Morning of April 8, 2016


Deep in the night I was woken by coyotes, and I realized it had been a week or better since I’d last heard them. They seemed farther away than usual, and I lifted head from pillow to better gauge the distance. Three-quarters of a mile, I decided, though it could just have easily been more. Or less. The dog slept at my side, not even stirring at the ruckus, and I was reminded of how much she’s aged, which in turn reminded me of a story I’m working on, about a large animal vet around these parts, a man nearing retirement after decades of veterinary service. He’s an institution, really, and the very first call I accompanied him on was to a small hill farm a ways south of here, where he put down the family’s beloved and tumor-riddled hound before crossing the road to the barn, where he spun the testicles off a year-old bull with a power drill. Then we left, dog dead in the pasture, bull dazed and confused (rightfully so, I’d say), balls going cold on the compost pile.

Then the coyotes stopped calling, and I stopped remembering things, and soon I was asleep again.


Lazymillcamptree 3

It is through immersive, hands on, participatory experiences in nature that connections to the wild are made deepest. Crafts are made to be used and not merely admired; wild foods are not a novelty, but rather the basis for nutritive meals; the forest isn’t simply a place to visit, but a vibrant eco-system in which we thrive and grow.

In this camp we will spend the first four days working on crafts and learning skills to take with us out into the woods for the three-day, three-night immersion period. We will create burden baskets out of willow and rawhide to carry our gear, as well as tree bark dishes and a cattail visor to protect our eyes from the sun. Other projects can include bow drill kits, plant fiber cordage, and wooden spoons, all from natural materials found in the surrounding forest.

The Details

Preparation Days: August 6th – 9th we’ll meet from 9am-3pm at our Lazy Mill Living Arts base camp. During these days our focus will be on readying crafts and foods that we will use out in the forest. This year the projects will be rawhide burden baskets, bark dishes, spoons and cattail visors. Throughout the day we will also play awareness games, cool off in the nearby stream, and work on camp skills.

Overnights: August 10th-12th students will get dropped at 9 am on Tuesday the 10th and be picked up at 3pm on Friday the 12th. For the overnights we will take the woods skills we’ve learned and crafts we’ve made with us out into the Steam Mill Brook Wildlife Management Area, where we’ll camp under lightweight tarp shelters, fish and forage for our meals, play nature games, explore the wilderness, tell stories, and laugh.

Please know that we always do our best to accommodate financial need; don’t hesitate to contact us at 802-533-2085 or info@lazymilllivingarts.com with questions. And please don’t let a lack of camping/outdoor gear stop you from signing up. We can help!








10 thoughts on “Stuff”

  1. I truly hope you’re still hosting these amazing sessions in a couple of years when my son is old enough to attend. I can’t imagine how much such an experience would do for him. In the meantime, I’m going to try to start saving up 🙂

  2. BEJEEZUS!!! …..the bull …it’s bollocks …the graphic description!!!:D:D:D ….your blog never fails one way or another:D:D:D

    That camp sounds PERFECT for that age group too …even if you get townies who are a bit bashful ( or sulky) at first I reckon they will end up having a great time….an experience to be remembered for sure … and maybe sow some ‘food for thought’ seeds …..my eldest would love it ….it’s ok tho Ben the US is too far away and expensive for us to get to THINK YOURSELF LUCKY you could have been faced with the Clampets from the industrial north of England ( Think Daphne from Frazier with motley Crewe in tow)….actually it could have been hilarious…the boys would probably have been fine it’s me that you would have been left thinking NEVER AGAIN!!!!:D:D:D

  3. We castrate bull calves with rubber bands before they are one month old. The bands are so tight that they cut off the blood supply and the testicle and scrotum fall off in a couple of weeks.

    The coyotes are about in the middle of their birthing season now. They are about two weeks ahead of us at the Las Animas County ranch, When they howl at night, I think that they sound like babies crying. The turkeys don’t like them and roost in a grove of old cottonwood trees down in the bottom of the canyon, well out of reach of the coyotes, but still within reach of a determined bobcat.

  4. I’m learning a hell of a lot about castrating bulls BEJEEZUS!!! ….whizz off their bollocks with a drill ….wrap a rubber band round till they drop off of their own accord …..are there any other methods I should know about??? …it would make one HELL of a watercooler topic at the office …I could just drop my knewly found knowledge into the conversation when I got bored of the chit chat:D:D:D

    1. We had some consultants from San Francisco to dinner about 20 years ago and one of them thought that a bowl of castrating bands were green Fruit-Loops cereal. It is pretty funny to recall her rolling them around in her hands and then throwing them back into the bowl when I told her what they were.

      The only times I’ve ever heard a bobcat make a sound was either a male caterwauling to attract a female for breeding purposes or when caught in a leg-hold trap.

      Turkeys are pretty quiet, but the cattle get noisy if they have new calves and there are any sort of predators around. Momma cows are as protective of their young as any other protective mother.

      1. Oh …it’s alright telling me that now as I set off to work after a sleepless night!
        And I thought you were going to say the Management Consultant ATE a bull band …..so I was pleasantly surprised:D:D:D
        I love Bens blog …it’s both horrific and beautiful in equal measure ….hmmmmm maybe like nature really

  5. And there was I …my imagination running riot …thinking I’m not surprised the turkeys aren’t too keen …I would be up there in the cottonwood tree’s with them …then blow me if I don’t see I only read PART of your reply and there’s the bloody bobcats to contend with as well!!!:D:D:D

  6. ….and I’m not surprised you can’t sleep at night …it must be pandemonium just now …Coyotes howling like babies, Turkeys gobbling, Bobcats miaowing ….and I dare say the Bulls make a bit of a racket after they’ve had their balls removed like that!!! Wouldn’t anyone?
    God …I bet I can’t sleep now either my imagination is in overdrive:D:D:D

  7. Late to the party but wanted to say those first two paragraphs are some of the best stuff by you I’ve read. You capture a lot, economically.
    Additionally, I guess I’ve been doing this long er than I thought , as my initial response to the drill castration was not falling off my chair sphincter contraction but, “I wonder what he had chucked in the drill to grab the onto the sack?”
    Keep up the good work.

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