Jack Mountain Bushcraft Blog

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One of the challenges of an extended stay in the bush during the warm (no snow or ice) seasons is planning meals that don’t require refrigeration. Of course, there is always the option of storing food in a cooler with store-bought ice, but this is a hassle as well as being expensive. There is also [...]

Times are tough, and they’re getting tougher. Gas prices keep going up, as do the costs for basic necessities. Many people are being squeezed. But what can they do? First, they can learn how to take care of themselves and their families. A good survival course can go a long way toward this goal of [...]

I’m inconvenienced by modern conveniences much of the time. They break, they suck up money, and when their full cost and upkeep is taken into account, they don’t seem make my life much more convenient. I like pumping and carrying water more than I like dealing with tempermental plumbing systems. I like composting toilets more [...]

Long Trips And Canoe Carts

Longer canoe trips, those of the mulit-week and mulit-watershed sort, have intrigued me for some time, but there has always been the problem of long carries. Not everyone who participates in our programs is fit enough to carry an 80 or 100 pound boat several miles. So to facilitate these types of experiences, I just [...]

The 2008 fall bushcraft semester will be our 12th semester course, and the first one to run from start to finish at our new location in northern Maine on the banks of the Aroostook river. We’ve put together a schedule that takes advantage of our new location, with lots of time spent living and traveling [...]

We’re running a bushcraft canoe expedition in northern Quebec with native Cree guides again this year. It’s an amazing experience traveling with David Bosum, his wife Anna, and Lawrence Capissit, our other guide from 2007. Canoeing the historic waterways of their people and learning how they have lived off the land for thousands of years [...]

New Bushcraft Basic Kit

As the result of numerous requests for a small bushcraft kit of core components that people can bring to our courses, we’ve partnered with Ben’s Backwoods and put together a bushcraft kit of the most useful items. It consists of a Mora knife (you choose whether you want a wood or plastic handle), metal pot [...]

Back To The Blog

After 8 weeks living at our bush camp, I’m back for a short while enjoying creature comforts such as bug screens and electricity.  It was a great spring, and there is lots of work left to do there, but things are coming along well.  Look for more posts soon about our recent experiences.

New Ideas And Directions

I’ve had a lot of campfire discussions with friends, students and interns since I last had the ability to post without driving an hour.  Living outdoors for an extended period of time (in the last seven weeks I’ve spent four nights inside, on two separate trips to NH to see my family) not only hardens [...]

Fall Schedule Is Up

If you’re interested in some of our fall workshops, I’ve got our fall semester broken down into weeks and on our schedule as of today.  No, we don’t have internet in Masardis yet, but I took a trip into the Presque Isle library and have been working on it for a few hours.  The fall [...]

Last night I went through and updated each page of our website with our new address and phone number.  This morning I realized that I had written the new address on a previous blog post incorrectly.  That’s since been corrected.  Sorry for any confusion.

We wrapped up the spring Earth Skills Semester Program last week.  We finished out the course with ten days on the Allagash river, which was a great culmination to our time together.  We saw a bunch of wildlife and caught a bunch of trout on the flyrod, but nothing of significant size. Our other big [...]

I’m back for a day to pick up more gear. After a week in our new camp in Masardis, I’m completely in love with the location. We spent the week building permanent shelters, exploring the area, and exploring the river. We’ve got a new mailing address and a new phone number if you want to [...]

Off To Masardis

We’re off to our new base camp in Masardis, Maine tomorrow.  I hope to get the internet hooked up in a few weeks, but until then I won’t be posting, answering email, or doing anything else web-related.  If you need to get in touch with me, leave a message on our answering machine. Today we [...]

I saw an ad for a college today and in the photo they had as their centerpiece was a student in a lecture hall looking toward the front and acting interested. That’s a negative for me. I remember sitting through a bunch of lectures, some great, some not, but what I took away from the [...]

Open Source Education

I’ve been diligently at work writing up my ideas and plans for the Jack Mountain Bushcraft University, and have been getting feedback from our alumni about the process. The general plan is to take the academic components we’ve developed over ten semester programs and put them online for anyone, anywhere, to use. We’re putting together [...]

It was a busy day yesterday. We baked some potatoes in the sun oven, baked some sourdough biscuits in the reflector oven, waterlined and shellaced a canoe, made fish spears, caught a bunch of fish with them, built a tripod for smoking them, filleted them and smoked them as the sun sank over the horizon. [...]

New Dutch Oven

I do a lot of dutch oven cooking, but I don’t like the legs on them because I usually either hang it from a tripod or support it with fire irons. But I love the lids on the camp ovens because they have the lip that will hold coals. So I’ve been thinking about sawing [...]

I’ve taken a wide variety of wilderness medical courses around the northeast. In 2000, I took a winter medicine and rescue course at the AMC center in Pinkham Notch at the base of Mount Washington. It was a two-day course, and on many nights they have slide show presentations for the people staying there. The [...]

Another Sign Of Spring

This morning I saw five bald eagles over Rust Pond.  They come through each year as the ice starts to go out.  It’s a big deal because for the rest of the year I never see them around here.  I think they move further north.  There is a certain way they fly that is unique, [...]

