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Blog 2015



9 December 2015:
We finished the Greatcoat and our customer has picked it up curbside from JR’s Shop. We are really dying to hear how it fits and how he likes it!! Last week I was out for deer at The Swamp ... but they seemed to have gone underground, so I went back with the dog for waterfowl. We found Lion’s Mane, Wood Ears and lots of Oyster Mushrooms. Turned into a really nice haul! The Lion’s Mane is a beautiful mushroom and so bright white that I was still 100 yards away when I spotted it.

2 December 2015:
We have been getting some great feedback on the clothes ... even from our younger son Zack, who leaves about 2000 miles away, in Wyoming. Zack tells us the Anorak in Solid DUFF Color will be great in Casper ... Here is Z at the airport, about to catch his flight back to Wyoming after a Thanksgiving visit back home.

WeatherWool Al's Anorak in Solid Duff Color at Newark Liberty International Airport

23 November 2015:
We are back at work and in the woods! Getting set for Thanksgiving ... our younger son Zack is home from Wyoming for the Holiday! Wyoming is definitely wool country!

17 November 2015:
WeatherWool is reviewed in the November issue of Tactics & Preparedness Magazine. I did not see the review at online but it is reproduced in our Media Section. Tom Brown III of Earth Village Education really likes our Anorak!

16 November 2015:
We have been busy with a bunch of things. Our Shirt-Jacs have been really well received. WeatherWool is being worn on the set of a second TV Show ... but we are not sure if it is being worn by the cameraman or the ‘talent’ or both! We have the American Field Show in Brooklyn coming up this weekend. Please stop by ... this show is a nice way to spend some time ... food, drink, music and of course some great vendors.

1 November 2015:
Wild foods is really what got us, eventually, into WeatherWool. We have another little thing we do, DiningWild, which is all about wild foods. DiningWild is pretty active on Facebook and has a website, too. We like wild oyster mushrooms enough that when my DiningWild partner Dan suggested we try a little oyster mushroom farming in my backyard, we figured there was no real downside. All you need to do is sandwich some commercially available spawn in between rounds of oak or maple and wait a few months. The bloom in the foreground weighed about 3 pounds, which is a lot of oysters! In the rear is a stack of silver maple with another nice bloom at the bottom. At right, my dog is getting to know the oyster aroma. It would be great if she would key on that scent in the woods!!


Oyster Mushrooms in the back yard farm in South Orange, New Jersey

22 October 2015:
We have been getting interest from media recently. We received a nice preliminary review from Mark Kakkuri of Guns Magazine.

19 October 2015:
Back from the American Field Show in Washington, DC. We’ll be at the American Field Show in Brooklyn the weekend before Thanksgiving. That should be an excellent event!!

10 October 2015:
Today we had a great photo session in New Jersey's Horse Country. People may be surprised but horses are still a big deal here.

22 September 2015:
Got out early today ... coolest morning for a while. Temp around 55-60F (13-15C). MidWeight Pants and my old first-proto All-Around Jac (over a T-Shirt) were fine. I was hoping to jump-shoot geese off the Rockaway River and walked about 2 miles comfortably. No luck with the geese but I did find some gorgeous Oyster Mushrooms. All the trees toppled by Hurricane Sandy three years ago have created some homes for mushrooms. But today I had not brought my usual mesh sack for forageables. Well, luckily my Ball Cap held plenty of mushrooms -- a pound -- for dinner.


WeatherWool Ball Cap in Lynx Pattern filled with wild Oyster Mushrooms
If you are interested in wild mushrooms or wild foods in general, there are plenty of good sources to explore. DiningWild, [which has been] a sister company to WeatherWool, is dedicated to wild foods. DiningWild has [actually, had] its own website and Facebook page. [Update of 26 August 2021. I'm too busy with WeatherWool to maintain the DiningWild website, so I took it down.] Mushrooms can be highly toxic ... the cardinal rule of all foraging is WHEN IN DOUBT THROW IT OUT.

8 September 2015:
Getting set to hit the road for Boston and the American Field Show this weekend. The focus is on American-Made Products, and that surely is us. There will be many types of products on display, but all made in the USA. Plus music and food and a general good time. Hope to see you in Boston!


