The Wildwood Way–Coming Soon to Your Local Bookstore

In your bookstore this November.

In your bookstore this November.

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Wild Food Is Good Food

curly dockDinner is free range chicken (real free range, as in raised in meadows and woods Twa Corbies chickens), served with potatoes and steamed young curly dock and a salad of dandelion greens, wild chives and sheep sorrel served with bacon grease and bits. We don’t eat like other folk in the Hollow, but we usually eat better because most of what we eat is wild or all but.

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July: Wild Food Foraging Class II-A

Daphne takes a break while foraging in the forest.

Daphne takes a break while foraging spring beauties in the forest.

Due to the immense popularity of the Wild Food Foraging Courses, which have been booked out almost since they were offered, we are offering at least one additional foraging course in July. Details are located here. Message me if interested. Because the demand for these classes is so high, a small deposit of $25 is required to hold your place.

Click the photo to jump to the course description.

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New June Course: Cheesemaking: From Grass to Round

Click the photo to go to the course description.

Click the photo to go to the course description.

Join Daphne at the end of June to learn cheesemaking. This summer the topic will be “From Grass to Round”. You will learn all you need to know to start making your own cheeses with cow, sheep or goat milk. And if you live in the country and have a little land, learn how to turn that grass into cheese!

Cheese has been a household staple for thousands of years. It’s easy to make and keeps well when made right. Learn how at Twa Corbies Hollow.

The course is only $25. Prepayment is required to reserve your place.

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Update: Wild Food Foraging Classes of June 6 & June 13

The first spring leaves of wild carrots sprouting eagerly in the warm, full sun.

The first spring leaves of wild carrots sprouting eagerly in the warm, full sun.

Hello everyone,

The wild winter we enjoyed a few months ago is finally vanished and spring has begun in earnest here on the mountain.  I have been out scouting on horse and on foot four times since I last updated everyone and green up is finally happening.  Now that there is some greening happening, I can give everyone a better sense of what to expect.

You may expect that we will certainly cover the following species: devil’s thistle, dandelion and associated wild lettuces, creeping charlie, wild blueberry, bramble fruit, the wild cherries, birch, various wild mints, lamb’s quarter (cannot guarantee, it hasn’t emerged yet), wild carrot, possibly feral rhubarb (still waiting for emergence), staghorn sumac, beaked hazelnut, yarrow, wild rose, plantain, cattails, wild strawberries, bladderwort (if emerged), dock and burdock (waiting for emergence), and the uses of birch bracket and old man’s beard.  There will be more, too.  Right now, foliage and fungi are about a month behind due to the late melt of last winter’s heavy snows.  I expect that within two weeks all the things that we are waiting on for emergence will have emerged.  There will undoubted be other things, too, rare finds and things out of season (as can oft happen with mushrooms).

We will also cover three  oft neglected topics in foraging manuals: when to use, what to use and how to use.  In the case of wild foods, these are often more critical questions than they are with domestic foods.

Please park in the lengthy driveway between the dirt road and our cottage and please stay to the edge of the driveway.  Do not park on the green as we begin cultivation of many things just off the edge of the drive.  As persons arrive, we will guide you to the learning site.

Please remember that much of the way will be over rough ground.  This is a wild food course and often the only way to get wild food is to go over wild territory.  Tough hiking boots are absolutely required, and please expect that you might get your feet wet.  You may want to bring extra shoes for later.  At least two of the plants we shall study–aquatic mint and cattails–grow in wet ground, and it can get slushy getting to them.

Also, please, please do not wear shorts and I suggest a light jacket to protect your arms no matter how hot it may be.  Expect that you will get a few scratches due to the omnipresent raspberries and wild rose in this area.  The best way to minimize this is by wearing clothes that protect you.  No matter how hot it gets, I always wear heavy hikers, a jean jacket, tough blue jeans and good hat when heading into the sticks around here.  It really is a necessity.

If anyone get’s tired and needs to take a break or go back to the base area, my daughter will be present to lend assistance and help you find your way.  She grew up in the Alaskan bush and in the woodlands around here and knows her stuff.  She is just turning eighteen and is studying to be a violinmaker but this is her first real job and she’s very excited about it.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Best!

Cliff

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Garden Weeds–Veggies That Cultivate Themselves

As the snow melts, and those of you who garden prepare to till your land and sow your seeds, reconsider your weeding strategies.

