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Blog 2013



Friday, 20 December. Busy Week!
Between the Product Preview (see previous entry below) and the Christmas rush hitting our sister business AlexOutdoors [NOTE:  On 14 June 2021, we shut down AlexOutdoors.], which retails the best (merino) Base Layers and Axes and Hatchets we know of, we have been ultra busy this week. Normally we ship every order the day it arrives. But this week we just have not been able to keep up that schedule. As of today, we are caught up and all the WeatherWool (and other) orders are on their way. Ho-Ho-Ho and THANK YOU ALL!

Saturday, 14 December. Product Preview, American Rifleman magazine
Page 38, January 2014 issue of the American Rifleman magazine has a Product Preview of WeatherWool, written by Aaron Carter, Managing Editor. Aaron wore a prototype All-Around Jac in Kansas and Illinois, where he did some product testing. American Rifleman is the flagship publication of the National Rifle Association. Circulation is about 1.7 million!!! THANK YOU NRA!!! Also, I should point out the Product Preview is not a paid ad. We met Aaron at the NRA Annual Meeting in Houston in May, when he visited our booth. Aaron offered to test the product, and we provided Hats and prototype Pants and All-Around Jac. After extensive field wear, Aaron wrote up the Product Preview. We did not find out what Aaron had to say until our regular monthly copy of the magazine arrived in the mail today. Aaron was kind enough to send us a second copy with his good wishes and compliments. We’ll have to find a special place to keep that copy! This website pictures of Aaron wearing his All-Around Jac in Illinois and Kansas. These can be seen under the From the Field and Products (Pictures) tabs.

Friday, 13 December. Amazon??!!
Today Amazon told us they want to be WeatherWool dealers. We have a lot of reading up to do ... don’t know how it will work or how it will affect us. Or even it makes any sense at all for us. But WOW! AMAZON!!??? They have something like 240 million active customers.

Wednesday, 11 December. Bear Track.
People who don’t know ‘Jersey’, as residents call our state, are often surprised by the quantity and diversity of outdoor recreation we have here. Given that Jersey is the 3rd smallest state and the most densely populated and industrialized of the 50 states, it is reasonable to assume the whole place is paved over. And a lot of it is. But if you get away from the metro areas outside of New York City and Philadelphia, you find some surprising natural beauty. And one of the things people are always surprised by is the hunting. Not that we have much really wild land in the sense of remote wilderness. But if you get just a few hundred yards -- even less -- off a road, the animals and the plants will make you feel like you are really out there someplace remote. So yesterday I decided to do a little bear hunting in High Point State Park ... so named because it contains the highest point in Jersey ... all of 1800 feet. But I like High Point because it sits on top of a rugged area in extreme Northwest Jersey where Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania meet. And because the great Appalachian Trail runs thru High Point -- anyone is free to walk North to Maine or South to Georgia.

Jersey has bears, at least occasionally, in every county. But we have about 1000 square miles of terrific bear habitat in our Northwest Counties and High Point is right in the midst of our best bear country. Jersey’s black bear season has been a political issue for quite a while, and it was almost canceled (again) by the governor a few years ago. BUT, just before the governor made the decision, a black bear ripped into a tent in High Point and pulled a camper out by his leg. The camper and a True Friend fought off the bear. Experts felt this was clearly a predatory attack, and so the bear hunt proceeded. A few hundred bear are taken by hunters each year now, but biologists say it is not quite enough and the population continues to outgrow our best bear habitat. And we do have some monster bear, too. Here are a couple of official state pictures.

We’d had about 3 inches of snow the night before, so I thought I'd just cruise up to High Point and look for a fresh track to follow. Although this was a great tracking snow, unfortunately for me, the snow lay on top of some extremely loud and crunchy ice. So every step made a racket, and I therefore did not expect to actually kill a bear because of the noisy footing. I'd only walked a quarter-mile when I cut a fresh track. Small, lone bear, which is really just what I wanted. Debby doesn’t like bear meat, and does not want any more bear rugs or bear hides in the house. So a small bear would be a nice compromise! Plus, I was alone and if the bear had any size to it, I'd have to quarter it in the woods to get it out. And I didn’t want to do that. My hope, also, was that a young bear might be curious about the noise on its backtrail, and maybe let me close enough for a shot. The bear was meandering through a forest of mature oak, scooping up acorns here and there, and a 100-yard shot would be quite possible ... if the bear let me get that close. I followed the critter about two hours, and believe it or not I think I covered only about two miles. I was stopping to glass way ahead whenever I topped a rise, but a lot of my slow progress was due to the absolutely awful footing ... lots of loose rocks covered with ice covered with snow, and not much flat ground either. Plus I almost always hunt in my old Maine Guide Boots from LLBean. They are light with a very thin sole, which is great for someone who likes to (try to) slip thru the woods and walk up on game. But these boots have virtually no tread at all, so they are awful if the footing is bad. But I don’t care. At least they are waterproof. Before I got these boots I used to hunt in sneakers.

Jersey is a transitional zone for bear habits. Some of our bear, particularly mature boars, do not hibernate at all so long as they can find food thru the winter. I've seen some monster bear tracks in the snow in January. And some bears make little more than a pile of leaves for their winter rest. Sows are much more likely to hibernate than boars, according to our biologists. The cubs I think are always born to a denning mother.

I smiled as I followed the bear’s tracks across a stream. He’d used stepping stones so he didn’t get his paws wet. Eventually I got to a spot where the bear stopped meandering and lengthened it’s stride. I guess this is where it realized it was being followed, or maybe just decided to stop ignoring me. From here the trail straightened out, and a few hundred yards more and the tracks led right into a horribly thick tangle of head-high brush, much of which was multi-flora rose. I followed the bear in there for a bit, hoping he might just be heading for some kind of nice trail that would take us right thru. But no ... the thicket was swampy ... ice and mud in a lot of places, and after a few minutes of forcing my way, I decided continuing on hands and knees was a bad idea. Pressured bears will routinely head for the nastiest, thickest cover they can find. And this young bear may have been small but he knew how to shake me. I considered a walk around the thicket, which was probably a half-mile by a quarter mile, but instead tipped my hat to Mr Bruin and decided to spend the rest of the day with my folks.

One last thing ... where was my truck? Everyone has their own perspectives on hunting and hiking and outdoors. And one of my weird perspectives is that I don’t use GPS or even compass. Stupid, I know. And if I was in big woods or serious conditions, it would be different. But here in North Jersey, you can’t go all THAT far without cutting a road. I figured the bear had led me on a large loop, and my truck would be about a half-mile off at a 2 o’clock bearing. Basically off the corner of this giant thicket. Wrong ... but not too bad. The truck turned out to be a quarter-mile away at 3 o’clock.

Saturday, 7 December
Squeezed in a couple of hours deer hunting at my buddy’s place in Pennsylvania. Did not really have time for this, but I really love to hunt with my Dad’s .30-30 and centerfile rifles are illegal in my home state of New Jersey. Conditions were absolutely ideal, 3 inches of 3-hour old snow on the ground, temp was about 28F (-2C) and just a light wind. I was tired from a two-hour drive on two hours of sleep. And I always feel the cold a lot more when I'm tired. So I wore an extra layer of wool that I normally would not have worn in such relative warmth. I added a light pair of Woolpower thermals under my WeatherWool FullWeight prototype pants. And in between my Woolpower top and my WeatherWool All-Around Jac I added a prototype WeatherWool FullWeight Vest. I really felt the difference in protection between my torso and my arms. Not that my arms were cold, but my torso was really toasty. We’re definitely going to make this Vest in production, but it won’t be available for several months. The WeatherWool Boonie was plenty of warmth for my head. PA requires blaze orange, so I wore a mesh blaze vest and wrapped another bit of blaze around my Boonie. I sat until 9AM, and did not see a deer. I decided to tiptoe thru a wet, heavily overgrown area, and the going was very slow or very noisy, so I chose very, very, very slow and quiet. I managed to ease up within 30 yards of a couple of bedded deer, but I did not see them until they jumped up. Getting that close was a testament to the quiet of wool. That and hunting across the wind, which seems to result in seeing more deer than hunting directly into the wind. Interestingly, they must have smelled me rather than heard or seen me, because initially they ran toward me before veering off. Two nice does, and I did have an antlerless tag. But they were bounding and the cover was so thick I never raised Dad’s Marlin 336, bought in about 1950 for about $48. Each year in PA, the first cartridge I fire is from a box bought by my Dad back in the 1960s. I've taken several deer with those shells, and I still have 5 left. Hopefully I will get another chance to tell Pop I took a deer with one of his shells fired from his favorite rifle.

Friday, 29 November
We’ve had a cold spell here. Not that it has been actually all that cold, but it is unusual for the temperature to be well below freezing at this time of year. Our home freezer was all but empty of deer meat, so I decided to make a quick dawn hunt at The Swamp, just a short ride from home. Wearing one layer of WeatherWool over a Woolpower thermal top, I was completely comfortable without any bulk. It seemed like a morning that would have the game moving, and it was. I'm pretty casual about my whitetail hunting most of the time. I'm focused on venison, rather than a wise old buck. So I just scraped the leaves away from the bottom of a tree, and used the old oak to break up my silhouette. The first deer I saw tho, busted me before I knew he was around, and I heard some running and saw only a white tail 75 yards off when I looked. Probably a buck, given that it was alone. That deer was way more on his game than I was on mine. Most likely it would not have mattered however because today only antlerless deer were legal game for a gun hunter. About 7:45 I spotted a young deer slowly browsing its way toward me. Within 5 or 10 minutes the plump young deer gave me a clean shot, and it was down. There is actually no limit on antlerless deer in this part of Jersey, and I felt like there was a good chance for another, so I continued to hunt. And I did spot 3 more deer crossing in front of me, but they were all farther off than I wanted to shoot. So that was it for my hunt. My friend Dan Lipow is a wild foods lover, gardener, photographer, chef, and family man. I phoned Dan to see if he was interested in aging the deer in his garage. He was ... and given that he had some family staying with him for Thanksgiving, I gave Dan the fillets and heart. Dan put together some home-grown herbs and leeks, some black trumpet mushrooms that he’d foraged, and the deer meat. Dan’s visiting family from Connecticut and Oregon got a great taste of New Jersey!.


