September 2006

ESSP Week 5, Day 1

Yesterday we unpacked and dried out a bunch of gear from the Allagash trip and cut the base logs for our new sauna. The students felled several trees with an axe, then sectioned them with a cross cut saw. It’t great to watch their expertise with these tools increase exponentially. We also covered general map [...]

My friend and colleague David Cronenwett of Montana emailed me with a link to an article about the incomparable Mors Kochanski and his philosophy of outdoor education, or what he prefers to call “tangible education”. It’s a short article, and you can read it here.

This morning marks the beginning of week 5 of the ESSP. This week we’re focusing on advanced navigation and foraging, so we’ll take a trip to the seacoast and spend an afternoon in a nearby swamp digging cattails. While we were on the Allagash our sauna stove arrived, made by my good friend Don Kevilus [...]

Off To The Allagash

We’re off in the morning on our 12-day Allagash canoe trip. Packing is done and most of the gear is loaded. Everyone is excited and it’s sure to be a great trip.

Last night the ESSP students and I attended a talk given by Tom Wessels, the author of Reading the Forested Landscape and other books. The talk focused on reading and understanding the history of the woods of New England for signs of farming and logging. Having heard him speak before I was prepared for the [...]

Yesterday we started with one match fires since we had rain overnight. Skill and confidence levels have dramatically improved and everyone was either able to successfully start a fire or self-diagnose what went wrong. With our focus on the process, not the product, this is a complete success because they understood what was happening and [...]

Yesterday we spent the morning planning the meals for our upcoming Allagash trip. We’ve had a flurry of phone calls and the size of the group has swelled to 10 people. Then we were out on the water practicing canoe strokes, poling, and learning a flat water rescue technique. After lunch we started on knots [...]

Last night we had rain, and on every wet morning we start with one match fires. This morning was no different. The ESSP students have made amazing progress with this in the short time we’ve been together. We moved onto making cordgage by hand, then making rope with spinners, and finally making rope with a [...]

Preserve Your Axe

The wood around the eye of an axe can get brittle and the head can get loose. To solve the problem of a loose head, some authors have advised to soak it in water to swell the wood. But when it dries out, the head is loose again, and more brittle, often more than when [...]

We had lot of rain come through over the weekend, which will be good for the lettuce planted last week. It will also put some water into the Allagash for our trip next week. Lastly, it will help with the bumper crop of mushrooms that are growing in the surrounding woods. We’ll be spending several [...]

ESSP Day 4

Yesterday morning the ESSP students carved bow drill sets and learned several ways of attaching the spindle to the string. We discussed the science behind friction firelighting, then everyone worked on perfecting their drilling form while breaking in the new sets. Then we moved onto percussion-based firelighting using flint and steel before working with more [...]

 


 

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Note: Anything that appears to be an error in spelling or grammar is actually the author’s clever use of the vernacular, and as such is not an error, but rather a carefully placed literary device that demonstrates his writing prowess.

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