Friday, August 31, 2007

Lake Michigan Sand!




Lake Michigan beach tracking with my kids! I am trying to figure out the small rounded tracks. I have to do some research but I am guessing a small domestic dog, large domestic cat or a fox. I am hoping it was a fox. You can see the Seagull tracks and how recent some are in comparison to others. I'll give a more detailed analysis after I do some homework!
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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fire By Sweat and Friction

While in the great outdoors of Canada I found myself attempting fire by friction with some new materials previously unavailable to me. Not that I couldn't find them in my area , just that I had not come upon easily accessible materials with the time constraints I have. Normally if you have enough time in the woods you can find the right materials without negatively impacting the area.
I don't like to hurt the trees and so unless I find a deadfall or previously cut wood I am resigned to go without.
The area we were had many lumber company access roads in which they had cut many trees or just plowed them over. So I was able to find large Paper Birch that provided pieces of bark for containers, torches and tinder bundles. Cedar which I used for my Fireboard and Spindle and which inner bark provided a great tinder bundle. I had a rock for the handhold and after scrounging up some rope that was about shoelace thick I began.
After a minute of vigorous passes with the bow an lots of wheezes from being out of breath I had the desired coal smoking. I blew with all the air I had left until it reddened and after which started the tinder bundle I had placed it in. After that I imagine was quite a show for any onlooker.
You would have seen me whooping and hollering in excitement while the tinder bundle was aflame in my hand. After adding it to an awaiting pile of sticks and some Birch bark I had my official first fire by friction! ( I had coals before, just no fire)
I Just Kept whooping in excitement and felt like I had just conquered some great feat. What an invigorating feeling to both feel part of the past and be able to be effective at a skill in the present!
I don't know if my dancing and whoops around the fire were received as a Rain Dance but soon after it started raining which only added to the warmth and comfort of the fire. If only you could've been there...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Busy Again!

I have officially begun Fall Semester at College. I am terribly busy again with Organic and General Chemistry as well as a research class. I was eating my lunch outdoors on the edge of the woods when I started to think about if you could study the effects of visiting nature on one's health. ( I have to research something this semester)
That is when I realized that I don't tend to find the woods or my visits to nature very relaxing mentally. I guess I am always noticing things too much for it to be a mental break for me. (The plants, animals, beauty, movements, and sounds.) I do find nature a great clarifier in the sense that it seems to wash away confusion or daily clutter.
I guess I just find this distinction interesting. Previously I would go out to the woods half an hour before a test hoping to just relax but instead finding myself learning new things and seemingly forgetting the test material, for lack of mental space! Maybe I just haven't come to that stage of skill or schedule where I can just Relax AND Clarify through experiencing Nature.

PS. I may be busy but check back because soon I will post about starting a fire by friction! I was able to do this on my Canada trip!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Explanation Of previous picts

The pict of me with foliage on my back and chest are after stalking the boys in my group(who were trying to find me!). The gray sweater matched the rocky area and the backpack under the ferns on my back is bright red. I had my shoes off and snuck to within about 20 ft of the boys before they saw me! The wolf track is not very apparent but if you look you'll see pad marks from the toes. On a wolf the middle two toe pads look larger than the outside toes whereas on a dog all appear the same size. We stayed in a cabin on the lake shown in most picts. We heard loons and saw groups of up to ten of them. We traveled mostly by four wheeler along powerlines and made it out to some remote rivers and ravines. Lake Superior looked so blue and powerful. I will post more on specifics but the picts go far to show the area and the beauty!

Tracking And Stalking




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Canadian Scenery




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Canada trip!




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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Groundhog day.

I have no inclination to look up the real date of groudhog day but I thought it interesting to find out that the Groundhog and the Woodchuck ARE THE SAME ANIMAL. I am sure this is not news to many but I always assumed them to be different and never was up close to one to question its identity and habits. At my wife's family reunion, my sister in law Suz, pointed out a large woodchuck running back and forth across the driveway. I was able to investigate and sit out for a while at the rented cottage and see that it lived beneath a woodpile. Fitting for a woodchuck! I was curious however because it's burrow had large holes and a lot of expelled dirt (attributed to groundhogs) just as I had recently been seeing at my university. That is when I associated that the two creatures might be the same. A quick internet search confirmed it. I was able to get a few confused looks from the animal as I sat near it's hole and heard the characteristic whistle of alarm the animals give when it dashed into the safety of it's hole. I was also amazed by how saggy the fur appeared to be as it stood on it's hind legs looking at me. I learned the woodchuck fattens up in the summer so it can hibernate through most of the winter and thus the" If the groundhog comes out of it's den and sees it's shadow..." thing at groundhog day.

Running Waters is finally back!

It's sort of fun to have a name I can use in the third person! I have been quite inaccessible the last month due to many wonderful events. I have been finishing up Physics classes, attending a two week family gathering, leading a high adventure trip to Ontario Canada, plus working and trying to get out to Lake Michigan whenever possible. Needless to say I have sufficient experiences and lessons to keep me babbling for a long time. My only task is to decide where to start. I don't want to write it all in one sitting so I'll probably just keep a steady (if not daily) stream of posts coming your way.
I figure this post is already long enough so I'll just pose a question. Has anyone been able to see or smell the flower of milkweed? I was at lake Michigan early in the summer and as I returned to the van noticed a very sweet fragrance. The flower looked almost as a lilac but positioned differently on the plant. I think if I remember right it was even purplish. I had always liked Milkweed for the butterflies it attracts but now will look forward to its summer blossoms!