WeatherWool has attended shows organized by American Field

5 September 2015:
My younger son, Zack, is home for Labor Day weekend. Zack works in Casper, WY, and he hasn't been home since Christmastime. He was heading out to meet his friends when I put the arm on him to put on our new Shirt-Jac for a few pictures. He was giving me grief just for the fun of it and it shows on his face.

2 September 2015:
My buddy Fisher and I hit The Swamp for Jersey’s Early Goose Season. We had a good morning and my old dog Camo had a fine start to her 15th Season. We feel very lucky to still have her with us at all, let alone retrieving Giant Canadas!

28 August 2015:
We just sent MidWeight Pants in DRAB and a LYNX Anorak to a Primitive Skills Instructor and media personality. We are really looking forward to hearing what he has to say when he starts getting out into the Rocky Mountain Fall Weather.

25 August 2015:
Well, sorry it has been radio silence here on the Blog for August! Good stuff happening tho. We have finalized the designs and the fit for our Ladies Blanket Coat, Ladies Bomber Jacket and Ladies Field Jacket. And tomorrow we will be picking up our long-awaited Hooded Jackets from our tailors. These Hooded Jackets were held up in production for almost a year because of problems with the cuffs and ribs. It would have been a SNAP to buy non-American materials, but it turned out the only American maker of the cuffs/ribs had quit the business. Weird situation and insane delay but we don't compromise on our pure-American philosophy.

28 July 2015:
We had a good production meeting in NYC, and made some really nice progress toward finalizing the fit of a few men’s pieces. The unexpected happened after the meeting ... Debby had decided she is not not completely satisfied with any of the cord fasteners commercially available. So we set off to the shop of a toolmaker to see if we could pick up a leather punch to make a fastener of our own design. NYC is great that way ... everything is there, particularly in terms of garment-maker's needs. And on the way to buy the punch we passed a mannequin shop ... yep ... all they sell is mannequins ... and Debby liked what was on sale. Luckily I normally drive my pickup into NYC so we had enough room for 11 mannequins.


WeatherWool MannequinsAbout half of Debby's haul from the Mannequin Shop

23 July 2015:
We do make some garments in custom sizing. But it can become a real project. Sometimes the customer can supply a garment the fits, and we can work from that. Sometimes instead we get measurements and sizing information, but frequently, somehow, that isn't enough. So we make the piece in muslin, which tailors regard as a sort of scratch-pad. Then the customer tries on the muslin, as shown here. The necessary adjustments are recorded with pins and ink directly on the muslin. Then, another muslin garment is made (or maybe the first one is modified) and the customer tries it on again. Once the muslin is right, we make the garment in WeatherWool Fabric. SkiJac in LYNX coming up!


Fitting WeatherWool SkiJac

Fitting WeatherWool SkiJac

Fitting WeatherWool SkiJac, Muslin Prototype

22 July 2015:
Our raw wool has gone through the scouring (cleaning process). We got a yield of 70%, which is extremely high. It’s one reason why our raw wool was so expensive in the first place ... lab tests showed we would lose relatively little weight in the scouring. A normal yield is about 55%.

21 July 2015:
Today we attended several garment-industry shows at New York City's Javits Convention Center. It’s pretty big doings in NYC now with “Fashion Week” and there is a lot to check out. There is apparently nothing else around like WeatherWool. Which makes us wonder if we are nuts to be doing this. On the other hand, if WeatherWool had been exhibiting, we certainly would have been noticed. But we were merely attending as buyers (for either WeatherWool or our other company, AlexOutdoors, which retails high quality from other makers). [NOTE: On 14 June 2021, we shut down AlexOutdoors.]

One of the shows we visited is a huge textile show known as TexWorld, where manufacturers of fabric and components show their wares to the buyers from the fashion and garment industry. Virtually every manufacturer is from Asia. The great majority from China, with some India, Pakistan, Turkey and Korea too. I am not sure we found anything that was truly American. We wonder if we should exhibit here next year ... WeatherWool Fabric would be nothing like anything we saw ... and our pure-American product would also be extraordinary in this space.

