I was planning to do a quick overnighter from Saturday night to Sunday morning, so I gathered together my shoulder bag, cutting tools and bedroll (sleeping bag, sleeping pad and bivy bag). This setup is plenty enough gear for an overnighter or even a weekend trip, but does not include most of my cook kit and other items which are good to have on multi-day trips. Though I usually don’t care too much about exactly how much my gear weighs, I thought it would be interesting to weigh it. I was also planning to fish with my simple angling setup, so I included it as well. The total weight, without food and water is 6.3 kg/13.9 pounds (my hatchet, knife and belt pouch are in the shoulder bag).
When the Woodswife mentioned the idea of spending the weekend at the cabin with her parents, I thought that’d be a good alternative to a solo camping trip, so I decided to save the overnight trip plans for another time.
Naturally, the Woodsboy and I wanted to start fishing right away when we got there. We found a small worm under a rock, threw our line into the water and caught this right away.
It’s not uncommon to catch small perch using this method. The Woodsboy studied it closely.
We carefully released the fish back into the lake.
Meanwhile, grandma was cooking up some tasty meat treats on the “muurikka”, which you could say is kind of like a Finnish wok. 😉
After we ate, it was time for the little one’s nap, so I started fishing again by myself. I caught six or seven roach using bread, which I squeezed into little balls and threaded on the hook. Most of the fish were pretty small, but I also got this fat boy, which was about three to four times the size of most of the others.
Something then possessed me to practice some primitive skills, so I decided to try making cordage from natural materials. I was hoping that watching all those bushcraft-related YouTube videos would have left some kind of mark in my brain (fortunately, they did :)). First, I located a willow shoot.
Then I made a slit through the inner and outer bark, down to the wood.
I carefully peeled off the bark.
Then I separated the inner and outer bark.
This was followed by cutting the inner bark into strips.
The next step was to twist one of these strips over its entire length, until it wanted to kink (forgot to take a picture of this). I allowed it to kink (which became the end of the cord), while continuing to twist the two strands. The way I did this was to roll the strands on my leg with my fingers and palm.
When I was finished making the short piece of cord, I tied off the end. It’s not long, but I think it’s OK for a first try.
I tested its strength by pulling on it until it broke. It was surprisingly strong. Later on, I made a slightly longer piece.
I was pleased to find that making cordage like this is really easy. I don’t think it will replace my paracord anytime soon, though. 😉
In my last post, I mentioned that I applied a few coats of teak oil to the handle of the Marttiini leuku I just restored. I think it came out OK.
That evening, we had a nice steam bath and then collapsed into bed. Perfect way to end a day!
In the afternoon of the following day, I felt like looking for some more spring/summer wild edibles and found these spruce shoots.
I also found this fireweed (epilobium angustifolium). The leaves and stems are edible (Note: Consuming wild edibles is done AT YOUR OWN RISK).
In addition to eating a bit of the spruce shoots (not my favorite) and fireweed leaves (much more palatable), I also ate some dandelion leaves, clover leaves, birch leaves, usnea lichen and cladonia lichen. After this “bushfeast”, I thought it’d be fun to try fishing in the small pond in the woods, so I grabbed my gear and headed out. On the way, I stopped at my campsite to clean it up a bit. As I mentioned before, we’ll be moving soon, and I won’t be visiting that particular site too often.
The area looks a lot different in the spring/summer, eh?
While there, I wanted to test my leuku a little more, so I chopped through this seasoned pine log, which was between 6 cm/2.5 inches and 7.5 cm/3 inches in diameter. I also did some batoning/splitting with this knife to see whether my epoxy repairs from last weekend did any good. Fortunately, the handle bolster did not loosen up again as a result of the batoning, so it seems the repair was a success. The knife’s edge seems to be retaining its sharpness nicely as well.
Over at the pond, I threw out a bread-baited hook and waited patiently.
There were a few taste-test nibbles, but nothing like at the big lake. This wasn’t a surprise, because I was previously told that there aren’t any fish in that pond, apart from a few pike which were stocked there several years ago. Only once did the bobber dip fully below the surface of the water, but I didn’t hook the fish. I’ve found that pike don’t usually respond to this kind of fishing, so either there are some other types of fish in there, or maybe a baby pike was curious about the bread ball that plopped down into his home. In any case, I’m very curious to know what’s going on there. I was really hoping to catch the “mystery fish”, but I was out of luck. As a matter of fact, I was out of blood, too, as the area around the pond was thick with mosquitoes and black flies. Unfortunately, my mind was still in “winter mode” and I had forgotten my bug net shirt. After a while, I couldn’t take the biting and buzzing (despite wearing “Eu d’Off” cologne), so I surrendered. It was time for me to head back to the cabin anyway.
With temperatures in the low 20s*C/low 70s*F, it finally feels like summer has arrived. I can’t think of a better way to have spent the weekend. I have to admit that I’ll miss the visits to this cabin and woods when we move to southern Finland, but on the other hand, I’m looking forward to many upcoming hiking, camping and fishing trips at the national parks and natural places in that area. In addition to the kind of things I’ve been showing you up until now, you can also expect to see backpacking-type trips more frequently after we move.