Humans have been cultivating for millennia. Over thousands of years, some plants have been cultivated and then were abandoned, like lamb’s quarter, dandelion and clover. Others are cultivated vegetables elsewhere in the world which have gone feral in N. America, like burdock. These weeds have gone feral but, having long histories of cultivation behind them, favor our gardens. All possess the hardiness of wild plants and a habit of appearing in abundance in tilled soil. Many “weeds” we now see in our gardens are edible.

Don’t just yank them, learn them! These feral former domestic vegetables grow very fast; much faster than most contemporary cultivated plants. So let them grow til they are useful, and then HARVEST them. You’ll be eating fresh veggies when modern vegetables are just beginning to sprout.

Burdock and wild lettuce.

Burdock and wild lettuce below, only weeks after the snow broke.

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July 2015: Tracking 101–The Art & Science of Understanding Wildlife

A porcupine visiting a wild apple tree, and leaving spoor in its wake.

Location: Northeast Nova Scotia, Twa Corbies Hollow, approx. 1 hr from New Glasgow and Antigonish
Date & Time: July 11 & 12, beginning 0900 Saturday; ending 1600 Sunday.
Cost: $100 per person

Equipment Required: Warm to cool weather outdoors clothing for wet and dry conditions, and waterproof, insulated hiker boots.  Also mandatory: knife, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, backpack, compass and waterproof matches.  Also bring any other personal outdoor gear and toiletries you require. Recommended: binoculars and camera.

Level: beginner to advanced

Contact: twa.corbies.hollow@gmail.com

A track of a large buck I trailed one fine autumn day.

Join tracker and wilderness veteran of thirty years, Cliff Seruntine, and learn to speak the language of the land during a three day guided tracking course in the field.  Camp in provided tipis or lean-to’s and enjoy some fine tales over the campfire.

Course Description: Animals speak in all kinds of ways, even if they don’t use the spoken word. Their language is honest and straightforward–communicated in what they do, where they go, and what they leave behind.

In this two day and one night course, students will wander the expansive woods and glades around Twa Corbies Hollow and learn to identify the tracks of various wildlife that may include white tail deer, moose, coyotes, black bears, fishers, martens, foxes, squirrels, beavers and more.  They will learn how to identify game trails, how to identify tracks, how to interpret droppings and learn where animals have been spending their time, what they’ve been eating and what they’e been doing.  They will learn to put the various clues of the land together to determine age of trails and the lifeways of animals.  They will learn to cast tracks with plaster and how to shoot useful photographs of tracks and other spoor.  And they will learn how to camouflage themselves and take advantage of cover to observe and photograph wildlife.

A trail used by both white tail deer and black bears.

Students will camp at either of the base camps that are part of the school.  Tipis, lean-to’s or other bushcraft shelters will be provided though students are welcomed to bring their own tents if they prefer.  Students will require their own backpacks, sleeping bags and sleeping pads.  Students should bring their own meals.  Dinner will be sausages and camp bread made over the fire.

A scent post used by two coyotes and an adventurous porcupine.

Because this course will require two days in the woods with one night at camp, and a considerable amount of hiking, participants must be in moderately good health and know they are capable of up to five miles hiking through rough terrain per day.  Good outdoor clothing and footwear are mandatory, as is a good backcountry knife.  Weather can vary greatly at this time of year, so be prepared for warm to cold weather, and wet or dry conditions.  July is an ideal time for tracking as the animals are busy but the clues are subtle, requiring the development of skill to recognize and interpret them.

No tracking background or experience is required.  However, all students should have a basic understanding of woodland hiking and camping skills.

Your teacher: Author and naturalist, Cliff Seruntine, is a certified psychotherapist, shaman, horseman, and fiddler. He is also a veteran of some of the most rugged wilderness on Earth–the Alaskan bush–where he dwelt at a remote cabin for many years.  Cliff now resides on a homestead in the Nova Scotia highlands and brings a polymath, spiritual perspective to Nature experiences and decades of wilderness living know-how to his courses.