We also attended shows for buyers of menswear. Project and MRKet are two of the better-known shows. Again, nothing at all like WeatherWool, and again we had to wonder if we should be exhibitors next year.

16 July 2015:
For almost a year we have been using a “Fit Model” for our women's pieces. And as of today, we are using a male Fit Model too. We have changed our All-Around Jac a little ... not much. We found a way to remove some of the bulk from the pockets without changing the overall design. And we are adding a storm flap. The biggest change is probably to the fit. The next AAJs will have a more slender fit ... not so much space around the belly. We actually spent an hour today with each of our Fit Models. My old buds are highly amused that I'm working with models ... Here's a picture of the Fit Model in a LYNX Pattern AAJ.


WeatherWool All-Around Jacket Fitting

16 July 2015:
Our raw wool in bales, waiting to be scoured. The scouring process removes the debris that naturally accumulates in a fleece over time. Scouring also removes almost all of the lanolin, the natural oil that is produced by the sheep. The lanolin is valuable and is saved and eventually used in many products for skin care, shampoo, medicine. Lanolin can also be used to recondition woolen garments. But at this point the lanolin needs to go because it will build up and eventually disable machines that will handle the wool downstream.

WeatherWool Raw Wool at the Scouring Plant

7 July 2015:
Debby and I spent about an hour on the phone yesterday with one of the ranchers from whom we bought our 2015 raw wool. We purchased wool this year from 4 different ranches, although two of those ranches belong to the same family so it’s probably more like three different ranches. Anyway, this year our wool is much more Merino than Rambouillet. Very strange (to me!) reason for that. Previous years had been drought years. In drought years some sheep grow finer (thinner) fiber than in good years. So the rancher we knew best had plenty of rain this past year for his sheep and the sheep grew fiber that was thicker than we could use. Our new rancher tells me his sheep always grow the about the same thickness fiber, regardless of drought or wet. Boy, the more I learn about wool and sheep the more I still have to learn!

30 June 2015:
Now that we have a little more MidWeight Fabric available, we made a MidWeight Anorak. We’ve decided to make several pieces in both MidWeight and FullWeight ... our Shirt, Hooded Jacket, Anorak and Men’s and Ladies Pants. Today we interviewed a couple of male Fit Models and one of the guys put on our MidWeight Anorak, which fit him great. Someone suggested he put a SkiJac over the Anorak, which we had not ever thought about, but actually it worked quite well. And it’s easy to imagine situations where the combination would be just the ticket.


WeatherWool SkiJac over WeatherWool MidWeight Hoodie

18 June 2015:
Guess I haven't been keeping up the Blog very well. Trying to get things on Facebook and Instagram tho. Here is a Shirt we just made in FullWeight Fabric. We’ve decided to make the Shirt in both FullWeight and MidWeight Fabric. We still need to decide on how to do the front pockets. We're not sure these slant pockets are right for us, but they are really winning a lot of support of late.


WeatherWool ShirtJac with experimental-design slanted front pockets

18 May 2015:
Chad Borofsky, a 20+ year veteran of the Sugar Bush Ski Patrol, has a leading role in designing and testing our SkiJac. Here is Chad in his production (at last!) SkiJac. THANK YOU for helping us get this done, Chad!!

WeatherWool SkiJac in Lynx Pattern

14 May 2015:
We had our fit model at today's weekly Production Meeting. Another set of sizing and fit adjustments to the Ladies Blanket Coat, Ladies Bomber Jacket and Ladies Field Jacket. And we made a couple of design changes, also, to the Bomber Jacket (mostly to the Hood) and the Field Jacket. We just could not get completely comfortable with the pockets on the Ladies Field Jacket, so we decided to make one without the large external pockets and see how an inner slash pocket would work. And although I thought we were finished with the Ladies Pants, we wound up making a couple of (final?) small adjustments to the fit.

