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 [...]
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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 [...]
Our upcoming bushcraft courses with Mors Kochanski are now officially full. Hopefully Mors will be back out this way next year, or the year after.
I got a call recently from a writer with Outside Magazine looking for information on Bear Grylls and his show Man Vs. Wild for their November issue. (The article just came out and I didn’t make the cut.) I worked as the survival expert on the Alaskan Mountain Range episode of the show. Since another [...]
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 [...]
In late June, Pepe the porcupine walked out of the woods and started hanging around our field. He was a baby then, and has literally grown up while eating the clover and vegetables we grow. At the beginning of the fall semester, the students were interested in watching him as he lounged around, seemingly oblivious [...]
Our latest video, Jack Mountain Bushcraft Journal 13: Earth Skills Semester Program Week 6, is live on our video page. It’s also on our Youtube channel and will be on our Blip.tv channel before too long. This video follows us on our canoe trip on the St. Croix river along the border of Maine and [...]
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 [...]
In 2008 the Earth Skills Summer Program will evolve from a skills course to a bushcraft canoe expedition on Maine’s Allagash Wilderness Waterway. We’ll spend a few days working on core skills such as basic canoeing, axe use and safety, fly and spin fishing, navigation, firemaking and trip planning, then we’ll spend the remainder of [...]
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 [...]
Our latest video, Jack Mountain Bushcraft Journal 12: Earth Skills Semester Program Week 5, is live on our video page. It’s also on our Youtube channel and will be on our Blip.tv channel in a few days. This week’s video chronicles our hiking trip in the White Mountains and gets you current on our projects. [...]
Our minimal-gear hike in the White Mountains was fun and a great learning experience. We covered a decent amount of ground, with the students carrying everything they needed on homemade pack frames and using their homemade rope as pack straps. They built their shelters as we went, and experienced what it’s like to travel with [...]
Our new video, Jack Mountain Bushcraft Journal 11: Earth Skills Semester Program Week 4 is live on our video page. It’s also up on our Youtube channel, and will be on our Blip.tv channel in a few days. Enjoy!
This morning we’re off to the White Mountains for a walkabout, or limited gear hike. We’ll be there for several nights. The point of the exercise is for the students to put into action the skills they have learned thus far, as well as to explore some new and beautiful country. We’ve planned several routes, [...]
Some of our students made a music video on braintanning last week to share with their friends and family. I had no role in the production, or editing. It looks like they were having fun to me. See it on youtube. Enjoy.
We had a great day poling on the upper Saco river yesterday. We were joined by writer/photographer Christopher Percy Collier, who was working on a magazine story about canoe poling. From the put-in we poled upstream for several mies. It was slow going as the river was running at 175 cubic feet per second, which [...]
Today we’re off to pole and fish the upper Saco river. The weather is supposed to be beautiful, and although brisk, the water will still be warm enough for a midday swim. I’m bringing my fly rod and the video camera, so hopefully we’ll shoot some footage that will make it into this week’s Bushcraft [...]
We spent the entire day yesterday exploring the woods and looking for plants and mushrooms to identify and collect, as well as tracks to cast and scat to examine. Our travels led us a few miles into the woods, around an old beaver pond, along a stream, and through a variety of habitats. We found [...]
Today marks the start of week 4 of the Earth Skills Semester Program. This week we’ll be working on a new shelter, finishing our braintanned buckskins, and roughing out longbows. We’ll also spend a day poling and fly fishing a nearby river, and continuing with our studies of the natural world. Yesterday morning we put [...]
Our new video, Jack Mountain Bushcraft Journal – Episode 10, is live. You can see it at jackmtn.com/video. Have a look and let us know what you think.
Our semester students all passed their hunter safety tests, so each of them can now legally purchase a hunting license. We encourage all of our students to take a state-sponsored hunter’s safety course, which is a basic firearms course in addition to the content on hunting. We also recommend that they take a bowhunter safety [...]
This is turning into the season of the porcupine for me. While we were on the edge of a swamp looking at some of the semester students’ shelters yesterday I heard a commotion of crow calls. I looked in their direction, and while I didn’t see them or what had gotten them so riled up, [...]
This Sunday we’ll be continuing our series of sustainability workshops with one on sourdough baking. The workshop starts at 2 pm. If you’re planning on attending, be sure to bring a container or plastic bag so you can bring home some of our sourdough starter. Our sustainability workshops are free, but there is a suggested [...]
Another busy week (week 3 of 10) is near completed in the Earth Skills Semester Program. Early in the week we havested a tree for bow staves. We felled it with an axe, sectioned it with a crosscut saw, split it with wedges, and debarked it using draw knives. Yesterday we started scraping deer hides [...]
Our new video featuring the second week of the Earth Skills Semester Program is live on our new video page. You can also see it on youtube. Yesterday we had torrential rains which slowed us down a bit, but last night I picked up a bunch of frozen deer hides which we’ll be tanning as [...]
Pepe the porcupine has been sleeping on our stone oven. It seems as if he thinks it’s a cave and a good place to den. Yesterday morning someone watched him come out of the oven and have his morning stretch.
The Earth Skills Semester Program week 1 video is live on youtube. We’ll get them onto our site soon, but for the time being you can see all of our videos on our youtube channel.
The video from our recent canoe and bushcraft trip in northern Quebec is live on youtube. We’ll be adding the video to our website soon, but for the time being you can see all of our videos on our youtube channel.
Yesterday the ESSP students carved axe handles under the tutelage of Don Merchant of Pole and Paddle Canoe. Starting with pieces of white ash and using draw knives, spoke shaves, and rasps, they shaped the blanks and carved the eye to just fit the axe head. It was a long, hot day in the sun, [...]
We had a busy first day of the fall semester building shelters and going over our routines. We shot some time-lapse video of building a shelter as a group, but we haven’t watched it yet to see if it was any good. It was a long, hot day in the sun but we got all [...]
After weeks of preparation, today we start the tenth semester course that we’ve run. I’ll write a summary at the end of the day to keep our readers informed as to what we do. And we’ve got a video intern, so expect to see a bunch of footage of the course available on the web [...]
Photos from our recent canoe trip in Quebec, including this one of David Bosum cleaning the night’s catch and getting it ready to smoke, are now in our photo gallery. The video we shot on the trip will be available soon.
I’m back from Quebec after a great trip. It was a long drive – 635 miles and 14 hours – but well worth it. I’ll write up the trip soon, but I wanted to report on the yellow jackets that made a ground nest in our garden. In the rush to get packed and on [...]
The van is packed and we’re set to roll out of here at 5 am for the long drive to Oujé-Bougoumou. After a long week of working on and around our new cook house, I’m ready for some time in the bush. I’ll blog about the trip when we get back.
I’ve noticed some of the leaves of our strawberries have had their edges nibbled, and last night I met the culprit. I was working in the barn just before dark yesterday when I noticed one of the young porcupines (one of this year’s babies) in the field eating clover. I watched him for a few [...]