Sunday, May 30, 2010


May has been a very busy month for us - birthdays, anniversary, dance competitions and fundraising, getting the animal enclosures and gardens set for the summer, etc.  As such, my MooseBoots journey seems to have been put on hiatus.  And just when you give up and try to go with the flow, BAM ... an opportunity smacks you between the eyes.

Last weekend, during a very delicious fundraising event, one of the moms burned herself with a hot glue gun.  I happened to be there and she asked if I had any aloe or burn cream.  I thought I might and went off to the first aid kit ... nope.  Then, my gears started spinning ... cattail!  And, I just happened to know where I could get some ... I had been into the woods behind this place once.  So, I grabbing the knife out of my survival bag and headed out, carefully hiding the knife so as not to freak out anybody - people can be weird about knives and guns.  I quickly found the swampy area, chose and thanked the plant, and cut it near the base.

As I returned, I sliced off the bottom 8" or so for the gel.  My intent was to scoop the gel out for her and eat the tender "bamboo shoot" like parts inside.  I got back to her and explained that the gel inside was similar to aloe and was also good for burns.  Then, I started showing her the gel.  At which point she grabbed the this and started tearing it apart ... obviously this was a little more painful than I knew.  Of course, there went my snack ... but, she was appreciative and walked around with the thing on her finger for the balance of the afternoon.

The wake-up call shortly after she shove the little stalk onto her finger.  We looked at Wendy and me and asked, "How much time do you guys spend in the woods?"  Stunned, I blinked.  "Not enough", I blurted out.  For me, time in the woods is precious because I can't seem to free up enough time.  We then explained about our monthly outdoor skills class and all of the various skills we have been trying to build over the years.

It was really the recognition that this woman believed that we had some level of expertise.  It is refreshing because I easily fall into the frustration at the seemingly slow pace of progression.  But, I was faced with an example of just how far we have gone, if only in relation to the "average" person.  And, I guess that is what I have been doing ... gathering lost wisdom.  Wendy was also a bit surprised ... she thought it was "cool" that I knew that catail could be used for burn treatment.  Apparently, it was something I picked up along the way when I was surfing the web (youtube) and found a piece about the uses for cattail.

This was a pleasant reminder that while, I may not be ready to make my moose boots, I am not at the very beginning either.  I am firmly on this path, my MooseBoots journey, and have moved forward toward my goal.  I may not be Living Primitively but I have gained some knowledge and skill.  And, it is worth remembering that the appropriate application of knowledge is true wisdom.


  1. Great post this morning, thank you. Yes, it's surprising the knowledge we acquire by watching, learning bit by bit, and then, like you found, that knowledge is called for and you can bring it up intuitively, without a second thought. I have experienced this, too, and it's always a nice surprise!...Now I, too, will file away cattails with "burns" and "snack" :) Keep up the great work, even if it's little by little. Julie

  2. As our teachers have tried to tell/show us, there is a happy medium, and the closer we get to nature, the more we're living in that middle between primitive and modern.

    That said, I get so entrenched in the life we have here that I forget everyone isn't where we are, and it's always a (usually pleasant) surprise to realize how far we've come.

  3. Didn't know about the burns treatment! Thanks!

  4. Julie, Torjus, you are both welcome.


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