Thursday, October 11, 2012

the SCOOP on Hillbilly Blood, TV show

For information on Spencer's hand made knives please visit


(re: season 1)

The scoop on America’s best TV show ever.  Ha!  Hillbilly Blood.  Well, the whole thing has been fun and well worth it but because of a variety of issues I am compelled to make a short statement on the show.  I, Spencer two dogs Bolejack, am an outdoor enthusiast and have been my whole life.  If you read my background page that’ll get you started but there’s plenty left out.  I’ve taught North Carolina history and my family goes a long way back to the organ builder at Old Salem, NC.  I was approached to do the show because of my expertise on survival and Appalachian history; living history.  These are skills I have both lived with and taught to others at my school in Cruso, NC.  Eugene is one of those fellows that just makes you feel like you're back in school - he's a living library on primitive technology, plants, tools, and has worked as everything from a cook to auto body builder and has mad skills that are creative as they are scientific. 

The TV show was called “Secrets of the Mountain People”, and as a documentary sort-of reality sort-of show, would both show Eugene and I demonstrating a variety of fixes, tips, and skills, as well as showcasing locals from ALL backgrounds doing what they do best – making do.  Appalachia is very diverse.  We have retirees, old family, hippies, transplants, rednecks, radicals, backwoods fellers and smellers, hillbillies, etc. The heart of the show was showing the grit and resourcefulness of Appalachian people, something I’m very proud of.  A secondary goal was to share great information with the growing community of preparedness minded individuals.  A lot of these skills and knowledge are dying out.  Younger generations may act proud of being from some cultural place, but the reality is they are often too busy to actually live by the skills their parents and grandparents had.  Much of the knowledge is being lost.  The show was a way to preserve this knowledge.

We filmed a variety of things which was challenging due to the constraints of 3D technology, conflicting direction, and very limited time.  It turned out suitable enough for the one hour show.
I was bothered by the cuts to a half hour episode which did away with much of the teaching of how things were made and done, but it’s wasn’t terrible.  The name change, however, was completely out of our control and seems to have more to do with gaining an audience than representing our people or the original intent of the show.  And it worked! In the end who cares what the name is, honestly. 

Eugene and I both hope you have enjoyed it enough to get a chuckle, and perhaps were inspired to get more outdoors yourself and see what you can do with both nature and your own hands.  Find out how people live without daily or weekly, or ever, trips to Wal Mart.  Ask questions about how you’d fare if gas was unavailable, food was scarce, or a sudden crisis robbed your wallet. 
If you have any questions regarding the show feel to contact myself or Eugene, we are easily discoverable on Facebook.  Check the links to the right of this post for our public channels, Windrider and Trapper Jack.   You can also email me from my website at
Thank you,

update 2/3/15 - search recent blog posts for answers to common questions; things like "Why didn't you roll start a manual transmission?"  Answer: logging roads are often blocked by buried logs, placed vertically to stop vehicle traffic, in our mountains.  The truck was stopped up against a row of these, and the hill behind was steep with huge roots.  I'll do a video on that spot soon just cause so many ppl ask!  Also Hemlock is not poisonous.  Poison Hemlock is poisonous.  Hemlock trees are awesome and useful for so many things! Sadly they are almost all gone now.  Even fewer than when we filmed.

another UPDATE 9/26/16: Someone asked me how Hillbilly Blood got started.  Here's a short answer since this is the post most people find when searching.  Steven Miller of Superfine Films contacted me and shot a short trailer for a show called Secrets of the Mountain People over a year before anyone else contacted me.  It was originally shot on my property with buddy Adam.  After being picked up by Destination America and Discovery networks the show added an additional character, Eugene Runkis, known for his survival vids and fun personality.  Gene and I were surprised to see the final name when the show actually aired, and continued to work together through the completion of 59 episodes total.

Monday, October 8, 2012

"Some martial arts are very popular, real crowd pleasers, because they look good, have smooth techniques. But beware - they are like a wine that has been watered. A diluted wine is not a real wine, not a good wine, hardly the genuine article. Some martial arts don't look so good, but you know they have a kick, a tang, a genuine taste. They are like olives. The taste may be strong and bitter-sweet. The flavor lasts. You cultivate a taste for them. No one ever developed a taste for diluted wine." -Bruce Lee