Traditional Living, Self-Reliance & Emergency Preparedness

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Acorns

Acorn: Processing & Preparing the Forgotten Food

Acorn has long been a staple food for indigenous people all over North America and around the world, and is definitely worth the time it takes to make. (Which is not nearly as long as you think!)
When properly prepared, acorn tastes DELICIOUS, and is a highly nutritious and extremely versatile food that can be incorporated into a whole list of breads, baked goods, main dishes and deserts. High in protein, amino acids and healthy fats, acorn increases the nutrition and decreases the glycemic index of any food to which it is added; and we add it to almost everything!
In this workshop you'll learn to harvest the best acorns, how to dry, store and preserve them, the benefits of storing in vs. out of the shell, and most important, how to quickly and easily remove the bitter tannins right in your own kitchen with no special equipment and in very little time. You will discover how easy it is to process and prepare Acorn into incredibly nutritious and protein-rich flour which you will use to make a variety of tasty treats, including griddle cakes, dumplings, pizza/pie crusts, pasta, tortillas, crumbles, biscuits, cereal and our famous Acorn banana bread!
Acorn FalafelYou will also learn just how easy it is to incorporate Acorn into your everyday baking to increase both fiber and nutritional values, and deliver a nutty punch that can't be beat. Once you've tasted the results we know you'll agree that Acorn is definitely worth it!

September 17 $95 Great Meadows, NJ
$47 Deposit
     
Pay in Full

 

 

 

Putting Food By: Pickling, Canning, Fermentation, Storage & Preservation

In today's economy we are always looking for new and better ways to make our dollars go farther. "Putting food by" during the time when gardens are bursting at the seams or berry bushes are overflowing or meat lockers are stuffed full and friends are begging us to please take some of this extra bounty off their hands is the perfect time to dry, store, can and preserve your way to extending your food dollars, and increasing the quality of food you eat!
This workshop will teach you the many different ways — both with electricity and without — that you can preserve your food now for the coming months and seasons.
You'll learn everything from the most simple methods of drying, storage and using root cellars, to canning, pickling, jams & jellies, as well as the amazingly versatile art of fermentation (or favorite preservation method!), and many other ways of "putting food by" in all different forms. You will leave with a much broader understanding of the many ways that people, both past and present, have stored their food, extended their budget, and prepared for winter or leaner times, and with all the knowledge and experience to put these methods to work in your own kitchen.

August 4 $95 Great Meadows, NJ
$47 Deposit
     
Pay in Full

 

Salves

Medicinal Plant Preparations: Making Tinctures, Salves, Syrups & Lozenges

Plant medicines and herbal antibiotics have become more and more common as average folks are taking their health care back into their own hands. Concerns about side-effects, over-use, unnecessary perscribing, sky-rocketing costs and super-bugs have sales of medicinal tinctures, syrups and other plant medicines increasing every season. In this workshop you will learn how easy and inexpensive it is to make your own herbal tinctures, syrups, lozenges, oils, salves and more. You'll process many different parts of several safe and common plants as you prepare your own herbal medicines to take home with you.
You will begin your own herbal first aid kit and be prepared with options to help strengthen your immune system and assist your body to better use it's own resources, as well as natural options to combat both the symptoms and the underlying causes of many common bugs, including cold, flu, sore throat, cough and many other common ailments. You'll also learn where to find your materials and ingredients, both in nature and online, and discover just how easy and inexpensive it is to create your own Medicinal Plant Preparations.
(For more on exactly how and why medicinal plants work and plant identification, check out our Medicinal Plants: Herbal Antibiotics & Nature's Pharmacy workshop.)

›› CHECK THIS OUT!
The Photos:  Our Medicinal Plants workshop in Texas this past June was a great day of discovery and fun! Everyone left with the beginnings of their own "natural medicinals kit", and the knowledge to keep adding to it! Check out some of the photos to see for yourself.
Skill of the Month:  Our September '08 newsletter profiled one of the easiest (and tastiest) natural cold remedies around. Pine Needle Tea is super-high in vitamin C and the expectorant and decongestant qualities can be very helpful when fighting a cough and cold. See these step-by-step instructions to try it for yourself.