Wild Foods Dinner of Venison Fillet, Venison Heart, Wild Greens and Garnishes
Wild Dinner Prepared by Dan Lipow

Wild Foods Dinner of Venison Fillet, Venison Heart, Wild Greens and Garnishes

Monday, 25 November. Mouton Hat, 18F/-8C
Was out this morning for a short time ... only 90 minutes or so. But I wanted to see how the Mouton Hat would do on a chilly morning -- about 18F/-8C -- with me just standing still next to a tree hoping a deer might come by. We’ve only had the Mouton Hats since the end of last winter, and this was the coldest morning here in Jersey since then. Anyhow, the hat was great. Even tho I was only standing still and generating absolutely no heat of my own, I could feel the hat trapping the heat from my head and keeping my ears toasty. Based on this test I don’t think there would be a problem wearing the Mouton in much colder weather. But we won’t know for sure until someone gets out there and tries it. There is a guy who will be testing the Mouton Hat in Alaska on the North Slope oil fields soon. He said temps will be about -30F/-35C and I am very curious to hear his impressions! I doubt the Mouton Hat, all by itself, will be warm enough for those temps ... but he will be working, and if he is generating body heat, then he might not need any other headgear. We’ll see.

Friday, 22 November. All-Around Jacs Delivered!
Today we received our first shipment of production WeatherWool garments (not counting hats). We now have All-Around Jacs in DRAB and LYNX. It has been a loooong road. Four years ago we decided to make our own woolens and named our company WeatherWool a few months later. I figured it would take us a year to come to market. Well, it took three years just to get our FullWeight fabric done. And then another year to get our garments designed and tailored the way we wanted. If I'd known it would take THAT long probably I would not have started!

Wednesday, 13 November. High Point State Park, New Jersey
The last few days have featured a nasty head cold, sore throat, a little fever. But I was itching to get back to High Point (see entry from last week) and when we got an order for a Large Splitting Ax (we love wood and Axes and our sister business sells a lot of them) [NOTE:  On 14 June 2021, we shut down AlexOutdoors.] to be delivered just down the road from High Point, I felt as if I had to get up there. As it turned out, I didn’t see so much as a deer’s tail in 2.5 hours of hunting. But it was another good test for the Boonie Hat. Temperature about the same as last week, 22F/-6C at dawn, maybe a little bit warmer. But windy. Steady wind with some strong gusts. I like to stillhunt across the wind, and I expected to see deer. Zilch. Anyway, even tho the wind was strong and my face really felt the weather, the Boonie kept my ears toasty. Good stuff.

Monday, 4 November. High Point State Park, New Jersey
My friend Deadly Dan and I were looking for some venison in High Point State Park in the Northwestern corner of New Jersey. (I jokingly call him Deadly Dan because of his remarkable beginner’s luck on his first deer hunt and his first turkey outings.) The temp was about 22F/-6C at first light. I was plenty warm with just a pair of WeatherWool Pants on bottom and a WeatherWool All-Around Jac over a 400 gram Woolpower Merino Turtleneck base layer and a light cotton shirt. Probably I should have taken the shirt off, but I had a bunch of stuff in the pockets so I just threw the All-Around over it and headed into the woods. The Turtleneck features a Monkey Paw (thumbhole sleeve) which I really like because I don’t like to wear gloves if possible. The Monkey Paw is like a half-glove, covering almost half of the hand and really protecting the wrist. If you have not worn a monkey paw I think it is worth a try. And it will make gloves feel a lot warmer if you still decide to wear them. WeatherWool sells only what we make ourselves, but we recommend Woolpower as the best base layer for WeatherWool in cooler and cold weather. Click this line to check out Woolpower’s 400 gram Turtleneck, as well as their other Merino Terry Cloth Base Layers. I also wore the WeatherWool Boonie Hat, and because NJ has a blaze orange requirement, I wrapped some blaze around the Boonie and it worked very well. Also, I learned something about the Boonie Hat.

The weather was cold enough that my ears needed some protection. Our Boonie Hat is designed so that, if necessary, you can tuck your ears inside the hat. But what I found on this day was that the brim of the Boonie resting on the top of my ears was all that was needed to keep them nice and warm.

Dan had deer around him several times during the day, but for this hunt, the law requires the hunter take an antlerless deer first. So as you might expect, Dan’s only close-up, sure-thing shots were at nice bucks. High Point is an unusual spot because it is normal to see more bucks than does. This is at least partly true because it occurs in the whitetail breeding season, resulting in bucks being on the move more than at any other time of year. So Dan finished out his day without pulling the trigger, but he did score on some beautiful oyster mushrooms!!


Dan Lipow with wild oyster mushrooms

It was definitely a splendid day to be in the woods, even though I never saw a deer all day. About 1:30PM, I heard a shot not far from me, and a few minutes later, as I skirted an old abandoned homestead, I noticed a black bear on the far side of a meadow. I was surprised the bear seemed unaware of me, because I had been walking fairly carelessly, and, I thought, loudly on the dry, fallen leaves. As I watched, the bear moved out into the meadow a few yards and seemed to collapse on the grass. And then it lay still. The afternoon had warmed up quite a bit, probably to 40 or 45F (6 or 7C) and the bear was lying down in bright sunshine. This didn’t seem right to me ... there had been a shot nearby, and I didn’t expect a bear to be sunning itself in the open in such relative warmth. Maybe the bear had been shot, and I'd seen it die in the meadow. Wrong! Every so often it lifted its head and looked around. It was easy for me to ease within 73 yards (rangefinder), where I stayed for an hour watching. Eventually a cub joined the sow, which was a good-sized bear, especially for a sow. I always resolve to take a decent camera with me, but usually I forget. So the pictures below were taken with a cellphone, which is really inadequate for the situation I was in! But it was great watching a blackie catching rays. At this time of year in NJ, a black bear cub is likely to weigh 100 pounds, and this one looked in that range. It clambered over the mother a little, seemed to nurse for a moment or two, lay down next to the sow but only for a few seconds. The little one foraged a bit in the meadow, but was out of sight in thick brush for all but 10 minutes of the hour I was watching the mother.

Black Bear in Meadow

The meadow is very beautiful, and it was a real treat to watch the sow and her cub, and I didn’t mind at all not seeing any deer. I've found that if bear are around, deer are not. So from my point of view, it was a choice of watching the bears or taking off and hoping to find the deer elsewhere. I opted for the bear, which can be seen in the picture below to the right of the dead, white tree-trunk in the middle of both pictures. The pic above, and below left (blowup) was snapped when the bear lifted her head to look around. She is still lying down tho. OK, sorry, the pictures are lousy but I always get a kick out of seeing bear. The picture below, on the right, was also taken in High Point State Park, but in 2010. This one is a boar, I am pretty sure, and I think he weighed a good 400 pounds. He was only 10 yards from me when I took the picture, and he was waaaay bigger than my 275 pounds. So far I've seen 41 wild bears in my life.


High Point State Park Black Bear

Monday, 29 October. Jersey Woods.
Rambling around in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area yesterday with my friend Dan. Temp right around the freezing mark, one layer of WeatherWool over the lightest cotton base was just right for 3 or 4 hours of moderately-paced woods-cruising. We came across the den of a black bear. This part of NJ is loaded with blackies. For a well-fed bear, our winters are pretty mild, and some bears here don't hibernate at all. This den is big enough to hold me ... 6 foot, 275 pounds. The black fur at left is the back end of my dog, not a bear!


WeatherWool Founder Ralph at a Jersey Black Bear Den

Saturday, 20 October. Pennsylvania Early Muzzleloader Season.
Temperature was about 38F/3C, quiet as a churchmouse. FullWeight DRAB pants over light boxers and an All-Around Jac over summerweight Icebreaker was very comfortable in the morning and still fine for still-hunting once the temperature rose up to near room temperature by lunchtime.

Even though my freezer is nearly empty of whitetail venison, I was not, for some reason, all that keen to kill a deer. More a case of just wanting to enjoy the morning. Getting old, maybe. But we do still have a good amount of pronghorn and moose meat on hand. And there is a long season still in front of me.

I have permission to hunt a farm in Northeastern PA, which has still a lot of standing corn bordering forested areas. Spotted a large deer feeding next to the corn, head down, directly in front of me, along the side of the farmer’s two-track. Because of the size of the deer, I expected it to be a buck, but this early muzzleloader season is antlerless only. I was surprised when the deer looked up and turned out to be a big doe. The deer was up a rise from me, and some branches hanging over the two-track screened us from a good look at each other. When she put her head down again, I moved forward and was able to range her at 118 yards through a gap in the limbs. When she lifted her head again, I thought the screen of the trees would be enough to shield my slow, deliberate movements. NOPE. Busted. Whitetails have super vision for moving objects!! She snorted out of there based solely on what she saw ... the slight breeze was strictly in my favor. I was standing in the wide open road, but the WeatherWool blended pretty well with the background. Nevertheless, that old doe had seen my legs move, and the deer in this area are hunted hard, with some poachers operating year round. She was not taking any chances. Those old does are survivors. And she took about 8 other deer with her. The others had been feeding in the corn, unseen by me.

Moving on up the two-track and around to the other side of the corn, I spotted the top of a deer just over another rise. This deer was moving slowly in the same direction as me, feeding as it went. Based on its size and relatively careless demeanor, I thought it was probably a yearling buck, but decided to try to get within range anyway. I didn’t like the way my muzzleloader had been shooting, so I decided to limit my shots to about 60 yards or so, because the gun was grouping about 3 or 4 inches at that range. I can’t really figure out what the issue is, as that gun used to be quite accurate. Anyway, I tiptoed within about 50 yards of the deer, which turned out to be a spike buck, almost certainly a yearling, and completely safe from me. That was it for the deer, but later, stillhunting in the woods, I eased up within about 60 yards of a group of turkeys. Nothing quieter than wool ...

