My friend Dick butchered a road kill moose, saving the good meat and giving it to the person who totalled their car as a result of the impact. I took a chunk of the "spoiled" meat. I had been seeing this weasel around for a few days and I wanted to see him up close. [...]
I'm just getting over a 48-hour bout of food poisoning (or an acute flu). I don't get sick very often, and sick to where I'm confined to laying around has happened just a handful of times in my life. But this one knocked me out. We're still unsure what the offending piece of food was, [...]
I just got a call from Greg Averill, a past student and friend, who informed me that he passed the written and oral exams this morning and is the newest Registered Guide in Maine. It takes a lot of work and studying to pass the tests, for which he is to be commended. Expect to [...]
I put up a new page on the JMBS site last night, a program overview. It lists all of the programs we offer broken down into different categores: Field School, Folk School, Short Courses, Wilderness Trips and Other. Check it out at jackmtn.com/courses.html.
I've owned and stayed in a variety of different types of canvas and egyptian cotton tents over the years. Outfitted with a wood stove, they allow you to be comfortably nomadic in any season. This photo gallery shows some of these. [slickr-flickr type="galleria" tag="canvas tent" delay="5"]
One benefit of a simple outdoor life with minimal inputs, such as at our field school or on extended trips in the bush, is that there is less stuff. This gives more meaning to the stuff you have, but also eliminates the clutter that gets in the way so often in modern life. When you [...]
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester students who get college credit must write a final paper about their experience. I just received one from this fall's semester course. If you're curious about our programs, you should read it as it gives you the student's persepctive on what we do. The paper, as well as one from 2007, are [...]
I've been writing a lot about self-reliance lately. Below is an old legend I first read as a kid, offering you another culture's take on it, from a book called The Hiawatha Legends. Enjoy. Shingebiss An Allegory Of Self-Reliance - From The Odjibwa There was once a Shingebiss, the name of the fall duck living [...]
The culture we're raised in teaches us what things we do ourselves, and what we get others to do for us. This is a deeply powerful psychological force, but it is a herd instinct, not a rational and reasoned deduction. We do things a certain way because that's how our parents did them, that's how [...]
Gear breaks or fails. It happens. If you're prepared for it the consequences can be minimized. I prepare for it by bringing a back-up on trips. If something is crucial to my well-being in the bush I either have, or am prepared to make, another. How do you prepare for it?
Home is where you hang your hat. The benefits of being able to build a comfortable house in the woods are immeasureable. For it to be useful, any shelter then must have a designated hat-hanging spot. Here are a few of ours. [slickr-flickr type="galleria" tag="shelter gallery" delay="5"]
Here are a few of my favorite canoe photos from the last few years. [slickr-flickr type="galleria" tag="2010 canoe favorites" delay="5"] You can see these and others on our Flickr page.
You learn to write by writing. It's a truism, but what makes it a truism is that it's true. The only way to learn to write is to force yourself to produce a certain number of words on a regular basis. - William Zinsser, from "On Writing", p.49. Is there anything you could switch writing [...]
When you're learning a new skill, it should be as simple as possible, broken down into its necessary elements and with as many details as possible stripped away. The focus should be on the minimum input needed for success. This is why many how-to books aimed at beginners fail; too much detail. On our bushcraft [...]
Taking a course does not make you an expert. You become an expert by investing enough time, energy and sweat to really learn something in depth. How much time? Malcom Gladwell, in his book Outliers, popularized the 10,000 hour rule; "The idea that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to master a skill." [...]
At the Maine Lumberman's Museum in Patten is a cabin built with only 2 tools: an axe and a froe. The axe was used to fell and limb the trees, as well as to cut the notches. The froe was used to split out boards to be used as a roof. The froe is used [...]