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

Natural Dyes

Natural Plant Dyes

Goldenrod, Red Osier Dogwood, Osage Orange, Black Walnut, Indigo, Cochineal... The art and alchemy of using plants and other natural materials to dye fibers is both simple and fun! In this workshop you will process a variety of plants and use them to produce beautiful dyes in a multitude of vibrant colors. While dying wool is the most common use of natural dyes, you will also learn the additional steps and added secrets to using natural dyes on plant-based fibers like cotton and linen, with spectacular and beautiful results! You will learn how tannins may be used to increase the color-fast qualities of your dyes, and how to add naturally-sourced mordants (no heavy metals or difficult to obtain ingredients) to create beautiful variations in color from the same dye material. No dangerous chemicals, no heavy metals, safe and easy to do in your kitchen, natural plant dyes allow you to create the exact color you want and get those creative juices flowing!
›› Great for Holiday Gift-giving!

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

 

Natural Dyes

NEW! Making Dye from Black Walnuts

Dyes from natural plant materials can make beautiful colors, and Black Walnuts make some of the most beautiful of all. Using crushed black walnuts in a simmer dye make a beautiful dark brown dye that is color fast, light fast and wash fast, and will last and last and last. Easy to make at home in your own kitchen, dye from black walnuts can be used on all sorts of materials, including clothing, bone, buckskin, and much more. Join us for this evening workhops to see just how simple Making Dye from Black Walnuts can be! (7 - 9:30 p.m.)

February 10 $35 Great Meadows, NJ
$35 Payment in Full

 

 

Soap

Soap Making

With all the additives, chemicals and allergies that plague our world today, natural soaps have begun popping up in more and more mainstream stores. But why pay a premium to have a soap that contains ingredients you can pronounce when you can make your own? Creamy soap with lots of lather that will leave your skin soft, smooth and never dry is easy to make right in your own kitchen.
In this workshop you will make both cold- and hot-process soaps, using all-natural, all-vegetable ingredients. You will also learn how to incorporate essential oils and natural botanicals that will allow you to personalize your soaps, based on your own preferences or allergies, how to fix any batches that don't work out exactly how you wanted. You'll take your hot-process soap home with you, your cold-process soap will be mailed to you once it is free from the mold.
Great for holiday gift-giving!

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

Primitive Earth Kiln

››NEW! Constructing a Primitive Backyard Kiln

As anyone who has been to the Primitive Pottery workshop knows, we usually fire our pots in a campfire, not a pit or a kiln. But primitive, open fire, firing techniques can only get so hot, limiting what can be done with clays and colors and glazes, so it's time to build our brand new Primitive Backyard Kiln!
Eddie has been experimenting with primitive kiln designs since the mid-90's and has constructed several different sizes and styles, all made with locally-sourced materials of mud, bricks and straw. The kiln we will be building in this workshop is a perfect "backyard" size that will be idea for firing one large or two small pots at a time. One of the beautiful things about this design is that it can be scaled up to fire more pots, if you want to make a larger kiln in your own backyard at home.
You will spend the day working hands-on through the entire kiln-building process so that you will be able to re-create this same, easy-to-use design at home.
This is a ONE-TIME-ONLY workshop, so we hope you can attend!

May 19 $95 Great Meadows, NJ
$47 Deposit
     
Pay in Full

 

NEW! Healthier Corn: Making Hominy at Home
(Special Guest Instructor, Jorga Brana)

Corn is one of our favorite foods, and in-season, same-day, straight from the farm corn is one of the most wonderful things about summer! Many people think that corn is not digestible, so don't bother with it as a vegetable. But this is not true! Corn is a valuable source of insoluble fiber, as well as Vitamins B & C, magnesium and potasium. So why do we call this workhop "Healthier" Corn? Because by turning corn into hominy we make corn even BETTER for you! Hominy makes corn even healthier by making the normally trapped niacin available to your body, and hominy, being made from field corn, is also lower in sugar and higher in fiber than the normal canned or frozen sweet corn; two other healthy advantages!
A delicious and versatile food, Hominy can be eaten as is, canned for later, or dried for long-term preservation. Once hominy has been dried it can be fine-ground into masa (for making your own tortillas) or coarse-ground for making your own grits. During this evening workshop, co-taught by our good friend and special Guest Instructor, Jorge Brana, you will learn how to make delicious and healthy hominy in your own kitchen! 7:00 - 9:30 p.m.

