Monday, September 30, 2013


Good morning!
    Rain and wind all day, yesterday. During a break in the weather, I chopped a little on the stern. I'm not sure of her actual width, yet, and MAY have to make her a little shorter. If the critters weren't in there, I would use the sapwood on this tree, to get extra width. That said, I don't normally use the sapwood. The heartwood is what I want. There's more density and color in the heartwood.
    Last night Melissa, Peter, and I joined my Voyages of Rediscovery brothers at their camp in Kettle Falls. A bunch of people showed up for a pot-luck dinner to send them back up the river. They were STILL working on the new canoe last night! They plan on leaving, in the rain, today! I don't think this is wise, but I wish them well. They have to take THEIR journey. I DO wish they would take more care of the dugouts, though. Inchy is beat-up, and needs a LOT of attention. I don't understand. Not my business. They know I'm here for them.
    Looks like a better day, today. Gonna grab my coffee, now. Good to see my friends in Kettle Falls (and Northport) last night! Donna-Gay, Cliff, and Haven will all be at Barter Faire in a few weeks! Cool!!!
                                       CANOE! CANOE!

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Good morning!
    More wind and rain, all day and night, yesterday. I stayed dry, in the house, but I'm already getting stir-crazy! I can't set a tarp up on the gill, where the canoe is. I wish we had it up top! I'm still counting on our tree guy showing up... at SOME point! I MAY have a drier day, today, and that's all I can hope for, at this point. Cold is here...
                                     CANOE! CANOE!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Good morning!
    Had to go to town yesterday, at the last minute. Gathered some more winter clothes and food. It's over an hour to Colville, which is a little bigger than Republic. When you are this far out of town, you have to make your trips count!
    Though I didn't get anything done on MY canoe, I ran into my boys from Voyages of Rediscovery, in Kettle Falls! I saw THEIR canoe... a David Thompson-style cedar plank canoe. They plan on paddling up the Columbia (from here) on Monday. If possible, we'll join them for a farewell pot-luck dinner, on Sunday.
    Looks like a crappy day out there. Regardless, I think I'm choppin', today. I have some awesome Steady's Coffee (probably roasted by Donna-Gay), and I'm fired-up.
                                   CANOE! CANOE!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Good morning!
    The internet is truly horrible, up here, at Curlew Lake!  I am having trouble putting THIS up, today, let alone VIDEO that I post on Facebook (at Curlew Lake Canoe Camp). Sharing the journey isn't easy...
    I noticed spider webs all over the kettle, on my way up to the house... HUNDREDS of them! I think they came out because of the first frost. That's right, winter IS coming! The good news is that they lifted the fire ban! I hope we can have fires this year at Barter Faire! It's coming up QUICK! 
    I chopped on the bow, stern, and gunwales today. She's showing signs of drying out, so I gave her a bit of linseed oil. This internet connection is driving me nuts!

                                                                    CANOE! CANOE!

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Good morning!
    After a very cold night, I wasn't motivated, testerday. Sorry... I took the day off. I won't be so lazy today...
                                       CANOE! CANOE!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Good morning!
    It dropped below freezing, last night! A lot of moisture in the air, this morning. Spider webs are all over the ground in camp, all of a sudden! I must have walked by a hundred of them on the way up to the house! I'm having coffee INSIDE this morning...
    The bow. The tree, immediately, tols me where to carve. I started digging in, opening up the bow, and bringing the gunwales down and out. She was looking good. I took a break for lunch, and, actually, thought I'd take a little siesta. Nope! The tree wanted the OUTSIDE of the bow worked on, too! So, I started to bring in the starboard (down-hill) side. Wow. You know it's been a good day's work, when ya see the lines coming out! Yes, sir! It looks like we might have ourselves a CANOE!!!
                                     CANOE! CANOE!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Good morning!
    Not much new here, this morning. Chopped some more on the gunwales, and found some more canoe. Bad weather came in, in the afternoon, with wind and rain. It seems cooler this morning than it was last night. 40's, I'm guessing. If the rain stays away, it will be good choppin' weather.
                                       CANOE! CANOE!

