As I’ve mentioned, with a drought in the south, flooding in the north and the flooding along our Mississippi Valley region, it might be a good idea to look ahead. What would you do if the worst happened? Would you be prepared? Interestingly the last time I blogged about this topic, we had an incredible post from someone who was in Hurrican Katrina and so had lived through a time when preparedness was essential for survival.
I’ve asked her to come today and to post about Hurrican Katrina and all the things that were needed. But in the meantime, I thought we’d have a look at another survival essential…fire.
Fire is needed for cooking of course, but as you know, in a survival situation, it is also needed for warmth. Fire can also be a very needed element in keeping safe — i.e. fighting off animal like wolves. I’m not so certain fires might keep bears away, but I loved this picture.
But how to make fire without matches. Unless you are very well prepared, you might find yourself without matches. I may not be able to teach you to start a fire in this article, but we can certainly go over the basics. I do believed that most Indian tribes used the drill and twisted it by hand or with their bow, the string the bow wrapped around the drill or wood made into a rod. At least this is what my studies show.
The rod would fit into a socket in a piece of wood. Placed beneath this was some tinder that could easily catch fire. The bow was held at right angles and was twisted, producing friction. The motion also would pulverize the small particles of wood, which are there to catch fire. The tinder would eventually begin to glow, meaning that it was ready to produce fire. Of course there was a very human element involved in making fire. If the bow wasn’t kept at an utter right angle with the wood, it would often slip, frustrating the person making the fire. However, with practice, most Indians could start a fire within minutes. Now once the wood was ready to ignite, it was important to add oxygen, thus one blew on the embers, putting dried grass or moss on the fire in order to get it to ignite. Needless to say, the type of timber that one used was very important, also. However, this isn’t the only way to make fire.
Late at night, one might not be able to find the exact tools needed to make a fire in the way mentioned above. There was also the stone method. This requires two needed things, which one should carry at all times: 1) flint — 2) lump or crystal with iron pyrites. This kind of stone is available all over the US. All that is needed to create fire with this method is striking the stones together. Sparks will fly and one should have dried grass or dried moss available to catch those sparks, and by adding oxygen (blowing on the sparks) one can create fire.
OF course there are other ways of creating fire — one of the best is lightning. But one doesn’t always have that available on a cold, snowy night. It takes a great deal of practice, but it’s a skill that might become handy at some time or place. The Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts used to teach this skill and perhaps they still do. It’s a skill worth practicing — even if you don’t see the use of it right now. As the boy scout motto goes: “Be prepared.”
I should also note that the Indian kept his fires small and as smokeless as possible. He also scattered his ashes the next morning so as to prevent others from seeing exactly where he had been and what he was doing. It was a safety precaution. The American Indian way was ingenious.
I will be gone most of the morning, so if you don’t hear from me until afternoon (Pacific Time) don’t be worried. Now for my questions of you. Have you ever had to make a fire without matches and if so, how did you do? Camping stories would be most welcome, also. There was a time when being without a hair dryer was “camping” for me. But I’ve come a long way from there.
The story here to the left had quite a bit of camping stories in it. The Spirit of the Wolf. If you don’t have a copy, just go to Amazon and pick up your copy today.
Do come on in and let’s talk preparedness, camping and making a fire without matches…or whatever else you’d like to chat about today.