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As winter winds on and the snow piles up outside the windows of my small cabin, it is easy to appreciate the wonder of the natural world.  There is the ruffed grouse that scurries around the perimeter of my clearing, hiding in the shadows of the cedar and fir trees.  A red squirrel has taken [...]

There’s something about me you may not know that might change how you perceive me. I'm not a flusher. I poop in a bucket, and when I’m done I cover it with sawdust. When the bucket gets full I dump it on a compost pile along with other organic inputs (kitchen, yard, etc.), then cover [...]

A goal I’ve set for myself this year is to be mindful and grateful for what I’ve done and what I've got. My plan for doing so is to avoid hedonic adaptation. I first heard of this term in the book A Guide To The Good Life: The Ancient Art Of Stoic Joy (great read, [...]

I was talking to a person from the west coast over the holidays. When they found out our field school was in Maine, they said we were “back east.” I was forced to correct them and said; “no, we’re not back east. We’re down east. In Maine.” Then, after deciding to have a bit of [...]

This blog has never been about getting more readers or trying to be popular. It’s not about knives, gear reviews, how-to articles, survival tv shows or lists of “essential gear”. I don’t jump on board with the trends in the outdoor industry; I’m about the traditions. But there’s nothing wrong with people trying to grow [...]

Healthy Homemade Snack For Life In Bitter Cold Winter has just started to arrive here in northern New England, but it will be in full force soon. I have the good fortune of a busy winter schedule including spending four weeks guiding snowshoe expeditions (2 x 2-week trips) from late January through early March. That’s a [...]

I’m at the field school for the next week running the Winter Woodsman course. One of the things that we cover during the week is making a few different deadfall traps. I’ve searched for forty years for that perfectly rectangular rock that’s depicted in deadfall line drawings in survival books. I’m convinced it doesn’t exist. [...]

I just returned from performing in my son’s puppet show. He’s involved with a group that has a talent show every December. We go every year, and it’s always fantastic. I’m amazed at the maturity level of the kids involved. And the courage. There was a little girl who was going to sing a song. [...]

Part of our new lodge-based workshop series, spend a long weekend learning traditional northern forest skills while staying on-site in our modern, comfortable lodge.  The course content draws on the curriculum for our Winter Woodsman course. Topics include snowshoes and snowshoeing, fire lighting, axe use, knife use, knots, ice safety, ice fishing, animal tracking and more.  Group size is limited to 4 people; [...]

This past weekend our group fleshed and scraped a lot of deer hides. We also brained a bunch, and started pulling them, but were overtaken by dark before we got any soft. Brain tanning courses are all about time management. We’re trying to squeeze a bunch of stuff into a short period of time. We [...]

I just got an interesting call from a guy that has me scratching my head. I’m posting the gist of it, but obviously will mention no names (so don't ask). On our website we have a popular recommended gear page that I probably haven’t changed in more than 12 years. The caller had followed one [...]

Video about the new Jack Mountain Winter Expedition Tent. I left three things out of the video. First, the height of the center pole is right around 8 feet, making the dimensions 8'6" wide by 11'6" long by 8' tall at the peak. Second, the material is 10.10 oz cotton. Third, if you're interested you [...]

December 6-12 we’re running our Winter Woodsman course, followed immediately by the Frozen 48 Winter Survival Challenge. The Winter Woodsman is our introduction to winter. We cover the particulars of living out in the winter, from clothing and tools to fire and shelter, as well as cover the traditional gear and techniques that make living [...]

Next weekend we’re running a course on braintanning, where we’ll take raw (ie. bloody, and stinky) deer hides, and through a process that’s older than civilization, turn them into beautiful, chamois-like braintan buckskin. If you want to learn it, there are still open spots. I want to share how we keep people safe from Lyme [...]

Beginning in January, we’re offering something new at our folk school in New Hampshire; lodge-based programs. They combine our popular bushcraft and outdoor skills programs with housing in our modern, comfortable lodge. These programs are limited in size and allow people to participate in our bushcraft programs without having to live outdoors. We’re still offering [...]

This weekend I’ll be venturing west of the Connecticut River to attend the Snow Walkers Rendezvous in Vermont. It’s a fantastic event, and one that should be on your calendar if you’re in the northeast and interested in winter camping and expeditions. Here are seven reasons why you should attend:   The Gear. Traditional canvas [...]

Most of the people who participate in our semester program are not from Maine, and the way of life near the field school is rural and often significantly different than where they’re from. This past fall, during week two of the course, some of the guys were talking about how religious the area was. I [...]

We’ve had a lot of content plagiarized from our website over the years. As a result we created a “name and shame” plagiarism policy, where we publicly call-out the people who do it. And this morning I learned that it had been done by someone I know. Not cool. Compare our course assessment page with [...]

After a lengthy hiatus the JMB podcast is back. In this episode I talk with Derek Faria and Shawn Donnely from The Woodsman School. We're friends and neighbors and discuss what they've been up to, their new website, becoming a Registered Maine Guide, and have a few cheap laughs. a Links from this episode: The [...]

Tomorrow night's campfire cooking class is full, but if you're in the area and want to come we could probably squeeze in one more.  We'll be covering a variety of topics applicable to the woods cook, including: Building a tripod Gear - wannigans, pots, frying pans Grilling meat in a raquette Dutch oven cooking with [...]

Put this under the heading "gear I've wanted for years." After reading my friend Oblio13's post in 2008, I've wanted a large Thermette boiler that would handle a few gallons at a time. I've had a 2 quart model for 15 years, but it just isn't enough water for camp chores. If you've never heard [...]

“We are now reveling in the indescribable freshness of the Antarctic that seems to permeate one's being, and which must be responsible for that longing to go again which assails each returned explorer...”  Ernest Shackleton on his Nimrod expedition to Antarctica This year the Jack Mountain Alumni Winter Expedition, assailed by the memories of the [...]

We’re creating a scholarship for college outdoor education students to make our immersion programs more affordable.  Beginning with the spring, 2016 Wilderness Bushcraft Semester, we’re offering a $5100 scholarship. There are some rules and a specific application process, all of which you can read about at: Bushcraft Leadership Scholarship

We’ve updated the requirements for our Journeyman Guide And Bushcraft Instructor certification for the current semester. Some of the additions include an expanded section on knots and their applications, formal trip planning, and a 4-day water fast. You can get more information on the Journeyman certification on our site (link). You can also download the requirements [...]

We’re adding a second Boreal Snowshoe Expedition session in 2016.  It’s our winter bushcraft immersion; a twelve day traditional northern winter wilderness living and travel expedition.  We’re on the trail living on snowshoes, hauling our gear on toboggans, staying in woodstove-outfitted canvas tents and learning to be at home and comfortable in the bitter cold. [...]

I just got back to the Jack Mountain Field School from a great day hike in Baxter State Park in Maine.  We arrived around 10 am (a few hours later than we'd planned, gotta have coffee right?) to find the parking lots servicing the three trails that wind up to the peak of Katahdin full [...]

Bushcraft Bling

It never fails to amaze me just how pervasive and prevalent the reach of our consumer culture is these days.   Even those of us who claim to have a modicum of immunity from the world of image, identity and worth via the stuff we've bought, find ourselves from time to time really wanting that new trinket for [...]

 


 

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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 that demonstrates his writing prowess.

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