12 May 2015:
Cost of our raw wool purchased at auction last week: We paid a weighted average of $3.12 per pound of raw fleece (plus lab fees). Typical wool this year was going for 60 to 75 cents per pound. So we paid 4 or 5 times the price for the ‘run of the mill’ stuff. And that is because our Fabric is anything but run-of-the-mill. Same with all of our materials, our workmanship, our design work.

11 May 2015:
Did some turkey hunting yesterday. My buddy Fisher Neal from Tennessee is a turkey-hunting fool. He's already taken two gobblers in TN and another last week in New Jersey, but he's not ready to call it a season yet. So we hunted Jersey's Allamuchy Mountain State Park, a new spot for both of us. At 5AM it was already warm, almost room temperature ... and it got warmer as the morning progressed. Wearing my old (first one made) original All-Around Jac and Big Brim Boonie Hat I was soon sweating as we slowly hiked along, calling and listening. Once we stopped moving to set up, I cooled off pretty nice. Does anyone have any idea why gnats think the most wonderful thing in the world is to land on your eyeballs? We didn't manage to raise so much as a gobble or a look-see in response to all our efforts. I did learn that a Big Brim Boonie Hat stuffs pretty well into the pocket of an AAJ. Never tried that before. And it had been a while also since I wrapped the sleeves of my AAJ around me like a belt. Crossing the sleeves in front of me, the AAJ stayed in place quite well on the hike out, which was more than two miles. Our harvest for the day ... dozens of ticks ... On the way home, we stopped off at The Swamp, which Fisher had never visited, and made some plans for waterfowl. Goose Season opens probably September first.

6 May 2015:
We just picked up our first (small) production runs of SkiJacs and Ponchos. Half the SkiJacs are already spoken for, which is great! These are both really great pieces (hope you don't mind me saying!)!!

4 May 2015:
Yikes ... visited The Swamp again this morning for a quick turkey outing and what a difference three days makes! The mosquitoes were out IN FORCE and the poison ivy was suddenly full of the joy of spring. Poison ivy is unquestionably the dominant life form at The Swamp. But some years, the skeeters give the ivy a run for its money. Spent maybe a half-hour and decided to get out of there before my hands were completely covered in mosquito bites. Fortunately the skeeters can't come close to biting through WeatherWool.

3 May 2015:
And this is the closest I've gotten to putting my hands on a wild turkey this season ... Looking for wild mushrooms this morning, Debby spotted something that looked interesting ... and it turned out to be a single egg of a wild turkey. No nest or other eggs around that we could see. Maybe this was just the first egg the hen laid (they lay about one a day) and she will make more of a nest as she adds to her clutch?

Wild Turkey Egg from North Jersey

29 April 2015:
And the turkeys had their way with me again today ... I saw a snowy egret this morning. They are seldom seen at The Swamp. And actually, they are another species that used to be, at least in my experience, absent from the parts of Jersey I frequented as a kid in the 1960s. I never saw egrets except when we drove down to Florida. The first sighting of an egret was a sign we had really done some distance. The turkeys were totally silent this morning except for one burst of gobbles that clearly came from two or three birds off in the distance. They sounded like they might have been on the far side of the river, but I decided to investigate and do a little calling and scouting along the way. I got no answers to my calling, and did not see much in the way of sign either, which reinforced my impression turkey numbers are definitely way down from previous years. But I did glimpse, about 175 yards away (rangefinder binos), a turkey sort of fly and jump off a fallen log. It’s unusual to be able to see that far in The Swamp, but this log was in bright sunshine and I was in an area that floods a lot and has relatively little vegetation. Getting a little closer and using my binos, I could see the log was actually a pretty large tree that had fallen over the Rockaway River. And glassing the far side of the river, I could see three gobblers walking away into the trees. So I abandoned hunt-mode and just checked out the scene. Someone had cut the end off the log so boats could pass, but the tree still spanned the majority of the river. I believe what I saw from 175 yards away was a turkey using the fallen tree to cross the Rockaway. Turkeys don't like to fly much, and I think the birds just sort of hopped into the air enough to reach one end of the fallen tree, then walked to the far shore. Turkeys love to hop up on windfalls and walk around and flap. And I think they really appreciate the extra view they get from being a few feet off the ground. So it would make sense (at least to me!) that they would cross a river this way. This area of the riverbank had recently been visited by some otters, and it was easy to see they came here regularly. Otters are pretty cool critters and I like having them around. There were some droppings that looked to me to be mostly bits of clamshells. Otters definitely eat a lot of clams, and sea otters famously use rocks to break open larger clams. The clams in the Rockaway River tho are small, even the largest are only a little more than an inch across. The shells are pretty thin and maybe the otters just chew them up and swallow the shell fragments along with the meat of the clam? There are piles of seemingly undamaged, but open and empty, clamshells along the bank of the river (pictured on this page) and if the otters just chew up the tiny clams, then some other critters (coons?) must be piling up the clam shells.