Temps got pretty warm, but I remained quite comfortable until I called it a day at about noon. And actually, I wore the FullWeight WeatherWool pants all afternoon, which consisted of a business meeting and then some apple-picking.


Pennsylvania Moonset

Couldn’t really resist the picture of the moon setting. Opening day of one of my favorite seasons. Sun just coming up on a misty morning and the setting moon reflected in the pond. And for whatever reason, I wasn’t so focused on venison. Maybe I am getting a little old ....

Thursday, 17 October
We have some new prototypes in ... scarves, hood, pants.

Monday, 30 September
We continue to work on our designs and fabrics. And we’re adding a fine, waterproof leather belt (in addition to designing a belt that will attach to suspenders).

Wednesday, 25 September
We are thinking about making a leather belt that will support suspenders.

Thursday, 19 September
We continue design work on a MidWeight Fabric ... about 60% the weight of our FullWeight. Each test batch takes months to put through all the steps in the cycle, and we’ve rejected several batches already. But we need to get the fabric just right, or we will not proceed. MidWeight Fabric is expected to be an important part of the WeatherWool line ... in particular for pants.

Monday, 16 September
We should be finalizing designs for our FullWeight Pants this week. We’ll also work up designs for a scarf or two and a heavy Jacket similar to the All-Around Jac. The heavy Jacket, which we have not named yet, will have a double layer of wool throughout the sleeves and the torso will be lined with Mouton (the tanned pelt of a lamb). This will be a very luxurious and warm Jacket!

Thursday, 12 September
We just need to do a little work on our cargo pockets and we’ll be in finished with our pants. One thing that we have been looking into, and not satisfied with, is a belt. And then the man who is developing our suspenders for us suggested he provide us with leather belts. My first concern was how a long leather belt would (i thought) stretch if it got soaking wet for a prolonged time. But our craftsman told us vegetable-tanned leather is impervious to water. So we will be looking at that option. I really like the idea of offering fine leather belts designed to work perfectly with our pants!

Wednesday, 11 September
I did have a couple of things to say today about WeatherWool, but when I wrote the date, decided that stuff will keep until tomorrow. I hope you don’t mind what I write instead.

Nobody that I was personally really close to was murdered by the terrorists on September 11th, but I did know two good guys who went down in the Twin Towers. On September 11, 2001, I was working in midtown Manhattan, a few miles North of the World Trade Center. But WTC was a place I knew very well. I worked there in 1980 and 1981, and it was absolutely the best building, best location I ever worked in. It was like working in a small city within ‘the city’. You could go down to the ground level plazas and walk around, stretch your legs, indoors ... which was really nice when the weather was not cooperating. And there were several restaurants and watering holes, so there were always folks I knew relaxing and having fun after work. Subways in the basement, plus PATH to New Jersey made it a really easy place to commute to.

My own office was on the 104th Floor of the Number One (North) Tower, and the view was something we never tired of. My employer occupied nearly the entire floor, so we had windows facing all four directions. One day I was looking South, out over New York Harbor, Ellis Island, Liberty Island (Statue of Liberty) and I experienced just a few seconds of the horror that was to become real on September 11, 2001.

I turned into my office, and walked toward my desk. As I walked, I was within a few feet of the huge floor-to-ceiling windows, and like always, I was taking in the view. Suddenly I saw what I took to be a jetliner, on fire, headed straight for me! It seemed clear the plane would impact in a matter of seconds, and I tried to think of anything helpful. Seeing that huge plane coming, I believed it would certainly destroy the wall between us and there was no way I was getting more than a few steps before the impact. I realized I was about to be crushed, the building would be smashed, and there was nothing I could do about it. This was the only time in my life I believed IT WAS OVER. That was a feeling I will not forget. But as I watched the jetliner streaking toward impact, clearly having some kind of engine trouble because it was trailing huge amounts of smoke, the ‘jetliner’ turned into three separate planes, one of which broke off to the left, one to the right, and one went straight up! Of course, there was no impact, altho my instant/automatic perception of the situation nearly killed me. I heard a huge roar from down the hall, where about 30 people shared a single room with the same great windows. They’d seen what I saw, and thought what I thought. A few minutes later, we learned the building had been buzzed by the Royal Canadian Air Force, which was putting on a show over lower Manhattan.

I've thought of the way I felt in those seconds many times, and how there must have been hundreds of people who felt the way I felt on September 11, 2001. But on that day, it was not our Great Canadian Friends putting on a show.

Tuesday, 3 September: Solid Colors
We’ll be making some more solid color fabric shortly. BLACK really needs no further description. Quite a few people have asked us to make a brown fabric. There are a LOT of different browns to choose from. We’ve settled on a shade of brown that matches leaf litter on the forest floor, which is sometimes called duff. And so we’re calling our solid brown fabric DUFF.

BLACK will work extremely well in any social setting, and will be OK in a natural environment. I'm not a big fan of black in the woods -- I feel it is relatively conspicuous. In nature there is not much that is large and black. Black bears of course, but not a lot else in North America. And black bears can be pretty easy to spot, even in a fairly dark forest. This is probably one reason why so many black bears have brown, chocolate and cinnamon coats in the West. But, a lot of people have asked us for black, and I'm looking forward to testing it in natural settings.

DUFF will disappear in a lot of natural environments, as anyone who has spent much time around deer knows well. And of course any shade of brown is very common in social settings.

Both BLACK and DUFF will pair very well with DRAB, for those who like to mix their colors. Both BLACK and DUFF will also combine easily with our BRINDLE pattern, although we are still tinkering a little bit with BRINDLE. BLACK and DUFF will present more of a contrast with LYNX, but some people, including me, think that is a good thing. I've been out a lot in DRAB pants and LYNX top, and the combination works very well in the woods or the market. I think these new solids will be an interesting combination with LYNX, and I'm really looking forward to testing that.

Sunday, 25 August: Shows, Production Runs
We’ve got a big batch of LYNX and DRAB fabric due any day now ... And as soon as the fabric comes in, we’ll start making All-Around Jacs and Hooded Sweatshirts. Also, we’ve been awarded a booth at the Dallas SCI Show in Dallas, January 9-12, 2014.

Tuesday, 13 July: Final Designs Approved
We’ve approved our final designs for our Hooded Sweatshirts and All-Around Jacs.

Tuesday, 23 July: All-Around Jacs
Today we are examining yet another slight redesign to our All-Around Jac. And we may make a couple more very slight changes. But we pretty much LOVE it the way it is already. ZOW, this has taken a looooong time!

Friday, 19 July 2013: Barnegat Bay, New Jersey
Went clamming this afternoon with my Cousin Tommy in New Jersey’s Barnegat Bay, just west of the famous lighthouse, Old Barney. Barnegat is an extremely fertile estuary, full of various kinds of gamefish, baitfish, blue claw crabs, hard clams and lots of other interesting things. I've been visiting the Bay pretty much my whole life. Last fall things were really torn apart by hurricane Sandy, which caused great destruction on the Barrier Islands West of the Bay, even pushing some houses right into the water. It’s been interesting watching the changes in the aquatic life over the years. I first went clamming with Tommy’s Dad Neil in 1988, and have gone several times yearly ever since. In 1988, we had far more hard clams than now, it seems. In ‘88 I don’t remember ever seeing a sting ray. Back then, the Bay had lots of Diamondback Terrapins. They are pretty well gone now, and Cownose Rays and Bat Rays are common. Never saw the rays 20 years ago. The rays feed on the clams, and I think they are a big part of the decline of the hard clams. But some years back we had huge numbers of moon shells also, another clam predator, and the moon shell numbers are way down. Maybe the rays eat them too? Maybe that’s what has happened to the conchs as well. We have decent numbers of scallops now, and I never used to encounter scallops in the 80s and 90s. The scallops can swim ... so maybe they just take off when the rays show up. Lately we’ve had stinging jellyfish in the bay. The jellies used to be rare to non-existent, at least from my perspective as a recreational clammer. But the last couple of years we’ve had Lion’s Mane and Sea Nettle Jellyfish. We had a relatively poor day of clamming. It was just too warm. Temperature about 98F/37C had the water just too warm, and the clams were down deep in the mud and so we didn’t find as many as usual. Tommy likes to probe the mud and sand with a tool he made just for the purpose. I just tread for them. For me it’s easier, and there is maybe nothing more relaxing than just easing around the shallows, enjoying the place and picking up some great seafood as I go. Blue Claw crabs are plentiful, and you need to show them a little respect or they will get their revenge. You’ll frequently step on them. If you bring your foot down on the edge of a crab, they’ll give you a quick pinch and you’ll want to get off them quick! If you come down with the crab in the middle of your foot, there is not much they can do to you, but you’ll want to learn the difference between a clam and a crab in that situation. Because, if you think you’ve got a clam, you’ll get a rude awakening when you reach down for it! Some days when there are bunches of clammers scattered across the huge flats, you’ll hear people holler every once in a while. Those are the ones who are learning about the crabs! On the way back to the boat I evidently bumped against a jelly fish. There was a big swirl in the water next to Tommy and me, and although neither of us saw anything but the swirl, the noise attracted our attention. Maybe it was a fish fleeing? A second or two later, I was stung several times on my right leg. I knew it had to be a stinging jellyfish, because we’d seen a large sea nettle a couple hours earlier. The pain wasn’t any big deal, about like a bee sting, but I had 5 or 10 of them. Didn’t think about it much, except to resolve to wear long pants when clamming from now on. But about 3 hours later, driving home, I lost control of my right hand and wrist. They were cramping in both directions. That is, the hand, fingers and wrist would curl involuntarily in contraction. And when I tried to straighten them out against my leg, they cramped in the other direction. Trying to just sort of hold straight, my fingers and wrist cramped in both directions, the muscles working against each other. For a half hour or so, I really couldn’t get my right hand to do much of anything. Luckily at that point my left hand was unaffected. If it had happened to both hands at the same time, there is no way I could have driven the car. Later my left hand and leg cramped up a little. Weird stuff.

