Year Course Living by Nature 2021 WEEK
Living by Nature prides itself on delivering courses our Instructors wished they could have done themselves….had they existed! But they didn’t, and so we pooled our expertise, international experience, passion, and specialists’ skills and created the Year Course. The Year Course has been, and remains, our most popular course. It consists of a whole year of immersing yourself in ancient knowledge, practical Nature skills, forgotten hand crafts, time-told legends, tried and tested survival skills, ancestral wisdom and in-depth Nature immersion. For 11 months you will be able to immerse yourself fully into the teachings of traditional wilderness living-skills and bushcraft. Every month you’ll receive three full-packed days of practical and mental tuition in one of our wilderness woodland locations. During the whole of the year, you’ll experience all the weather and seasons. This makes everything you learn ‘real’ and applicable. Imagine 33 days of complete immersion in everything you want to know about life in and with Nature! In addition, there is a focussed craft week where you can choose to master a specialist subject. And finally, to round off this amazing year, a two-week expedition into the wilderness! All together there are 51 days in Nature filled with lessons, new skills and discovery. Are you taking on our adventure?
You will receive a complete package of skills and knowledge which contains really everything! You’ll get to know Nature during all seasons and learn to work with different kinds of tools. You will learn about fire, pottery, tinder, wood, trees, glue, leather tanning, food, animal tracks and much more. Although learning the skills is one thing, you will also naturally grow to be part of a ‘tribe’ with your fellow students. In the evenings we often continue working on our projects while sitting around the campfire. This is the time your Instructor might tell a traditional story or discuss mental and philosophical aspects of survival and traditional life. This is wisdom and knowledge that is often overlooked and forgotten. And finally, when all is made, learned and done, you are invited to go on a two weeklong ‘back-in-time expedition’ in which all the skills and hand-made items are going to be used for real. This is the method we use. It is a combination of bushcraft, survival, primitive techniques and our own philosophy. It enables you to stay in Nature for longer periods of time.
Our instructors have years of experience of ‘living by nature’. We are convinced that in order to teach other people something, your own knowledge and skills must be much higher than the level at which you teach. After completing your Year Course you will have so much knowledge and experience that “Living by Nature” will be in your blood also, and you will have surpassed the ‘basic skills’ by far.
For many of the subjects we are going to cover, more is needed than just hearing the theory and doing something once. Every month you will be asked to complete some homework, either to finish a project that we have started, or to prepare something for the following weekend. It takes a lot of training and practice to really master the skills. You have to invest time, and when you do, it infuses your life with self-confidence, and the freedom to call all of Nature your home. Life in Nature requires experience. Practice makes art. That is why this course takes a year; to deeply imbue and consolidate your skills and knowledge.
Are you now curious about what the training entails? Below is a list of skills and activities pertaining to specific weekends. The list is basic. You will be taught many additional aspects, particularly concerning ancestral knowledge, traditional ways of ‘being’, in-depth philosophies and ways of ‘connecting’ to Nature. We call these ‘the mental tools’. At Living by Nature, we believe that true Nature skills need to be embraced with your hands as well as in your mind.
The Fundamentals; the first two months lay the foundation.
You will learn, practice, make and do….
- Tools: knife, saw, crook knife
- Tools maintenance and sharpening
- Tool safety and basic carving techniques
- Carving project
- Natural First Aid
- How to sleep outdoors in the cold
- Fire, natural tinder, selecting firewood.
- Ancient fire.
- Fire etiquette and fire lays
- Fire by Friction; the bow drill
- Natural shelters and making beds
- Roe deer; skinning and deboning
- Making jerky
- Baking bread on the campfire
- Using all parts of a deer; tendons, bones, hides and hooves
- Useful knots and tarp set-ups
- How to find and purify water
- Coping with food deprivation
Deepening the Knowledge; months 3 + 4
- Fish and fishing
- Passive and active fishing methods
- Making a net
- Carving your own netting needle
- Being un-observed and seeing in Nature
- Stalking and walking silently
- Tree identification, use and understanding
- Natural glue and dry distillation
- Willow wand fish trap weaving
- Tanning buckskin for clothing. Part 1
- Preparing and storing deer skins
- Seeing the forest in a ‘bushcraft’ way.
Storage, preserving and carrying things; months 5 + 6
- Construct a travel basket
- Roots for binding and sewing
- Cordage from natural plants and bark
- Make an Ojibway bark container
- Mental tools
- Alone in Nature
- Personal strength and creative being
- Making and firing clay pots
- Preserving food
- Making pemmican
- Creating light with fat lamps
- Natural wicks
- The wonder of wool
- Felt your own boots
- How to felt your blanket
Animals, Fish, Behaviour, Tracking; month 7 + 8
- Making a bone barb fishing hook
- Learning where, what and how to fish
- Horsehair fishing lines
- Tracking and foot morphology
- Working with bone and antlers
- Fish spear from bone
- Plants for medicinal and edible use
- Fasting weekend
- Dawn and night-time trailing
- Ancient ritual
- Past-time crafts
- Discovering who you are
- Preparing for Expedition
Advanced Tanning and Carving; month 9 + 10
- In depth lessons on tanning
- Bark Tanning
- Fish skin leather.
- Buckskin for clothing Part 2
- Building a ‘smoker’.
- Smoking tanned hides
- Raw hide
- Tanning bladders for water containers
- Learning to sew leather
- Saami pouch
- Water purification
- Bone needles
- Axe use and practice
- Axe safety
- Felling and limbing trees techniques
- Carving a ‘kuksa’ bowl
Craft week; 4 day-long specialist immersion in a topic of your choice. Choose from;
- Bow building and arrow making
- Mukluks boots; buckskin outer boots to cover felted boots
- Leister spear and other harpoons
- Tanning buckskin
- Traditional Saami Pouch
Final weekend; Flint knapping with guest Instructor Morton Kutchera
- Stone tools and their effectiveness
- Suitable flint and flint alternatives
- Tools to make tools
- Making a flint stone tool kit
- Finding the ‘core’
- Knapping blades
- Pressure flaking
- Percussion flaking
- Using flint tools on bone
- Make bone gorge hooks using flint tools
- Taking lives for food
- Trapping and snaring
- Various traps and trigger mechanisms
- Final assessment
The Expedition is optional, but an integral, and much looked forward to, part of the Course. For the Expedition we will take you deep into the beauty and bounty of the Swedish Wilderness. The Expedition offers you a chance to travel back in time with your ‘Tribe’ and really experience what life was like as a Hunter/Gatherer. You will live as your ancestors did, hunting and gathering, fishing, making shelter, picking berries and mushrooms, making and keeping fire. You can only take, wear and use the things you have made yourself. In your beautiful handmade clothing, with your travel basket on your back, and your flint knife by your side, you will gather all you need from Nature during these next few weeks. It is an experience with depth and reality like no other. The whole Year Course leads in preparation towards this moment and you are well prepared for this totally unique and challenging opportunity to live as close to Nature as possible!
The expedition typically takes place in the month of September after finishing the training. This will give everyone time to finish their clothing, tools, pots, baskets and other materials.