Monday, September 23, 2013


Good morning!
    Chopped down on the gunwales again, and found a canoe! Eventually, I concentrated on the stern seat. We went down and out, and found the actual edges of the canoe. Ran into a lot of critters munchind on my canoe. I offered them to the yellow-jackets. (Some of them met the adze first) Can I make her a canoe BEFORE they EAT her? How LOW can I go? 
    Again... the port side is lower, because the canoe is at an angle, side-to-side...not just length-wise! It's rather tough to "see" her opening up from that angle. As I dig down, the gunwales come OUT, and the canoe widens. Of course, I have to do the same, from the bottom...
                           CANOE! CANOE!

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Good morning!
    Had a good day of choppin',yesterday! I continued bringing down the gunwales, and evening them out. I mostlyworked onthe port side, after starting with the starboard. Theport had to come DOWN... about 4 inches! I'm getting rid of the critters! To do so, I have to get rid of most, if not all, of the blue fungus.
    She's going to look quite different, when it's all over. She'll be leaner, for sure, but not necessarily SMALL! I tried out the tarp I got for her, a 20-footer. Too small. Though it covers the inside of the canoe, at this point, she's about 23-24ft, overall. At the moment. We'll see if I can keep those ends oiled up enough to use the way I want to.
    Today, I'll proceed on... choppin' the gunwales, and doing whatever the tree wants. She's getting oiled again,before I go to the Blake Noble concert at the Republic Brewing Company. He's a guitar/didgeridoo player from Australia... transplanted to Seattle. I Youtubed it, and was impressed! Check him out!
                                     CANOE! CANOE!

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Good morning!
    Well, I went to town, yesterday. I wanted to chop, but I also have to go to town, when I can. I needed to get some decent shoes for cooler, wetter weather. All I had with me were river shoes. They're nice ones, but they are, by design, full of HOLES!  That's not so good for the mountains in winter! So, Melissa wanted to go to Colville, which is across the Columbia, near Kettle Falls. I'd be able to run into my Voyages brothers, with any luck...
    The drive over Sherman Pass was beautiful, We came down, passing the road to Inchelium, where we had our marvelous Canoe Camp, last Fall. Headed on to the bridge, just down-river from our Canoe Camp in Kettle Falls. We passed the road to that camp, and I saw the guys had set camp at the Discovery Center, instead, this time. They're getting ready to make a David Thompson-style canoe, and proceed on, up the Columbia. I didn't see their rigs, so we went to town.
    We got supplies, including my boots and socks, and food items. I found a habanero salsa...MMMmmmm!!! Had a fine Mexican dinner, in town. On the way home, we stopped by the Voyages Camp, again, but they weren't there. Tried a call to Adam, but no answer. I didn't have the other numbers with me, so we took off. No worries! I'll run into them, soon enough. I've got to take care of mt redwood dugout, Ol' Red, back at their home, in Index. I'm working on that...
    I've got a lot to figure out, here. My communications have been severed with my old roomies in Cali, so I'll have to write an actual LETTER! If they're game, I'll be fetching another redwood off the Eel River, this winter, and making another canoe at their house. I've got to take care of things back in Denver, as well. My storage unit there is eating me alive, but I have some treasures in there... Lewis and Clark treasures. Buffalo robe. Clothing. Gear. JOURNALS. I need to have a real HOME to put this stuff. I'm having trouble affording any kind of rent, at this point. My eyes aren't exactly good, and my back sucks, as you know. Between the pain, and the numbness, it's a constant challenge! I have to pace myself when I chop, and can only do so many hours in a day. Thankfully, the tree is PATIEMT! 
    Waking up to rain, it seems to be letting up. Today... I chop. 
                                       CANOE! CANOE!

