Thursday, September 18, 2014

Video on Beekeeping

On my days off from the Gulf, my friends Bruce and Nancy welcome me into their home. Many times, there's an adventure in store.

I met a woman building her own home. I met a woman running a blueberry farm. I learned about the back roads into the 100 mile wilderness.

Today, I met a neighbor who does bees. Now, I'm not a fan of getting stung. Still, camera in hand, I said sure to the invitation, layered up with clothes and hopped in the car.

Half an hour later, I had the hood up on my jacket and was wearing the best hat, shown below.

After the area was well doused with a pleasant smelling smoke, they began disassembling the hive.

Bees would cling to the drawers being removed. She told me there were tens of thousands of bees in that hive. Being fall, the drones were being kicked out as useless after completing their task, and the worker bees, all females, were making honey.

The video on Beekeeping can be watched on youtube. The embedded version here sometimes crops the left side.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Its Getting Cold!

With a little more than 4 weeks to go living and working in the Gulf Hagas location, I'm having conflicting emotions.

Its fun seeing and meeting bundled up hikers coming through, shrieking because of the numbing cold water crossing, asking about the weather, admitting their excitement to get it done.

Its getting cold in these here hills, by golly, yeah!
I summited Kahtadin on August 14 after a 5 mile successful thru hike. Bound and determined not to freeze to death, I ended up reaching the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail during a heat alert.

Imagine that! Yes, it gets hot in August, and we looked forward to the cool crisp days of autumn. Well, they have arrived.

Packs are heavier, food bags more substantial, but the miles will come.

By the time I meet northbounders, they are 4 days from their goal. I did meet one southbounder this week.
"Sorta late, isn't it?" I asked cheerfully.
"Just seeing how far I can get," he replied. Before what, I wanted to ask, but didn't

Some leave the trail with an excuse in mind. The knees hurt, the feet hurt, the family needs you.

But really, you don't need to make anything up. Its cold, wet and muddy out there. Just say you're sick of it. Most people don't know why you went at all.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Survivalists for Real

This week I met a combat veteran thru hiking with her mom, on the Appalachian Trail. Her pack had five names across the back, three of which were friends lost in battle, two post war suicides. To learn more about her journey and 20 years in the service, check out her blog:Post War Hike Blog

As we sat eating lunch at the West Pleasant River Crossing, there on the AT, in the Gulf Hagas, I couldn't help but think what a survivor she was. Afghanistan, Iraq, training as the only woman in a unit in the desert, it must have taken some mental fortitude to keep going.

And that's what we see with all the various hikers coming through, from the oldest, and 80 year old man who celebrated his birthday on the trail, to the young girl hiking with her family. No matter what the gear, or the menu, its all about mindset, sometimes just taking one mountain at a time.

Saturday we had jets flying over for the festival in Greenville. I couldn't see the military aircraft because of the cloud cover, but  a great sense of gratitude came over me. I am glad to be an American. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Warning...A Tad of a Rant.

I recently shot and uploaded a 9 minute film detailing how I keep my base camp clean. So far, no mice have invaded my tent or food. I'm very pleased about this. But, it requires a diligent attitude.

I hope you enjoy this film Base Camp Basics  If you click on the link, you'll get the full screen version.

As I dwell here, off the grid, I noted many edible plants and abundance of water and wild animals. So, in addition to dried foods I hauled into this location, I eat wild plants and contemplate what little effort would be required to fish and trap in this hundred mile wilderness, deep in the north woods of Maine. Truly, this would be a paradise for the survivalist.

Some may ask why I take so much time to explain my routines and am so passionate about this minimalist, sustainable base camp.

Well, last summer I spent 6 days at a "survivalist retreat" where I'd hoped to help build a cabin and study plants, trapping etc.

Things didn't turn out as expected. I eventually left, disillusioned. Many friends have asked for the account and why I even stayed that long, after my initial assessment.

I do have my journal from that time, along with lots of footage and photos. Perhaps an account will be forthcoming.

I was told by a foreigner, another 'survivalist' that all base camps become filthy.


Ok, deep breath.
Not mine. I don't live in filth. Never could, never would.

Happy Trails.

Thanks for watching.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Calling All Survivalists for Real Production!

I just received this from James Holden. Please check it out and add your comments. 

Hi Carol!

This is James, the Casting Associate on the Survival Live project. We would greatly appreciate you posting about our show on your blog. Everything we have put out in text and image format is public information. I appreciate you double checking. I look forward to receiving applications from your fans. Here is a text only version. 


BBC Worldwide Productions and the network that brought you ‘Dual Survival’ and ‘Deadliest Catch’ are casting a unique, exciting, never before imagined survivalist series.

We are going big and looking for the best of the best — we are interested only in those who have the proven skills to last hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and week-to-week in an unforgiving, unpredictable, and untamed environment in one of the most remote parts of the world.

We are looking for a cast of individuals with varied backgrounds, from Boy Scouts to preppers, botanists to ex-military, medics, scientists, engineers, hunters and gatherers, and everything in between. You must be strong in character, quick thinking, highly competitive, methodical, resourceful and strategic.
This is not survival light!  The mental strength and physical ability to persevere in the remote wilds of an unfamiliar territory WILL BE REQUIRED. You will be tested in a 24/7 live and interactive TV format, where viewers will be able to track your progress—and your failures.  We are only interested in the real deal—casual weekend campers and reality show wannabes need not apply.   

We challenge you to survive 42 days in the wild, relying on nothing but your skills, your smarts, and your will to survive.

Copy/Paste to Apply!


James Holden

"The way to find a needle in a haystack is to sit down."
- Beryl Markham, West with the Night

478.973.4331 |

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Warning-Opening Email Constitutes Signature

I've posted before about my dispute over a fraudulent charge  concerning shipping my car from Alaska
I thought American Auto Transport would actually do something. No, the port is the place to go, directly. Wrightway at 101 Whitney, in Anchorage, is the company you want to deal with.

In spite of canceling American Auto Transport's services, the fact they sent me an email demanding a signature, and it opened on my computer, American Express said that verified my consent to the ridiculous charge of $200 for what a phone call. I never signed a thing!

As you may imagine, after an exhausting eight months trying to present my side of the case, the manager finally told me that on a certain date, the email opened on my computer, never mind the fact it may have even opened when I checked my spam. This, according to American Express' manger, constituted a signature.


Never never never open an email from any company, even if it doesn't have an attachment. 

Bottom line, I cut up my American Express credit card, canceled my 12 year relationship with them and will try to always shop local and use cash. They no longer protect me from fraud, I no longer use them.

Master Card, Visa, Discover....are you listening? I'm yours now.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Awesome Survival Plant

This plant, the bunchberry, of the Dogwood family, grows abundantly on the private island here in Maine. After researching it, I tasted the berries and leaves. As Samuel Thayer says in his book, Natures' Garden, A guide to Identifying, Harvesting and Preparing Edible Wild Plants, the berries are very mild. I can see using them, as he suggests, to cook a sauce, make jelly, or even utilize in a wild fruit salad. The only caveat, there is a tiny seed in each berry.
However, this isn't a problem if you cook and strain, or sieve like applesauce, a whole pot of berries.

Unfortunately, I did not see where Thayer details if the leaves are edible or inedible. I tasted one and found it quite mild as well and so arrived at a tentative conclusion that the leaf would make a great garden salad in a survival situation.

Further testing under survival conditions would include adding a few leaves, at intervals and wait for any adverse effects. 

In the interest of saving labor, and therefor calories, I try to harvest as much of the wild plant as possible, not just the leaves, or not just the berries, or not just the root.