033 Foraging, Homesteading & Self Reliance with Jesscy Dean

This week I’m chatting with Jesscy Dean (aka The Wild Homesteader) about foraging, food preservation, sourcing your own food, and old skills like that in general! Food seems to be the theme of this conversation, and why not? It is THE fundamental skill set that!

While a lot of our conversation revolves around food, Jesscy has is involved in a number of other crafts and we talk about her felting, hide tanning, and general ethos of self reliance as well.

Resources Mentioned


thewildforager.life — Jesscy’s site

thewildhomesteader.com — Jesscy’s site

@thewildhomesteader — Jesscy’s Facebook

@thewildhomesteader — Jesscy’s Instagram

Aaron Kay on Instagram

FCR Podcast Episode 36

Forager Chef Venison Bacon Recipe

Books Mentioned

All That the Rain Promises and More by David Aurora

Putting Food By by Janet Greene, Ruth Hertzberg, and Beatrice Vaughan

Make Mead Like a Viking by Jereme Zimmerman

The Art of Natural Cheesemaking by David Asher

66 Square Feet by Marie Viljoen

Forage, Harvest, Feast by Marie Viljoen

032 The John C. Campbell Folk School

Dea Sasso, a Resident Artist from the John C. Cambell Folk School joins us to chat all about the school, it’s history, types of classes it offers, how it has changed her life, and much more! Our conversation centers around learning about the school for those who have never heard of it.

The folk school has been a fixture of the local area for almost a century, and in addition to providing hand-on learning to the nearby communities, it has also been actively involved in preserving and recording the heritage of the local area. I love seeing the robust craft ethos that is maintained there, and hope to be able to make a trip to take a class in the near future!

Resources Mentioned

John C. Campbell Folk School

Folk School Scholarships

The Southern Highlander and His Homeland by John C. Campbell

031 Getting Started with Natural Navigation with Tristan Gooley

Are you paying attention to the landscape around you? Can you explain the differences and changes you observe?

Although it may seem foreign to many of us in the modern world, people around the globe have navigated for centuries using the clues found on the natural landscape around them.

In this episode I chat with Tristan Gooley who has made it his work learning and teaching how to interpret the signs we see. Or indeed, the signs we don’t see, but are there if we learn to pay attention. We discuss good starting places for getting involved, why natural navigation (and nature awareness in general) opens you up to a deeper connection and fulfilling experience during your time outdoors, and how Tristan continues to practice and learn.

I also highly recommend grabbing a copy of Tristan’s books if this episode interests you! Even if you’re a seasoned outdoorsman I know you’ll still learn plenty from them!

Resources Mentioned


Tristan’s Tedx Talk

The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs by Tristan Gooley

The Natural Navigator: the Rediscovered Art of Letting Nature be Your Guide by Tristan Gooley

How to Read Water by Tristan Gooley

The Secret World of Weather by Tristan Gooley

The Natural Navigator — Facebook Page

@thenaturalnavigator — Instagram

@NaturalNav — Twitter

030 Making Charcoal with Rebecca Oaks

Charcoal….. So much more than BBQ fuel!

Charcoal fueled much of the technological advancement for centuries– from its use to smelt metal ore to its role as the major component of gunpowder, it has been the ingredient behind the scenes that has enabled much of the “advancement” that we have made. In this episode of the Folk Craft Revival podcast Rebecca Oaks (author of Making Charcoal and Biochar) joins us to discuss charcoal, it’s history and uses, traditional methods of making it, what it looks like from a small-scale charcoal burners perspective, and suggestions for making some at home.

I don’t know about you, but I intend to make some this summer…. Even if just for grilling.

Resources Mentioned

rebeccaoaks.co.uk — Rebecca’s website

Making Charcoal and Biochar by Rebecca Oaks

Coppicing and Coppice Crafts by Rebecca Oaks and Edward Mills

Greenwood Crafts by Edward Mills and Rebecca Oaks

Sylva by John Evelyn

The European Charcoal Burners Association

biocharretort.com — the Exeter Retort

Kon Tiki Kilns — Information about how they work and how you can make one yourself, you can also buy one here

029 Primitive Skills and Nature Connection with Sammy Kells


Sammy and I chat about his introduction to primitive/survival skills, what draws him to them, woodworking, traditional southern Appalachian crafts (banjos in particular), ocarinas and more.

For Sammy, nature connection is the primary reason behind practicing survival skills, and we chat a bit about that and some of the teaching he has been involved with and hopes to become more involved with in the future.

Resources Mentioned

Samuel Kells on Youtube

Boulder Outdoor Survival School

Avid 4 Adventure

Natural Leaders

Rhiannon Giddens‘ folk music — Take a listen!

Foxfire books edited by Eliot Wigginton — Fun books, I’d suggest taking a look through them at the very least. Especially if you live in the Appalachians. There is a whole collection of them, I just linked up the first one.

Outdoor Survival Skills by Larry Dean Olsen

The Nature Fix by Florence Williams

Folk Craft Revival Episode 28 : Blacksmithing, Apprenticeships and Learning from Masters

Folk Craft Revival Episode 11 : Native American Flutes