Friday, September 20, 2013


Good morning!
    I started evening out the gunwales, and getting through the blue crud. Lots of critters still in the tree. I think the cold weather is affecting the yellow-jackets, since they aren't swarming as much as they were. I've got another week, at least, 'until thr tree guy comes. Gotta keep shoppin'!
    I expected to see my Voyages of Rediscovery brothers in Kettle Falls, today, but it looks like that isn't happening. I need to dedicate myself, here, to MY project. My back has been horrible, but I MUST push through the pain. When I clean up her lines, I get more motivated! The problem is, her awkward angle has made that difficult. The hull, in particular, concerns me. After I clean up the gunwales, and dig it out a bit, I'll start stripping the other bad wood off the outside of the canoe. I'm carving this one inside-out, which is an idea Jay and I had talked about on the Lewis and Clark Trail. Make the inside comfortable, then get rid of the fat! That's the idea...
                                      CANOE! CANOE!

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Good morning!
    Big weather change last night! Winter is coming. Got a little choppin' done... mostly smoothing out the inside of the starboard gunwales, and the bottom. Went over to Peter's place for a while. He's throwing out ideas, a far as being an artist... and making money. I need to work on that last part, there. He's always got several projects going, and goes with the flow. I understand this way of thinking, now.
    We went to town... the bustling metropolis of Curlew, Washington! Not much there. Went into a restaurant, kind of. I noticed a lot of musical instruments, and got excited. Then, I figured it out. Jesus signs everywhere... "Jesus is coming!", "Are you ready for Jesus?", and so on. It was a pot-luck dinner, all right, but there was a catch! After a wonderful meal, they broke out some song books. They LOOKED, to me, like very small karaoke books, but I knew what they were. The idea was to sing praises of Jesus, in return for our meal. 
    I grew up with this. Raised Roman-Catholic, I went to Sunday School, and the like. My Mom used to find "Single's Churches" that played lots of music, being single, herself. As I grew up, I grew out of it! At this point, I'm SPIRITUALLY STRONGER than I've ever been. That said, I am not into "relidion", anymore. There were a lot of smiles last night. I hope they are, TRULY, happy. Love is here. Just as a gentleman was preparing a "presentation", Peter wisked me away. Good move! I think it was about missionary work in Malaysia. I'll pass.
    Came back to camp, and crawled into my tent. Cooler than it's been, I was quite comfortable! I swear it looks like snow, this morning! Don't think it will, but it's a good reminder...
                            CANOE! CANOE!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Good morning!
   Chopped down, between the second and third seat, for a while. My back was bothering me a lot, so I rested in my tent for a while. Woke up to rain. The rain continued to pour, with very heavy drops, at times. I went up top, into the house, where I remain. Looks like more rain today...
    I've been thinking about my other canoes, sitting outside. Ol' Red is in Index, waiting to be finished. She needs my attention before it snows, hopefully. I don't want to lose her! Knotty, on the other hand, is ready to paddle! She's waiting for me in Twin Bridges, Montana. She survived a storm at the Montana Children's Center, where... go figure... a storm blew over the trees she was tied to! From what I'm told, she is unscathed! Knotty The Dugout Canoe... "Google it!" She's on Facebook and Youtube, of course! 
    Meanwhile, my back still killing me, I wait to chop some more...
                          CANOE! CANOE!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Good morning!
    My friend, Peter, came by, We got rid of the last, BIG knot! After choppin', I gave the tree a fair coat of linseed oil. I coated the bow, stern, seats, gunwales, and knots. Hopefully, I can keep this tree from "checking". After I chop today, I'm going to coat the rest of the outside.  
                                       CANOE! CANOE!

Monday, September 16, 2013


Good morning!
    Yesterday, I met a couple of young bucks! They hung out in camp, foraging. One of them tried to get some fruit, up by the canoe! The other got within six feet of me, more than once! He even let me get my camera out of my tent, then sit back down, to film. Too cool!
    I think the flock of geese flew over, before that. They flew low, over the trees, right above me! I could hear and FEEL the heavy flaps of their wings. Awesome!
    Anyway, I smoothed out the inside (a little), and roughed-out some lines for the seats. A good day! Thunderstorm last night, with good wind and lightning. I love my Marmot tent! Drizzle this morning, so I did laundry, up top. I see sun! Goin' back down...
                                        CANOE! CANOE!