March 3 $35 Great Meadows, NJ
$35 Payment in Full

 

Powerful Probiotics: Making Kimchi and Other Live-Culture Foods at Home
(Special Guest Instructor, Jorga Brana)

Not all bacteria are bad. In fact, MOST bacteria are vitally important to our heath and well-being! Good bacteria take up a lot of the space on our skin and in our bodies, especially in our guts. Without it, we become sick, often requiring the use of antibiotics, which then kill off the small amount of good gut bacteria that may remain. Probiotics can help to restore this imbalance, but the helpful ones are EXPENSIVE! and often don't contain as many (or any) of the healthy bacteria strains listed on the bottle.
It doesn't have to be that way! You can make your own healthy, live-probiotic foods at home. During this evening workshop, taught by our good friend and special Guest Instructor, Jorge Brana, you will learn how to make Jorge's own delicious Kimchi, as well as other types of live-culture foods. Both Kimchi and our own "Who Shot John" are well-loved and highly requested during workshop lunches, and now is your chance to learn to make you own, quickly and easily, in your own kitchen! 7:00 - 9:30 p.m.

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

Felted Soap Bars

Used long before loofahs, shower poufs and even wash cloths, felted soap is a great way to extend the life of your soap bar and still get that great exfoliating scrub. Quck and simple to make, felted soap bars can be done easily in your own kitchen. You'll choose one of our wonderful smelling, all-natural Practical Primitive soaps, and each bar can be individualized with favorite colors, designs, even initials. Perfect for everyday use, they also make great Holiday gifts and fun stocking stuffers! 7:00 - 9:30 p.m.

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

 

Felting projects

Felt Making: Learning to Wet Felt

Hats, shoes, rugs, placemats, clothing, shelter, decorative objects… All of these items and many more can be made using the ancient art of Felt Making. "Wet Felting" is the process of binding fibers together with water, heat and soap — a simple and extremely effective way in which to create strong, usable material for a multitude of purposes.
In this workshop you'll go through the entire felting process, make pre-felts to incorporate into your design, then you'll "felt and "full" your entire project to take home with you. You will also learn how "needle felting" can be used to fix or mend wet felted pieces, as well as to create entirely new projects. Your beautiful felted bag will be strong, durable and a real show piece!
(This workshop, or similar wet felting experience, is required prior to taking either our 3-D felting or Felted Footwear workshops.)

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

Felted hats and mittens

 

››NEW!  Seamless 3-D Felting: Making Hats & Mittens

One of the great things about felt is that it can be molded, felted and fulled into any shape you desire, to create whatever item you wish, all in once piece! Hats, mittens, bags, shoes almost anything you need can be felted in its finished shape, with no seams or sewing required!
This type of seamless, 3-D felting will be the focus of this workshop, where you will make either a custom-fitted hat or a pair of perfectly-sized mittens that will keep you warm and toasty all winter long!

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

 

 

Felting projects

Felted Footwear: Boots & Slippers

For those of you with some previous experience with the Wet Felting process, this workshop will take your ability to create felted clothing to a whole new level!
Felted insoles and removable felt liners have long been standard in shoes and heavy winter boots, but your felted boots or slippers will go a step above and beyond these common pieces of felted footwear.
Your pair of "3-D" felted boots or slippers will be perfectly form fitted to YOUR foot, and made from a single piece of felt — no sewing or seams anywhere! Warm, comfortable and perfectly fitted, the final step will be adding rubberized soles to keep your new slippers protected and provide traction on all surfaces.

Please Note: You must have prior experience with the Wet Felt process to attend this workshop. This is a project-based workshop and we will not be covering the basics of how felting works. To learn wet felt, please join us for our Felt Making: Learning to Wet Felt workshop on December 6!

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

Possibles Bag

Possibles Bags

"What's in the bag?" Easy question to answer in this workshop, because anything is Possible!
Possibles Bags go back hundreds of years and are a time-honored wilderness tradition. In this workshop you'll make your own bag out of tough and durable bison hide. Hand-sewn and decorated, you'll take home your own beautiful and hand-made Possibles Bag

Pattern, tools and equipment are all provided. Bison hide leather and all other supplies are included in the price of this workshop.

February 4 $135 Great Meadows, NJ
       

 

Moccasins

Moccasin Making

Moccasins are a traditional Native American footwear and anyone who has worn them will understand why they are still so popular today. In this workshop you will make your own pair of custom-fitted moccasins from American Bison hide — tough enough to take some real wear and tear, but soft & supple enough to feel the earth through your feet. The Salish side-seam moccasin can be made in iether the high-top or ankle-height style, and to keep your moccasins wearable even longer, you will have the option to add an extra layer of rubberized protection to the sole.
Pattern, tools and equipment are all provided. Bison hide leather and all other supplies are included in the price of this workshop.

