Earth Connection is a school of primitive skills and wilderness survival located in Northern Virginia and North Carolina (Raleigh/Durham area) that has been in existence for over a decade. Our hands-on classes are reasonably priced because we don't believe in big price tags for primitive skills. That's just not natural!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Primitive Trapping - New Class

EC held their first Primitive Trapping class this past weekend. We learned how to work with simple traps; like the basic wire/cordage snare, simple bent sapling trigger, Graves trigger, and Paiute deadfall. Each student was able to practice the selected primitive traps before we continued instruction that included local trapping regulations, animal behavior and habits, baiting, trapping safety, non-lethal practice trapping and trap descenting.

We taught as much information as we could, limited by the one day class, that would give the basic skills need to understand the art of trapping primitively. Although these skills are mainly for survival, there is much to learn from practicing trapping skills; like animal behavior and tacking.

Vickie sets her paiute deadfall

EC highly recommends obtaining a state trapping license to practice modern trapping for all the lessons we could not teach in our one day class.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Attention EC Locavores - Organic Gardening Class is Coming 18 May

Eating locally and the 100-mile diet are becoming familiar and vogue concepts in recent times. rising food prices and the burgeoning food shortages worldwide, mostly due to ill-advised political decision to support plant based fuel production and Weather induced crops loss (possibly attributed to global warming trends) leave many of us one trucker strike (probably from the fast rising cost of fuel) away from helplessness and hunger.

A locavore is someone who eats food grown or produced locally or within a certain radius such as 50, 100, or 150 miles (your own backyard). "Locavore" was coined by Jessica Prentice from San Francisco Bay Area on the occasion of World Environment Day 2005. The locavore movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers’ markets or even to produce their own food, with the argument that fresh, local products are more nutritious and taste better. Local grown food is an environmentally friendly means of obtaining food, since supermarkets that import their food use more fossil fuels and non-renewable resources.

The New Oxford American Dictionary chose locavore as its word of the year 2007. Some locavores draw inspiration from the 100-Mile Diet or from advocates of local eating like Barbara Kingsolver whose book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" chronicles her family's attempts to eat locally. Barbara is quoted, "...if every American citizen would eat just one local and organically-grown meal a week, the savings in fuel [alone] would amount to 1.1 million barrels of oil every week."

You are what you eat... but, what is at the end of your spork and how it got there is most important.

What's a family to do? I'll tell you what... take Earth Connection's organic gardening and wild edibles classes to find a partial solution to what might seem as a bleak future.

Besides the benefits to your dinner table there are added benefits to local sustainable growth including the encouragement and support of small local farmers. Learning wild edibles provides food for just the energy expended in finding and preparing, while planting your own small organic garden increases the size of your brain...

Yes, you have to learn a whole new skill, but it is good for you just like food from your organic garden or your backyard.

Ref: Local food. (2008, May 4). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:28, May 6, 2008, from

Monday, May 05, 2008

EC Primitive Trapping Class - 17 May

Trapping is an art. The most important thing an artist should know before applying his artful techniques is to see; in other words, the trapper must know the animal he/she intends to trap and I mean all of it's habits and traits in detail like you were the animal itself. This takes much study and observation, including tracking dirt time.

Tangently, and less important, you need to know how to create a trap that will capture your target animal.

Knowing where to put your trap to catch an animal is trapping.

Also, in this modern world of laws and regulations, knowing the local trapping laws that govern the art is important (like many primitive traps are illegal). In class we show non-lethal primitive traps so you can practice them without the jail time.

We advice students who are interested in learning how to trap primitively to obtain a state trapping license and practice the art of trapping with modern trapping techniques. There is not much difference from modern trapping and primitive trapping other than the style of trap.

In our class we teach only a few simple, but effective primitive traps for use in survival situations. The idea here is repetition learning three or four types of traps that can be modified to serve various purposes and situations. Learning the animal is a self-study homework assignment.

Knowing animal behavior and how to make and use one or two traps is so much better than knowing how to make all kinds of primitive traps and not knowing the animal.

See you in class

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Spring Edibles @ Abram's Creek Lodge and Campground

It's early afternoon on 3 May and the sun is waining behind some ominous clouds coming over the mountains that are west of Abram's Creek Lodge and Campground. The Wild Edibles class will go rain or shine and RAIN it did. We didn't get too wet. But we identified and tasted many wild plants that day.

There were even some very knowledgeable students this time who contributed greatly to the class... especially Doc? Thanks for the hints and the 318 mb CD reference on useful wild plants.

We covered the usual edibles but we were all there for the Ramps (wild leeks). We collected enough for an awesome dinner feeding nine or so students and lodge residents. The favorite was the Tasty Ramp and Potato Soup.

Tasty Ramp/Potato Soup
  • 4-6 slices of bacon (they make anything taste great, but in this case it was for the salty oil it leaves behind after cooking)
  • 4 cups of chopped ramps (mostly greens)
  • 4-5 cups diced potatoes (use your favorites... I like the Idahos)
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of HEAVY cream (Yeah!!)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Prep: In a large skillet, dutch oven or deep pan, fry bacon until crispy; set aside. Add Ramps and potatoes; fry on medium-low heat until the ramps are tender. Sprinkle in the flour; stir until absorbed. Sir in Chicken broth; simmer until potatoes are tender. Stir in the cream and heat thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4-6.
Due to an unseasonable warm spring ramp season came early this year to Abram's Creek and we almost missed out. We were on the tail end of the harvest this year and they had already started to brown on the tips. This wild edible is one of the finest you will ever come across. Mountain people of the Southeast have honored these onion/garlic flavored plants for decades. They celebrate with festivals all around West Virginia. We just had our own small personal Ramp festival in the Abram's Creek kitchen.

EC will be conducting more classes at Abram's Creek in the future. They are growing into a thriving campground with so much to do and see. I recommend camping there.