Thursday, 18 July 2013
We’ve got the design for our basic vest nailed down, and we’ll be making them in earnest as soon as the tailors can get on it.

Friday, 12 July 2013
We went off into the forest today checking out the various BRINDLE prototypes. A few were easy to forget about. But there are two I really like and two more are pretty good possibilities. Good problem to have, I guess.

Monday, 1 July 2013
We’ve been off the air for a while ... lot of things going. We’ve gotten several test versions of our new BRINDLE camo pattern, which is actually the same pattern as our LYNX, but with darker yarns. It’s quite interesting how different colors can the look. We’ve also made some small design changes to our Pants, Vest and Hooded Jacket, and we’ll be testing those. But we are pretty close to where we want to be! Late last night we returned from showing WeatherWool at the American Outdoor Show in Virginia Beach. The show was very poorly attended, although the people who were there loved WeatherWool. However, we were lucky to meet Dick Scorzafava, one of the best-known of American hunters. Dick is a long-time writer, lecturer and editor, and more recently has had his own TV Show, Radical Hunter, on the Sportsman Channel. Dick is as nice a gent as you would think if you’ve read any of his articles. I've been reading Dick’s stuff for many years, so it was a real kick for me to meet him. Dick’s booth was close to ours, and because the show was so slow, we had plenty of time to talk, and Dick gave us a lot of very interesting advice. Thanks Dick!! He was also nice enough to pose in WeatherWool, and the lively young lady in the booth next to us helped brighten the picture. In the background are some test versions of our new BRINDLE pattern.


Dick Scorzafava, a friendly model and WeatherWool

Friday, 14 June 2013. Suburban Bucks, Again
This morning about 5:30, Dad told me there were deer in the back yard. We do have deer in our suburban neighborhood, but I'd never seen them in my back yard before. It’s strange deer would be around here at all, given that our neighborhood has been developed since the late 1800s ... and that we are only 10 miles from New York City. BUT, there were four bucks browsing my fruit trees. We’ve got about a half acre back yard, with a five-foot fence all around it. Usually we keep the driveway gate closed at night, but not last night. I assumed the deer had come in thru the open gate and really liked what they found, given that we have about 10 kinds of fruit trees and berry bushes, plus vegetables. It’s more than enough rousting the squirrels, rabbits, woodchucks and various birds, so we definitely didn’t want a group of bachelor bucks added to that munching bunch. So out the door with the dog I went, hollering. Usually the hound doesn’t bother with deer, but she got the idea today and chased them. The deer scattered and jumped the 5-foot fence. But just a few minutes later, one of the bucks was back, and I went out and got a picture. Looks like he’ll be a pretty serious six-point come fall.


WeatherWool Backyard Buck
I'm sure these bucks, one of which is a real bruiser, are the same bunch that was here in the summer of 2012. Here is a picture from late last summer.


WeatherWool Headquarters is home to some serious whitetails!

Thursday, 13 June 2013
Today we’re examining yet another updated prototype Hooded Jacket. This is probably about the 12th one. Getting pretty close to what we want, but still not exactly “it”. Just for fun, here’s a picture of my Dad, aged 90, wearing this latest Hooded Jacket. It’s about two sizes too big for him.

WeatherWool Grandpa in Prototype Hoodie.

Saturday, 8 June 2013
Going over another prototype Vest. This one is a lot closer to where we want to be!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013
We were assigned booths 2909 and 2911 at the SCI Show in Vegas, February 5-8. Also, today Debby made some pronghorn antelope meatloaf and burgers. The best burgers I have ever had. Seriously. Hope we get some antelope tags again this year!!

Sunday, 2 June 2013 ..... Brood II!
Today we walked a couple of miles in the South Mountain Reservation, a county park about 2 miles from our home and 10 miles West of Manhattan. As we neared the Reservation, I heard a whining sound that made me think there was something wrong with my pickup. Everything seemed fine tho ... maybe just a belt making a weird noise? When we turned off the motor, the sound was still there. We started walking, and the sound grew louder, and it was really impossible to figure which direction it was coming from. It reminded me of the sound made by the giant ants in the movie THEM. If you haven’t heard of BROOD II, it is the species of 17-year locust that has lately come above ground in the Northeast to finish off its life cycle. The sound of millions of the males calling for mates is amazing. And the cicadas are flying around everywhere, landing everywhere. I hope I get a chance to use them for fishing. They should be phenomenal baits. Anybody know how the locusts all manage to count to 17? By the way, we have annual locusts here in New Jersey also. The annuals are bigger and, individually, louder than the 17-year locusts. But there are nowhere near as many. The 17-year locusts are so loud some people are shutting themselves in their houses to try to escape the sound. There are none of them in my immediate neighborhood, so we were really surprised they are so numerous less than 2 miles away.

Friday, 24 May 2013!
Family doings ... Memorial Day weekend is here. Yesterday, we celebrated the 60th Wedding Anniversary of my Mom and Dad. And Dad, who was a hard-hat diver in World War II, turned 90. Big Picture ... do not like to think about what things would have been like if WWII had a different outcome.

Friday, 17 May 2013: Lucky Turkey!!
Got off to a little bit of a late start today ... hit The Swamp at about 6AM. Splendid morning ... temp about 50F/10C. Wore our FullWeight WeatherWool over light, short cotton. Heard a gobbler in the distance, and headed for him, sort of tiptoeing carefully, but he did not answer me once I started moving in his direction. Stayed put for only a few minutes, then decided to ease my way around some. I thought I'd call every 5 or 10 minutes and hopefully get an answer and then work the bird. Managed to walk up on 3 deer, got within 40 yards, but did not see them until they flagged. So I was being quiet, but not aware enough! Kept on moving and calling and the turkeys kept ignoring me. I was hoping even if they did not answer, maybe I'd spot a gobbler at a distance and be able to call him in. When I'm after deer it’s pretty common to spot the movement of turkeys in the distance. I'd moved probably 100 yards since my last call, and I was aware of a little noise and motion suddenly there was a gobbler -- a big one! -- looking at me only 20 yards away. He tooled off in no particular hurry and I could only watch him go. In Jersey, the turkey MUST come to you. Stillhunting or stalking turkey is illegal. I never thought I'd be able to get anywhere near that close to a gobbler by sneaking. So, in a way, the joke was on me! A moment later, a hen flushed from nearby, but she was in total panic mode. Probably the gobbler was there because of then hen. Maybe the reason I was able to get so close was because they’d heard my calling, and then mistook my small noises as the approach of another turkey?

Thursday, 16 May 2013
Meeting with our tailors today .... New production runs getting under way, will also work on a couple of new designs. Good stuff. Everybody likes the idea of making women’s clothing a little different than men’s. So ... not just different sizing, but also somewhat different designs.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Headed off early to The Swamp, trying to fill my turkey tag ... was there prior to first light. The morning was cool again, for this time of year, at about 40F/5C, humid and still. I was wearing a layer of FullWeight WeatherWool over light cotton, and it worked perfectly.

Did not hear a gobbler until light was pretty good. I was figuring to ease up within 75 yards of so of the roosted bird, then try to call. He was gobbling pretty steady, and I thought I had a really good idea of where he was. I was just about to the spot I planned to stop when I noticed what I think could only have been a black coyote run across the top of the berm along the riverbank, and I figured the turkey had to be in one of the trees right around where the ‘yote was. I'd been very quiet, so I just assumed the ‘yote had gotten my scent. It made sense to me that sometimes a gobbler on the roost would attract a coyote ... after all, the ‘yotes might learn the gobbling brings in hens, or at the very least they might get a crack at the gobbler when he flies down. While I was wondering how the gobbler might react to the coyote’s abrupt exit, I was startled when a turkey launched itself from a tree 35 yards to my right, but instead of flying down, this bird flew off, clearly intent on making some distance. I stayed in that spot for a while, but there were no more gobbles and no other bird flew down from the area I expected. How I could have thought a gobbler was 75 yards straight ahead when he was really 35 yards to my right I will not figure out.

Picking another spot nearby and sitting down, on my favorite blowdown, I began calling occasionally, and was eventually answered by a gobble. I stood up behind the big rootball and called again and figured the answer came from 10 o’clock, maybe 125 yards off. This gobbler was pretty enthusiastic, but did not come closer. Before long, another gobbler starting chiming in, this one at 2 o’clock, and again maybe 125 yards away. The three of us sang to each other for a half hour or so, and eventually I could hear th 10 o’clock bird coming in. I spotted him behind a tree I ranged at 77 yards. I wanted him to close within 40 yards or so, but instead of coming to me, he seemed to decide he wanted to join up with the other gobbler. So he crossed in front of my well out of range, then turned left and that was it. But it was interesting to think my ears told me exactly where this second gobbler was, but it seemed I was waaaaay off regarding the location of the roost of that first bird. Unless maybe there WAS another gobbler in the vicinity of that coyote?

Sneaking my way back to my truck, calling every few minutes, I was amused to see my clucks and yelps had attracted a curious hen. She walked up within 25 yards or so, then decided I wasn’t of much interest. Not that I know anything about turkeys, but I thought hens would not leave the nest to come to another hen call. Anyhow, I followed her back to her nest. She kept an eye on me, but didn’t seem alarmed, and after she settled down I watched her for a minute or two, wondered if there was any way to get a good picture (nope), then called it a day.

