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Month: February 2013

Axe Distraction

I have been obsessing over axes lately (even more than usual). Perhaps it’s because we recently moved into town, and apart from a hike last weekend, I haven’t been in the woods nearly as much as I am used to. So I just finished watching a video (below) that details the manufacturing of Council Tool’s Velvicut Premium Hudson Bay Axe. I know James at 10engines also posted this vid quite awhile ago.

North Carolina based Council Tool is one of just a few remaining axe makers in the U.S., an unfortunate consequence of the times. They also happen to supply Best Made Company, which originally sourced axes from Maine-based Snow & Nealley before switching. Speaking of, I have a Snow & Nealley that could use a little work in the woods.


If I were to buy a new axe right now, it would probably be a Council Velvicut. And while I appreciate the ethos and design sensibilities of Best Made Co and Base Camp X, if I was going to drop over $200 on an axe alone, it would definitely be a John Neeman.


It remains to be seen what my local Portland, Oregon, axe makers have up their sleeves, but I am looking forward to the launch of Trust Co. this year.


John Muir Project

I just caught an inspiring short video over at the John Muir Project, which documents a group of artists spending the summer hiking along the John Muir Trail.  Definitely an amazing part of the world…


MILE… MILE & A HALF (trailer 1) from The Muir Project on Vimeo.

Breadwinner Cycles

At some point (hopefully sooner rather than later) I would like to purchase a custom bike frame.  Luckily, I live in the epicenter of custom bike frame builders.  My favorite designs come from Jordan Hufnagel,  Signal Cycles, Ira Ryan, and Tony Pereira.  The latter two builders, each the recipients of multiple awards for their designs over the years, recently teamed up to build a frame for Rapha.  Apparently they enjoyed working together, because now they are launching a new collaborative frame building company, Breadwinner Cycles. I am excited to see what they premiere at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show this month.  To find out more about this collaboration, read this post at


Ecuador Tries to Save Yasuní

Ecuador is attempting to save its Yasuní National Park (specifically the “ITT” portion) from development that would extract the vast amount of oil lying below the rainforest.  The Ecuadorian government is appealing to the rest of the world, claiming – in part – that nations should invest in the protection of the park given the rainforest’s global ecological impact, essentially asking the global community for half of the amount of revenue that could be realized by exploiting the untapped oil.  It is an interesting appeal to the global community.  The IMF and World Bank routinely fund extraction development projects to boost economies (particularly in South America), but this approach by Ecuador has so far exposed the lack of financial support for keeping pristine ecosystems in tact, despite their ecological value and ecotourism potential.

I first read about this in the January issue of National Geographic.  The story was also on NPR this morning.

Photo by Steve Winter, National Geographic


National Geographic Magazine, Jan. 2013


Geo tumblr

Between grad school and work, I haven’t had time to get outside as much as I would like.  Consequently, this blog has been mostly comprised of reposts lately.

I am going to continue to blog here on FGR, but I am starting a tumblr site as well, which will be the home of some of my GIS mapping work along with geography and maps in general.  If you’re into that sort of thing, check it out here.

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