October 2007

To finish their pack baskets, folks have decided to make custom leather harnesses out of bark tanned leather. We didn’t tan it ourselves, but students are sizing it and using copper rivets to fasten the strip ends together. We had discussed using the braintanned hides everyone now has, but the thicker, full-grain leather is more [...]

We make family trips to the library once a week. Last week I got a book called Over The Mountains; An Aerial View Of Geology by Michael Collier. It’s a book of aerial photographs that are stunningly beautiful. The accompanying text explains the geologic features of the photographs. From the introduction: “With this book, I’d [...]

As part of our ongoing series of sustainability workshops, we’ve scheduled a winemaking workshop for Sunday, November 11. My old friend Shayne White will be here walking us through the process of making your own wine at home with simple ingredients, as well as talking about the equipment you need to get started. There’s also [...]

This is the last weekend of this fall’s Earth Skills Semester Program, so it wasn’t much of a break. Everyone is busy working on projects, from scraping a moose hide to weaving pack baskets to tillering bows, as well as putting together our video from week nine. It will remain busy right up through Friday, [...]

A friend of mine shot a moose a few days ago and he’s giving us the hide to tan. I’m meeting him this morning at the town docks as he lives on the other side of Lake Winnepesaukee. The temperature is in the 30’s (just above freezing in Celcius) so I bet it will be [...]

Yesterday everyone sized their pounded ash strips and carved their skids, so today we’ll start weaving the baskets.  Actually weaving the basket doesn’t take as long as getting and preparing the materials, so we should have some baskets near finished by this afternoon.  They’ll have to dry overnight and be tightened, but the bulk of [...]

We had a great weekend at the wilderness first aid course sponsored by the Maine Wilderness Guides Organization. The course took place at Mahoosuc Guide Service, and we all stayed in their new Mahoosuc Mountain Lodge. A wilderness first aid or wilderness first responder course is a great complement to the bushcraft and guide training [...]

This morning we worked with map and compass for several hours. A student from last fall’s semester program joined us. She’s preparing to take the Maine Guide exam, and is studying a lot navigation skills and theory. After a half hour, everyone could orient the map and plot a course with their bearings exact. It’s [...]

Today we’re still pounding ash for pack baskets. It’s a big job, and historically marks a low point of morale for semester students because it’s so labor intensive and takes some time. To counteract this we sometimes hire a clown to come and make balloon animals on-site while eveyone is pounding. Spirits haven’t dipped low [...]

Pepe the porcupine is no longer with us – he’s alive and well about 10 miles from here.  In a daring nighttime abduction, some of the ESSP folks caught him in a trash can and drove him far enough away so he probably won’t find his way back.  Everyone had gotten a little attached to [...]

The Maine Wilderness Guides Organization, of which I’m a lifetime member, is offering a winter guide training course running from Wednesday December 19 to Saturday December 22, 2007.  If you lead trips in the winter you should consider attending. From the MWGO website: This workshop is designed to cover the skills needed to safely guide [...]

In 2008 we’re officially adding a homesteading and organic gardening component to our programs. it’s nothing new; for ten semester programs, our students have played an active role in living sustainably on the land. But now we’re making it a formal part of the semester experience. Students will have garden space to grow some of [...]

I’ve been hearing about the so-called “sacred order of survival” for twenty years, and while it looks good on paper, in the winter bush it is not only bad advice, but can be deadly. Such ill-conceived advice also usually advocates building a debris shelter, which is an A-frame insulated with leaves. The questions I’ve posed [...]

Due to several recent cancellations, we’ve got two spots open for our upcoming workshops with Mors Kochanski.  The first workshop, Bushcraft And Survival With Mors Kochanski, runs November 3-4.  The second, Advanced Bushcraft And Survival With Mors Kochanski, runs November 5-6.  The workshops are $250 each.  These spots won’t last long, so if you’re interested [...]

Continuing our series of sustainability workshops, today at 2pm we’re running an acorn processing workshop.  We’ll be collecting and processing acorns into food, as well as discussing some great uses for the by-products.  If you want to come there’s still room, so give us a call!

We’re back from canoeing the St. Croix after a great week on the river.  The weather was perfect, the water was still a swimmable temperature, and everyone learned a lot about poling loaded canoes through rapids.  We managed to break one pole when it got stuck in the rapids, then was hit by another canoe, [...]

This morning we’re heading out for a weeklong canoe and bushcraft trip on the St. Croix river.  I’ve been looking forward to this week for a long time, as I’ve always had a great time on the St. Croix and we’ll be there during peak foliage.  Along the way today we’ll stop at a used [...]

 


 

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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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