So ... bottom line ... no turkey over my shoulder, and two more things that did not make sense to me.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013
What is going on with the cold this spring? Here in Jersey, April was pretty much the coldest ever. And very dry. May is still unusually cold, but much wetter than usual. Took a quick trip to The Swamp this morning to look for a gobbler, but did not see or even hear a turkey. Temperature was a lot cooler than normal, about 40 when I arrived at 7AM (really about 2 hours late, but it was a short night!). The morning was brilliantly clear, and The Swamp is so green it almost made my eyes hurt. Just spectacularly beautiful!! I wore FullWeight WeatherWool over light cotton T-Shirt and boxers and it was a perfect combination, weatherwise. I saw a couple of deer, and listened to many different types of birds calling back and forth. Unfortunately for me, none of the birds were turkeys. No matter, it was just a great day to be out there.

Got a nice picture in the mail today from Dan Miller, who is a manager at Supreme Zipper, which supplies WeatherWool with the best zippers on the market ... and of course they are made in the USA. Dan does a little striper fishing on the Hudson River, and he was wearing a WeatherWool Test Hooded Jacket one recent chilly and windy day when he landed these 17 and 20 pound (8 and 9kg) striped bass. He said the wool was perfect out on the river.

WeatherWool is good for fishing ... stripers in this case.

Monday, 6 May 2013. Just back from the NRA Annual Meeting in Houston.
Thank You to all who stopped by our booth. It was a great show for us.
We met a lot of terrific people, got some excellent ideas and all in all we are very happy with the way things turned out. Still need to unpack!

Tuesday, 30 April 2013. Heading for Houston in the morning. Back next week.
In the morning Alex and I will head to the NRA Annual Meeting in Houston. We’ll be back next week. This morning I visited The Swamp again, well before sunup, as turkey season continues here in New Jersey. In New Jersey, it is legal to take one gobbler daily, so long as you have a tag. In some zones, the tags sell out. But at The Swamp, you can generally get all you need. Before turkey season even opened, I had 5 tags, one for each of our 5 spring seasons, which are mostly each 5 days long.

I did not see a gobbler this morning, and actually saw only one turkey. It was a hen on the other side of the river, and I think she was settling onto a nest. A few interesting things came up tho. First, I was backed up against the large rootball of a recent blowdown, right near the river bank. I was calling periodically, getting no responses even tho I know a gobbler had been roosted very nearby. Suddenly a thunder chicken let loose so close behind me I nearly lost my hat. He was so loud I thought he HAD to be just on the other side of the giant rootball. But when I peeked over the top ... nothing. He must have been across the river, but WOW was he loud. Just that one gobble, then nothing, and I moved on an hour or so later.

The forest floor looks a lot different now than it did 2 years ago. We have had 3 storms (hurricanes Rita and Sandy plus a freak early snowstorn in 2011) that knocked down a tremendous number of trees, and a lot of natural blinds have been created by the rootballs and the trunks of the big old downed trees.

I moved a few hundred yards and sat on the bole of another large blowdown and before long my clucks got an answer in the form of a distant gobble. This bird starting coming in quickly, and his gobbles were eventually so loud I could hardly believe I couldn’t see him! But ... he clammed up and I never did see him.

Another cool things... A Red-Tailed Hawk must have made a dive at something just the other side of my rootball. I was standing, looking over the top of the rootball, when suddenly a red-tail lifted seemingly right off the ground and up and across in front of me, within probably 10 feet. I had no idea how it got so close to me without my noticing, and I had no idea a hawk was even in the area, so I was surprised!

There are a lot of Great Blue Heron at The Swamp, and this morning I noticed one of them stalking slowly through the thigh-high poison ivy sprouts that are the dominant life form at The Swamp. If you have a problem with poison ivy, you best stay away from The Swamp. Herons will eat basically anything alive that is small enough to get into their mouths. I don’t know if they’ll eat carrion. I wonder what that heron was looking for in the weeds. Would a heron raid a turkey nest?

By the time turkey-hunting hours ended at noon, the day was warm and sunny. Room-temperature even in the shade. I don’t think I've ever seen so many turtles sunning as I saw today. The turtles are very wary. They will invariably crawl out on half-submerged logs surrounded by water if at all possible. And they have pretty good open-air eyesight for animals that make their living underwater. If I came within 30 yards, even wearing full camo, they bailed off into the water. Hard to figure that anything much pressures them, but they wouldn’t act like that without cause.

The mosquitoes are tuning up now. On Saturday there were none. Today there were plenty, but they faded away as the day brightened. Mosquitoes are completely unable to penetrate FullWeight WeatherWool fabric. But the fact is, they didn’t really try, either. My mesh gloves and head net made my hands and face skeeter bait -- probably they could sense a lot more heat coming from my head and hands too. But still it’s great WeatherWool gave me complete mosquite protection over my legs, torso, arms, neck and top of my head (under our Cap). I plan to try for turkey again next week, and by then I expect the mosquitoes will really be a force to be reckoned with.

Saturday, 27 April 2013
Hit The Swamp a little late, but not long after sunup, looking for another turkey. The gobblers were sounding off, but none of them were attracted to the music I was making. One interesting thing tho ... I was sitting on the same blowdown as Thursday, and noticed some deer coming in. Before long there were 4 does to my left, the nearest coming within 5 or 6 yards. All of them were within 20 yards, and I'd been sitting in that ground-level spot for over an hour. I would have assumed my scent would pool around me, given that the air was very still. So it seemed strange that 4 deer could be so close for 5-10 minutes. They saw me, but could not decide what I was, and if I was a danger. They were curious, but not alarmed. I was wearing WeatherWool DRAB pants, All-Around Jac in LYNX and Cap in LYNX. The different patterns on legs and torso, plus the hat and facemask seemed to prevent the deer from really focusing on me. They stared and moved in and out, working their noses, but never did spook. Eventually they walked off stiff-legged, and I got the impression they were annoyed, as if they really wanted to be where I was, but my presence had ruined the spot for them.

By noon quitting time, the temperature was up to 70F/21C or so, and even sitting in the sun, I was fine with FullWeight WeatherWool Pants and All-Around Jac and Cap.

In the afternoon I prepared Thursday’s jake for dinner. Stuffed him with apples, and surrounded him with several sliced onions and quartered apples. Spread about 8 ounces of our own maple syrup over him, and added about 8 ounces of water. Rubbed in the maple syrup a little bit, then drizzled olive oil over the bird. Roasted it in a tented pan at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for about 4 hours, then 350 for about 1 hour, then removed the tent and another hour at 350. WOW!!! Seriously good bird. Breast tender and moist, and even the drumsticks were AOK, according to my Dad (although a little tough). Everyone said the bird turned out great. They could have been humoring me, but I thought it was a seriously good bird. A pretty idiot-proof recipe!

WeatherWool Folks love Wild Turkey for Dinner!

Thursday, 25 April 2013
Was up late last night, and there was just no way I was going to start this morning at 4AM to get into the turkey woods before first light. There are some turkey experts who claim you’d may as well sleep in anyway, because gobblers are much more likely to come to a call later in the morning. Temperature was about 45F/7C when I parked the truck at The Swamp and headed over to a large blowdown behind the pond. Hurricane Rita downed a large oak in August of 2011, and the tree’s rootball makes a sort of natural blind. The bole is a pretty good place to sit, also. It’s the exact spot I took my first gobbler about a year ago, and a nice buck in December. This morning I sat down on the big old oak at about 9:30, intending to hunt until noon. I wore WeatherWool FullWeight Pants in DRAB, All-Around Jac in LYNX and a WeatherWool Cap, also in FullWeight LYNX fabric. For a base layer, just cotton briefs and T-Shirt. There was plenty of bird activity to watch, but none of the birds were turkeys. I clucked periodically with a wingbone call given to me by my sister, and made by a friend of hers. I added some gobbles to the clucks. For 90 minutes, nothing happened, and I didn’t mind. It was just such a splendid morning. I was very comfortable and relaxed, sitting in the sun. I noticed my DRAB pants were soaking up considerably more heat from the sun than my All-Around Jac. And I confess to have been close to sleeping when I heard a rustle in the dry leaves behind me. I turned my head pretty quickly and there were three jakes looking at me, only 15 or 20 yards off. But the DRAB and the LYNX and the facemask did their job. The turkeys stared, but were not much alarmed, just took a few steps away, putting the big rootball between them and me. This enabled me to stand up, turn around, grab my shotgun and take a bead over the top of the rootball at the nearest gobbler, who also was standing by himself, affording me an easy shot with no concern about hitting either of the other birds.

WeatherWool was invisible to this jake, who loved the sound of a wingbone call

The jake weighed 18 pounds. The wingbone call sits on the turkey’s wing, and my LYNX Cap and All-Around Jac are nearby. Please notice how well the LYNX matches the leaves on the forest floor. Most folks believe turkeys have super vision. LYNX and DRAB and a face mask made me unrecognizable to three birds at very close range. Some people assume LYNX to be a snow pattern, or prairie/sage or desert or mountain pattern. And it is. But it also works really well in any season in a deciduous forest. We believe there is a lot to be said for natual camo patterns, and that is one reason we copied our LYNX pattern from the shoulder of a lynx pelt.

WeatherWool and a Wild Turkey

Interestingly, I got very busy the rest of the day, and as I write this at almost midnight, I'm still wearing the WeatherWool FullWeight Pants I put on for the hunt at about 8AM. This afternoon was quite sunny, with a high in the low 70s (23C) and even warmer than that in the sun. Nevertheless, I was comfortable in my FullWeight, working around the house, scalding and plucking the jake in the sunshine, having dinner with family and now, working in front of the screen. Our FullWeight fabric affords a range of comfort, without changing any clothing, of 50 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius). That’s one of the reasons we love wool!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013
Went looking for a gobbler again this morning. And I messed up. Had a gobbler sounding off on his way in, and thought he was a lot farther away than he really was. I shifted my position to get a better view in his direction, but he was only 50 yards away, and he picked me off. Still great to be out there. Got a good look at a Great Horned Owl. Weather was nice ... a re-run of Monday. Temp about 38F/3C, unusually cool for late April in North Jersey, but of course this was no challenge at all to dress for, and WeatherWool kept me completely comfortable.

