Thomas J. Elpel's
Web World Portal

Portal Icon TM.

Web World Directory

Facebook button.
Banner: Thomas in cattail visor.
Thomas J. Elpel's Web World Directory
About Tom | Green University®, LLC | HOPS Press, LLC | Dirt Cheap Builder Books
Primitive Living Skills | Braintan Buckskin | Society of Primitive Technology | Food Insects
Wildflowers & Weeds | Jefferson River Canoe Trail | Roadmap To Reality
Outdoor Wilderness Living School, LLC (OWLS) | What's New | E-Mail | Search this Site

What's New on our Websites?


Shanleya's Quest 2: Botany Adventure at the Fallen Tree.

Shanleya's Quest 2
Botany Adventure at the Fallen Tree
By Thomas J. Elpel, author of Botany in a Day
Illustrated by Bonnie Andrich

The Adventure Continues...
      After hearing tales of adventure at the Great Tree in Shanleya's Quest, Adelia, Katyln, and Peter now embark on a magical journey back in time to meet the legendary botanist. Together they explore the world that bloomed after the fall of the Great Tree. They examine old flower fossils, discover new plant families and their guardians, and experience the wonderful world of plants.

      Readers learn the essential patterns for identifying 30,000 plants to the correct families, plus the story includes an overview of the edible and medicinal properties of those plant families.

      Shanleya's Quest 2 teaches readers to recognize ancestral flower traits and witness evolution in action as flower parts merge together in increasingly specialized flower forms. The book introduces college-level content in a tale of botanical adventure suitable for kids ages 9 to 99. Read More...

Five Months on the Missouri River
Paddling a Dugout Canoe
Three Forks, Montana to St. Louis, Missouri
by Thomas J. Elpel, Illustrated by Joanna Walitalo

Five Months on the Missouri River: Paddling a Dugout Canoe.

Have you ever dreamed of adventure?
      Thomas J. Elpel had the rare opportunity to carve a dugout canoe with Churchill Clark, the great-great-great-great grandson of Captain Clark. Together they whittled a 10,000 lb. Douglas fir log down to a 500+ lb. canoe.

Five Months on the Missouri River Book Awards.       Enlisting friends with additional canoes to join the adventure, Tom led a five-month "Missouri River Corps of Rediscovery" expedition, paddling the 2,341-mile Missouri River segment of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail fromMontana to St. Louis. It was an archetypical story of adventure -- to carve and paddle a dugout canoe like the famed explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

      Instead of merely racing to the finish line, Tom and friends paddled the Missouri River as a conduit for exploring the land and meeting its inhabitants. Every campsite offered a new opportunity to hike and explore the geographical landscape and geology, identify plants, and forage for wild foods. They enjoyed a leisurely pace paddling through the heart of America while diving into Lewis and Clark history and the history of Native American tribes along the route. They were assisted by many River Angels along the way, meeting some of the nicest people on the planet. Read More...


Predator  and Prey Wildlife Web Game Cards.

      "While enjoying Pokémon card games with my son, I discovered that he knew the names and life histories of countless imaginary animals. That was the inspiration for Wildlife Web. I thought, "Wouldn't it be great if kids could get this excited about real wildlife?" The final product is vastly different from Pokémon... and a lot more fun!"

--Thomas J. Elpel,
Creator of Wildlife Web

Wildlife Web Game Box.

Wildlife Web
A dynamic ecology strategy game
Eat, mate, reproduce. Avoid being eaten
Created by Thomas J. Elpel - Artwork by Megan Levacy

      Can you forage or hunt for food, find a mate, and raise your young... without becoming someone else's lunch?

      Welcome to Wildlife Web, a game where you participate in the web of life.

      Wildlife Web is an exciting, dynamic game of strategy where adventure, luck, and cunning provide hours of fun for family and friends, recommended for ages 9 to 99.

      Do you want to be a mountain lion, deer, or elk? This surprisingly realistic game enables players to experience life as any of 50 different animals, and each animal has a mate. Read More...


