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

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Earth Skills Correspondence Course Skills Weekends!

Hey everyone! Just wanted to send you a quick note to let you know the dates of the 2009 Earth Skills Correspondence Course weekends. They are as follows:

May 30th July 18th October 10th

These weekends/dates are for any student of the Earth Skills Correspondence Course who wants to learn or practice skills in person here at Hawk Circle, in Cherry Valley, with Ricardo (me!) and any of my staff or semester students, as a benefit to being in the program. We want to support you in your pursuit of learning and give you a chance to learn first hand, rather than through distance learning, so here is your chance! (If you are not a current student of the Earth Skills Correspondence Course, just apply and sign up and you can join us for a great time!)

You can come on Friday evening, if you wish, to camp out, or stay in one of our cabins or the Adirondack lean-to or just sleep on the couch in the barn workshop room. We will start our group gathering on Saturday morning, finding out what everyone wants to work on, and then do some hands on crafts or skills while we get to know each other, connect and network....

It should be a lot of fun. Feel free to bring family members if they want to wander the camp on their own, or hang out by the campfire, or explore the woods around Hawk Circle. They can even head in to Cooperstown for a walk around the village, if they want to.

Food is on your own, so bring easy to prepare meals, or something you can cook over the campfire, or we can all just go in on getting pizza in Cherry Valley or Cooperstown, after a good day of working on skills. So it is pretty easy and laid back.

Housing has already been covered, and you can bring any of your course material with you for review, too, if you want. We will wrap up Saturday evening, and you are welcome to stay over on Sunday, practice on your own, go off for a hike or gathering walk, etc. If I am free, I will try to connect with you again on Sunday, but my schedule may or may not be free so I can't promise anything! Things are never dull around Hawk Circle, that's for sure.

And, just to let you know, I was successful in fishing on the second day of the season, as my pic can attest! Great day on the water, and we did get in some tracking, too. Otter tracks? Fisher tracks? What is your guess?!!!

Please RSVP about the upcoming weekends so I can plan how many will be coming out. Let me know what you want to work on while you are here, as well as how many are coming with you, and when you think you will be arriving. That will help me plan for a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Opening Day: Trout Season, 2009

Opening Day. Have you ever been? Okay, for the first day of trout season, it is the opposite of deer season. Cold. Usually damp, with high, fast moving water that make it challenging and tough to catch fish.

We headed out today to try our hands, the Earth Skills Spring Semester students and I, to wet our lines and see if we could beat the odds! The end result: Nothing, although we did donate some hooks and worms to the great fish gods in the waters....

But it was nice to be out. Slowly growing skunk cabbage. Cautious ruffed grouse walking around. Muskrat tracks, raccoon tracks, mink tracks, etc. Beaver chewed twigs and sticks. The smell of rain on dead grass and river silt.

We started at the headwaters of the Susquehanna River, and moved around, to green swirling pools and rushing fast water over gravel. It was really fun and we had a great time....

Can't wait to head down to the East Branch of the Delaware River soon, when we can go all day.

Hope you enjoy the pics of some of our past fish catches here at Hawk Circle over the past few years. Ice fishing, and fish from creeks and rivers from around here too. Good times, and amazing fish. Beautiful fish. Sweet water. Bright red oosier dogwood. Good people and even an eagle or two.


We didn't get any bites even, but that's why they call it fishing, not catching, right?

Anyway, it's interesting to think of how frustrated I would be if I lost any of my hand made bone hooks instead of the modern ones. I can imagine how native peoples would feel getting their hard made tackle lost in the branches, roots, grass and weeds in the rivers!

This last pic is one of me, about fifteen or sixteen, after going out on a boat in the Pacific, fishing for silver salmon or coho salmon.... It was a great day, spent with my dad, and I didn't even get seasick!


If you can get outside to go fishing, wander along a green water river, or track in fresh sandy silt, by all means, go! It will do wonders for your soul, and you will wonder why you even bother going in to work day after day.... Okay, I am just kidding about the last part, but isn't it fun to imagine hunting or fishing as your only job? Making your weapons, tackle, string, weights, arrows, etc?

Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

Sorry, I won't do that again!