Learn how to get your Vitamin C from "Spruce Juice" in our first story for the "nature survival" column!
I'm not known as a particularly patient kind of person, so when I "get something in my head," I will gladly do it as fast as possible. And when I told you I got the urge to learn about basic survival after seeing my brother Knut as a stuntman in a movie, it didn’t take very long until my project started. I did some online research and found lots of interesting stuff. Some people claim there is no way to survive in the harsh, Norwegian winters because there is too little food and too tough conditions… Well, I´m just getting started with testing this, so I can’t argue for any side yet. But here comes our first test: boiling Spruce for a nutritious drink full of vitamin c.
It’s so beautiful now that we have all of this snow. Cold and crisp! It gets down to -18 degrees C in the mornings. The sun does give us some heat, so it gets warmer throughout the day. Since we must have Liv with us always, we waited until right before her afternoon nap before we went out (when the sun had warmed a few hours), well dressed and with her sled. Since it was so cold and the main goal was to create our "spruce juice," we grabbed firewood from home and walked a few hundred meters into the forest before we fired up. If we had to find wood out in the wild, we would have cut down a tree called “dry spruce” that would catch fire easier than the wet, healthy trees.
Liv’s favorite game: Peek-a-boo
Spruce needles contain vitamin c and small amounts of sugar. The “shoots” of spring are always the most nutritious, like every other shoot. If you are going to drink this for a long time, take only the needles and not the twigs because the bark isn’t friendly towards our stomach. My cousin, Jostein, trained a lot with the military and said that if you are without food for a long time, your stomach will not be able to digest things like bark, and that a drink made from just the needles is healthy and easily digestible.
It is said that people can survive 14 days on just water if one is active, and about 1 month on water if one is inactive. I remember my brother, Ole Gunnar, also said to me when he came back from the military that if you THINK you are completely empty of energy, then you have about 50% of it left. It's one thing to keep in mind when you get tired.
Here’s how to make “Spruce juice”:
Make a fire and put snow in the pot, which can be refilled a few times to have enough water. Place the Spruce in the pot and let it boil over the fire. After it boils, let it rest. And voila! There you have it—“Spruce juice.” A nutritious drink and a pretty great tea!
Frøya, our Viking dog, was with us as we enjoyed ourselves out in the warming woods. It’s always hotter “inside” among the trees because they shelter you from the winds. You've probably heard of the term “wind chill factor.” You reduce this when you stand behind your forest friends like the Spruce trees. Aren’t they generous? Tea, shelter, wood for the fire and oxygen all in one—there’s enough reason to go hug a tree!
Liv slept in her sled the whole trip, wearing a down-insulated suit inside her sheepskin bag (did you read the article I wrote about how I made that?) and on an insulated bottom. She wasn’t cold at all!
I´ll share with you some cool knowledge about how to use nature as an inspiration on what to wear when it’s cold. Hint: Have you seen what the birds do when is freezing? The clue is AIR.