One interesting thing ... there is a small sandy bank where our property borders the Rockaway River. Around this time of year I usually find fresh egg shells, the result of nest raiders feeding on snapping turtle eggs. This year, no turtle eggs. But the Rockaway is full of small clams, the largest of which has a shell of maybe 2 inches (5 cm) across. I've always suspected otters of leaving these shells on the riverbank, but I don’t really know. Sometimes there might be a dozen shells in a pile. In this picture, besides the shells on the bank, there is a pile of opened shells in the river, in a few inches of water.

Clamshells along the Rockaway River, where we test WeatherWool

Tuesday, 23 April 2013
We’ve picked up quite a few hats at Ruby’s, and we really admire his work. Ruby didn’t like my photography tho, and we’ll need to get a better picture of him. Turkey season opened yesterday here in Jersey, and the wool performed flawlessly, but the weather was no challenge either. Temperature of 38F/3C, wore a light base layer on top, and FullWeight Pants and All-Around Jac. No luck with the turkeys yet, but it’s always great to be in the field at this time of year, particularly at dawn. Here’s a casual picture of the new Boonies:

WeatherWool Boonie Hat PrototypesPrototype Boonie Hats.  The shape is not quite right, yet.

Saturday, 13 April 2013
The last few days have been busy. Hats getting finished up, preparations for the NRA Show in Houston and working on designs for new pieces, particularly Mouton (Shearling) Jacket. Spring is really here in Northern NJ. Today while walking in the local woods, Debby and I enjoyed some shoots of Japanese Knotweed. The young Knotweed shoots have a taste pretty similar to rhubarb, but not as intense.

Sunday, 7 April 2013
Great day today, warmest day in a long time ... sunny. Debby and I took the old hound to The Swamp just for a look around. Strange how nature works. Some days critters are everywhere, some days not. Today, all we saw were a couple of turtles, the first I've seen this year, sunning on logs. I'm impressed that turtles will bail off their logs and back into the water because they spot me moving 30 or 40 yards away. I wonder what kind of predator has put pressure on them. The water level in the river is way down, but the level in our pond is way up. And the river flows within about 30 yards of the pond. It’s interesting how the water levels in two close bodies of water can move in opposite directions.

Saturday, 6 April 2013
Today we spent some more time with our hat maker, Ruby. He had an idea to make the brim of the Walker hat a little stiffer, and we all liked the result. It’s great to be working with a guy who has so much knowledge and experience!

Friday, 5 April 2013
We spent another few hours with our tailors. Working up some cutting orders, figuring out what we have enough material to make. Working on Hooded Jackets again now ... Debby is not happy with the cuffs, the shoulders or the sleeves. I will admit to being lost as she goes over details of sewing, sizing (nothing to do with size -- surprise for me!), the way corners are folded, joined, stitched, how zippers are edged, how cuffs are rolled. Debby assures me these details will be important to a lot of people. I think it looks great already and I just want to get out in the weather and see what it can do. Sometimes it’s a lot easier to be ignorant. Wow I'm lucky to have a wife who can step in and handle details that I didn’t even know needed handling!

Thursday, 4 April 2013
We’ve just gotten some hats made. Here are three hats we are putting into production now. They are tentatively named Mouton, Walker and WeatherWool Cap. All of the hats are made with our FullWeight Wool, and shown below in LYNX. They are also available in DRAB. Except for the very ends of the flaps, the Mouton is lined with 100% genuine Mouton Shearling (pelt of a lamb). The Walker offers a stitched brim that is wide enough to keep rain off your face and neck and ears, and out of your jacket. The Walker has a narrow band around the bottom. The WeatherWool Cap is similar in structure to the familiar ball caps, but it covers a larger portion of the head because it is made from serious wool, and therefore can be used as a serious hat in some real weather. It is adjustable (leather band in back) and it can be worn ‘ears-in’ on cold days, something a typical ball cap does not enable. Also, the bill is made of soft, luxurious leather. It’s stiff enough to function effectively but soft enough to be folded into a pocket. I'll be working to get all the hats up on the product page ASAP.

WeatherWool Hats in Lynx PatternWeatherWool Hats in Lynx Pattern

Wednesday, 3 April 2013
The last few days we’ve been showing around an Aviator-style hat with a full Mouton lining. We believe this one will be a tremendously warm hat ... we’ll need some cold weather to know for sure tho. With the Mouton (Shearling) and our FullWeight Wool, it basically has to be ultra warm! But it’s been a surprise that this hat (this is another hat we still need to name) is quite comfortable in relative warmth, such as a long car ride or a well-above-freezing spring evening. Should get some pictures up soon.

Saturday, 30 March 2013
We’ve been working for several months with a hatmaker. We’ll have a few types of hats based on classic designs but with our own wrinkles. And I'll get some pictures and info up on the website soon. There are not many hatmakers still operating in the USA, but we are fortunate to have one located a short distance from our home. Our hatmaker, Ruby, has been in the business over 60 years. Now THAT is experience!

WeatherWool Hatmaker Ruby SpitzRuby

Here’s a picture of Ruby, 83 and still working 6 days a week. He is quite a character! Ruby’s wearing an as-yet-unnamed hat in FullWeight LYNX. Looks like we’ll be making a bunch of these, so we do need to figure out what we’ll call it. Suggestions are welcome!

Friday, 29 March 2013
When we began working on WeatherWool around the beginning of 2010, I was focused on our wool, the general design of the clothing, camo/color, business structures and customers. Something I'd not really thought about tho is all the ‘little stuff’ that is needed to put together a garment. Zippers and zipper pulls, thread, pocket and waistband liners, cuffs, buttons, draw cord, draw cord adjustments and fasteners, buckles, elastic for suspenders ... Examining the wide variety of these products, making sure they are American, ordering and testing samples and getting all these items coordinated with our tailors has been a very time-consuming and difficult job. And I personally have not done any of it. WOW, am I lucky that Debby has assumed all these responsibilities! She’s spent hundreds of hours on the phone, the web, email, working with manufacturers and distributors. She’s amassed a collection of literally hundreds of these components, with the current favorites occupying a place of honor in her workspace. And she’s certainly not done. Thank You, Sweetheart!

Along these lines, I'd not really considered the availability of some of the components we need. We knew American sourcing would often be difficult, but we did not consider the volumes that are standard in the garment industry. Just about everyone involved in clothing manufacture seems to do so on a scale far larger than ours. When Debby speaks with one of these suppliers, the conversation typically begins with Debby explaining about WeatherWool, and our concept of pure-American and highest quality possible. Everybody likes those ideas, but quite often a supplier cannot guarantee American manufacture from American materials. When we do find a product that is suitable, it usually turns out that minimum order quantities are vastly larger than make sense for us. For example, the thread we are using for most of our stitching is normally made to order. When the salesman told Debby the minimum order size, we were obviously operating in a completely different zone from his usual customer. When Debby said we needed 8 pounds, he said something like “Oh, we always make some extra. We can just grab that little bit from somewhere.”

I'm also happy to report how kind, considerate and just plain nice people have been to us. The vendors we speak with are normally extremely supportive, and often go considerably out of their way to provide advice, information, referrals, and samples. There is an enormous amount of popular support for the concept of ‘American’, and we are really grateful to so many suppliers for helping us out of the goodness of their hearts. There are a lot of wonderful folks everywhere, which is no surprise to us or to anyone, I'm sure. But it is still something special to experience such support so frequently. Thank You to a ton of people.

Another interesting thing ... suppliers are reporting that their Asian customers are frequently insisting on American products. Just yesterday an American craftswoman was telling Debby how her Japanese and Korean customers are specifically seeking American sourcing.

Friday, 22 March 2013
Last spring I bagged my first turkey. And I did write it up (New Jersey Turkey) in the FROM THE FIELD section of this website. An old friend told me to send him the fan, beard and lower legs and he'd get a mount made. It just arrived today. Here is what it looks like still in the shipping crate. We need to decide where to hang it. This photo does not do it justice. This is a beautiful piece of work.

WeatherWool helped me take my first gobblerGobbler Placque

It was also a pretty serious gobbler ... 22 pounds, with a 9-1/4 inch beard, 1-3/8 inch spurs and 4-1/2 inch snood (10 kg, 23.5 cm, 3.5 cm, 11.4 cm).

Thursday, 21 March 2013
This past week has been the best. We’ve shipped our first production garments. We’ve begun work on hats, and are doing some preliminary work with Shearling linings. Wow, the Mouton (Shearling) is luxurious!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013
Funny thing has been happening lately. People have ordered WeatherWool, but then not gotten back to us with their measurements. This has led us to re-evaluate our “custom garment” concept. We surely do not want to make it difficult for people to order WeatherWool, so we have decided to offer both standard sizing and custom garments. We will get a size chart up soon. Hats included.

Sunday, 17 March 2013
Tomorrow we will ship several All-Around Jacs in LYNX.

Thursday, 14 March 2013
We delivered a large quantity of WeatherWool fabric to our hat makers. Boonie hats up first!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013
Spent quite a bit of time on the phone with a wilderness arts instructor who has given one of our WeatherWool prototype Hooded Jackets a good workout over the past week. He really loved our wool, and was happy to hear about our plans for a BRINDLE pattern (see yesterday’s entry below). He looks forward to becoming a distributor. I'll have more information about him and his school on the website before much longer. We also had a visit from Diogo, on his way back to the airport from his class. Diogo had nothing but really good things to say about the WeatherWool he picked up on Saturday. It protected him from the rain and brush, kept him warm when it was cool and did not make him hot in the warmer weather of yesterday and today. Diogo told us he’s already sold his King of the Mountain Bibs. Thank You for the vote of confidence, Diogo!!

