Recent Posts

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This afternoon I’m off to the woods near Jackman, Maine, to take Duane Hanson’s knife-making class.  I put a box of fishing gear in the truck just in case.  Look for a post about the trip in a week or so.   In the mean time, enjoy the warm weather and the bugs – especially [...]

I’ve heard the terms bushcraft and wilderness survival used interchangably, and defined by those who base their understanding on what they saw on a tv show. Needless to say I disagree with most of the common definitions floating around these days. The terms are not the same thing, although one is contained within the other. [...]

I put the first five episodes of Jack Mountain Bushcraft Journal on YouTube last night, which should make it easier for people to view and share them. We’ve gotten a bunch of emails from people who’ve had trouble the interface on our site, so hopefully this will help.  We’ll continue to maintain our own video [...]

After a weekend of solid rain that included a birthday party for my 3-year-old son, a cold front came through last night and today is crisp, clear and windy. A perfect morning to weed the garden. Everything I put in this year is doing well, and all the rain has things growing at a fast [...]

Starting in 2008 we’ll be changing the age range of our summer programs to focus on teens instead of adults.  We’ll still offer several programs for adults, but the Earth Skills Summer Program and several trips will reflect the change.  So if you’ve been thinking about participating in the Earth Skills Summer Program but have [...]

As we’re into the season where more people will be recreating outside and heading to lakeside summer camps, today’s post is a friendly reminder to never use soap, regardless of whether its label features buzzwords such as biodegradable, natural or organic, in lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, or any other water source. The stuff printed on [...]

A guy called me yesterday with questions about our Summer Survival Weekend Course. We spoke for several minutes about what the course covers, what he could expect, and other related topics. Then said he had a question about religion. He asked if we incorporated spiritual teachings or Native American ceremonies in the course. I immediately [...]

Tying a fly on an island campsite Last week I went on a great paddling trip through some lakes in Washington County, Maine. I’ve done numerous river trips on the nearby St. Croix river, but the lakes above Grand Lake Stream are an area I’ve been meaning to explore and fish for a while, and [...]

27 Laws of Ecology

I recently typed-up an old handout about the 27 laws of ecology (collated by Pierre Dansereau) and posted it on the web. It’s a .pdf file located here, and is also linked through our Online Articles page under the Recommended Resources heading. Below is a list of the laws. For their definitions and explanations, read [...]

Canoeing and Gardening

Yesterday at dusk I took my wife and son out in the canoe for the first time this year. We paddled along the edge of the pond and watched the smallmouth bass who are up the beds this time of year. We paddled into the lagoon at the end of the lake and spooked a [...]

Making edged tools with steel is a specialized skill with which I have little experience. In order to learn more about this process I’ll be taking a knife making class next month with my friend Duane Hanson, the owner of Moose River Handcrafts. In the five-day class we’ll start with raw materials and make a [...]

Thursday 5/10 I’ll have an information table at MUB at the University of New Hampshire from 10-3.  I’ll have information and will be able to answer questions about our programs.  If you’re in the area come down and say hello!

I spoke with a travel writer from the Boston Globe yesterday who was writing a story about the Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT), a water route from Old Forge, New York in the western Adirondacks to Fort Kent, Maine on the St. John river. I’ve never traveled the sections in New York or Vermont, but [...]

Canoe Mold Completed

Yesterday I finished building the 20-foot canoe mold I’ve been working on since late December. Everyone I talked to said that building a canoe mold is a lot of work, and I didn’t doubt them. After building one, I can say that they were all correct – it was a lot of work. It’s the [...]

Following up on Paul Sveum’s paper about the ethics of modern camping and the reality of leaving no trace, I typed up an essay I had in an old book titled “The Myth of the Non-Consumptive User”. Many modern recreational groups see hikers and photographers, amongst others, as having no impact on the natural world [...]

We’ve added a new way to stay current with our programs; The Jack Mountain E-News. It has current events, coming attractions and last-minute specials. It’s available both as a feed and as an email newsletter to make it as easy as possible to keep up with what we’re doing. The feed is here and email [...]

Although the leaves have yet to show themselves, the maples are budding out and the peepers are singing each night. At dusk last night I heard the hermit thrush’s song coming from the woods, and this morning I watched a beaver as it swam by. Life has returned to this part of New Hampshire that [...]

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 [...]

 


 

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