28 April 2015: WOOL!!
Today we purchased several lots of raw wool at auction. More info about this soon, but for now we’ll just say that we got some really really great stuff!

27 April 2015:
Another turkey hunt this morning ... cool at dawn, maybe 42F/5C, so light wool was really nice. Great morning at The Swamp ... no shots taken but had to walk away from 3 gobblers at noon when hunting hours ended. Funny stuff today ... one of the gobblers seemed to have laryngitis or something ... weirdest gobbles I've ever heard. Got a chance to watch a barred owl. He or she was perched in a tree, facing directly away from me. Except of course owls can turn their heads about 270 degrees. The owl seemed up close and personal in my binos, and it was really cool watching the bird turn its head waaaay around to look at me. The first turkey I saw today flushed from the top of a tree just in front of me while I was walking ... at 8:22AM. It seemed to be a bearded hen, as I saw no color on the head and was pretty sure I saw a small beard as it flew off. So, what was a turkey doing up high on the roost at that late hour? And another puzzling event ... I heard a noise that sounded like someone was shaking a couple of branches together. Didn't last long, but it sounded to me like they would have been large branches. Then a few seconds later, a trio of gobblers came running toward the source of that sound. And in my experience, turkeys don't run without a really good reason. So ... any idea what was going on? In January of 2014, I saw turkeys running toward the sounds of a fox fight. That story -- NEW JERSEY SWAMP FOX -- is on the WeatherWool website.

25 April 2015:
We have received a really interesting review of our All-Around Jac and Hood and prototype Bibs from an outdoors professional in the Yukon. This was a very serious, careful and thorough review and I hope we get permission to post the review as an example of what we need to hear!

24 April 2015:
There are a LOT of turkeys at The Swamp and the area offers some great turkey hunting, particularly for a spot that is only about 15 miles from Manhattan. The last two winters were extremely tough, and last spring was very wet. Bad for turkeys. This morning's temp was just a little above freezing, and even a few snowflakes fell. But two gobblers responded immediately to my box call, and I worked them for an hour at least. I am a long ways from a good turkey hunter, and it’s common for me to get a gobbler to sound off, but far less common for me to get one to come in. And in New Jersey, like many other states, the law requires the hunter to call the tom and prohibits stalking. Eventually I spotted a turkey walking through the trees and the bare brush, and was thinking that things were falling into place. But when the turkey stepped into the clear at about 25 yards, it turned out to be a hen. No roast turkey for the family yet, because in spring seasons only gobblers are legal game. But it is always great to get out, even if this has been a fairly wintry spring so far. One interesting thing ... today I saw two Great Blue Herons flying low through the forest. I don't think of herons normally doing this. But maybe the pools of rainwater that still stand here and there in the semi-flooded swamp gave them a reason to come into the thick stuff. Turkey season runs another 3 weeks, so I plan to be out there again. Wild turkeys make great table fare, and I would dearly love to serve one for Thanksgiving!

22 April 2015:
Today we enjoyed a visit from Garrett Riffle, one of the founders of Up Mountain Switchel. Switchel is a great drink with key ingredients maple syrup, fresh ginger and apple cider vinegar. It’s awesome stuff and is now widely available. We met Garrett and his partners at the American Field Show in Brooklyn last fall, and we’ve stayed in touch. You’ll see the Switchel team wearing WeatherWool Vests in some of their pictures. In the picture below, we're holding bottles of Switchel (too bad the labels didn’t really show) and wearing WeatherWool. Garrett's on the right wearing a WeatherWool Hooded Jacket in BLACK, Alex in the middle wearing an almost-new All-Around Jac in LYNX, and I'm wearing the first prototype All-Around Jac and the first piece we made with our true production Fabric.


