To start, we gathered in a circle and sang a song to welcome Spring.
Let's dance and sing and welcome Spring
Dance and sing and welcome Spring
There's only one thing the Mother's trying to bring ...
and that's Spring!
The kids were excited to be out on a bright sunny day. It was gorgeous. We started by revisiting our old friend the Red Maple. At our last gathering, we were given a twig to sketch before this class. The buds were just visible. This time, we sketched the twigs on the live trees to compare the buds and leaves. I chose a tree that was just a bit further along than some of the other trees ... it actually had some very young leaves opening.
The only thing that could have been better was foraging some spring greens ... so, we did. We gathered Trout Lily, Dandelion Greens, Jerusalem Artichokes, and firewood. Then, we washed the foraged food and made salads and macaroni and cheese over the fires we built.
The kids, ages 6-12, worked well together building the fires and foraging. Some of the kids carved spoons, spatulas, and even chop sticks to eat. We sat together and shared the meal we had gathered (and shared some smuggled venison and hard boiled eggs ... I can't abide a meal with no meat). It is amazing to be in the woods with people who want to learn the same things without all of the distraction of modern life (cellphones, computers, etc.). I even saw some kids ... gasp ... playing Army with ... gasp ... sticks and branches for ... gasp ... guns! To quote one of my favorite teachers from high school, "it warms the cockles of my heart."
While cleaning up, we saw ...
Ruffed Grouse in full fan ... it must be mating season.
I have been intending to practice foraging more often. Last year, we did a bit. This year, we hope to do more. The Forager's Harvest came highly recommended as a good starter book. If you want to get started foraging, I would definitely recommend getting a teacher in your local area ... it will be more efficient and safer, initially, while you learn. When we forage, we only harevst plants that we are very familiar with ... dandelions, wild carrots, berries (blue-, black-, rasp-), milkweed (no, it is not toxic ... read the book), maple sap, cattail, pine, fir, hemlock, sweet fern, partridge berry.
It may be touted as a class for the kids (parental attendance is encouraged), but it is really for me. I have heard the same echoed by some of the other parents. Thanks to the Koviashuvik crew for assisting in my education, and that of my kids, on this MooseBoots journey.