It has been cold and snowy in Aroostook County this week for the Autumn Woodsman course. We’re past the halfway mark on the course, and thus far we have covered a lot of ground, including axemanship, fire making and management, fire by friction, navigation, hot tents and stoves, woodstove lighting and management, and a bunch of other topics. We’ve also been out on the land harvesting the few remaining wild plant foods and tracking the mammals (beavers, mostly) that can provide sustenance during the colder months. In northern Maine fashion, we’ve had nights well below freezing, a day of rain, a night of snow, a day of snow flurries, and we’re supposed to get a half-day and night of snow today. But Friday is looking to be sunny and almost 40 degrees, without a gusty wind. That is why we run this course at this time of year; because cold weather and snow make almost everything harder in the woods. Not everything, but most things.
This is our final scheduled field school program of 2023, and I’m looking forward to finishing strong.