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Good morning!
    Well, yesterday was decision time... again. I can't get help moving the tree for a couple of more weeks. Working on the hill has been difficult, to say the least. I needed better footing, at least. Enter... Peter Tack.
    Peter is a very
    O.K. Where was I???
    Oh, yeah. Peter is a very talented wood carver/artist who made fis living with a chain-saw, back in the day. Now, he makes walking sticks, beaded jewlery, and portraits! He offered to help, with the chain-saw. I couldn't pass it up! He had already offered to hit the big knots, but I wanted more. With my back and knees the way they are, I was having trouble standing on top of the tree. Well, to make a long story short, I can stand IN it, now!
    I'll be choppin' in a big way, today! Afterwards, I will coat a large portion of the canoe with linseed oil. I must protect the gunwales, since they are exposed, now. The bow needs another coat, as well. I'll do the entire outside of the canoe, eventually. For now, the inside stays dry... I'm choppin' in there!
    Let me be clear... I'm making the best DUGOUT CANOE I can! Using the best tools availeable is
    Anyway... Using the best tools availeable makes sense. I assure you, my Great Great Great Great Grandpa William used the best tools HE had! I made KNOTTY THE DUGOUT CANOE (GOOGLE IT) with hand tools, only. That said, when I modified her, after paddling across Nebraska, I FINISHED her with a grinder! She's super-sexy, now, and half her original weight (as a canoe)! I'll paddle her down the Mighty Mo', next Spring...
    My focus, here, is the BIG PINE. Mother nature is going to test me, soon, I feel. It's a cool morning. Godd chopping weather, though! I need to get this beauty off this hill before the first snow! There's only one thing to do... CHOP!
                                  CANOE! CANOE!

Saturday, September 14, 2013


    Well, it's back to me and my adze. Today, I'll try and make headway, and see if I can do this. We can't get help moving the tree for a couple of more weeks, so I'm carving her where she is. I'm hitting the down-hill side, today... for better or worse! If I can chop down there,, without incident, we're good. Otherwise, I'll be calling Peter back, to borrow his chain saw. The island tree is still an option, and already is easier to work on. I MIGHT have to wait on this one. We'll see.
                                        CANOE! CANOE!

Friday, September 13, 2013


Good afternoon!
    Sorry I'm so late today. Just got back. Yesterday, I looked harder, at the stern. Trying to figure out just how much canoe I have, here. Looks like a four-man dugout. I could make a really nice three-man, but the tree seems to want four. That decided, more or less, I headed to town.
    I hadn't stretched my vocal chords in a while, so I headed to Madonna's for their biggest night of the week... karaoke night. The KJ was flippin' discs, old-school. No hard-drive, no computer. I remember those days... What was even funnier, was the HAND-WRITTEN song books! Funny!
    Anyway, a guy I met a few weeks ago found me at the watering hole. I found his place in the wee hours oft the morning, I thought. Since I hadn't been there yet, I wasn't sure, so I slept on the ground, out back. Woke up to a small deer about six feet from me. He was startled, as I raised my head. I was startled, too! These deer are everywhere, in town! Anyway, I finally got too cold, and ventured into the house. Peeking into the living room, I saw the hammock, hanging in the room. It was the right place!
    After meeting the roomies, I went into town for breakfast. Then, I headed towards Curlew Lake, on foot. Some guys pulled over, though they were going the other way! Brandon remembered me from singing last night, and he, Mark, and Justin gave me a ride all the way back to Canoe Camp! Cool!
    Concrete guys put more sealer on, this morning, and it stinks. 90-something degrees. Trying to motivate. 

                                    CANOE! CANOE!

