Posts Tagged With: Woodcraft

Roughing It

We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it.  We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks – anywhere that we may be placed – with the necessity always present of being on time and up to our work; of providing for the dependent ones; of keeping up, catching up, or getting left.

So wrote George W. Sears – better known as Nessmuk – in his 1884 book Woodcraft. It has been in print ever since.

His words apply today just as they did over hundred years ago. We like to think we are better off than our ancestors in all ways, but clearly we are not. We still immerse ourselves in busyness and then complain we are exhausted and have no time. Nessmuk’s book was directed to such average folks – not the “man of millions” – in hopes they would find “at least once a year…a season of rest and relaxation” that they “well deserve.” He mentions those who succumbed to the “temptation to buy this or that bit of indispensable camp-kit.” If only he could see the outdoor industry now. He recommended we “go light; the lighter the better, so that the simplest material for health, comfort and enjoyment.” That’s something, I suppose, we can all consider in all parts of our lives.

The wild still calls to people as it has for generations. We’re almost aliens on this world, yet are uniquely designed to enjoy what John Eldredge calls the “extravagant beauty” that is all around us. We can’t raise nature to be a god and put it over the lives of humankind, but it is certainly there for those who wish to find it. Nessmuk ends his book with these words:

Wherefore, let us be thankful that there are still thousands of cool, green nooks besides crystal springs, where the weary soul may hide for a time, away from debts, duns and deviltries…

Free yourself from being busy. Eden awaits.


Categories: Books, Nature | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Did People Survive Before the Internet?

Unfortunately, they weren’t reading this website. They were, however, just as capable of us of finding something to do. Kids weren’t wondering aimlessly without their tablets and phones. In fact, we aren’t all that far removed from the days when kids played outside all day and had to practically be forced back home for meals and bedtime. Nor did folks pull up the internet every time they needed to learn how to make, fix or craft something.  Someone at sometime taught them in person.

The books below embody some of that old time knowledge and know-how for outdoor projects, skills and survival. Many of these books have been in print, in one form another, for decades. They are for collectors of nostalgia, those who would like to get their hands dirty or people who want to learn their way through the woods without a GPS and survive without a grocery store.

Someday we may all wish we had taken the time to preserve the wisdom of those who came before us.


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