February 26 $135 Great Meadows, NJ
$67 Deposit
     
Pay in Full

 

Fiber Sandals

 

Making Fiber Sandals

Taking care of your feet is of paramount importance in a survival situation, and these quick and easy sandals can be made from an abundance of different materials found in the wild. During this evening workshop you will make your own custom fit sandal with your choice of way to attach it onto your foot.

Aside from being used as a simple sandal, this easy-to-make footwear can also be worn over top of a moccasin to keep the sole from wearing out so quickly, add some extra traction, or to keep it from getting wet in the rain or snow. Join us for this evening workshop to learn to make your own woven fiber sandals, and keep your feet forever safe and dry! (7 - 9:30 p.m.)

February 17 $35 Great Meadows, NJ
$35 Payment in Full

 

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Preparing for Emergencies: House Kits, "GO" Bags, and Being Ready when the Lights Go Out

Emergency Preparedness Kits

There is no excuse for being unprepared in an emergency situation, whatever it may be. The ability to move quickly and easily, knowing that everything you need is ready to be picked up on a moment's notice, can make all the difference. Self-reliance is about knowing that you are prepared for virtually any type of emergency, and while a thorough knowledge of survival strategies is indispensable, a well-prepared emergency kit at home, work and in the car can make the unexpected far less dangerous, and increase your odds of safety and survival exponentially.
GO Bag — Bug-out Bag — GOOD Bag (Get Out Of Dodge) — Emergency Survival Kit — Whatever you choose to call it, this indespensible equipment is something that EVERYONE should have. Along with our fully stocked In-home Emergency Kit, we each have our own Bug-out Bags that GO everywhere we do, and so should you and every member of your family (including pets!)
This workshop will teach you how to put together your own House Kit that will prepare you & your family to Shelter-in-Place for a week or longer during an emergency situation, or can be picked up and packed without fuss or muss should an evacuation become necessary.
We will also go through other important emergency kits to have prepared, of which the GO Bag is the main portable module. You will learn what to put in your kits, how to use each item in various survival and emergency scenarios, and methods of packing your emergency supplies that will keep the items in a safe and useable condition over the long term.
While the odds of having to use your House Kit and GO Bag are (hopefully!) slim, never forget the old saying: "Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail."

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

The "GO" Bag Practicum Weekend -- Putting Your "Bug-Out" Bag to Use

GO Bag

So you've pulled together your Emergency supplies and made up your GO Bag — Do you know how to use it??? The time to discover if your kit really provides for your needs is BEFORE you need it! And this weekend is a perfect time find that out.
You will arrive Saturday morning with your GO Bag as complete as you feel it needs to be for a weekend "Bug Out" scenario. Each participant will present their kit for review of what they carry and why, after which we will discuss the good, the bad and the ugly; the positives and negatives of each kit, where each one excels, makes the grade, or falls short, as well as specific suggestions on how to make improvements.
But this is not just a "show and tell" weekend! Once we've been through everyone's bags you will be sent out on to the landscape with a series of tasks to perform, using only the equipment you are carrying.
You will stay outside overnight in your improvised shelter and have an opportunity to work the items in your kit to discover how they really work for you. Eddie & Julie will be there to answer your questions, offer suggestions and help you to use unfamiliar items in order to make the best of your bug-out experience.
Sunday afternoon we will debrief, so that we can all share in each others experiences of what you will be keeping, changing, modifying or just plain throwing out of your GO Bag.
It is our goal that this will be a true practicum weekend for you — the opportunity to put into practice that which you have previously known only in theory. So grab your Bug-Out Bag and get ready to give it a GO!

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

Improvised First Aid

Backwoods Hygiene & Improvised First Aid

Good hygiene is even more important when you are out in the woods than it is when you are at home and the importance of proper sanitation in a backwoods or survival situation can not be overstated — more people become sick from a "casual" attitude toward hygiene and sanitation than from almost anything else!
This new workshop will teach you how and where to dig a latrine, ways to keep your perishables safe, plants that can be used as soaps and several other simple rules that will help you keep your food, your camp and your self in a state of safe cleanliness.
But what if you're out in the back country and something DOES go wrong? Learn how to improvise bandages, deal with cuts and wounds using some "must-know" medicinal plants, and amazing alternative uses for common bathroom items that should always be in your backpack or GO Bag.
NOTE: The improvised first aid techniques taught in this workshop have been used and proven effective by our good friend Mark Wright throughout his 20 year career as an Independant Duty Corpsman with the US Navy. As with all of our workshops, we only teach what we KNOW!

