First Aid, Blacksmithing And Pulling Hides

We had a great weekend at the wilderness first aid course sponsored by the Maine Wilderness Guides Organization. The course took place at Mahoosuc Guide Service, and we all stayed in their new Mahoosuc Mountain Lodge. A wilderness first aid or wilderness first responder course is a great complement to the bushcraft and guide training our programs cover, and the MWGO is planning on offering both in the coming years.

Monday was unseasonably hot and sunny, so we took advantage of it by pulling our deer skins dry. We had previously dressed (or “brained”) them. Sometimes called breaking the hide, it is the magical part of the tanning process where something wet and slimy becomes soft and fluffy.

Yesterday afternoon we took a short field trip to a nearby farrier supply store. They’ve got a bunch of products available for blacksmithing, and have a great blacksmithing display with a big antique hand crank blower, giant anvil, etc. The students picked up farrier’s rasps for their tool kit. It’s a great woodworking tool, fantastic for removing wood on a bow or a canoe paddle.

This morning several people are going to start weaving their pack baskets. There is still some ash left to be pounded, but we’re getting close to having enough for everyone to make a pack basket.

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