There were two students today, Willow and Rene. We began with a couple of games that they really enjoyed last time. In fact, they came ready to play Camouflage by coming to class in camo clothing. It really did help, and along with that their skill level at hiding and sneaking increased. So of course, I had to challenge them more, giving them less time to make the transitions between trees and other riding places in the forest, and once even loosely tying them together! All through this time, I quizzed the kids on the plant species we learned about last time, and introduced some new one. There are always opportunities for some stealthy coyote teaching!
On the way back to the teepee, they invented a game that involved running ahead and hiding from me in all kinds of places, including up in the trees. I walked past them several times.. very impressive! Upon getting back to camp, we got out the goat hide (graciously donated by Willow’s parents) and began scraping it. Rene especially got really into it. In the mean-time, Willow was learning how to make reverse-wrap cordage from the inner bark of Basswood. There was also some camp-set up enthusiasm, with willow evening out the scraping-beam with the draw-knife, and Rene pounding in the stretching pole.
Next came some teepee time – we made a fire (unfortunately Rene had to leave), and Willow and I got into some wonderful old-way cooking. He cooked an egg in its shell, almost all by himself. We also heated up a few small rocks rocks, and using maple-sapling tongues that I made the day before, transferred them to a wooden bowl. It had chunks of Pig fat that Willow and Rene cut up with a stone knife. The hot rocks rendered the fat quite nicely – although we over-did it a little, and out resulting “bacon” and bacon-fat got burned. A lesson for next time! While waiting for things to cook, Willow tried his hand at the old knife-in-wood buckskin-strip cutting technique.
After a delicious meal of the cooked foods and dried apples, we Willow and I went for a walk, talked about plants and animals, and sat quietly for a few minutes, listening to the sounds of the forest. As we wrapped up, we talked about one activity for next class (April 23rd, as the Easter weekend is off) – to create something very flammable using only things from nature.
It was a great class, and neither the clouds nor the rain deterred us from the fun and the learning! Here are some photos.