 Green Prosperity: Quit Your Job, Live Your Dreams -
A Manual for Changing the World.

Green Prosperity
Quit Your Job, Live Your Dreams
A Manual for Changing the World
By Thomas J. Elpel

      Little actual work is required to provide for most human needs such as shelter, clothing, warmth, food, and water, and even new necessities, such as mobile phones and transportation.

      Technological advances allow progressively fewer workers to produce essential goods and services necessary for society to function. To distribute goods and services and maintain social cohesion, all other people must be employed in increasingly superfluous work to consume surplus abundance.

      Surplus time and idle hands represent a fundamental threat to society. The mechanism of control, subconsciously implemented throughout history, is to occupy people with meaningless work.

      As the total workforce required to sustain society approaches zero, progressively more people are employed to consume and dispose of wealth rather than produce it. Resource scarcity, environmental degradation, and poverty are artificially created as side effects of the effort to keep people busy pretending to work.

      Due to population growth and technological development, unnecessary work now consumes our resource base at an unsustainable rate and threatens all life on earth. Read More...

Videos about our dugout canoe, Belladonna Beaver


Healers of Big Butte.

Healers of Big Butte
A novel by Jan Elpel

      Healers of Big Butte is a light-hearted story of relationships and inner struggles during a little-known period of silver mining in Big Butte, Montana Territory, 1875-1877. But historic events intrude on the once pristine mile-high bowl on the Continental Divide, where miners and cattlemen come into conflict, and tensions lead up to the Nez Perce War. Paperback. 284 pages. July 2017. ISBN: 978-1-892784-39-1. $16.00

From the back cover:

      Carrie Tarynton is both loved and feared in Big Butte, Montana Territory, 1875. She saves the life of a prized horse and confronts age-old superstitions and practices, as well as two "modern" physicians from the East. She enlists her intuitive women friends and a Shoshoni Medicine Woman to help heal her husband, Mac Tarynton, and her marriage. Mac seeks Kent Berrigan to help defend his ranch against mining companies that spoil pristine streams, while rising conflicts lead up to the Nez Perce War. Read More...


New Articles Online!
- D-Day Every Day
- Montana Rail Trails
- Dry Cold Permaculture Homestead
- Building a Modernized Earthlodge
- Foxhole Homes Affordable Earthship Tiny Home

New Books from HOPS Press, LLC!

Berrigan's Ride Novel.

Berrigan's Ride
A novel by Jan Elpel

      Berrigan's Ride is a novel of love, abandonment and acceptance set primarily in Hot Spring District, Madison County, in southwestern Montana (Norris), 1866 - 1868, and a drama of symbolic healing between North and South after the Civil War. Paperback. 284 pages. September 2016. ISBN: 978-1-892784-37-7. $16.00

From the back cover:

      Kent Berrigan never expected to fall in love with raw, remote Montana Territory. He recognizes himself in the night flight of wild horses running past his shack in the gold fields of Madison County, 1866. "His pulse stimulated to breaking in this land of intemperance, temper, and indifference with an edge on its own terms. He yearned to run with the herd-as with the horses, another life formed a past he ran from, or a future he was running toward..."

      Kent settles on Norwegian Creek with other Rebels, a dog and a captured wild horse. After a friend was murdered, he follows his heart to California gold camps in pursuit of Marion Patton, an independent woman with a vision for the country, if not of her own destiny. Eventually, an Alder Gulch mine tragedy near Virginia City forces Kent to confront his unresolved relationship with the North. Read More...

>La Búsqueda de Shanleya: Una aventura botánica para niños de 9 a 99 años. >Author Thomas J. Elpel and Translator Janeth Warg.

