October 2009

Admirable To Profess

“There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers.  Yet it is admirable to profess because it was once admirable to live.”  Thoreau from chapter on Economy in Walden. There are nowadays many instructors of bushcraft and wilderness living skills, but few who spend much time in the bush.  Yet it is admirable to profess [...]

As discussed on online courses page, we’re ready to start our new online course series. The online courses represent the academic component of our yearlong course. We’re sharing it with anyone who wants to participate. It’s not a replacement for hands-on training in hard skills. It’s a complement for such training, resulting in a deeper [...]

Another new course for 2010, the Bushman course is an intensive exploration of primitive bushcraft skills. The word primitive is derived from the latin root primus, which means first or original. We’ll focus on original skills, those that don’t require specialized kit or other gear. Nature is our gear store. Knowledge makes it accessible. This [...]

My son and I set aside time every week to get outside and explore the natural world.  We’ve been looking at plants, tracks, rocks, and other things that he can see, smell and touch.  Then we go to the Austin Science And Nature Center, where he can get points for the things he discovers.  The [...]

I just got the fall, 2009 Maine Wilderness Guides Organization newsletter.  It has the previously mentioned write-up on Jack Mountain, and also included this great little story. One morning a husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the [...]

Start Something Today

172 years ago today (October 22nd, 1837), Henry David Thoreau started keeping a daily journal.  It was a pretty simple act, but he stuck with it and the result is that people around the world continue to talk about his writing and ideas.  Start something today.  Who knows how far it will go?

I’ve recently been reading about axes with very short handles, and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.  Historically, the difference between an axe and a hatchet has been one hand. An axe is a tool traditionally used with two hands. A hatchet is used with one. While the various companies will [...]

We’re introducing several new week-long courses in 2010, the first of which is the Woodsman course. It’s a comprehensive introduction to bushcraft and wilderness survival in the northern forest, and will serve as the basic course for our week-long programs. Topics will include: * Wilderness Survival 101 * Introduction To Bushcraft * Fire Making: The [...]

Starting next year we’ll be partnering with Blackwater Outfitters to offer lodging options for our programs. Owner Dick Cullins is a friend and first-rate hunting guide, and his cabins are comfortably furnished with hot showers and soft beds. They’re located just down the road in Masardis. For those interested in attending a course but don’t [...]

By the time you graduate from high school you’ve spent twelve years learning the ways of our culture, but the vast majority of people are still strangers in the natural world that gave rise to it. They have no knowledge of how to take care of themselves. They don’t know how to identify common edible [...]

We’re officially changing the name of our flagship course. The Earth Skills Semester Program is now The Wilderness Bushcraft Semester. The content of the course will remain the same. The reason for the name change is to make it more descriptive of what is taught and to eliminate any ambiguity caused by the term earth [...]

There are many outdoor education programs available these days, but there are huge differences in content, educational philosophy, and curriculum between them. When we explain what we do to people with no concept of bushcraft, they often remark, “so it’s just like (insert name of national outdoor company here)”. We reply, “No. In fact the [...]

Maine Axes

Here’s a photo of my two favorite axe heads.  The top one is one that I managed to find a few years ago; an original Emerson and Stevens, made in Oakland, Maine.  This is the axe head that Geoff Burke sent to Sweden when Gransfors Bruks needed a template of a good American felling axe.  [...]

I’ve been an avid reader of Vilhjalmur Stefansson over the years, and I have a habit of writing down passages that really speak to me.  Having grown up with the common stereotypes associated with stone age people, I’ve always been especially interested in first hand accounts of explorers who made the first western contact with [...]

I heard from a friend last night who took one of our courses a few years ago.  He’s starting a bushcraft school in Canada and wanted to know if he could use our liability release and acknowledgement of risk forms.  I told him yes, as it’s my policy to let anyone who wants to use [...]

I enjoy reading about aspects of history that are little known – especially with regard to exploration.  Fittingly, I recently started reading a book I got at the library by Gavin Menzies called 1421: The Year The Chinese Discovered America.  In it the author discusses the Chinese treasure fleets and how they explored the globe [...]

 


 

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Typos, Etc.
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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