The Earth Skills Correspondence Course is a ten block course that leads students through the skills of wilderness survival, in your own bioregion. It emphasizes the mastery of shelter, water, fire, camp skills, plants and trees, cooking, safety & hazards, attitude & philosophy and instructor training. Ricardo Sierra mentors the course through e-mail, this blog and a private Facebook Group, and students are self-guided. The course provides a wealth of skills and a powerful foundation from which to build and grow in any personal or wilderness study direction.
Get more information about this learning tool here: The Earth Skills Correspondence Course

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Time has come to work on your shelter for Fall!

The goldenrod is bright yellow, and chokecherries are ripe. The leaves are starting to dry and curl slightly, though they are mostly still green. The forest is preparing for fall.

Now is the time to make your plans for the fall and the winter, in working through your course curriculum. It is a good time to look over your goals, and set measurable, clear objectives that will help you move forward in your skills and your knowledge and experience. Clarity will bring results! Instead of saying "I really need to get out and work on my skills this fall-that's a goal of mine...." say "This fall, I will sleep in my shelter five times, and complete eight tree or plant journals." (Or whatever course work you are working on.)

You will be surprised at how different your approach will be just by changing your language. The bottom line is: You want to grow. You want to make a difference, and be a role model. You want to find healing and awakening in the immersion of nature. You want new skills.

Whatever your goal or mission, you have to focus on them, and not let your e-mail, or your blog (he he he!) or your favorite distraction get in the way.

The first thing I try to do in preparing for the cold nights of fall and winter is to take note of where cattails, grasses and other insulation is growing in abundance. I pick a dry day and begin the gathering process, making sure to bind the materials loosely and let it dry fully before bundling it tightly for traveling.

I will also look at my firewood resources for the winter, to be sure I have enough to make my campfires for cooking. I build an awesome shelter awning, too, with a comfortable grass mat and backrest, so I can sit, warm and relaxed as I enjoy the evening and cook or work on crafts.

A reflector wall is a must, and if you can pick a warm day, go out and make some survival cement, a mixture of clay, dirt and grasses that, once dry, will seal up the openings in your log or rock wall. You can make your campfire ring awesome too, and you can get your camp fully ready for your campouts and adventures.

Doing these things will get you psyched to head out to the woods whenever you get the chance, because you will know you are going to a place where you will be comfortable, warm and have a positive experience. It really helps when you are working towards your goals!

You are still going to add leaves and materials to your shelter once the leaves actually fall, but getting ready now will get you in the mood for the days to come.

It is an awesome feeling to come out of your warm shelter to a world covered in frost, cold and damp, and have a nice bed of coals to coax into a fire, make a cup of tea and enjoy the way the sunlight turns the frost into trails of mist all around you. You will enjoy knowing that your slept warm and secure, despite the low temperatures, too!

Get ready to enjoy your fall and move into winter, with lots of skills and goals nicely tucked into your journal!