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May 2015 Class: The Art & Science of Being a Woodsman/woman

Location: Northeast Nova Scotia, Twa Corbies Hollow, approx. 1 hr from New Glasgow and Antigonish

Date & Time: May 23 and 24, beginning 0900 Saturday; ending 1600 Sunday.
Cost: $100 per person

Equipment Required: Warm to cold weather outdoors clothing for wet and dry conditions, and waterproof, insulated hiker boots.  Also mandatory: sleeping bag, sleeping pad or cot.  Also bring any other personal outdoor gear and toiletries you require. Recommended: knife, binoculars and camera.

Campfires: At this time of the year it may or may not be dry.  If dry, campfires will not be permitted.

Level: basic to moderate

Contact: twa.corbies.hollow@gmail.com

Base Camp One: spending the night as we prepare the site.

This class is for those who want to develop the skills to enter the woods and live well with them.  It is for beginners seeking to develop initial skills, and for experienced persons who are finding gaps in their knowledge, such as how to sharpen a knife and hatchet on an ordinary stone, how to start a fire in wet conditions, or how to keep the tent from being blown down in a storm.  This profoundly informative class will cover a number of woodsmanship essentials:

  • Where to make your shelter.
  • Types of shelters, from tent to tipi.
  • Making your shelter rock-solid and ensuring it stays dry.
  • Gathering useful firewood in wet or dry conditions.
  • Essential tools of the woodsman.
  • Plants, mushrooms and animals that can aid in getting by in the bush.
  • Basic tracking skills.
  • Getting water.
  • Finding your way.  Navigating in back country by landmarks, compass and celestial bodies.
  • Campfire and trail stove cooking.

Dawn in the western woodlands during an autumn deer hunt.

This is the course!  A comprehensive introduction with advanced tips on all aspects of bushcraft.  If you only make it to one of our courses this year, make it this one.  Because of the immense amount of material to cover, we’ll be starting early Saturday, so students are advised to arrive during daylight Friday in order to get camped and be ready to start Saturday morning.

Schedule:

Students should arrive Friday afternoon to set camp.

Saturday:

0900  Essential bushcraft tools: knives, axes, hatchets, saws.
0930 More than you ever wanted to know about sharpening.
1100 Break for lunch and discussion
1200 Creating shelter
1500 Break
1530 Nature hike with tracking and wild food instruction
1830  Dinner

Sunday:

0700   Breakfast
0900   Making traps to secure food
1100  Natural tinder, tea and woodland crafts
1300  Lunch
1330 Essential back country navigation
1530 Break
1600 Questions & Answer Period
1800 Conclusion

This intense course will take two days and take place at the Base Camp One of Twa Corbies Hollow School of Bushcraft & Homesteading.  This lovely wooded camp is a quarter mile in the woods behind the cottage yet easy to access, set off a seldom-used dirt road beside a brook and offers a beautiful natural setting in which to practice the skills covered.  Persons will leave this course with well-rounded basic knowledge of how to get by in the woods and wilds.

Camp food preparation over a wood stove (pictured above right) or over a fire is a rewarding skill to develop.

Tipi’s and lean-to shelters will be provided, though persons are welcomed to pitch their own camps in designated areas.  Persons will be responsible for their own meals and beverages.  Persons must bring their own bedding.  Cool weather sleeping bags and pads or cots are recommended.  Usually the Hollow is bug-free in May but if it is especially warm there may be some early biting flies, so bug repellent is recommended.

Your teacher: Author and naturalist, Cliff Seruntine, is a certified psychotherapist, shaman, horseman, and fiddler. He is also a veteran of some of the most rugged wilderness on Earth–the Alaskan bush–where he dwelt at a remote cabin for many years.  Cliff now resides on a homestead in the Nova Scotia highlands and brings a polymath, spiritual perspective to Nature experiences and decades of wilderness living know-how to his courses.

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By Request: Wild Food Foraging I-B Class

Natalia harvests ostrich fern fiddle heads by the sackful.

Natalia harvests ostrich fern fiddle heads by the sackful.

The first foraging class is already booked.  Due to the demand for a second foraging class, I created a second.  It is rought 2/3 booked already.  If you would like to learn to identify and use Nature’s early season wild bounty, please feel invited to join us.  I keep class sizes small to maximize everyone’s experience, and this class is already 2/3 full.  If you want to sign up, please do so soon.  You can read more about the foraging class at this link:

https://cliffseruntine.wordpress.com/courses/june-2015-wild-food-foraging-i-b/

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Trees Only Give

trees only give

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