Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Outdoor Skills Class - July 2010

During this MooseBoots journey, there have been plenty of hints and reminders ... be in the moment... be aware ...  be patient ... be still.  Yesterday, the message was take time and put forth your best effort ... neatness and beauty count.  With that in mind, we the girls completed our their birch bark baskets at our monthly class.

It has been hot lately.  The temperature nuzzled up near the 100 degree mark on the bank thermometers.  So, rather than hang out near the wigwam, we set up an impromptu "classroom" near the stream that runs through the property we are fortunate enough to use.  It is shaded and offered the opportunity to cool off as the urge need arises.

If you recall, we gathered roots and peeled bark at earlier classes.  We also had to make a piece of cordage, as homework, to use to decorate the rim of the basket.  We  used these materials, and some ash strips, to assemble our baskets. 
  1. First, we soaked everything in the stream - the bark, the roots, the ash strips, the kids (actually they soaked themselves).
  2. Next, we carefully folded the bark into a basket shape.  We use clothes pins to hold them in place.
  3. Then, we carefully measured and cut the ash strips for the rims.
  4. We then split the roots for sewing.  This is a very peaceful soothing activity that requires a bit of concentration, but allows you to fully be in the moment with all of the birds singing, brook babbling, kids laughing, and wind rustling the leaves.
  5. Finally, we sewed the rim while juggling both ash pieces, the cordage, the folds in the basket, the roots, and the awl to poke holes.  Who knew I could be so nimble?!

Each kid needed varying levels of assistance ... Precious made her basket vicariously through Wendy's and my hands ... Big Little Sister only wanted me to complete the sewing by tying off the roots ... Little Fire Faery was somewhere in between.

It was a beautiful day.  I learned that there really is a craftsman down deep inside of me ... I am not just a stuffy left-brained engineer?!  The baskets are fantastic and careful craftsmanship certainly produces its own reward.  My MooseBoots journey has involved learning so many unexpected things that I would never have thought important.  I guess it just shows that there is always something more to learn.


  1. No one who knows you would ever accuse you of being stuffy - hare ... er left-brained, perhaps, but not stuffy ;).

    It was an incredible day, and personally, as a (mostly) southern bred girl, after thirteen years of enduring Maine's cold, I'm actually enjoying this little bit of heat ;).

  2. What a wonderful experience for your family....thank you for sharing with us!

  3. Wendy, hare-brained??? Are we talking about eating?

    Julie, you are quite welcome. We had a fantastic day!


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