Monday, 11 March 2013
Met with the team at the mill, and discussed options for a new camo fabric. We will use our existing LYNX pattern (Diogo is wearing a LYNX Hooded Jacket below), but use darker yarns. We’ve tentatively named our new camo BRINDLE. If you search the web for images of brindle, you’ll get an idea of what our new camo will look like. We’ll make a few batches of test fabric, with enough fabric to make a garment in each of the samples. Then we’ll do some testing and decide on the exact colors to dye our yarns. We also picked up another 350 yards of FullWeight LYNX and DRAB fabrics and delivered most of it to our tailors. We will deliver the balance of the LYNX and DRAB fabric to our hat makers, and we’ll begin making hats very soon. We’ll make Boonie and Aviator hats right away, and we’ll work up a couple more designs that we’ve already begun testing. Lastly, we met with a furrier. Debby loves the idea of offering an optional Shearling (sheep fleece) collar for the All-Around Jac, so this will be a sort of simple, first step toward offering much more substantial Shearling and wool combination garments.

Saturday, 9 March 2013


Diogo in WeatherWool

This morning our buddy Diogo Machado from Phoenix stopped by to pick up the first WeatherWool garments that are what we would consider true production. Diogo seemed to like them a lot, but the test will be what happens over the next 4 days. Diogo flew into Newark Airport and visited us on his way to a class offered at Tom Brown Jr’s Primitive Arts Collective. The class will keep Diogo outdoors until Tuesday afternoon. There will actually be two sets of WeatherWool at this class, the other set having headed down to New Jersey’s Pine Barrens Sunday (blog entry of 3 March)! Of course we are really eager to hear what Diogo thinks of the wool after four days in maybe the biggest piece of wilderness (over 1500 square miles) left along the East Coast. Diogo is wearing a Hooded Jacket in FullWeight LYNX and Bibs in FullWeight DRAB. LYNX over DRAB happens to be my own favorite combination. Diogo will visit us again on Tuesday to pick up some Bibs for his wife. Also, we decided Diogo’s Bibs should be bigger, so he’ll wear these Bibs for a few days and we’ll make up another pair for him. Thank You Diogo for letting us use the picture!!

Friday, 8 March 2013
Spent a few hours with our tailors today, picking up our first true production garments and discussing the best way to prepare for the NRA Show in Houston, May 3-5. These first production garments look great, and they have been a long time coming!

Thursday, 7 March 2013
Got a great letter today from Mark Helton, a mountain lion guide in Colorado, who has been testing a pair of WeatherWool FullWeight Pants in Lynx for about a month. Actually, the “testing” stopped a couple of weeks ago, I guess, and now he is just “wearing” them. And wearing them hard. Mark gave me permission to use his letter on the website, and so I put up another testimonial. Thanks Mark!!

Sunday, 3 March 2013
A very interesting and nice young couple (i forgot to ask permission to use their names!) stopped by here this morning. They were on their way to a week-long course at Tom Brown’s Tracker School in Waretown, New Jersey, then following that up with another class, lasting a few days, at Tom Brown Jr’s Primitive Arts Collective. They picked up a pair of FullWeight Pants in LYNX and a Hooded Jacket also in FullWeight LYNX to test. They’ll be spending about 10 days out in the weather in Jersey’s Pine Barrens, and I'm really looking forward to hearing what they have to say when about our wool!

Friday, 1 March 2013
We’ve been trying to sew up (sorry, that was an accident) a lot of loose ends ... to get our first real production garments out the door. Also, I had a nice talk with a guy who tested some of our wool out in Michigan. He sent me a really nice email afterward, and gave me the green light to put it on the website. So now we have a TESTIMONIALS page. Thanks Brian!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013
We spent the afternoon with our tailors in Pennsylvania. We’ve been really happy with our designs and FullWeight fabric for months now. Which may well have been good enough for me! But Debby looks at these things with more attention to detail and finish and she did not like the way the seams looked on the inside of the garments. So, pretty much against my inclinations, we tried a couple of different inner linings -- piping, they call it -- which, I agree, did give the garments a nice, finished look. Any suit jacket or sport coat will have this kind of lining, so you don’t see any of the sewing on the inside. That stuff might be OK for a business suit, which doesn’t do much except cover you up. But even tho we used only small amounts of lining around the hood, collar and cuffs, whatever lining we tried still degraded performance, particularly in wet weather. And performance is first, second and third with WeatherWool, so the finish-liners are gone. Instead, Debby and the tailors reworked design and technique on a bunch of the seams, and even I definitely agree the inner seams do look a lot better now! And, until we add a real performance lining, (such as Shearling or a windstopper), our garments won’t have any lining except where absolutely necessary for structural integrity. Our pants, for example, will have a small synthetic liner around the waist/belt area, which is necessary for strength. We will also use some synthetic liner in parts of some of our pockets.

Monday, 25 February 2013
We were awarded a booth at the NRA Annual Meeting in Houston, May 3-5. We’d been waitlisted and there was a cancellation. Today is my Mom’s 87th Birthday and it seems Mom brought us some luck!

Saturday, 23 February 2013
Walked a couple of miles in the light rain today. Just wanted some air, plus the hound looked like she needed to stretch. Temp about 40F/4C. I was wearing my WeatherWool All-Around Jac, and a cotton shirt underneath. I knew this level of rain would not be an issue with the All-Around Jac if I was wearing wool underneath it, but I wondered if a cotton base layer would pull the water thru. I was just curious, and this was a good excuse to get away from the screen for a bit. Happy to say the cotton did not pull water thru the double yoke of the All-Around Jac. But, it was only a light rain. Of course if I really wanted to stay dry I would have changed out of the cotton before the walk.

Thursday, 21 February 2013
We’ve been working on a design for a coat with our wool on the outside and Shearling on the inside. Also an Aviator-style hat. (Shearling is the pelt of a sheep with the wool still on, trimmed to a uniform length.) We’ve secured some American made and tanned Shearling known as Mouton, the finest grade of Shearling. I mentioned these items to a guy who spends a lot of time chasing cougar in Utah’s high country. He commissioned us to make our first Shearling prototypes for him. These will be really great pieces.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013
We spent a lot of time today with our tailors. We made a number of changes to the way the garments are sewn together. Not changes to our features, or even things that most wearers would notice. But part of our philosophy is to make every improvement we can, even if small or subtle.

I also had a great conversation with a gentleman who guides for Mountain Lion in Colorado. He’s been testing a pair of WeatherWool FullWeight Pants in LYNX, and he said they are “incredible”. He was extremely pleased with performance in serious cold (as low as -34F / -37C), clambering over rough terrain, and dealing with snow and moisture. The WeatherWool was impervious to snow, and the usual snowmobile suit was actually not needed. We will probably post a testimonial with contact info soon. He’s purchased the test pants and is getting measured for a Hooded Jacket. This phone call made me happy! Thank You!

Monday, 11 February 2013
WeatherWool is doing well, THANK YOU. This week we’ll examine our first production garments. If they pass a very detailed inspection, they’ll go out to customers. Wow, we have been working at this for a lot longer than we ever thought it would take to get to here! But the idea has always been to do things as well as we possibly could, not according to any schedule or price point.

Had a very interesting outing at The Swamp on Friday. There was another ‘Storm of the Century’ forecast for New England and the extreme Northeast of New Jersey (where we are). I really love getting out in the woods and the weather just before and during the beginning of a serious storm. So I was there well before sunup, and intended to sit a stump for a little bit with my slug gun. (Gun season for whitetail was open until 9 February in parts of Jersey. Bow until 16 February.) The weatherfolk were calling for as much as 24 inches (60 cm) in our area, and the first flakes had just begun to fall. (We wound up with about 12 inches / 30 cm.) None of the falling snow melted at all, every flake STUCK. Very cool. There is a little arm of the Rockaway River flowing right next to the dirt road that takes me into the trees. From that little flow I spooked about 50 mallards and dozens of Canada geese, putting every whitetail within 300 yards on red alert. Got to be impressed with the low-light vision of waterfowl. But I wasn’t in all that much of a hunt-mode anyway, more like I was taking the gun for a walk, and if an opportunity for venison presented itself, fine.

Around here, if we are going to get a signficant snowfall, there is a certain feel to the air. First off, it’s still. If it’s windy, we don’t get much snow. Second, it’s kind of warm, usually about 35F (2C). Third, the air feels soft and moist and it’s almost like I can taste the snow coming. I love these days. I always have it in my head that all the critters should be out and about, feeding and preparing somehow for the storm. But instead the woods usually seem really, really quiet. All the earthbound creatures, deer included, were making themselves scarce. The sky was different, tho, geese were flying everywhere, and sounding off like crazy. I should have brought the scattergun and the dog. Quite a few mallards as well, and some woodies, which are very common at The Swamp. After maybe 45 minutes of tiptoeing along, I heard turkeys talking ahead, and eased closer, just for the fun of it. Stalking turkeys as a method of hunting them is illegal in New Jersey, and it’s supposedly very difficult to do, but it’s pretty easy to stalk within rifle range of these deer-season turkeys. Anyway, it turned out to be a group of about 8-10 hens.

Continuing on my way, I was now parallel to the main channel of the Rockaway, and spooked another 100 or so waterfowl. Made me feel like a fool, of course, but also kind of guilty, that my mere presence would cause so many creatures to quit what they were doing and flee. The waterfowl are pretty smart. Here in The Swamp, waterfowl are hunted hard, tho not much by me. A mile away, the waterfowl lounging in parks and corporate campuses have little or no fear of people. They have patterned us. As I continued along the Rockaway, I noticed a couple of ducks still paddling in the river, and got a good enough look at them with the binoculars to have no doubt they were redheads. The first redheads I've ever seen there.

