Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Here are a few pictures of an 1820 style cabin used in the Maine north woods during the logging days. it is/ was made entirely from wood with only an Ax and a Froe.
Supposedly 14 men lived in one of these.
This one is at the Patton, Maine Logging Museum.
Tomahawk - scouts out!
Monday, August 29, 2011
Carrying Around The Hulling Machine
just thought you all might like this!
Tomahawk - scouts out!
THE KNIGHT OF THE SPIKE-SOLE BOOTS
By Holman F. Day, 1902
They had told me to ‘ware of the “Hulling Machine,”
But a tenderfoot is a fool!
Though the man that’s new to a birch canoe
Believes that he knows, as a rule.
They had told me to carry a mile above
Where the broad dead water slips
Into fret and shoal to tumble and roll
In the welter of Schoodic rips;
But knowing it all, as a green man does.
And lazy, as green men are,
I hated to pack on my aching back
My duffle and gear so far.
So, as down the rapids there stretched a strip
With a most encouraging sheen,
I settled the blade of my paddle and made
For the head of the “Hulling Machine.”
It wasn’t because I hadn’t been warned
That I rode full tilt at Death-
It was simply the plan of an indolent man
To save his back and his breath.
For I reckoned I’d slice for the left-hand shore
When the roar of the falls drew near.
And I braced my knees and took my ease —
There was nothing to do but steer.
(There are many savage cataracts, slavering for prey,
‘Twixt Abol’jackamegus and the lower Brass- u-a,
But of all the yowling demons that are wicked and accurst,
The demon of the Hulling Plaice is ugliest and worst.)
Now the strip in that river like burnished steel
Looked comfortable and slow,
But my birch canoe went shooting through
Like an arrow out of a bow.
And the way was hedged by ledges that grinned
As they shredded the yeasty tide
And hissed and laughed at my racing craft
As it drove on its headlong ride.
I sagged on the paddle and drove it deep,
But it snapped like a pudding-stick,
Then I staked my soul on my steel-shod pole.
And the pole smashed just as quick.
There was nothing to do but to clutch the thwarts
And crouch in that birchen shell,
And grit my teeth as I viewed beneath
The boil of that watery hell.
I may have cursed — I don’t know now—
I may have prayed or wept,
But I yelled halloo to Connor’s crew
As past their camp I swept.
I yelled halloo and I waved adieu
With a braggart’s shamming mien.
Then over the edge of the foaming ledge
I dropped in the ” Hulling Machine.”
(A driver hates a coward as he hates diluted rye;
Stiff upper-lip for living, stiff backbone when you die!
They cheered me when I passed them;
they followed me with cheers,
That, as bracers for a dying man,
are better far than tears,)
The “Hulling Place” spits a spin of spume
Steaming from brink to brink,
And it seemed that my soul was cuffed in a bowl
Where a giant was mixing his drink.
And ’twas only by luck or freak or fate,
Or because I’m reserved to be hung,
That I found myself on a boulder shelf
Where I flattened and gasped and clung.
To left the devilment roared and boiled.
To right it boiled and roared;
On either side the furious tide
Denied all hope of ford.
So I clutched at the face of the dripping ledge
And crouched from the lashing rain,
While the thunderous sound of the tumult
ground Its iron into my brain.
I Stared at the sun as he blinked above
Through whorls of the rolling mists,
And I said good-by and prepared to die
As the current wrenched my wrists.
But just as I loosened my dragging clutch,
Out of the spume and fogs
A chap drove through — one o’ Connor’s crew —
Riding two hemlock logs.
He was holding his pick-pole couched at Death
As though it were lance in rest,
And his spike-sole boots, as firm as roots,
In the splintered bark were pressed.
If this be sacrilege, pardon me, pray;
But a robe such as angels wear
Seemed his old red shirt with its smears of dirt.
And a halo his mop of hair;
And never a knight in a tournament
Rode lists with a jauntier mien
Than he of the drive who came alive
Through the hell of the “Hulling Machine.”
He dragged me aboard with a giant swing.
And he guided the rushing raft
Serenely cool to the foam-flecked pool
Where the dimpling shallows laughed.
And he drawled as he poled to the nearest shore,
While I stuttered my gratitude
“I jest came through to show that crew
I’m a match for a sportsman dude.”
There are only two who have raced those falls
And by lucky chance were spared :
Myself dragged there in a fool’s despair
And he, the man who dared!
I make no boast, as you’ll understand,
And there’s never a boast from him;
And even his name is lost to fame —
I simply know ’twas “Jim.”