La Búsqueda de Shanleya
Una aventura botánica para niños de 9 a 99 años
Escrito por Thomas J. Elpel, autor de Botany in a Day
Ilustrado por Gloria Brown. Edición Española 2016, traducido por Janeth Warg

      En un mundo mítico donde el Tiempo es un líquido que cae en forma de lluvia, Shanleya remó su canoa hacia "Las Islas del Árbol" para aprender las tradiciones de las plantas de su pueblo. Cada isla es el hogar de una familia diferente de plantas y de un Guardián inolvidable, con lecciones para aprender acerca de la identificación y uso de esas plantas.

      La Búsqueda de Shanleya es un libro único verdaderamente educativo, que presenta conceptos botánicos y habilidades de identificación de plantas en un formato metafórico fácil y divertido para los niños y adultos. Read More...

Stone House: A Guide to Self-Building with Slipforms.

Stone House
A Guide to Self-Building with Slipforms
By Tomm Stanley
(Now distributed by HOPS Press, LLC)

      Born and raised in the USA, author Tomm Stanley hopped around the world working in Antarctica, Australia, southeast Asia and New Zealand, where he found a partner and settled down. Tomm and Sabrina had lots of rocks available on their land, and so slipforming was the obvious choice for building their dream home. Thomas J. Elpel had the good fortune to meet Tomm Stanley while vacationing in New Zealand and was privileged to receive a personal tour of the house.

      The slipforming method they used is similar to early slipforming methods used in North America, with one significant improvement: Instead of wire ties to hold the forms together, Stanley ran threaded rod through plastic sleeves, and used wingnuts on the outside of the forms to tighten the forms. The plastic sleeves stayed in the wall, but the threaded rod could be used again and again. Read More...

Hobbit House.

Spring 2015

New Articles!
Botanizing New Zealand: Plant Identification Down Under
Posted: Please Trespass: The Green Post Campaign to Reclaim Everyman's Right to Roam
Hobbit Architecture: Building with Soul

Winter 2014-2015

Updated and Expanded Check out the new pages and content.

Dirt Cheap Builder.

Fall 2014

Updated and Expanded Check out the new pages and fashion gallery!

Braintan Buckskin

Limited Time Offer
2014 Holiday Discount!
Package Deal. Classroom in the Woods: Primitive Skills for Public Schools.

Save $45 on this special holiday package discount!

-Participating in Nature
-Foraging the Mountain West
-Botany in a Day
-Classroom in the Woods DVD
Price: $70. Total Savings = $45!

Spring 2014

Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat.

Foraging the Mountain West
Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat
By Thomas J. Elpel and Kris Reed

      There's food in them thar hills! There is also food in the valleys, meadows, swamps, and all around town, too... maybe even in your own backyard. Foraging the Mountain West is a guide to harvesting and celebrating nature's abundance. Reach out and explore the world with your taste buds. Discover new delights you will never find at the store. Connect with nature on a deeper level by meeting, greeting, and eating the plants, fungi, and creatures that share the neighborhood. Become a little more self-sufficient, and a lot more aware.

      Foraging the Mountain West is a hands-on manual for identifying, harvesting, and preparing real food. It is written for the backpacker who would rather bring more knowledge and fewer provisions into the wilderness. It is intended for the happy homemaker who wants to eat well and spend less. It is ideal for the creative chef who wants to explore new ingredients and impress diners with novel dishes. Read More...

Outdoor Skills Special Discount
The Art of Nothing: Wilderness Survival Video Series, Vol. 1. Stone Age Living Skills: Video Classics Series on DVD. Save $75! Order all four Art of Nothing Wilderness Survival Video Series DVDs plus all three Stone Age Living Skills Video Classics Series DVDs for $100! Total Savings = $75.

Winter 2012 - 2013

What's New on the site?

Too Many Jobs? What if the path to prosperity called for less work and fewer jobs?
Article by Thomas J. Elpel

Lythrum salicaria flower.

Fall 2012

What's New on the Wildflowers and Weeds Site?