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Good morning!
    I didn't get much done, yesterday. I took the option of going to town, and took care of a few things. I'm trying to get this town fired up about the project, and have to spread the word! Still, I felt like a slacker, yesterday.
    Today will be somewhat different. I'll be heading to town, but not 'til tonight. I'm gonna stretch my vocal chords a bit. This morning, however, I'll get choppin'! The sun's coming up, over the tree, as I have my coffee. Birds making all sorts of noises, today! I woke up, in the middle of the  night, and stepped outside my tent. Wow. WOW! A billion stars above me, through the clearing, in the woods. SPECTACULAR! This is ane awesome camp! I'm still waiting to meet the moose that strolls through. Saw a young buck (white-tail) the first week. Darwin, the dog, came and said, "Hello", this morning. Yep. Pretty cool camp.

                                      CANOE! CANOE!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Good morning!
    One of our tree guys, Lonnie, showed up yesterday. As I expected, we didn't move the tree. We are waiting on a skidder, which Darren should bring down, later this week. Lonnie is a carver, and appreciated what I'm doing with the BIG PINE. He also showed me some adult beetles. Now, there's a face to my pain! Ugly critters! We looked at the big part of the tree, still in the ground, and found BIGGER beetles! Nasty! Some idiot on a "reality" show would eat these, to be sure.
    Anyway, I learned a lesson, again. KEEP CHOPPIN'! I've been waiting, with great anticipation, to get the tree moved. I must proceed on, doing what I can, while I wait.
I've been sleeping in the house, but moved back into my tent, last night. This will help me focus. More importantly, it will keep me closer to the tree. We're bonding, and I have to be here, for that! 
    So, after my morning coffee, I'll be back at it!
Hope y'all have a great day!
                             CANOE! CANOE!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013



    Well, I finally made my way into the knots! Still carving towards the bow, I'm trying to give the canoe some defined lines. It really helps motivate me, to see the canoe taking shape! Apparently, my tree guy, Lonnie, is coming over, this morning. The goal is to get her off the hill, on to high, FLAT ground. Today could be the day!
    While I made progress, I got a little help! As I dug into the knots, I uncovered a lot of the critters. Luckily, the hornets were on the hunt! They went into a feeding frenzy! Unfortunately, they copped an attitude with me, as I was filming them. After a while, it was better to leave them to their work. I already have a spider bite to deal with. I'll let the "circle of life" take it's course, without me!
                                    CANOE! CANOE!

Monday, September 9, 2013


Good morning!

    Woke up to a thick fog, covering the lake. Down in the kettle, on the other side of the house, I can still see my tent, and the tree. The moisture in the air is keeping the tree from drying out. THIS, I know, for fact.
    Yesterday,  I continued carving out and away from the deep spot in the stern. I worked my way to the next group of knots, digging down, as I went. I feel like continuing this pattern, and giving the tree more defined lines. We'll see what the tree thinks about that, shortly. The good news is, I found juice in the tree, when I approached the first knot! It makes it harder to chop, but will save the tree! We want it to dry, eventually, to get the excess weight out... but not yet! "Checking" is BAD! 
    My hope, again, is that one of the tree guys shows up, today. Once I get the tree up top, on flat ground, I will coat her with linseed oil. This is VERY important, to keep her from drying out too quickly, and "checking", or splitting. I will also have more options, as far as where I carve! Right now, I must chop from the port side, up-hill of the tree, on a slope. Not easy!
     Anyway, I'm doing what I can, and she's coming along... slowly, but surely! We're on "river time", after all! Life is GOOD! 

                                        CANOE! CANOE!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Good morning!

    Well, I finally got caught-up with my analog self! My posts, here and on Facebook and Youtube, are all in sync with my project. Whew! What a relief!
    Not only that, but I took a deeper look into the BIG PINE. She's beautiful! The beetles are there, but, apparently, won't ruin the DUGOUT CANOE! I can't tell you how relieved I am! Peter Tack, a most interesting man, dug into a small section with his chain saw. A bit of bluing, yes, but it doesn't look like Swiss cheese, as I had feared. I'm good to go!
    So... stay with me, here, and be part of this tree's amazing adventure! We've got a lot of work, here...
    OH! I can't forget... my boys at Voyages of Rediscovery have made it to Grand Coulie Dam, a major step on their dugout journey! Find them on F-book, and "like" 'em, for more good stuff!
    Gotta grab my coffee, so I can get choppin'...

