Class Schedule

~ 2023 SCHEDULE ~

2023 Earth Knack Courses, Classes and Programs

Independent Living Skills … More Important Now Than Ever

Hands-On, In-Person Instruction … More Important Now Than Ever

Lighthearted Positive Teachings … More Important Now Than Ever

Top Quality Instruction … Our Specialty Since 1990!

Intern Dates &  Focus Topics for 2023 

JUNE 5 – 30      JULY 1- 31     AUGUST  8 -24

High Altitude Food & Fruit Growing,  Horse & Buggy Transport,  Tipi Living, 

Natural Water Catchment , Plasters & Pigments, Home Butchering, Fire Making 

Traditional Hide Tanning, Preserving Meat & Eggs, Adobe Horno Baking 

Classes for 2023

MAY 18 – 23     Hide Tanning  instructed by Robin Blankenship

JUNE  16 – 20     Buffalo Bull Boat  with Ken Wee 

JUNE 23 – 25   Ancestral and Survival Fishing  with Patrick Monroney

JULY 7 – 10   Fibers Fantastic!  Felting – Spinning – Weaving – Dyes- and Leather Strap Braiding with Val Herenchak & Mike Foltmer 

JULY  15   Survival, Edible & Medicinal Rocky Mountain Plants with Cattail Bob Seebeck

JULY  21-24    Primitive Arrows with Ken Wee

JULY  28-31      AtlAtl and Darts with Ken Wee

AUG. 12- 13  Fire! Fiber! Flint! Survival Basics  with Ivan Lakish

SEPT 21-24    Homestead, Blacksmith & Butcher Tools     

Repair and Maintenance with Papa Dean Smith

Intern and Outdoor Living Immersion Details

You can choose from three time options. Stay for one, two, or all three time options.

JUNE 5 – 30      JULY 1- 31     AUGUST  8 -24 

Arrival is firmly the start date for each option. Minimum stay of two weeks if your schedule does not allow for staying the full time. 

Focus learning opportunities for the 2023 season are High Altitude Food & Fruit Growing, Horse and Buggy Transport, Tipi Living, Natural Water Catchment , Plasters and Pigments, Home Butchering,  Traditional Hide Tanning, Meat & Egg Preservation & Canning, Adobe Horno Baking, Fire Making 

You will participate in the focus learning opportunities above and  daily routine support chores here at  Earth Knack, such as helping keep the outdoor kitchen clean, helping maintain the soilets in great condition, helping with horse care chores, working on keeping firewood piles full, tending and watering garden areas, and hosting class students to their campsite on class arrival days. Our schedule for focus areas is Monday – Thursday 10am to 3pm, and support  chores every day before 10 am. Interns prepare their own breakfast and lunch and dinner is provided. We gather for communal dinner prep at 6pm each evening.

As you gather skills and familiarity with the tools and techniques of primitive skills, you will have access to the facilities to engage in your own primitive skills projects. Throughout the season, you may be exposed to many different skills and learning.

The Intern fee, which includes dinners, is $95 weekly. You can choose to participate in the Earth Knack courses available to students as well, for an additional special intern rate of $45 daily tuition for any course in which you participate.

To Apply: Please send me a brief essay:  Why I Want to Participate in the Earth Knack Intern and Outdoor Living Immersion  to by postal to  Robin at Earth Knack PO # 508 Crestone Colorado 81131     I will then contact you to arrange a more in depth conversation by phone to discuss the realities of being here, questions you might have about what to expect and your personal goals for learning.

Upon an agreement of participation, submit a registration form and your intern fee of $95 weekly (multiplied by the # of weeks you will participate).  

Print out or hand copy the registration page and send by postal to Robin at Earth Knack

PO # 508 Crestone Colorado 81131 or by email,  

Payment can be made by paypal or money order and is due 3 weeks before program start.

The Earth Knack camp is in the woods along the banks of pristine Cottonwood Creek. 

