Friday, March 15, 2013

Balancing acts and splitting wood

We had a wonderful week with the cold weather and rainstorm. Lauren's guild made little pillows and filled them with cattail fluff and lavender. On their wander down to the cattail marsh they found a nearly complete skeleton of a buck. At the end of each day we finish with story time. Kids share highlights from the day and the staff then asks them follow up questions to get them to dig deeper with their experiences. Isa and I were doing some forensics and deduced that the buck had died of starvation sometime in the fall. Its molars were totally worn down, and as deer rely heavily on their ability to break down food that's hard to digest by chewing it, having well-worn molars doesn't bode well for a deer's ability to get enough calories into its system. They found most of the bones but didn't find either of the lower jaw bones. 


The kids love cooking pretty much everything over a fire. We had some soapstone laying around, which holds heat really well (which is why they top woodstoves with it). We use it as a "skillet". After heating it you can warm up food really well on it. Ty was cooking quesadillas, then others starting cooking strawberries, grapes, cookies, and pretty much anything else edible. We'll be working with soapstone down the road to make skillets, carvings, and other stone projects.


My guild on Wednesday was "using dangerous tools safely." To teach the basics of using splitting wedges, axes, hatchets, and knives, we went to Chuck's house (he's the property manager) to split wood. Fish came out for the day and gave us a great demo on how to split wood. We first split the large rounds (whole sections of a tree's trunk) into halves with a sledgehammer and wedges. We used an ax to split these into quarters, a hatchet to split it into smaller sections, and a knife to split it into kindling. 


We took some of the smaller sections of white ash we had split and learned some of the basics of carving! Ty and August are working here on making little wooden knives.


Nathan and Mo (above right) got a balancing game going. They staked a sapling in the ground then added more and more branches to it. Pretty soon they had an audience and more participants. Below, basswood buds are starting to swell as the tree gets ready to leaf out. A few years back, my friend Emily Stone told me that the buds resembled a mouse wearing a motorcycle helmet. In the closeup I can definitely see that. 

Mouse wearing a motorcycle helmetEating basswood buds






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