WeatherWool and Friend Garrett Riffle

21 April 2015:
Went out a couple of times for Spring Gobbler season at The Swamp. It was raining both days and there was really nothing doing for me. I heard only one single gobble off in the distance. It’s usual to hear several gobblers but the last two winters have been very tough and last spring was very wet. Turkey numbers might just be way down. Carcasses of winterkilled deer made that seem a very strong possibility.

14 April 2015:
Back from the NRA Annual Meeting in Nashville. First time in Nashville for me. Great town! The NRA is a chance for us to introduce WeatherWool to people who have not seen it before, and it’s always interesting to hear people's impressions. We talked to some media people and ... interesting ... a couple of firearms makers approached us about some co-branding. We also met a Green Beret who is interested in testing Al's Anorak.

4 April 2015:
Made a special run into the Garment District this morning to pick up three of the new Mouton Jackets. I really wanted these pieces to bring down to the NRA Show in Nashville next weekend (Friday-Sunday, April 10-12 at Music City Center). We have Booth 74, just inside the front entrance. Please visit!!

2 April 2015:
This week we met with the owner of a garment SHOWROOM in Manhattan's Garment District. For a long time we have been working on WeatherWool Fabric and WeatherWool Garments but we really have not worked much at actually selling WeatherWool. And that’s where the showroom might come in ... The showroom owner is a sort of a talent scout and agent. A showroom owner finds new manufacturers and brings them to the attention of major retailers. It’s a process that will take some time and we’ll see how it goes. So far I think all we can really say is that Debby and I liked the guy quite a bit. We are really looking forward to hearing his thoughts on WeatherWool once he has had a chance to test his Hooded Jacket and check out the info on this website.

Also, the new BLACK cuffs proved just the ticket for our Hooded Jackets that have been waiting for months for the right cuffs! We still need to get the BROWN cuffs in order, but the BLACK samples are great. So at least we can order up enough of those to go production. Getting all of the components (notions!) lined up in order to make a garment can be a real adventure. Thanks to everyone still waiting on a Hooded Jacket!!

24 March 2015:
We picked up samples of the new knit cuffs and so far, so good! At this point we have seen only the BLACK, but the wool and the knit seem AOK.

19 March 2015:
Another couple of steps down the road to our Ladies Jackets, Ponchos, All-Around Jacket update. SkiJacs delayed because the wrong zippers were sent to us (humbug!!).

17 March 2015:
Well, we had a software crash that kept us off the air for a while. But now we're back.
We’ve been stuck for cuffs and ribs for some of our garments when the sole US supplier that we knew of failed us. But we’ve gotten some Merino Wool custom spun for us and today we visited some knitters who are going to turn the yarn into cuffs and ribs. So hopefully we’ll be able to complete those Hooded Jackets that have been sitting in limbo for months!

4 February 2015:
Most of our first run of production Hooded Jackets has been held up because the cuffs delivered to us were defective, and we've been unable to find an alternate American supplier of knitted Merino cuffs. Looks like that has changed! Mike Bonney of Hanora Spinning Mills visited us Wednesday and he says he can get it done. Mike also showed us a gorgeous knitted sweater ... so we are thinking about making some WeatherWool knits. Mike became aware of us as a result of our appearance at the Sheep Industry Convention. How about that?!