                                      CANOE! CANOE!

Friday, September 6, 2013

    Good morning!

    One way, or another I'll be getting a better look at the tree today! I've got a few guys willing to use a chainsaw on 'er, and I must cut down into her to see just how far the beetles have gone. We'll see. Great lightning storm last night, reminding me of New Jersey, growing up. Cool!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

    Good morning!
    I finally put some linseed oil on the bow end, and on the various knots that will be part of the canoe. Hopefully, this will keep either from drying out. If the end doesn't "check", or split open, the rest of the tree might stay together, too. The knots will dry up, and shrink, if they aren't sealed. Most carvers don't like the knots. I've found, however, that they add character to the canoe! They are KNOT a problem!
    Keeping my options open, because of the ips engraver beetles, I went to an island on Curlew Lake, today. I was introduced to another beautiful pine, blown over in the same micro-burst that got the BIG PINE, by Madilane Perry. This one wasn't quite as big, but definitely could make a fine canoe! I could see a 15-17ft dugout here, which is a size I like. We may have another project, here!
    On the way back, in a sailboat Tom borrowed from our friend, Sandy, we noticed ANOTHER big tree in the water! Tom brought us in, and I gave it a look. Not bad! It MIGHT be big enough for yet ANOTHER project! One advantage to THIS tree, is that it's IN the water! We could cut it off, and drag it where we want! HMmmmm...
    In the end, the BIG PINE wins out! I'll take my chances with the beetles, and, hopefully, have a beautiful DUGOUT CANOE, when it's all over.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


My apologies! I didn't post yesterday. I will make it a habit, hopefully, as of today. I did, in fact, put linseed oil on the end of the tree, as well as on the knots. I still believe in the BIG pine! That said, I am taking a look at another big pine, this morning. I'm ALWAYS looking for the NEXT tree! This one is on an island on Curlew Lake. 
    Of course, if the original BIG PINE is too far gone, from the beetles, I might have a back-up! My goal is to bring a project to Barter Faire, in Tonasket, WA, next month. I believe I'll meet that goal! Canoe! Canoe!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Welcome to Dugout Canoe Love!

    Hello, and welcome, to Dugout Canoe Love! I am your DUGOUT CANOE CARVER, Churchill Clark. I travel the country, looking for really big trees. I go where the trees take me. If the tree wants to be a canoe, I help it on it's journey, by carving it with my adze. Once completed, I must give the dugout canoe a story, as I introduce it to a beautiful river.
    My first teachers were John Ruskey, and Lee Gilbert/Lee Guthrie (Lee squared). They taught me the spectacular process of carving a dugout canoe, while I was re-enacting  the Lewis and Clark Expedition, for the Bicentennial. William Clark is my 4th-great-grandfather, and I travelled the Trail to honor him. The trees have taught me, as well. There's always more to learn. Working on the canoes, and paddling them for thousands of miles, has changed my life! I fell in love with the dugouts. I guess you could say, "It's in my blood."
    My goal is to share the dugout canoe experience with as many people as I can! My "Canoe Camps" are always open to the public, and I encourage visitors to "get choppin'". I love working with schools, and encourage them to contact me.
    My latest project is in Republic, Washington. I just started working on a ponderosa pine, at Curlew Lake. This tree had an eagle's nest on it, when it blew apart in a micro-burst, last year. In a very awkward position, lying on a hill, it poses it's own, unique challenges. I've started choppin', with my trusty adze, already. Now, if you like, you can follow the journey. Welcome, once again, to Dugout Canoe Love!

                       CANOE!   CANOE!