Thursday, November 15, 2012

Field School: November 15

Winter! What a perfect time of year to sit around a fire and share stories. Over the past couple of weeks Lauren's been putting in lots of hours practicing fire-by-friction. Last week she borrowed one of my sets (aspen spindle, basswood fireboard) and plugged away for a good 20 minutes while the kids sang songs to support her. She didn't wind up getting a coal that week, but spent the week practicing and getting her own kit ready. She modeled some wonderful patience and commitment and this week got a coal in about a minute. It was beautiful to watch. Above is a photo of Lauren blowing on the tinder bundle until it went up in flames.

Lauren, Chris, and I talked about our anticipated theme for the day and we wanted to focus on the energy of Autumn. The kids talked about this as a time for celebrating the harvest, eating good food, enjoying the changes in weather. We found quite a bit of animal sign on the land today, including a crow carcass. Sam, Tanner, and Lauren pieced together the story from the few remains (missing skull, but lots of vertebrae and feathers!). Looked like it may have been nabbed by an owl (barred owls are the biggest threat to crows, and we've got a pair of barred owls around our camp) and scavenged by a fox.

We followed that find up with a nice pile of red fox scat right in the center of one of our bridges. That's the 3rd time we've seen red fox scat on our bridges (foxes love to poop in the open to mark out their territory). Red fox scat also smells pretty bad. Everyone is making their "ewww, red fox scat" face (Cody, in the center, won the contest).

We ended the day by giving thanks to the birds that share their home with us one day a week. We first split into three groups and went for some long wanders. My group found an old hemlock tree that had come down. The inside was rotted out, making it the perfect size fit for a 9-year-old. Eventually we collected some pine cones to make pine cone bird feeders. A simple recipe of: 1) pine cone, 2) peanut butter, 3) bird seed. We then strung them up around at our sit spots.

We wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving and we look forward to seeing you all in two short weeks!

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