›› CHECK THIS OUT!
The Photos:  See the pictures that we took during this workshop at our Texas location in June '09

July 9 $95 Great Meadows, NJ
$47 Deposit
     
Pay in Full

 

Building a Reed Boat

Building a Reed Boat

In this workshop we will construct a simple boat using commonly available reeds that are easy to find in any coastal environment. Begining with the freshly harvested materials, the group will work together to make a full-sized reed boat approximately 12-15 feet in length.
You will be a part of the entire boat-building process, and will also learn variations on the building style that originated in several different parts of the world.
At the end of the day we will head to the coast, when you will have the opportunity to climb aboard the newly finished vessel and test the day's handiwork for yourself!

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

River Cane Candle

 

Out of the Darkness: Primitive Candles, Lamps & Illumination

The ability to create their own light is one of the greatest unsung advances of our ancient ancestors. Without artificial illumination the winter nights were VERY long indeed, and many necessary tasks went undone. No baskets made, no nets mended, no pottery formed, no cordage processed… just sitting and waiting until the sun rose again.
There are many ways to bring in light and break out of the darkness, and in this workshop you will learn how to make a variety primitive lamps, torches, candles and other forms of illumination from all different natural materials. You'll make candles from beeswax, render fat to make lamp oil, discover what you can use for wicks, as well as which materials will last the longest, produce the brightest flames, and the least smoke. Never worry about a blackout again!

January 14 $95 Great Meadows, NJ
$47 Deposit
     
Pay in Full

 

 


Hard Tack Trail Bread Making Your Own Shelf Stable Foods & MREs

You've got your GO Bag, your Hunting pack, your Backpack for hiking and biking, your emergency stashes in your house, office and car, but what do you do about food? Forget expensive MREs and packaged bags of dehydrated food filled with chemicals. Healthy, nutrient-dense, and tasty food that won't go bad, get stale or cost a fortune can be created by you in your own kitchen.
Instant rice, powdered eggs, beef bullion, potato flakes... all these and more can be made by you at home, where YOU can control the content, quality, salt and flavor. You'll learn to create your own dehydrated foods that contain all of the nutrient content of the originals, but are lighter, smaller and shelf stable. You will discover just how easy and inexpensive it can be to create many different kinds of shelf-stable foods that are both perfect for your emergency stashes and your home pantry, or to sustain you on the trail, in your tree stand, or during a late night in the office.
In this workshop you will also learn about the wonders of old fashioned trail bread; Hard Tack has been around in one form or another since man could grind flour and has sustained travelers on journeys around the world and back again. But why stop there? You will move on to making different versions of our popular Paleo Power Bars, and create your very own Pocket MREs. These unique Practical Primitive inventions are not only nutritious, delicious and shelf stable for many years, but are also compact, easily transportable and bug & rodent proof, so they can be kept anywhere without fear of attracting pests or of you returning to find your food stash nibbled on or carried off by unwelcome furry friends.
Join us for this one-day workshop to discover just how easy and inexpensive creating your own Shelf-stable foods can be!

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

Making Raspberry Jam

Making Jams, Jellies & Preserves

One of our FAVORITE times of year! Jams & jellies are a wonderful way to preserve both the flavor and memory of summer throughout the rest of the year. Scheduled during peak berry season, we will use both fresh and frozen berries to make jams and jellies, and other available in-season fruits to make canned preserves of all sorts. We will cover both "hot process" and freezer jams, the role of pectin and when you can do without, sugar-free and natural sweetner options, and how to choose which is the best option for your fruits.
Jam, jellies and preserves are easy to make, DELICIOUS to eat and make a wonderful and welcome gift any time of the year. Making them is one of the things we love the most, and we look forward to sharing that passion (and the "fruits" of our day) with you!

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

NEW! Blacksmithing Basics

You'll get hands-on in this workshop by forging the two most important tools you need in the woods; a knife and an axe-head. You'll learn all the basics of blacksmithing, including how to build a simple backyard forge, how choose, manipulate and shape metal and how to temper metal based on the needs of the piece you are making. You will also finish and sharpen your pieces and attach handles so they are ready to use when you take them home!
Guest Instructor, Tom McDonald, has been forging and selling knives, tomahawks and other metal pieces for decades, and even made the knife Eddie carries in his Possibles bag. Based in Ohio, Tom is looking forward to coming back to New Jersey to offer this exciting new workshop!
All tools and materials are provided, and you will take your finished pieces home with you.

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

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