Snow is finally melting. Still too much of it on the road to drive in, but the fields are just about snow-free. See you in a few months, snow. Now bring on the bugs!
Studying the natural world adds depth and richness to life. In this episode Ben, Christopher and I discuss our nature study curriculum as set forth in First Person Ecology. Our method is a blend of academic study and personal experience, with the goal being to create a series of field guides that you carry around [...]
One of the great things about long courses is the ability to see the natural shifts as they happen. Currently, we’re in the midst of the final thaw up here, and that’s indicated by the usual influx of birds, amphibians waking up and plants starting to flower. A large portion of our curriculum at Jack [...]
History is rarely hands-on, but traveling old canoe routes is history you can experience in person. Connecting watersheds, traveling to distant lakes or regions, poring over maps; I love all of it. The romance of hanging up the truck keys for a year and traveling by my own power is a fantasy I’ve entertained often. [...]
Through adversity comes growth. So far this spring, mother nature has provided great opportunities for growth. The first few weeks of our spring Wilderness Bushcraft Semester are the hardest few weeks of our calendar year. The snows are still deep, the streams are swollen, and getting around can be very difficult on deep, slushy snow [...]
JMB alumnus Doug Dickens is hosting a Prehistoric Pottery Workshop with Keith Grenoble at Flood Creek Farm in Southern Maryland. Keith Grenoble has been a product of the Back to the Land movement and developed close ties to Native communities from an early age. Keith started his journey by making stone tools represented in the [...]
We regularly get contacted by young people looking for advice regarding entering the bushcraft industry, which, after being in it full-time for the past 20 years, I can confidently say has changed dramatically during that time. When reality tv came along, all of a sudden the interest in esoteric outdoor skills went through the roof. [...]
Todays post, and all of our other posts, are brought to you by 2 solar panels that provide all of our off-grid electricity. Warm and sunny today and the snow has started to melt.
Episode 35 was recorded in the Guide Shack at the field school at the end of week 1 of the spring, 2018 Wilderness Bushcraft Semester. Christopher Russell and I discuss the challenges we faced during the first week (spoiler alert: deep snow), bushcraft as resiliency in a changing world and the new Journeyman certification student [...]
Snowshoeing out to the road this morning to do some errands in town. With so much snow left on the ground it’s tough to believe the lupines will be blooming in two months. Spring still seems like a long way off, although it’s coming quickly.
Systems are what make camp run smoothly. When running a course off-grid there often aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. As a result we’ve developed systems that use minimal time for maximum results. Nowhere is this more important than with food. Convenience foods aren’t an option in camp. If you wait [...]
Day four of the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester. We’re working on permanent shelters. This morning we’re peeling the bark on the base logs. We’re doing a lot of axe work, clearing a quarter acre. And we’re still on snowshoes.
Day 3 of the WBS. Because there’s so much snow, we’re having to improvise. Two of our instructors are staying in a canvas tent set up under the pavilion, as shown in the video.
Day 2 of the spring, 2018 Wilderness Bushcraft Semester. Day 1 of our new vlog. Still lots of snow on the ground here.
Aroostook river is still locked up in ice and we’re still on snowshoes waiting for spring to arrive. Day 2 of the spring ‘18 Wilderness Bushcraft Semester. #fulltanglifestyle
Today was the official unveiling of the new Jack Mountain Bushcraft School Journeyman Certification Workbook, a 316 page tome written by Ben Spencer over the winter. It’s big, detailed and ambitious, and just in time for the beginning of our 20th year. It’s existence has been rumored for several weeks, but was not confirmed until [...]
Spring semester starts today. 4 feet of snow on the road. Time for plan B.
From the spring, 2015, Wilderness Bushcraft Semester, a hike up Deboullie Mountain in the North Maine Woods; a beautiful and remote spot.
Osprey bringing food back to the nest. As the ice recedes on Rust Pond, the birds are showing back up. I watched some mergansers this morning, and saw a bald eagle yesterday.
As the next semester gets closer, we’ve been really putting the screws to the “self” aspect of our courses. Whether it’s “mental toughness” or being able to assess your progress without outside input. These aspects are helpful to the individual student. However, on a long course like one of our nine-week semesters, nobody can successfully play [...]
Watching the sun set over some open water tonight. Beautiful. The ice isn’t gone, but it is going.
How much land does a man need, and what should he do with that land when he gets it? In episode 34 of the JMB Podcast Ed Butler, Christopher Russell and I discuss a simple, low-tech life on the land. I recount a story by Leo Tolstoy titled “How Much Land Does A Man Need” [...]
We’ve had numerous calls recently regarding our pending articulation agreement with the University Of Maine At Presque Isle (UMPI). We’re still working on the process and plan to have everything set up in time for the fall (’18) semester. We understand that people have deadlines and are doing all that we can to expedite the [...]
Flying to northern Maine is about to change. The airport in Presque Isle (PQI) has had daily flights to Boston for several years with PenAir. After a recent change, they are planning to discontinue the PenAir service to Boston and add daily flights on United Airlines from Presque Isle to Newark, NJ beginning on July [...]
Interesting article from the CBC on graduate students mapping the traditional canoe routes. Here’s the link. Photo above is a map of traditional canoe routes of New Brunswick. Our field school on the Aroostook is on it. From the article: The Wabanaki are made up of the Maliseet, Mi’kmaq, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, and Abenaki nations stretching [...]
I’m not sure whether I believe in magic, but I believe in magical moments. For me they are those moments on the trail where everything is good and seems as it should be and all is right with the world. It’s why I go back over and over, and have made a 20-year career out [...]
If you check out our Master Calendar, you’ll notice a change. Programs are now organized into terms, which are blocks of programs organized around seasonally-appropriate topics. For example, the 2019 Winter Term includes five weeks of winter programming. Each course can still be taken separately, but you can also take an entire term of programs, [...]
The Summer Woodsman course is almost full. As we’re out of open weeks during the summer to run another one, we’re introducing a new course: The Autumn Woodsman Course. We’ve been interested in offering seasonal variants of our popular weeklong woodsman course for a while, and this year we’re taking the leap. Next year (2019) [...]