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We had quite a wind last night and the fish are reaping its benefits.  Dissolved oxygen levels in ice-covered lakes get lower over time because there is limited mixing of air and water.  On smaller lakes and ponds this depletion of oxygen occasionally causes fish kills, when the level of dissolved oxygen gets so low [...]

Ice Out

The ice went out on the pond yesterday.  After the torrential rains, we're having a stretch of nice weather.  Today is supposed to be around 80 degrees, which will melt some of pile of snow that slid off the roof of the barn.  I've got some blueberry bushes, strawberries, grapes and asparagus to get in [...]

Something we discuss in great detail in our courses is the difference between minimum impact camping and displaced impact camping. Modern camping practices are far from minimum impact; things such as rare metals and petroleum products put a huge burden on our planet. But since the effects of their processing and production aren't usually visible [...]

I spent yesterday re-canvassing one of our 20' wooden canoes with the help of Ray Reitze. We had to put tacks into three new ribs and make sure they were clinched before stretching the canvas. I had hoped to have some warm weather in order to move the boat outside and apply the filler, but [...]

Spring is in the air, and with it is a strong desire to finish the canoe mold I've been working on all winter.  I was over working on it yesterday, attaching the metal bands to the mold.  The metal bands serve two roles in the canoe building process.  First, they're the same width as the [...]

The Break Up is Here

I was out the other night and snapped this photo of the crescent moon low on the western horizon. The colors were amazing, as you can see. The weather here is warming up today, so there won't be many more nights I can walk out on the ice without going for an unplanned swim. As [...]

I shut down the comments on the Moose Dung Gazette a while back. I realize this can be frustrating to our readers, and that comments often make a blog more readable and entertaining, but this is the second installment of the Moose Dung Gazette. The first MDG was up for several years but was hacked [...]

After spending another week in New Brunswick, this time running a winter bushcraft course with some of the troops from the Canadian infantry school at Gagetown, I made it home just in time for the St. Patrick's day storm.  We got another 8 inches of snow and ice, but storms this time of year don't [...]

I was tracking some coyotes and deer on the other side of the snowmobile trail today when I heard the crows give an agitated call that was different from their usual conversations.  I was trying to tell if the track in front of me was a turkey that had been snowed on or something else [...]

Last week I put together a slideshow from some of our photos taken during courses and on trips over the years. It uses the cool, Ken Burns style of having the picture move on the screen. Yesterday I put it on the web. Check it out here. It's a 32 MB Quicktime file.

Our outdoor cooking workshop yesterday went well and I ate the best lunch I've had in a long time.  We made sourdough biscuits in the reflector oven and pan fried some fish.  We also covered hanging a pot over a fire versus propping it up from below and the related benefits and negatives of each [...]

I'm running a small outdoor cooking workshop today for some friends who are fishing guides in the area.  We're just going to cook lunch and bake some sourdough biscuits in front of the campfire, but it will be enjoyable as all such meals are. We've had a stretch of cold weather which has been wonderful, [...]

It's been a long break from the Moose Dung Gazette but I'm finally back.  I had planned on starting back up last week, but suffered technical difficulties in the form of computer failure. Thankfully I had all my files backed up on an external hard drive. That being said, if you've emailed me in the [...]

A friend sent me this article on the human sense of smell. It discusses the results of a study from the University of California, Berkeley where a group of undergraduates crawled through a field following a scent trail while blindfolded and wearing sound-muffling headphones. Read it here. It turns out our sense of smell is [...]

Building a Canoe Mold

Yesterday I started working on the canoe mold I've been thinking and talking about for years under the expert tutelage and in the shop of Don Merchant of Pole and Paddle Canoe. When canoe builders switched to using canvas to cover their boats instead of birch bark, and as the process became industrialized, people started [...]

We had our first snow of the year last night, a dusting of about an inch to brighten things up. The front came through late, and as a result the winds are high and blowing the snow around. I'm busy getting prepared for our Winter Survival Weekend Course which begins tomorrow. My preparations include cutting [...]

We're introducing some new projects along with our yearlong bushcraft and Earth skills program, most notably building a twenty-foot wood canvas canoe and making crooked knives with our new coal forge. In December I'm getting together with Don Merchant of Pole and Paddle Canoe to build a mold for a 20-foot wood canvas canoe. The [...]

I've been busy writing up the curriculum for our new yearlong program.  I've got the first draft of the annotated bibliography done, and it came out to 19 pages.  Included is my opinion of the 20 most important books on bushcraft and traditional wilderness skills, which I'll be posting here over the next few days.  [...]

Along with the new yearlong Earth skills and bushcraft immersion program, 2007 will mark the beginning of our work/trade position in videography. We do a lot of interesting things around here, as well as visit a bunch of beautiful places regularly. I'd like to start recording both on video, then sharing that video on the [...]

Beginning in 2007, the Earth Skills Semester Program will be expanded into a yearlong experience consisting of 25-30 intensive weeks per year, with the interim periods spent reading, writing and researching. The yearlong program won't be replacing our semester programs. Instead, it will be connecting them into a deeper, more complete learning program. Overlap between [...]

Today I heard from a friend who's an avid trapper around Norway, Maine. She wrote me the following: We caught a 12" brook trout in a 220 Conibear on the brook that borders our property. We have never fished it because we knew there weren't any trout in it! We've lived here 21 years! I [...]

The weather has been rainy and unseasonably warm around here lately. A good friend of mine cuts deer during hunting season, and since most of the hunters don't want the hides he saves them for me. I usually just put them in the barn and they freeze overnight, but it's been so warm that my [...]

I had a great time at the Snow Walker's Rendezvous as always.  My workshop on emergency snowshoes and bindings was a success, and I met a bunch of interesting people and learned some new things. Following the rendezvous I drove north to visit my brother who has recently moved to Montreal.  It's a beautiful city, [...]

This weekend at the Snow Walker's Rendezvous in Vermont I'll be running a workshop on making emergency and improvised snowshoes and bindings.  I'm planning on making several styles of snowshoes and demonstrating a simple binding made from a single piece of cord.  If you haven't been to this event put on by the Hulbert Outdoor [...]

Yesterday, as they were packing up their things and preparing to move on, one of the students mentioned something that stuck with me overnight. He was talking about the simplicity of our humanure composting system, and exclaimed, "I can't believe that we didn't flush anything for the past ten weeks. This system is so simple [...]

Thursday morning and two days until the Earth Skills Symposium. It's a raw, rainy morning, and the only critters I've heard are the rain calls of the blue jays. Except for the beeches and oaks, who sometime keep their leaves through the winter, all the leaves are down. Today we work on finishing final projects [...]

We're in the middle of week 10, our final week in the fall Earth Skills Semester Program. Students are working diligently on bushcraft projects such as brown ash pack baskets and lacing snowshoes, as well as preparing for the symposium. It's a great time because everyone knows the routine and things move quickly and efficiently. [...]

This coming weekend is our town's annual ski and skate sale, where you can pick up used skis very inexpensively. For those of you live in snow country and want to make a winter sled for hauling gear in the bush, you can do so without having to boil and bend wood for a toboggan. [...]

 


 

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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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