torstai 8. joulukuuta 2011
Making a campfire from fresh frozen lapland birch at winter.
Heres a few pictures, that i took a good while ago while we were on ski trip, in lapland, for a week, to participate reindeer round up in actual work, that only by watching etc. We got to see butchering, pelt removing etc, and we stayed in foxholes dug in snow, plus a surplus army tent, with occasional fire in the stove if we managed to gather enough wood. You know, the wood...the trees there are like a Bonsai trees, tiny but still old, birch growing almost along the ground, instead of rising to the sky above. Its waste of time, to wish and search for huge 8 inch birch in most areas. Anyways, at one day (yes, its daytime, but at december, theres light only for 3-4 hours, if not even that, and then its again pitch black everywhere ) we wanted to make a fire outside, to fry sausage and just to have a stable light instead of various headlamps going here and there in the darkness.
This aint nothing special, no, not at ll, but its usefull in my opinion to have some training to ge the fire going. Birch, that we cut and gathered, by walking in waist deep, or deeper snow, with and without snowshoes (well, someone had the brains to haul those heavy snowshoes with him...). You dont cut any twigs and branches off from them, you just drag em in the camp as they are. Axegeek is back ? Nope,leave it home, its just useless in tundralike areas. Instead, use a leuku, a smaller saw is good too, or as i did, a billhook. The material is barely 3 inches in diameter, so it cuts with a slash or two, with a billhook or a saw.
After you have brought a few full birches, you start to cut off the branches. This is where the detail work starts. While you cut the braches, start to put the similar sized pieces with same diameter in their own piles. The thicker ones to their own pile, and the small ones to the pile of tiny stuff. Some 3-4 piles with different size stuff in their own piles, will do.
Then you remove and gather, All the possible bark of birch trunk, in one hopefully large pile,or stuff it in sack, in your overalls etc, to keep it safe from blowing wind and to dry it a bit from possible ice cover around the material.
Ok, so now you have your stash of removed bark and a good few piles of actual wood. If theres not much of snow, then try to dig in it, all the way to the ground but remember to do it in a wide area, not just where the fire will be, as when the fire gets going, it radiates heat that melts the snow....that eventually will drop....in to your fire. If there is a deep snow cover and you cant use anything to shovel it, then try to stomp the ice in to tight pack, and then arrange some of the thick wood pieces, as a mattress, in the place of future fire. It helps a lot at start, atleast.
So, now you lick your finger a bit, and stick it up in the air to notice where the wind comes from if theres not much of it. If there is, well, you know that without freesing any spit covered fingertip:). Put two, large wood pieces, so that theres a something like 20-30 cm gap between em, so that the wind comes and blows between them. This helps the air to pass, in fire, without never ending man performed air blowing in to ambers.
Then you carefully place all your bark, between the two branch pieces mentioned above. You better kneel while doing this, back against the wind, as the bark might fly away in to the darkness. After that, place the smallest, 2 to 4mm twiglike stuff, loosely on top of the bark. Then you put the stuff thats a step thicker, on top And around the pile of tiny stuff.
Then you put two of the largest sized wood, similar to the first laid two ones, so that they are on top of the first ones,but with smaller gap between em. This, gives the "# " shape to to firewood when you look it from top off it. Then just add more wood, so that theres always a layer of thicker material, on top of smaller. This way, the bark, will set the light on the tiny twig sticks, and as it sets in fire, the flames and heat, will allow the next upper layer of thicker material to dry a Bit, before catching in to flames, and then to dry and light the next, thicker bunch. Simple and effective, as long as you get enough bark and that thinnest material on bottom of it. Now, some of you might be yealling all over about "processing" of wood, but as this is an old emergency way to do it, and performed in snow and cold, theres not always even the tools, nor time, to star to play with axes and batoning etc, if youre gone all wet, or something, lost your big camp knife and such and you have to do it with few matches and a small basic puukko. Plus, the snow.....its pretty hard and even annoying to try to baton a piece of 2" birch, against a meter deep snow, as the wood will only sink in to snow.....yes, you Can definetely use some of the wood to help, bu keeping it under the batoned one, but, this is how its usually done. The american, german, swiss, etc, ways might be different indeed, but this is a genuine ,old, lapland peoples way familiar from older hiking & survival books and courses.