If you are staying overnight, you can set up your own tent, build a shelter or choose to stay in a tipi.  Use our fully equipped outdoor kitchen to prepare your meals.. Bring a personal cooler, Oils, spices, and teas provided, along with all the cooking pots, pans and eating dishes. There are gas stove tops ,adobe “horno” baking oven, solar ovens, dutch ovens and wood charcoal grills. Facilities include composting toilets and a lovely solar shower structure.

Class Descriptions and Schedules

Hide Tanning   5 days  May 18 – 23   $325   instructed by Robin Blankenship

Learn wet and dry scrape methods, hair on pelts and hides, rawhide preparation, traditional brain, bark and fat tan techniques, hide frame construction and hide glue preparations  

Buffalo Bull Boat Class  5 days  June 16 – 20   $325   with Ken Wee

Discussion on prepping a fresh skinned bison hide                                                    

Rehydrate a dried bison flint (hair on, fleshed and salted or not salted hide                     

Fleshed bison hide (dried flint or green)

Construction of jig to make frame for bullboat                                                                    

Prep rawhide lace from rawhide/discussion on how to make rawhide                              

Harvest green willow shoots from live plants                                                                  

Rawhide to cut into lashing lace

Build the bull boat frame                                                                                                      

Make paddle with seasoned lodgepole

Lash wet, pliable bison hide onto frame with elk and deer rawhide lashing                                                                                         

Build Buffalo bull boat paddles                                                                                                          

Rocks to Weigh down hide in water with rocks                                                                                               

Allow hides, rawhide to dry taut                                                                                               

Float finished bullboat in wide enough river, stream or pond                                           

About the instructor: Ken Wee; Primitive technologist, experimental archaeologist, historian and artist, specialist in primitive archery, atlatls, fire making, brain tanning. Owns Rocky Mountain School of Hard Knocks – est. 1984.  Has taught at Rabbit Stick, Winter Count, Rocky Mountain National Rendezvous, Rocky Mountain College, Earth Knack and Tesoro Cultural Center.

Ancestral and Survival Fishing  3 days  June 23 – 25  $195   with Patrick Monroney

 Three day intensive making nets, spears, and basket traps that have been used by many lineages on all continents for thousands of years to catch fish. Please note that this will not be guided fishing: rather an exploration into stream ecology and ancestral tool making. Modern survival fishing will be covered.  Any students wishing to fish after class will need to have a Colorado fishing license and follow all Colorado regulations.

About the Instructor:

Patrick Monroney taught Flora, Ethnobotany, Experimental Archaeology, and Outdoor Survival Skills at the University of Alaska-Kenai Peninsula College. He spent 6 year’s Commercial Fishing in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, and is an accomplished fisherman and fishing guide using both modern and ancient techniques. 

A Fantastic Array of Fibers Learning   5 days  July 7 -10   $325  with Val Herenchak and Mike Foltmer

Day 1 Morning      Intro to fibers Historical context Show and tell of finished products primitive / modern wool and natural fibers  prep techniques, plant fiber  cord making

Day 1  Afternoon  , drop spin,, wheel spin   Plying spun yarn with two or more bobbins demos and time to try   Set up for card woven strap project

Day 2  Morning:     Card weaving start (after learning folks work on strap when they can throughout program)   Collect yucca leaf for sun visor project  Mike teaches leather braiding

Day 2  Afternoon    Cattail leaf sun visors   Felting demo and trial squares and circles    Prep wool for felt project   Progress on started project or practice spinning 

Day  3  Morning      Flat felt project with inlay design   Needle felting on fabric or felt and 3D figures      

Day 3  Afternoon    Plan and prep for seamless (3D) felt bag  Start  3D felt bag   Progress on started   project or practice spinning Mike teaches leather braiding

Day 4   Morning      Finish seamless 3D bag (use card or straw strap for bag?)

Day 4  Afternoon    Set up for straw weaving project   Straw weaving start  (after learning folks work on strap when they can throughout program)  

Day 5  Morning      Learn to dye animal and plant fibers. Use ochers and clays to color fibers.

