This is one post we here at NCG look forward to each year.  It’s a time were we get to showcase some great product made by great companies, right here in the USA.  This season we have selected ten items that would make any guy beam with joy if he found them in his stocking or under the tree come Christmas morning.  To sweeten the pot even more, the fine gentlemen over at Owen & Fred have agreed to donate a YOU EARNED IT solid brass bottle opener to 3 readers who leave a comment.*  If you ask me, that beats any Black Friday deal I have seen thus far.  Links to the products and where to purchase are below.
*Discloser:  Readers will be picked at random and notified via e-mail*




My teacher in 9th grade Earth Science had a version of the National Audubon Society Field Guide we were to use as a reference for our papers and projects.  Leather bound and the size of a small child, I always questioned how it could be used in the actual field.  It seemed impossible to lug those massive volumes out into the wilderness and still find time to enjoy nature vs. the actual process of carrying the books.

When I found this pocket or actual field size collection at Best Made Company, it made me think of Mr. Morrison and his boxes of rocks.  This 16 volume edition covers all of your nature needs.  Birds, rocks & minerals, fish and the nights sky are addressed and no man would have any unanswered questions if he possesses this set.

Bound in colorful vinyl and containing full color photos for easy ID’ing of your subject matter, this set is a must-have for any outdoorsmen.


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Paddle to the Sea is a short film by Canadian Bill Mason, based on the award winning children’s book by Holling C. Holling.  Paddle is about a boy in the mountains of Ontario who one winters day, carves a canoe out of wood with a Native American figure riding in it. On the bottom of it he paints ‘Paddle to the Sea’ and adds instructions that whoever finds the boat should put Paddle back in the water.

What happens next is what makes the story so great. The boy then leaves the boat in the snow, to be taken down the hillside when the snow thaws. The thaw moves the canoe into a mountain creek which then takes it to Lake Superior, and through a course of many more rivers and lakes, eventually spits the little wooden canoe into the Atlantic Ocean.  The movie follows Paddle through all of his adventures and close-calls with only the sounds of nature and the narrators voice to accompany him along his way.  Paddle is on an adventure that any boy would want to take.

Growing up in NEO, my school district made us watch this film every year, from grade 3 to 8.  Though I had seen Paddle 8+ times, I was not until recently that I was able to view it in a different light.  When you get past the fact that Paddle is just a simple woodcarving, you start to think about and get transfixed on the struggles that Paddle has to overcome.  In one scene, Paddle is stuck in a whirlpool and the narrator wonders if he will be able to get out and move forward with his journey to the sea. For, as he points out, Paddle has no paddles and no real arms to paddle them if he did. It’s a feeling everyone has at one time or another.  Our lives are spinning out of control and we do not have the right tools or ability to overcome.  Hopefully, like Paddle, we don’t give up, we overcome those obstacles and continue our journey in life, or as Paddle did, to the sea.


In the January 2012 edition of 2nd Magazine, the editors feature a profile on the great American writer Ernest Hemingway.  Taking photos from the numerous books about Papa, they explore the classic style that he embodied.  The trench, the charcoal suit, chinos and the classic white trainer.  All pieces that were valid then and still relevant today.  What really make this feature stand out is how the editors go one step further and feature brands that currently carry these pieces.  Allowing you to purchase your own piece of Hemingway style.