50 New Wildflower Photos!
Plant Families Wildflower Gallery

      Are you still thumbing through hundreds of pictures to identify wild flowers? That's the way I started learning plants, but now there is a much easier way! Plants that are related to each other have similar characteristics for identification. Botanists have simply looked for patterns in plants and created groups called "families" according to those patterns. In the northern latitudes where there are hard freezes during winter, there are only about 100 broad patterns representing tens of thousands of plant species. Once you identify the family your wild flower belongs to then you can still use your color picture book to identify the species, but now you only have to look through a few pictures to find a match, not hundreds. Read More...

What's New at Green University® LLC?

Break Free from the Machine! Article by Thomas J. Elpel.

Summer 2012

What's New in Sustainable Living Skills?

Castle playhouse or guest room.

Castle Construction
Building our Little Castle / Guest House
by Thomas J. Elpel, Author of Living Homes

      It all started with the satellite dish. It was one of those big, old-style, clunky dishes from the early hey-day of satellite television. It was handed off to me when its owners upgraded to a new dish. They somehow imagined they were doing me a favor, that my life would be better if I installed the ugly thing in the yard and had access to five hundred channels of nothing. But we have three channels via the antenna, and that is more than enough of nothing already. On the other hand, I didn't want to just throw the satellite dish away. I don't like throwing anything away. And I thought maybe I could make something interesting out of it someday, such as a solar cooker or maybe even the roof of a playhouse or something. So the satellite dish just sat behind the house for fifteen to twenty years. Then we had this idea to turn it into a castle. Read More...

Spring 2012

Build Your Own Masonry Fireplace DVD.

Build Your Own Masonry Fireplace DVD
With Builder and Author Thomas J. Elpel
Video Companion to
Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction

      Build an authentic masonry fireplace with the efficiency of a masonry stove! The baffle system in this fireplace extracts heat from the exhaust, warming up the thermal mass of brick and rock. The masonry fireplace can radiate heat for three days after the fire is out!

      In this instructional video, Thomas J. Elpel demonstrates the step-by-step process of building a masonry fireplace, starting from the foundation and ending with the chimney. Elpel shows how to lay up the brickwork for the core of the fireplace, how to build the arch, and how to build the baffle system. With the brickwork complete, Elpel demonstrates freehand stone masonry, using natural rock to lay up the stonework around the brick core. DVD. 2012. Read More...

What's New in Primitive Living Skills?

Tom's Camping Journal: -Carp Hunting the Upper Missouri

Fall 2011

What's New in Primitive Living Skills?

-Grass Ropes: The Human Rope-Making Machine

Be sure to subscribe to Tom's YouTube Channel:

Family picture in front of Stone and Stawbale home.

What's New on our Websites?

Summer 2011

What's New in Sustainable Living Skills?

Check out this House of Stone and Straw
Built by Jordan and Amy Lentz, using Tom's book Living Homes.

      "This is the story of our house and farm. Jordan and I designed the house, and Jordan (with the help of family and friends) built it from the ground up. It is a "green" house, which means that, wherever possible, the materials we used were natural, local and safe for the environment. [Read More...]

Pedicularis groenlandica flower.

What's New on all our Websites?

Spring 2011

What's New on

Updated and Expanded!
Plant Families Gallery Now with 750 wildflower photos!
Resources to help identify your wildflowers.

What's New in Primitive Living Skills?

Two Articles from local newspapers:
-Outdoor Classroom
-Working with Kids

Winter 2010 - 2011

What's New from Thomas J. Elpel?

We now have an on-line video clip from Volume 4 in
The Art of Nothing Wilderness Survival Video Series:
Canoe Camping - on a song and a paddle

Also be sure to watch:
Wilderness Survival with Lynx Vilden, Part 1

And: Wilderness Survival with Lynx Vilden, Part 2
authored by
Thomas J. Elpel
Roadmap to Reality: Consciousness, Worldviews, andthe Blossoming of Human Spirit
to Reality
Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction
Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills.
in Nature
Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat.
Foraging the
Mountain West
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
in a Day
Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids

See also
Thomas J. Elpel's
Web World Tunnel | Old Web World Portal
© 1997 - 2022 Thomas J. Elpel