Another 200 yards along was a spot where I could see fairly far into the flooded timber. I'd seen a huge raft of ducks and some geese in that area a few days previously, but today I didn’t see any. I stood in this spot several minutes, savoring the moment and the storm. Some motion caught my eye, and it turned out to be a turkey flying down from a tall tree. As the sun had been up over an hour, it seemed strange to me that a large turkey would be flying down now. Somewhere along the way I got it in my head that when you see turkey, you are more likely to see deer. So I decided to park myself in that spot a while longer.

One of the interesting natural phenomena at The Swamp is the behavior of the water level. Sometimes I am convinced the level of our lake can move opposite the level in the river. That is, the lake level can fall when the river rises, and vice versa. It’s hard to be sure tho because the lake level changes much more slowly than the river. Another interesting thing to see is what happens after a good rain. The Swamp, of course, fills with water, which can sometimes really affect the behavior of the animals and the fish that live there. If we get a good rain in winter, what usually happens after is the sky clears and the temperature drops. If it gets cold enough, which is was lately, the floodwaters will freeze at their peak. When the floodwaters recede, they leave behind huge sheets of ice clinging to the trees but without water underneath for support. If we next get a sharp warm spell, you’ll hear what sounds like panes of glass breaking everywhere as the ice sheets collapse. Weirdly, if you are careful, you can make an incredible racket busting thru the stranded ice but actually stillhunt successfully. The deer are used to these crazy crashing sounds.

So as I stood there looking around, I began hearing the sound of crashing, collapsing ice coming from behind a little knoll where the gobbler had landed. The sound continued off and on but pretty steadily for at least 10 minutes, and I was going a little nuts trying to figure out what was going on only 75 yards in front of me, but out of sight behind the knoll. Eventually, a gobbler walked out, then another, and another, ultimately 10 or 12 gobblers filed out of that little spot which couldn’t have been more than 40 or so yards wide. When the gobblers left the area, the crashing stopped. So ... what were those gobblers doing? Crashing thru the ice for feed? Mark Vitt ( suggested that just maybe the majority of the gobblers in that group had ROOSTED under the ice shelves? I didn’t hear the crashing until after that one gobbler had flown down out of the tree. TURKEYS!!??

Here are a couple of pictures of the remains of an ice shelf. I took these pix shortly after the gobbler mystery.

Ice Shelf at The Swamp, WeatherWool testing area

The tree is about 2 feet (60 cm) in diameter and the “ice shelf” is about 18 inches (45 cm) above the ground. These pictures were taken after a fresh skiff of snow from monster storm Nemo had accumulated on the old, broken-off shelf. A week or so before, the entire forest floor, in the areas lower than the “ice line”, was covered with ice. For whatever reason, this bit of ice managed to cling to the tree, suspended over the ground. The shelf of ice to the left of the tree extends 15 inches (38 cm) or more. The turkeys must have been busting thru ice something like this ice shelf, but from the sound of it, a lot more extensive!! The gun is a Browning 12-gauge Gold Hunter. It groups Winchester Partition Gold Slugs about 2 inches at 100 yards, and those slugs are extremely lethal. Super for whitetail and black bear.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013
We had several days of an Arctic Front here in NJ, with temperatures getting down to the single digits (5F / -15C) and staying well below freezing for several days. January is our coldest month here, but it was unusually cold for this area. Our winters are moderated because we are only about 100 feet above sea level, and only a few miles from the ocean. Just before the cold snap I tapped our maple trees. Not that we have much of a sugar bush, only 8 trees, but living in the New York City suburbs I feel lucky to have any! Most years we can make about 1.5 gallons (5.5 liters) of maple syrup, which is more than we use. What is interesting right now is that the cold snap broke a couple of days ago, and even night time temperatures have remained well above freezing. I've always read the maples flow when nights dip below freezing and the days warm up above freezing, particularly if a strong sun heats the tree bark. It seems our trees did not read the books, because they have been flowing at maximum rates (about one drip per second per tap) since the weather warmed up ... and without any sunshine. A buddy of mine helps his brother with a commercial sugaring operation on the Vermont / Quebec border. They tap 5000 trees, but don’t get going until April. I'm about 400 miles South of Quebec, and last year my trees were done by the beginning of February!

Maple Syrup coming up at the WeatherWool Sugarbush!
One of the things I really like about sugaring is that it tells me we’ve already taken a big bite out of winter. We really have a pretty gentle winter here, and a very long deer season too (ends February 16th this year). Once the sugaring is done, we’ll be seeing the return of the early migrating birds, such as the male redwing blackbirds. Great time of year!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013
Deadly Dan spent a few hours at The Swamp and saw not so much as a deer track. I'm sure the whitetails have not gone far, BUT ... they have gone. Nobody has seen a deer in weeks. After having been legally hunted for 4 months, plus pressured by trespassers and poachers, my guess is the deer have mostly just holed up across the river where they have a lot more security. Dan did have the chance to enjoy for a half-hour the antics of a pileated woodpecker, a species which was not present at The Swamp until recently.

Saturday, 26 January 2013
Been a busy couple of days, and chilly here. The last few days have been the coldest in maybe three years. Not what I'd call serious cold, but, we really don’t get serious cold much in Jersey, particularly around here, just a little bit above sea level. Last night we had about an inch of snow ... just enough to turn things white, and I had the urge to visit The Swamp with my slug gun. This afternoon the temperature was about 25F/-4C. Wearing WeatherWool All-Around Jac in LYNX and FullWeight Pants in Drab as my outer layer. Base layer was just a pair of boxers and a 400gram Woolpower Turtleneck with Monkey Paws. It was a little breezy, but nothing significant. I felt perfectly comfortable, and the Monkey Paws kept my hands and wrists warm enough that I didn’t think about wearing the gloves in my pockets. The sun was out and the afternoon was quite a bit warmer than the overnight low, so I thought some deer would be moving. When I got to The Swamp I saw Deadly Dan’s car parked. Text message told me where he was, and that he’d gone in only 10 minutes ahead of me. In about 2.5 hours of hunting, neither of us saw a deer, or even any recent sign of a deer. I walked well over a mile and didn’t see a single deer track in the snow. Neither did Dan. Where the heck do they go? Plenty of fox tracks tho. I did find a guy had set up a commercial ground blind right at the edge of my property. Gonna have to put up some signs. It was a beautiful day, and there were plenty of ducks enjoying the free-flowing Rockaway River. I saw mallards, woodies and red ducks, which are unusual there. I also saw a pileated woodpecker for the first time at The Swamp. Dan saw a bald eagle, which I've never seen at The Swamp. Hope it sticks around. Dan also saw a possum. I always get a grin from the grinners ... they seem so clueless. Dan mentioned he’d seen a cardinal near the gate, and when I asked him if the bird was incredibly red, he said THAT’S THE ONE. I also saw that same cardinal today, and he was still about the reddest cardinal ever. Near the bend in the river I found where a pair of otters had run across the ice. They didn’t do do any belly-sliding tho.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013
Decided to take a couple of hours for a short hunt at The Swamp. It was more a case of wanting to get out for a little, and maybe test the wool, than actually hunting. Temperature about 15F/-10C, and breezy. WeatherWool FullWeight DRAB pants over regular boxers kept my legs warm and comfortable. On top, a layer of Icebreaker Summerweight, then Woolpower, then WeatherWool FullWeight All-Around Jac in our own LYNX pattern. Omitting the Icebreaker would have been fine, and probably what I would have done if I wasn’t still getting over the flu. In any case, I was perfectly comfortable easing around for a couple of hours. Did not see any deer, but I did get pretty close to a Great Blue Heron sunning itself on the riverbank. When the heron saw me, he or she took off, but I was surprised the heron made a little semi-circle over the river and then landed only 30 yards away. Usually herons want to keep a lot more distance between themselves and humans. A few months ago I bumped a heron from the same spot that also didn’t fly nearly as far as I expected, and likely this was the same not-so-shy bird. I also saw a group of about 8 gobblers. Walked up within 60 or 70 yards of them. I keep reading that it’s not possible to stillhunt turkeys. It’s not legal in a lot of places, but I think it’d be possible with the Easterns around here.

Our son Zack will be back home tonight for a few days vacation from his work in Wyoming’s gas fields. So the family doings will continue!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013
Big doings here tonight. Today is Debby and my 30th Wedding Anniversary. Somehow, Debby looks the same, and I've done the ageing for both of us. Today is also the 25th Birthday of our Daughter Laura. Debby and I couldn’t possibly have given each other a better 5th Anniversary gift!

Monday, 21 January 2013
I've had the flu a bunch of times. In 1990 twice. It used to come on real hard and sharp and severe, but after about three days it was all gone and I'd be 100%. Last couple times it has lingered, sort of tapered off slow. Today I didn’t feel right, and our deer season is still going at The Swamp. So I decided to take the shotgun for a little walk. Temp was just slightly under freezing, air feeling very wet and heavy with a few snowflakes falling. Seemed like a perfect day to hunt, really, but I didn’t see a thing. Didn’t mind that, tho, because it was the fresh air I really wanted. Saw what seemed to be about the reddest cardinal I've ever seen. I thought it might be another type of bird it was so red, but the binos left no doubt. Found a new, empty 5-pack of Federal Buckshot. A lot of the time, their litter is the only reason I know trespassers have been there.

It’s great to be taking and working on some real WeatherWool orders!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013
Dang, I do not like the flu!! Should be history soon tho. Hopefully nobody else in the house gets it from me.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013
Sorry to have been off the air for a bit. We had some family things needed taking care of down in Florida. We are making production garments now and as soon as we have a set of duds made up for our model we will put pictures and full products details up on the website!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013
Happy New Year Everyone! This month we will be getting our real production rolling. We’ll put up some pictures of our garments and info on design details. We have made enough changes to our prototypes that we cannot put close-up product pictures on the website until we make some new garments ... and that is what we are doing now. The pictures available under the Products Tab will give a good idea, and the LYNX camo pattern and DRAB solid color will not change. Thanks to Everyone for the continuing support and comments. We truly value every single input.