If Jim was a fool, as I hear you say
With a sneer beneath your breath,
So were knights of old who in tourneys bold
Lunged blithesomely down at Death.
And if I who was snatched from the jaws of hell
Am to name a knight to you.
Here’s the Knight of the Firs, of the Spike-Sole Spurs,
That man from Connor’s crew!
Sunday, August 28, 2011
In keeping with my North woods theme of late I want to share this excerpt from Ed Smith on what he calls the “Merry men of Maine”. I have met men like the ones Mr. Smith describes in many places all over the world. They are truly a breed apart from the average Joe, gear head and youtube commandos which are so common today.
Anyhoo, I hope you like it.
Tomahawk – Scouts Out!
“The Merry Men of Maine”
by Edmund Ware Smith – From the book “The One Eyed Poacher”
Even less fictitious are the merry men of Maine who's legends follow. These legends and these men are true, and alive, and known throughout the great land north of Katadin. No to be confused with Mary Ellen Chases characters of the Maine sea coast, these individuals – Robin Hoods of Katadin forest – are to the inland wilderness born.
They seldom see the Sea and do not care.
They cannot be pushed, led, wheeled, fooled, cajoled, driven, or profitably jailed. You take them as they are, or they will leave you alone, and you will never be lonelier. They are men of the forest, they smell of woodsmoke, fly dope, hard work, tall mountains and pine spills. They are so shamefully gentle and generous that they cover it up with a voice of violence and the hammer of Thor. They would rather be dead broke then to wear shoes or be thought rich. They have their own definition of wealth and it has little to do with money.
Given a junk of salt pork, some dry beans and flour, any of these men can live off the forest, the rivers, and the lakes. If now and again they come by a jug of Hernando's fiery dagger Rum, life offers no greater Mead, or fulfillment, and at such times their cup runneth over.
The loyalty of these merry men, each unto each, is composed of tensile strength. Their honesty except when speaking, is as sound as a ledge. They write their sonnets with the axe, and they eat meat by the rule of their rifles. They are enormous in physique, deed and escapade. They are great and cantankerous creatures, but rather than be called great they would perpetrate the deed which would land them with preferred reservations in the pokey, which to some is a second home.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
just thought you readers might like this.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
THE BLAZED TRAIL
by; Stewart Edward White
Excerpt Chapter 1;
When history has granted him the justice of perspective, we shall know the American pioneer as one of the most picturesque of her many figures. Resourceful, self – reliant, bold ; adapting himself with fluidity to diverse circumstances and conditions ; meeting with equal cheerfulness of confidence and completeness of capability both unknown dangers and the perils by which he has been educated ; seizing the useful in the lives of the beasts and men nearest him, and assimilating it with marvelous rapidity ; he presents to the world a picture of complete adequacy which it would be difficult to match in any other walk of life.
He is a strong man with a strong man's virtues and a strong man's vices. In him the passions are elemental, the dramas epic, for he lives in the age when men are close to nature, and draw from her their forces. He satisfies his needs direct from the earth. Stripped of all the towns can give him, he merely resorts to facile substitution. It becomes an affair of rawhide for leather, buckskin for cloth, venison for canned tomatoes. We feel that his steps are planted on solid earth, for civilizations may crumble without disturbing his magnificent self poise.
In him we perceive dimly his environment. He has something about him that other men do not possess – a frank clearness of the eye, a swing of the shoulder, a carriage of the hips, a tilt of the hat, an air of muscular well-being – which marks him as belonging to the advanced guard, weather he wears buckskin, makinaw, sombrero, or broadcloth. The woods are there the plains, the rivers. Snow is there, and the line of the prairie. Mountain peaks and still pine forest have impressed themselves subtly ; so that when we turn to admire his unconsciously graceful swing, we seem to hear the ax biting the pine, or the prospectors pic tapping the rock. And in his eye is the capability of quiet humor, which is just the quality that the surmounting of many difficulties give a man.
Like the nature he has fought until he understands, his disposition is at once terrible. Outside the subtleties of his calling, he sees only red. Relieved of the strenuousness of his occupation, he turns all the force of wonderful energies that have carried him far where other men would have halted, to channels in which a gentle current makes flood enough.
It is the mountain torrent and the canal. Instead of pleasures he seeks orgies. He runs to wild excesses of drinking, fighting and carousing – which would frighten most men to sobriety – with a happy, reckless spirit that carries him beyond the limits of even his extraordinary forces.
