4.20.17 Fox Walkers | Big Leaf Maple Fritters!

Thumbs up for Big-leaf Maple Fritters!

Another day where the weather forecast said it would be cool and rainy, another day that ended up being speckled with sunlight and gorgeous! Melissa and I had some racemes of Big Leaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) blossoms at the house that were getting big so we decided to them some in and make a batch of maple blossom fritters as the kids were arriving. I made a fire in our little double combustion wood-burning camp stove and got some hot cooking coals ready. We mixed up pancake batter at home so all we had to do with the kids was dip the fritters in the batter and safely drop into the hot oil in the pan… We made a nice batch to share during story/snack time.  I finished and cleaned up the mess while Melissa ran off some energy playing games with the kids.  It was sweet to hear every playing an impromptu game of “Limbo” after everyone was enamored by a large stick on the labyrinth.  Melissa has a magical ability to shift the energy in such a way that it appears effortless.

Story time had our friend Moon Bird really getting to meet his plant friend, Dandelion.  At Fox Walkers, we too are starting to get to truly know some plant friends, far beyond memorizing a name.  We are crawling through, hiding behind, climbing, smelling, tasting, listening to and sitting with these plants and forging relationships with the world in our NW backyards! The kids nibbled on our BLM Fritters with a little honey (we were all out of maple syrup) and all seemed to really enjoy connecting with the maple tree in this delicious way!

Out on our adventures we are still seeing heaps of new plants popping up and others that are getting further along in their progression. (Some are heading towards my favorite stage — delicious berries!)  This can be extremely overwhelming so we don’t go into detaillooking at every plant.  But some beg for a closer look.  Today it was the Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) in full leaf and flower. Melissa showed us how to find the “butterfly” in Salmonberry’s leaves as well as the gorgeous pink flowers.  We tasted a few petals, but left the blossoms for the bees and hummingbirds to pollinate. Salmonberry is a favorite of ours because they are the first ripe berry — here should be some juicy berries before spring ends!  

We also looked closer at a big, beautiful Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum) flower.  We had an impromptu math less as the children helped me count the parts of this plant.  3 large leaves, 3 green sepals, 3 large white petals.  No wonder this lily is call TRI-llium! 

The other important plant that we met today was Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum). This member of the carrot/parsley family of plants was growing in the meadow where we play games in the morning. It looks very much like the leaves of a carrot you might grow in your garden with the difference being that poison hemlock’s leaves stem, roots and stalks are “acutely toxic to people and animals” according to King County's noxious weed page.  

While playing and foraging in the lush forests here, there are many more plants that are edible or helpful medicinals than there are toxic plants, but it is important to learn these plants as well if you plan on harvesting wild foods.  On our programs, the children are not allowed to put anything in their mouths without checking in with an adult first.  If you have any questions about a plant you see on your walks, let us know!  

One more thing we observed this week is that our group of Fox Walkers is really bonding as a group. They help each other out, solve conflicts peacefully, and are have some really inspiring bouts of imaginative play. It is crazy that we are almost halfway through the session and we are looking forward to what adventure and connection waits on our final 8 days together! 

Fox Walkers in Limbo, Helping each other, getting up from a sit spot and engaging in imaginative play!

From Fire to Fritter!

So many teachable moments in spring!

Melissa taking advantage of a teachable moment with Salmonberry! Do you see the butterfly in the leaflets?

Beauty in Fairhaven... this snake was found after program, wonder where they like to hang out?