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Firefly Gathering

I’m not always the best with follow through. I completely own that flawed aspect of my personality.
So here I am, sitting on the couch, thinking about posts I would like to do for my little blog. And then it occurs to me, I have promised many blog posts in the past! I need to get on those and I need to stay motivated to continue with blogging.
Is anyone interested in this blog? I don’t know. But obviously no one will be if I don’t actually write! And writing is something I genuinely love to do, so more regular posting, starting….NOW!

Back in June I mentioned we had attended a gathering called the Firefly Gathering.

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Aww, look there we are!

Firefly Gathering takes place near Asheville, NC.  It’s truly an amazing event if you enjoy anything outdoorsy.

This is going to be a summary, so I’m not going to dive into a whole lot of detail.  So, to begin.

The ride to the event was quite long and tedious.  Road food included Beanitos chips, guacamole, and sliced up vegetables.  When you have Celiac Disease, you cannot always count on stopping somewhere to eat!  With that in mind, we did a full grocery trip for the event prior to leaving and packed it all in our giant cooler.  Our grocery trip included items such as string cheese, apples, bananas, carrots, eggs, bacon, coconut water, Applegate Farm deli meat, and trail mix in addition to our dinner foods.

Along the way we stopped at an Appalachian Trail crossing.  Doing the whole length of the trail has always been a dream of mine and I know someday it will be a dream come true.  For now, though, I satisfy myself with small little jaunts down the trail.

Trailstop

Moving on from there, we finally arrived at Firefly as a storm was coming in.  We set up camp quickly and pulled the night’s dinner out.  Chicken breast and broccoli with mushrooms.  Our camp kitchen set up is fairly simple.  Camp propane stove with a cast iron skillet.  Heavy, but fantastic for when you can camp near your car!

campsetup

The next day came very early.  Workshops begin!  Our first class we decided to take together.  Tree climbing!  I will say, Dom was far better at this activity than I was!

treeclimbingdom

treeclimbingmirandaFrom there I went to a cordage making class.  It was pretty fascinating learning how to make rope out of the fibers from plants!  Dom headed over to the fire making class.

fire

This was a obviously a pretty proud moment for him.  Making fire by friction is not the easiest task!

Dinner that night was sausage kabobs around the primitive kitchen fire.

051The following day saw us taking classes in useful crafting plants, what to do when there is a medical emergency on the trail, and flint knapping.  For dinner I froze a batch of chili at home and we reheated it at camp.  Chips and chili, a perfect camping food combination!

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Classes the following day included how to start a Homestead, Primitive blacksmithing, tool sharpening, and a basic how to survive in the wilderness walk.  The walk was particularly interesting because it covered good plants for kindling, plants for shelter, plants for eating, and plants for medicine.  Kabobs for dinner again!  But this time we followed it up with roasted marshmallows for dessert.

Our last day was bittersweet.  Shoving all of this activity into just a few days is exhausting, but along the way you meet some incredibly interesting and amazing people.  Now, you maybe see these people in a year at the next gathering, but that’s a long time!

Classes on our last day included self defense, stick fighting, and natural exercises to deal with neck pain.  I was very grateful for the neck pain class, especially since we had a 9 hour drive staring us in the face once the class was over!

After closing circle we sadly packed up all of our belongings and headed down the road, only stopping for gas and food.  Our last dinner of the trip ended up being gluten free crackers and cheese.  Not exactly the most filling dinner ever!

All in all, though, I would give this trip 4 thumbs up!  Can’t wait for the next one we have planned for in February!

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What Are Primitive Skills?

Wikipedia calls primitive skills talents that relate to living off the land, often using handcrafted tools made from naturally gathered materials.

Totally true!  Well, primitive skills are a hobby of mine and the hubster’s and have been for years.  They are skills that at one time were dangerously close to be lost, but in recent years interest in them have been revived by many.  Now those that know and those that remember these vital skills teach those that want to learn.  I want to learn.  I want to know it all.  I want to be able to teach others.

What are some examples?

Fire Making.  That’s a huge one.  Fire making is a skill that everyone should have if they ever venture into the woods for any reason.  It’s surprisingly easy to get lost in the woods and stranded and fire could be the difference between survival and dying.  Sure, you could have a lighter.  But it may fail.  A back up plan is essential.  I’d say that Fire Making is the most important primitive skill one could possibly learn.   The bow drill method is my favorite.

Wild Edibles and Medicinals.  Hey, you have to eat!  Of course you could not eat for 3 weeks and probably be fine if you are just lost in the woods.  You aren’t likely to be stuck out there for that long.  But, it’s nice to know anyway.

Water!  Drinking is important, of course.  How to find it and how to purify it is an essential skill.  Your bottle of water that you took hiking isn’t going to last long.

Hands on skills such as cordage, basketry, shelter building, and skinning and tanning of hides are all primitive skills.

See how varied these skills are?

I find them to be fascinating.  That is why for years now we try to make it to at least one primitive skills gathering.  For a few days many people interested in these skills comes together, camp out, and go to a variety of different classes each day focused on these skills.  This past week hubster and I went to the Firefly Gathering in near Asheville, NC.  It was our third year attending this gathering and we are already looking forward to next year.

I wanted to do a really long post about this gathering, but I thought that might be a little overwhelming.  So instead over the course of the week I’ll do a series of posts.

I’ll talk about the classes we took, the (gluten free and mostly paleo) food that we ate while camping, and a  post about the experience in general.

I know that many of you might not be interested at all in hearing about these things, but I hope that least someone out there reading this will be!

Up in a tree

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