This is not the moment to judge him. And yet one cannot help admiring the magnificent picturesque spectacle of such energies running riot. The power is still in evidence, though beyond its proper application.
ight like this
The poem below written in 1979 about the “men of the river” or Loggers as there are more commonly know. This poem is about the men of the Allagash river wilderness ,specifically the cook. Ghost landing rock is an actual rock in the Allagash river and a “Wanigan boat” was what the cooks boat was called back in those days.
I would like to dedicate this poem to all those who handle the “grub” whether you work in a restaurant, field kitchen, chuck wagon, wilderness camp or your own kitchen at home. Cooks are know by many names like “Bull cook”, “Cookie”, “Chef”, “Spoon” etc. whatever the moniker these men and ladies are to me the most important of folks to have on a wilderness trek.
Folks like these wake early and have hot “Guides” coffee and sour dough biscuits or maybe bacon awaiting everyone as they roll out of their “soogans” - (Blankets). They whip up some grub for lunch and have a dinner on the go over the fire in the evening as soon as it is lit.
They plan menus and cook the best meals from what they have on hand in the wanigans, grub box , chuck wagon or on the pack mule. They stay up late and get up early , do all of the cooking and still do everything that everyone else does on an expedition, like taking care of their own equipment, hiking, riding horses or mules, poling a canoe or simply driving.
A cook can make or break a wilderness trek, when a “sport” gets way back in the woods and is a little depressed by all of the hard work required in wilderness travel or on an expedition an experienced, cook can drag them from the depths of their depression with a hardy meal of simple foods cooked with care and skill over an open fire or in a dutch oven.
So to all Outdoor, wilderness, Hunting camp, Army, and grill cooks I have met over the years this poem is dedicated to you.
See you on the trail!
Tomahawk – Scouts Out!
TOUGHER THAN A BOILED OWL
Ill tell you a story of way back when, the men of the river were manly men, they cut the timber and sluiced the spruce.
Their grub was beans and salt pork fat and pancakes as tough as an old felt hat, black strap molasses and biscuits too was what the cook fed to the rugged crew.
It was 1 PM by the cooks old watch when the wanigan boat struck Ghost landing rock, the pork was lost and the beans flew wide and flour was spread on the frothing tide.
The grub was gone and the progress slow, and they still had many miles to go, the cook just smiled because he knew exactly what he would feed the hungry crew.
He put an Owl in his big black pot and on top of that a sandstone rock, he boiled and boiled a whole half day until the sandstone rock melted away.
The nights were cold and the wind did howl and the men chewed away on the old boiled owl, and that is how they made their way down to the village and drew their pay.
The tail is still told of way back when, the men of the river were manly men, strong of back and strong of bowel, they dined for days on the old boiled owl.
By Warren Mondy of Castle Hill , Maine - 1979
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Tomahawks "book" is ready but I still need to make a cover for it. too many pics to choose from.. ill find one soon!
if interested you can view it on Lulu.com - I cant seem to load a "clickable link" but you can highlight this one and right click then open in a new tab.
This is a "Teaser Book" and Im still working on my main book called "Dining with the Emperor" should be done soon if I can drag my ass back to civilization long enough to get it done.
See you on the trail.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
Friday, August 19, 2011
Here are a few more pictures from the Jack Mountain Field school in Maine. The well pump is a bison design pump ( http://www.bisonpumps.com/ ) we had installed recently at the school. Im holding my favorite Snow and Nealley Axe in one picture. My Scout course student Sam is splitting a tree he felled to make bow blanks.
I have also included a few pictures of the big logs at the Ashland logging museum.
More to follow soon.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
Folks, I have been farting around for the past couple of weeks with putting some files into a book I will call “Scouts Out!”.
Scouts Out! isn't (in my opinion) a great book – hells bells, it probably isn't even a good book but it does contain 40 short chapters, with pictures in most, on various subjects like flint and steel & friction fires – to include Bamboo fire making, travel in the USA, working as a military contractor in Africa and the Middle east. There is a chapter on basic survival skills but, I do not really like to discuss Survival subjects because quite frankly – if you are in a survival situation YOU FUCKED UP!
