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, [...]
Jack Mountain Bushcraft Blog
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 [...]
Our canoe and bushcraft trip with David and Anna Bosum in Quebec is just a few days away, so getting a phone call from one of the participants saying they couldn’t go because of a medical issue wasn’t what I was looking forward to hearing, especially after having another late cancellation. But last night I [...]
Duane Hanson gave me a copy of Lindsay’s Technical Books catalog when I was up at his place in June. It’s a great resource for obscure how-to books on a variety of subjects such as blacksmithing, building, crafting and science. From the cover of the catalog; “Exeptional technical books for experimenters, inventors, tinkerers, mad scientists, [...]
The Fall 2007 Earth Skills Semester Program will mark the tenth semester course that we’ve run. It’s been neat to watch what started as an idea turn into reality and develop from there. And the fact that this semester filled early has been a strong validation that we’re on the right track. So thanks for [...]
My good friend Steve Marshall was quoted in a New York Times article recently. He’s a rafting guide on the Shubenacadie River in Nova Scotia, where they run the tide as it rushes into the river. I’ve never been, but it sounds like a wild ride. Steve and I spent several weeks together this summer [...]
This Sunday we’re offering the second in our series of sustainability workshops – a plant walk of the local woods focusing on common edible and medicinal plants. We’ll also look at some of the poisonous plants of the area, and talk about creating a collection of plant pressings and how to take your knowledge of [...]
The last week has been busy around here. We built our new cook shack (with the roof still to be completed), ran a full Summer Survival Weekend Course, and ran a private 2-day survival workshop. Today will be the first day I’ve had a chance to write (and take a deep breath and sit still [...]
I told the people in our sustainability workshop yesterday that I’d post a link to an article on lasagna gardening so they could have a reference for what we did. It’s from Mother Earth News and located here.
The first in our series of sustainability workshops took place yesterday, and despite strong thunderstorms that caused us to start a little late it was a great success. We built a raised lasagna garden bed on a section of ground where the limited amount of soil was compacted, and talked about a few related skills [...]
I do a lot of reading and came across something on how old-time farm internships worked in the book “The New Organic Grower” by Elliot Coleman, on page 5; “The student received room and board but was expected to pay the farmer a monthly fee for the first three months. After three months, if the [...]
We completed the Earth Skills Summer Program, and it was a great success. We covered a lot of material, had a lot of fun, and only had to endure one knife cut which took place the first day. Like all extended courses, there were low points, like the bow that broke during floor tillering and [...]
It’s been a busy two weeks with the Earth Skills Summer Program. We’ve focused intensively on bushcraft and nature studies, and this morning we’re doing a segment on wood canvas canoe building. We’ll examine the process, look at molds and how they’re built, then pull a hull that’s been planked off of a mold and [...]
We’re putting together a series of community-oriented workshops on sustainable living, self-reliance and sense of place to begin this summer and run year-round. Although all the details haven’t been worked out, it will be based around low-cost, low-tech things people can do such as composting, gardening, food storage and emergency preparedness, as well as developing [...]
We took a family paddle around Rust Pond today and much to my consternation I saw numerous docks built with pressure treated lumber. Pressure treated lumber is infused with preservatives and chemicals that can leach into the water. The state of NH has a document on the web about pressure treated lumber use for docks. [...]
We’re in the midst of a heat wave here in New Hampshire, with the high temperatures today and tomorrow adding up to over 180 degrees (F). My friends in Canada are always telling me their temperatures in Celcius, but they might well be trying to teach me to conjugate verbs in Mandarin Chinese – I [...]
We’ve been busy from sun-up to sun-down with the Earth Skills Summer Program, so I haven’t been blogging or posting photos. But since I have a minute this morning, here’s some of what we’ve been up to. We started last week with an immersion into bushcraft starting wtih firemaking and the related skills. We’ve identified [...]
If you read my last post you already know about the snapping turtle that was hanging around on the wall tent platform yesterday. We shot some video of her getting off the platform that’s more like a fall, and I put it on YouTube tonight. See it on the Jack Mountain Bushcraft Journal Channel.
I had a great time making knives with Duane Hanson last week. I forged three knives and a crooked knife and learned a lot along the way. Spending time with Duane is always fun and educational for me. He’s always got a bunch of interesting projects going, so in addition to whatever I’m there to [...]
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 [...]
After watching someone swing an axe a few times I can tell if they’re an expert or a beginner. My friend Don Merchant is as good with an axe as anyone I’ve ever seen. He grew up on a rural farm and has been using an axe since he was seven. He wields it like [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
The Maine Wilderness Guides Organization 2nd annual rendezvous is taking place on June 16-17 at The Birches in Rockwood. On the 16th there will be a series of free workshops put on by the membership. I’ll be running two bushcraft and survival workshops: from 9:45 to 11:00 and from 11:15 to 12:30. There will be [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]