Day 5  Afternoon    Finish up all started projects and practice skills for confidence to continue at home.

About the Instructors:   Valerie Herenchak got her first sheep in 1994 and over the course of 23 years, developed her own breed which she called American Silksheep. Along the way learned to spin, dye, felt, weave and knit wool. She has introduced countless people to the joys of working with wool and making their own yarn.   Mike Foltmer   

Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountain West  1 day  $65  July 15  with Cattail Bob Seebeck

Morning focus: forested creek side and riparian zone plant of the montane and subalpine

Afternoon focus: desert valley floor and pinon / cedar belt dry land plants

About the Instructor: “Cattail” Bob Seebeck has been instructing wild useful herbs, edible and survival plants, wilderness survival, outdoor education, and mountain cabin building classes in the Rockies since 1975.

Arrow Making Class  4 days  July 21 – 24 $275  with Ken Wee

Shoot Shafts

  1. Definition/description
  2. Preview-demos/different species
  3. Theory-desired properties
  4. Shaft selection & species specific traits
  5. Seasoning/peeling/drying/storage
  6. Size and straighten
  7. Burnishing
  8. Spine and balance
  9. Nocks and nocking size and fit
  10. Cresting, sealing and lightning grooves
  11. Fletching:  Configurations, varieties, prepping, wing vs tail feathers
  12. Attaching, wrapping and sealing
  13. Points and hafting
  14. Historic traditions and context
  15. Shooting semi/fully finished arrow

Reed, cane, bamboo tubular shafts

  1. Definition/description
  2. Preview-demos/species
  3. Theories-desired properties/design considerations
  4. Shaft selection and species specific traits
  5. Harvesting by size, age, condition and sex
  6. Heat straightening strategies
  7. Nock types
  8. Foreshafts
  9. Spine and balance points – static vs dynamic
  10. Fletching types, preparation, attachment
  11. Bindings
  12. Points
  13. Sealing, finishes
  14. Shooting semi/fully finished arrow

Dowelled from scratch shafts

  1. Description of types/shapes
  2. Preview/demo
  3. Grain configurations & orientation
  4. Species/board selection
  5. Dowelling
  6. Straightening and spinning
  7. Burnishing and final sanding
  8. Nocks: Basics and types
  9. Fletching
  10. Cresting
  11. Bindings
  12. Points
  13. Shooting semi/fully finished arrow

AtlAtl and Throwing Dart Class     4 days  July 28 – 31  $275 with Ken Wee

DARTS   Similar to arrow making class

Phragmites reed, bamboo or can

      Dart made from cane or reed or bamboo                                                                            

Aluminum arrow shafting

      Dart made from lumber or aluminum arrow shafting                                                            

Feathers for fletching

      Feather fletching                                                                                                                   

Glue for hafting/fletching

       Fore shaft or self point                                                                                                         

Hardwood fore shafting

      Sealing hafting. wraps                                                                                                           

Field points thread, artificial sinew

ATLATL.  Quickie, survival atlatl                                                                                                  

Varnish, pitch, Golf Tees, epoxy

      Finished atlatls for sale, demonstration                                                                           

Range Throwing  Practice                                                             

Beginning AtlAtl Throwing Lessons 

Fire! Fiber! Flint! Survival Basics    2 days   August 12 and 13   $135 

with Robin Blankenship and Ivan Lakish 

Make fire by rubbing sticks! Hand drill, bow drill and fire plow methods. String, rope and net making from local plants. Learn basic flint knapping techniques to make knife edges and other useful tools from stone Use pitch and sinew to “haft” a handle to your  “stone age” tool. 

Homestead, Blacksmith and Butcher Tools Repair and Maintenance with Papa Dean Smith
Thursday September 21 – Sunday September 24    4 days $195
Repair it !  Don’t replace it! 
Daily Rates Available

Primitive living skills for the 21st century