This “Book” is more of a collection of what I like to call “Camp fire stories” and also includes the following;
Preface – written by me
Dedication – by me
Introduction – written by the “Wildcat Missionary”
Poem by Robert Service
chapter 1. Bamboo fire saw
ch 2. Agave needle and thread
ch 3. basic survival skills – to include 3 hand outs
ch 4. 1983 canoe trip
ch 5. Geronimo – about my first parachute jump in the army
ch 6. Tomahawk in Nairobi, Kenya and Darfur, Sudan
ch 7. Darfur Goat BBQ
ch 8. Dime whore – about being a military contractor in Qatar
ch 9. The Shemagh the good ol' Arab table cloth for your head
ch 10. Extreme Hunter
ch 11. Flint and steel fire making
ch 12. The last Apache scouts in the U.S. Army
ch 13. The uncoiled rope
ch 14. Old Butch – my old green river knife
ch 15. Bow and drill fire making
ch 16. Louis – 68 days of trekking
ch 17. Laplander stove
ch 18. Tomahawk camping in new Mexico
ch 19. The bus trip from hell – about Mexico
ch 20. Old come and get it – my veteran frying pan
ch 21. Hiking and mountain biking in the Huachucas
ch 22. Cargadores and tump lines in Guatemala
ch 23. 1987 Bike trip in New Mexico
ch 24. canteen cup stove
ch 25. Strange foods
ch 26. Mam's little adventure – about my lady in Thailand
ch 27. pictograph day hike in Arizona
ch 28. foraging on the road
ch 29. Deer sinew
ch 30. personal knives
ch 31. Asian knives – pictures
ch 32. bear in the ponderosa
ch 33. buffalo in New Mexico
ch 34. Nepal 2004
ch 35. Sri Lanka 2006
ch 37. Hitch Hiking in Southern Utah and Arizona
ch 38. Aeta Negrito Jungle trek – Philippines
ch 39. Banana flower – as food
ch 40. Pathfinders in the U.S. Army, Canada and the UK
About the Author – written by me
This book will be available on lulu.com in a few days if anyone is interested in buying it via paypal using a CC or Debit card.
Right now, I'm still in Maine at the jack Mountain base, my hope is to make enough money with selling this book and through donations, to pay back my “repatriation loan” to the state department ($1,235.38) so I can get my passport back and be able to travel to South American by my birthday in November(22nd). Weather I will or not remains to be seen.
As always, donations to the Tomahawk travel and adventure fund are greatly appreciated and will be put to good use. I have many more stories to share and will continue to collect them as time and miles go by, those will be in the next book.
See you on the Trail.
Tomahawk – Scouts Out!
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Folks, I have been getting a few emails from folks about doing personalized wilderness training or "Survival" training as some folks like to call it.
I am willing to travel to your location and train you and others in these skills. My rates are $300.00 a day for up to 3 people and $100.00 for each additional person. Also, I would require whom ever to supply me with a Ticket to your area. The fee is my current guides rates and far cheaper than those TV super stars charge. More over , Im probably the only outdoor educator offering to travel to YOU. That in its self saves people a lot of money on travel expenses etc.
If anyone is interested please send me a phone number and or Valid email address so I can get in touch with you. Ari L., I got your email but cannot respond to it via the address you provided.
Anyhoo, Im heading out to do some canoe poling on the river. drop me a line if interested.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Here are a few more pictures of the goings on here at the Jack Mountain field school in Maine. I was not able to go on the recent 45 mile 5 day canoe trip down the big machais and aroostook rivers. I have included a few pictures here of loading the canoes , wannigans and other gear.
I had to shuttle the car back from the drop off site in the Maine north woods. Since I was here by myself at the field school I finished writing my book “Scouts Out!” and will post a link to it for purchase on lulu.com and possibly amazon.
Also, while here at the field school I made 6 more gallons of wine , 3 from Molasses, and 3 from a birch root beer kit which I modified. So far they are looking good and I'm anxious to taste the “Birch wine” to see if it tastes any good. The birch extract I used came from a birch root beer kit called “Homebrew” , it was only 2 FL Ozs of birch extract but makes 4 gallons of drink so I think my wine might be pretty tasty.
My Fermentation experiments are going pretty well and the resulting wines are both tasty and refreshing. I have decided to give up drinking whiskey for the remainder of time I will be here in Maine. I will only imbibe my wine creations. I was considering changing my moniker from “Whisky Jack” to “Wino Jack” but it don't have the same ring to it. And besides, my Moniker has nothing to do with Alcohol – it is about the Canada Jays called locally “Whisky jacks”.
Right now I'm sitting around waiting for the others to get back from the canoe trip. I expect them late this afternoon or possibly tomorrow morning. Time will tell as always.
Once again, see you on the trail.
Tomahawk – Scouts Out!
Posted by pathfindertom at 7:55 AM