These family members are aware of my passion for primitive and survival skills and indulged my passion for sharing them. They had stayed with my son and his family for a few days and on their last day I offered to do a little demo work. We started by handing out some soda bottle caps to use as whistles (see “Improvised Cavity Whistles“) and after making some awesome sounds we then proceeded to my passion of firecraft.
The easiest fire-by-friciton method in my opinion is the fire roll (see “… The Fire Roll Firecraft Method“) and so I demonstrated the set-up of materials and process. The humidity that day was heavy but after a few tries all of the adults had success! I explained that fire-by-friction doesn’t produce a flame right away but uses a live coal (or ember) that can be added to fine tinder to produce a flame. Creating that flame gives such a feeling of accomplishment and I watched their delight at their success!
We also practiced the optical fire method using a Fresnel lens and I demonstrated the flint and steel method (not ferro rods) using charcloth. In retrospect I should have shown the ferro method but they were already aware of it.
In the end, my niece and her husband had a good handle on the methods that we practiced and it struck me that these skills are not taught in mainstream education but need to be passed down from generation to generation. It was a delight to see the interest and participation of that day. Let’s take time to share our skills as there are uncertain days ahead and in an emergency scenario they can be invaluable!