the front cross-brace. I positioned these to be below the ball of my foot.

Here are the completed shoes as I'd wear them in use. You can see I haven't laced them with babiche (the rawhide lacing's of a snow shoe). When I encounter deep enough show, I'll demonstrate their use.

I found an interesting video about snow shoes here