Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nature Adventure Class - Week 5

This weekly Nature Adventure class has been a huge boost to my confidence, in knowledge of nature/survival skills, as I travel down this MooseBoots path.  It has affirmed many things for me ... I know a lot more than I believe, time spent with my family is hugely rewarding, time spent in nature is incredibly healing, etc.  It has also highlighted a few things ... knowledge unapplied is not really worth much, I need to slow down and really experience things, I need to work at being more aware, etc.

As it was a cool, rainy day, we met inside.  Many of the families did not even show up.  So, the group, small as it was, met and continued working on the skills we are honing.  I have noted that a large part of the focus for this group is awareness building.  As such, we began by playing a few games.  In the first, we joined hands.  The catch was that one the circle of hands, we had two hula hoops.  The game was one of squirrel and fisher.  The squirrel tried to keep away from the fisher.  The fisher tried to eat the squirrel.  So, each hula hoop was passed from person to person.  Or, each person had to pass through the hula hoop to move it in one direction or the other.  There is nothing so fun(ny) as squeezing 40 year old bodies through hula hoops while linking hands.  The amazing part, the unschooling part, is that we all laughed and completely forgot about the fact that we were developing our observation skills.  I found that I innately monitored the position of the hoops without effort.  The kids had a great time, too.  By the way, I any of you is interested in these games, Maine Primitive Skills School has published a book, The Invisible School: Playing Hard and Growing Smart , that contains many of them and much more.

After a few rounds, we switched the game.  We ditched the hula hoops, stopped holding hands, and played with a red bandana (squirrel) and two blue bandanas (fishers).  It really increases the pace of the game to have to monitor two fishers.  Luckily, squirrels can jump (throw across the circle) or walk (pass from hand to hand), but fishers must walk.  Somtimes, fishers, or kids holding fishers, forget that they can not jump.  The game, as they all do, really engages the kids and allows them to be aware without trying to be.

After all the fun, we stopped to unwind.  No ... literally, to unwind.  We were given bits of twine to un-twist back into fibers.  These fibers were all placed in a great heap on the floor.  As we finished what we had been given, we were given more.  It was like making cordage in reverse.  It told the kids that we were probablky going to have to re-assemble the strings later.

We moved on to our next awareness game.  Each of us was blindfolded and led to a room.  In this room was a "path" of blankets on the floor.  We were to follow the blankets and identify/memorize as many of the objects on the blankets as we could using only our hands to "see".  Then, we were to return to the other room and draw each object on a peice of paper.  Again, those young spongy minds were quick, but older minds are better at details ... he he he.  As we each played the game, the other continued unwinding.  Then, we reviewed the items as a group.  No winning, no losing. 
The highlight of the class, in my opinions, was the bow drill work.  Mike had brought a number of bow drill sets with him for us to work with.  After we moved to the garage, we were instructed and then we drilled.  Wendy showed amazing skill ... on her first attempt with the bow drill, she got a coal.  But, it was small and went out.  Then, she got another and another.  Finally, she chucked the coal into a bundle of twine fiber and made a fire.  Somewhere along the way, we lost all of the kids but one, Big Little Sister.  So, we adults and teenager worked each trying to make a fire.  I succeeded too.  It was amazing.  In recognition of our success with the bow drills, Mike broke out the hand drill.  He, Wendy, and I worked on team hand-drilling and succeeded in starting a fire with a mullein stalk and cedar fire board.

I experience such a sense of fullness and contentment after each class.  This is the barometer by which I measure the value of the steps I take on this MooseBoots journey.  Unfortunately, this particular class was only scheduled for 7 weeks and is winding down.  Fortunately, there seems to be a bit of interest in continuing on a bi-weekly or monthly basis.  This activity, and those similar, keep me grounded in reality and really help me appreciate the good things life has to offer.


  1. Thank you, once again, for taking us all along with you to your Nature Adventure Class!

  2. Julie, it is both my pleasure to attend and to share. You are welcome.

  3. That is really cool. I have been wanting to try it ever since I finished reading Earth Knack. I have been kind of intimidated about it though. I'm pretty excited now! I'll let ya know how it goes.

  4. Leigh, it is exciting. It works best with a teacher, but I was able to work it out on my own. I did pick up a few tips with Mike at this class though. Good luck.


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