As a family we try to spend as much time as possible outdoors and connecting with what it means to be in touch with our inner wild selves as well as the natural world around us. While adventures into the mountains and other wild settings around Northern Ireland are a lot of fun and lend themselves well to character and resilience building, it’s not all about exploring in those settings. For us, connecting with the wild within us is a lifestyle choice and while we are urban dwellers, nature connection and living as naturally as possible is really important to us. We certainly haven’t got it all sussed and are continually learning what it means to live in tune with our intuition, with the seasons, in as low an impact way as we possibly can with the knowledge and ability that we have. We have been working really hard on our allotment in a bid to grow our own food, we aim to walk and cycle as much as possible to reduce our carbon footprint and another thing that really interests me is relearning ancestral skills such as fire-lighting, foraging, preserving food, wild crafts and so on in order to go deeper into our relationship with the wild.
Over the Easter Break I have been teaching the three boys to build and light fire using a flint, how to keep the fire going and to prepare and cook some tasty grub over it. It is a whole lot of fun but it’s also a really valuable life-skill knowing how to build fire and something all three have watched me and their Dad do over the years, with varying degrees of success – now it’s their turn to learn!
I explained the essential components for fire-making, what makes good lighting materials and showed them my preferred way to construct a fire before letting them try their hand at creating a spark with a flint. This does take some patience and getting over the fear of setting yourself alight – your won’t! But, with a little determination they soon had a small ember and nurtured it into life much to their delight. Once the fire was burning nicely, we whisked up some eggs and cooked french toast in a pan over the flames which we served with yoghurt and blueberries – food cooked this way always tastes way better than food cooked indoors we agreed and it was great to sit around the fire in our own back garden enjoying the slow-living experience together – sometimes that’s just what you need. A really nice and constructive afternoon all in all!
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