2 February 2015:
We made it out to Reno a day late ... missed the first day of the Grand Slam Club Show. The ride from San Francisco International to Reno is really beautiful. There just isn't much like the Sierra Nevadas on the East Coast. We enjoy driving around the American West whenever we get the chance. We were also knocked out by the astounding numbers of waterfowl in the marshes outside Sacramento. We must have seen hundreds of thousands of ducks. We were surprised to find Cherry Blossoms going in San Fran area! The Grand Slam Show was very quiet for us but we did have the chance to meet for a while with our friends John and Kathy Sievers of Fraser River Outfitters in British Columbia. We were honored with the opportunity to address the 150th Annual Convention of the American Sheep Industry. How about that!!?? Our friend and advisor Bob Padula was on hand to answer technical questions from the audience. Our flight on the way home was also canceled due to another snow storm, but we did get on an earlier flight and when we landed at Newark Airport it was more like sledding than flying. The pilot actually came on the PA and asked for a round of applause for his first officer for getting us on the ground safely!

26 January 2015:
We have (had) plans to attend the Grand Slam Club/Ovis Show in Reno, Nevada this week. But with the supposed monster blizzard hitting the New York City area where we live, our flight out was canceled. Don't know what we'll be doing at this point! We were also invited to speak about WeatherWool at the 150th Annual Convention of the American Sheep Industry, which is also being held in the Reno area this week. We did think (briefly) about driving to Reno ... but 2700 miles in 3 days doesn't seem like fun!

20 January 2015:
We have a sweet little spot in the North Jersey Swamps only 9 miles from our home in the New Jersey suburbs just west of Manhattan. The Swamp is a great spot and I feel super lucky to have it. We do a lot of testing of WeatherWool there, and as far as hunting, it’s mostly deer. But being a swamp, it can be a great place for waterfowl also, and today we took our old dog, a Large Munsterlander, out for a goose. Ever since she had an encounter with a goose as a pup, they have been her favorite game. It’s a great place for a number of outdoor activities, and we hunt there frequently ... mostly for deer because Jersey is such a ‘venison state’ ... but it is also at times really loaded with waterfowl and today was one of those days. We have a couple of short shooting ranges there, and what we call the ‘back range’ sometimes attracts huge numbers of waterfowl when that part of the property is flooded. We were probably 200 yards from the ducks when we could hear mallards quacking. Duck season was closed, but geese are often in the flooded timber along with the ducks, and sure enough, we spotted a Giant Canada Goose spreading its wings. The nearest mallards spotted us when we were about 75 yards away, and within a few seconds it seemed like ducks were everywhere. A group of Giant Canadas crossed in front of us, flying over the Rockaway River, and one of them dropped at the shot. Today wasn't a cold day, temperature a few degrees above freezing, but there was still plenty of ice around, so the river water was cold for sure. Large Munsterlanders have a lot of drive for any kind of hunting, which is the primary reason we have one, but they are not built for cold-weather water work because they have no oil in their fur and no fat under their skin. And Camo, our LM, is 14 years old. So we feel lucky just to still have her. She still loves to hunt, still loves to get out there, and still made a nice retrieve on a goose that weighed probably 12 pounds (maybe 5.5 kilos). These Giants can actually grow to over 20 pounds (pushing 10 kilos). Even an average Giant is a load for Camo, who weights about 50 pounds (23 kilos). If 14 years old for a dog is equal to 98 for a human, Camo makes being old look pretty good!


WeatherWool Dog Large Munsterlander Camo Retrieving Giant Canada Goose
WeatherWool Dog Camo Retrieves Giant Canada Goose
WeatherWool Dog Camo, Ralph and Giant Canada Goose

In the pic above I'm wearing the very first All-Around Jac we made. We’ve changed the design somewhat, and Debby, the Big Boss around here, doesn't like me wearing this old thing because our latest AAJs are so much nicer. But I have done a lot in this old Jac, plus nobody has had any WeatherWool out in the field all that long, so I want to keep ‘testing’ my old Jac. Sorry, Sweetheart!

15-18 January 2015: Dallas!
We spent four days at the Dallas Safari Club Annual Convention. The primary goal of the Dallas Safari Club is the promotion of conservation with hunting as a primary tool. The people who run this show are terrific, the attendees and other exhibitors are great people and we really like Texas! We hope to take a drive along the Texas Coast from Louisiana to Mexico one of these days ... maybe find a new home for ourselves. But more importantly, this was a really worthwhile show for WeatherWool. Our products were really well received and all the encouragement was really appreciated! THANK YOU to Texas and DSC!