June 2016: Traditional Cheese Making Class

finished cheese small

Click the photo to go to the course description.

Back by popular demand: Daphne’s traditional cheesemaking course.

At Twa Corbies Hollow Organic Farm and Bushcraft School, we have been raising our own goats, producing our own dairy and making our own cheese for years. From the ground up, it’s done the wholesome traditional way.

This class will explore making cheese with any kind of milk. Daphne will walk students through the entire process from start to finish.

Click on the image to learn more about the course and find out how to register. Register soon if interested because class sizes are limited to ensure each student gets personal attention.

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Wildwood Ways: Ostrich Ferns (fiddleheads)

It is unfortunate that North America’s one edible fern is known as the fiddlehead because all ferns start life as a fiddlehead. But only the ostrich fern is nontoxic and flavorful. Learn to identify the ostrich fern and where to find it.

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June 2016: Wild Food Foraging 1

spring beautyThe first of our popular foraging classes will happen June 11, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Reserve a place early, it tends to fill up quick.  Class size limited to 12.

Click the image to learn more.


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Tops Air Wolfe

air wolfeIt’s not often I review a product, but now and then something strikes me as very special.  In this case it is the Tops Air Wolfe.  Regularly running $250 in Canada, I was fortunate enough to catch one on sale for a mere $122 and, recognizing its potential, snagged it on the spot.

For years I’ve carried large blades in the bush.  In the Louisiana bayous where I grew up, it was a machete.  In the Alaskan bush, it was a knife in the bowie style.  Since coming to Maritime Canada, with its endless thick, scrubby woods, I’ve learned to re-adjust my approach to bush life again and have come to favor a mid-sized knife and small axe combination.  This is easier to manage between horseback, foot and canoes, and it’s very versatile for this kind of country.  There are lots of good choices in the mid-sized range, but a while back I came across this knife and it struck me as nearly perfect.  I look for that rare blend of extremely tough, versatile, useful for all manner of foraging and camp tasks, and tactical since, where I live, I also have to consider possibly fending off an aggressive animal.  I rarely ever give consideration to essentially useless purposes such as batoning wood, because a small axe and easily fashioned wood wedges are far better for splitting wood, and if I really want a metal wood splitter, I’ll go to the village hardware store and by a metal wedge for $3.

I believe this hidden gem is one of the most overlooked and best outdoors knives available.  In a comprehensive review, to be posted shortly, I’ll go into why.

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Tracking: Winter Spoor

The winter wood is a quiet place where the land sleeps and all is still under the ice.

Or is it?

All through the winter, the forest teams with activity. Bear, deer, porcupines and other creatures never cease their pursuits and the land has a thousand stories to tell. Learn the art and science of tracking and you will come to know how to read those stories, written in the Earth like the lines of a book.

Many more lessons on foraging, woodscraft and country living are to come. Please “like” my channel to be updated and take a look at my website to learn more about my classes and books.

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Tracking: Cougar Spoor, Game Trails & the Clean-Up Detail

I have been away from the online world for several months, and during that time I have been shooting footage for a new series on the art and science of tracking.  If you learn this nearly lost art, you will discover the natural world possesses a hidden language, and all around you will find stories etched into the land.  In this first episode, we examine cougar spoor, study large and small game trails, and see just how fast Nature recycles a raccoon carcass.

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Tracking: the Language of Animals (coming soon!)

The tales of wildlife are written in the Earth, in the spoor animals leave behind, and the tracker knows how to interpret them. With a keen autumn settling over the Canadian north woods, the land will grow soft with rain, and soon be dusted in snow. Now is the perfect time to spot, identify and interpret these subtle signs. Enter the wildwood and learn to understand this forgotten language of Nature.


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A New Episode on Wildwood Ways: Jerusalem Artichoke

Related to the sunflower, the Jerusalem artichoke is native to the northeastern USA and southeastern Canada. Its tall, hardy plants produce beautiful blossoms and delicious tubers that taste very much like artichoke hearts. A prolific plant, nothing produces more food per square foot than the j-choke. Unlike many wild edible plants and fungi, j-chokes are easily transferred to the garden . . . where they might do so well you may come to regret transplanting them.


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Why Create a Documentary On Canadian Forestry?

nova scotia forestryAround the world, people imagine Canada to be a vast land with a pristine environment, but there is an ugly truth hidden beneath the reality.  Canada is now the world’s major deforester, surpassing even Brazil for the rate at which it destroys its woodlands for profit.

In the image right is Nova Scotia forestry at its typical. People still have this romantic notion of stout loggers with saws going into the woods to ply their trade, but a scene of modern logging is more like a nightmare tableau from a Terminator movie. Giant machines go in and cut and rip the trees right from the ground. Here you see a mature stand of hardwood being cut and destroyed for a few dollars per acre. The true value of old forests, and the sustainable, long-term, higher profit jobs that can be created from them, has not yet even crossed the minds of Nova Scotia’s endless parade of incredibly myopic and dim policy makers.

hidden clear cutForests are cut in remote and accessible regions, but the forest industry has become adept at hiding the damage.  Taking advantage of elevation and using narrow cosmetic hedges to hide the devastation, they clear cut mature forests at rates far exceeding reason or even sanity.  In the image left, a mature forest being cut to the ground right beside a major highway. But from the highway (Pictou County, the 104 highway in Nova Scotia) you would never see it because the cut is hidden by elevation. Get off the road and go up a couple hundred feet, and the damage becomes obvious.

Now, if you think what you see in this image is bad, imagine the other side of that mountain where the clear cut mature forest is not in plain view and loggers are free to do as they will.

The Canadian forest is destroyed to feed so called “green energy” biofuel plants, which have nothing to do with green or sustainable energy, but are rather inventions of Big Industry.  These power plants burn the forest itself.  It is also done to feed Canada’s slough of pulp mills, which grind the forest to pulp to use for paper, toilet paper and fuel for pellet stoves.  These nineteenth century-minded unsustainable industries are barely profitable any longer, but they are heavily subsidized by government through gifts and grants and exemptions, meaning the taxpayer is on the hook for keeping these dead business models going.

So much of the Canadian forest has been cut that some provinces have been turned into little more than pulp farms with less than 1% of their mature, old forests remaining.  It is hard for wildlife to find room to exist any longer and yet the cutting goes on, unabated, worse than ever.  And this is why the truth must come out.  To learn more, please follow the link below:

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Late Season Harvesting

parsnips 2015 small

Huge parsnips as big around as my forearm at the base were the showy prizes of this cold harvest.

It was time to do some late season gardening. We harvested three crates of parsnips like these from a single forty foot long row.

We also started bringing in our Jerusalem artichokes. This particular, unusual plant does not get harvested til nearly winter when the plant has fully died back and the soil is cold.

Nothing . . . absolutely nothing . . . gives you as much nutritious, delicious food per square foot as the Jerusalem artichoke. These five crates, about 150 lbs, were harvested from a single 50 foot row. The taste is much like an artichoke heart. Yield per square foot is about twice that of the vaunted potato and they require no maintenance whatsoever. Not so much as a single weeding.

jerusalem artichoke harvest 2015 small

Requiring almost no care except tilling and compost in spring, nothing I know of produces more food for less effort than the Jerusalem artichoke. As this is a wild plant, it can easily be transferred to feral meadows. If the soil is friable, it will provide a long-term, reliable emergency food source.

We have a lot more planted, and back in our woods, we have wild patches sown as an emergency food source.

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