It was my pleasure again to be invited to demonstrate primitive and survival skills at the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival this year. I set up my Cheyenne style teepee in the same spot as last year and because of my participation at the Wilkesboro Open Air Market this year, I had my own canopy and product display which was much nicer that last year’s.
I set up my portable campfire (a garbage can lid set upside-down on 3 rocks) and brought a log that kept embers glowing all day long. At an event like this I try to start a fire using a variety of methods without a lighter or match. Yesterday I built the campfire by placing the log to block the wind, and on the leeward side leaned kindling up against it. Beneath the kindling I placed cattail fluff on the bottom and river birch bark above that. I used a small stub of a ferro rod to strike the spark and the quick flames of the cattail were caught by the bark whose oils sustained the flames to catch the kindling on fire. All that sustained heat successfully lit the log, so I just fed sticks to the bottom of the log all day. The windy day accelerated the burning process so I called my son who brought more wood mid-day so that I could keep it going throughout the event.
I was able to teach several people to make fire with flint and steel, and I also brought my fire piston that others had success in creating an ember. I demonstrated how to assemble a water distiller using a deep pot with smaller pots for condensation and collection. I also displayed my bamboo cooking pot that I had used in previous demonstrations to cook rice and poach eggs.
At the end of the day I had the satisfaction of sharing my craft with others but also learning from visitors the living skills of the past and present that helps me and those I teach become better prepared for the future.