Yesterday afternoon everybody carved a bucksaw frame. It’s a great project in that it teaches safe and precise knife skills. We build them with no nails or wooden pegs, so that friction is all that holds it together. To accomplish this the carving and fitting needs to be close to exact. If someone does a [...]

Living Outdoors

Yesterday afternoon the temperature was near 60 degrees (F), a big change from a week ago. Each morning I hear more birds singing, and the trees are getting ready to bud. Spring is almost here. One aspect of our programs that we don’t talk much about is the fact that students live outdoors in shelters [...]

After pressing a specimen of Lycopodium, we spent most of yesterday morning on navigation.  We introduced the compass, then built a compass from the sun which we maintained all day.  We rounded out the morning by making hand-spun rope, then having everyone make their own rope using a rope-spinner. The afternoon began with a sharpening [...]

“Having done is worth more than having read, having watched, or knowing how.” I was thinking about experiential learning yesterday when the line above came to me. I think it will be our slogan for 2008. We live in the era where information is everywhere. But we should never confuse familiarity with understanding or experience. [...]

Today we start week 2 of our spring bushcraft semester course.  The weather is warming up nicely, but there is still a lot of snow on the ground.  We scraped a few deer hides over the weekend, and in the next day or so we’ll have all of them scraped and hung up to dry.  [...]

It’s day one of the spring Earth Skills Semester Program. Everyone’s here, and this morning we hit the ground running. There is still 36″ of snow in the bush, but since the shelters have raised beds we’re able to make it work without too much discomfort. Spring came to Wolfeboro yesterday, with warm temperatures and [...]

You’ve managed to find our home on the web, but what can you do here? Here are some ideas. 1. Get information on our programs and check our Schedule to find out when they run. 2. Read the latest news and events right here on our blog. We’ve written more than 275 posts, so you [...]

Back From Masardis

I’m back from Masardis, having done most of the legwork needed to move our programs there.  I was also able to witness how much snow they’ve got on the ground.  My guess is somewhere between three and four feet on the ground, plus another ten inches that fell while I was there.  So because of [...]

We had a great day working on pack baskets yesterday.  Usually I have people gather the materials with which to carve their skids from the surrounding woods.  But due to the deep snow and difficulty of getting around without snowshoes, I made these before the course started.  It saved a lot of time, and the [...]

Two more inches of snow overnight, and it’s really coming down this morning.  We’re close to breaking the snowfall record set in 1873-74, and this will get us closer. We’re running a pack basket course this weekend.  In these courses we use molds to make sure the shape of the basket is pleasing.  To ensure [...]

I recently rewrote the section of our student handbook that explains how we assess student work in our yearlong and semester programs. That rewrite is below: Assessment: Logbook and Portfolio There are no certifications in bushcraft, wilderness survival or primitive skills that are accepted universally. If any school offers a certification, it’s likely a result [...]

We filled our last general intern position for 2008 today.  Thanks to everyone who contacted us about them.  We’ll still have a few summer homesteading internships available to semester course graduates, so if you want more information on them please let us know.

Spring 2008 Canoe Trips

We’ve got a variety of canoe trips planned for this spring.  While they will be part of our spring Earth Skills Semester Program, there will be a few open spots for each of them if you’re interested in coming along.  Trips we’ve got planned include the Aroostook River, the St. John River, a whitewater paddling [...]

Sign Tracking With Scouts

I’ve got a group of scouts coming out this afternoon for a mammal tracking exercise.  With the snow conditions being what they are (two inches of ice on top of three feet of snow), there won’t be any clear prints or patterns to see.  When people are moving along on the crust of the ice, [...]

Filming, Last Day

This morning we’ll be wrapping up the filming and everyone will be on their way. It’s been a great time and we’ve had a lot of fun, but it has kept me pretty busy. If you’ve called or emailed in the past week, I’ll be getting back to you tonight. The show, I’ll Try Anything [...]

A friend sent me this link to an interview with Michael Pollan titled “Don’t Eat Anything That Won’t Rot.” It’s about the present and future of food, and is an interesting read if you’re interested in where your food comes from and why there are so many fragmented foods these days. From the introduction to [...]

Filming, Day 4

The weather shifted yesterday, with an inch of so of rain falling in the afternoon.  The front came through last night, and now we’ve got sun along with high winds rushing to fill in the low pressure system as it moves out over the Atlantic.  I haven’t been into the woods yet this morning, but [...]

Filming, Day 3

We had another busy day filming yesterday. We started in the morning ice fishing out on the lake. It was dead for a while, then we caught a nice bass. Afterwards we were back in the woods. I went into the woods off of the trail at one point and sunk into the snow up [...]

 


 

Web Sites
· JMB Field School – Long-Term Immersion: Semester & Expedition Programs. GI Bill & College Credit.
· Classic Wilderness Guiding – Canoe, Snowshoe & Sea Kayak Trips
· JMB Folk School – Lodge-Based Programs & Short Courses
· School Of The Forest – Teen & Youth Programs
· BushcraftSchool.com – Online & Distance Learning
· JMBS Master Calendar – All Scheduled Programs

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 demonstrating prodigious artistic prowess.

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