Week 7 | Fox Walkers at Fairhaven | Mr. Big Cat's Scavenger Hunt, Shelter Building, & Fire-popped popcorn!

Last week was full of excitement, with Halloween and the first snow of the season all in the same week!  We spent our mornings at Fairhaven working on fire skills once again, and getting some wood chopped up for these cold, frosty days!  

Our curriculum continues to focus on hazard awareness, and our Moon Bird and Running Deer story recalled their encounter with a cougar in the forest.  Moon Bird initially reacted by running away from this big wild cat.  However, the cougar was much different than a typical cougar.  It was quite friendly and had the ability to talk!  Instead of chasing after Moon Bird, the cougar shouted, “Never run away from a cougar!”.  Moon Bird and Running Deer stopped in their tracks at the sight of the talking cougar, and perked up their Deer Ears to listen to what he had to say.  The cougar shared that he wasn't interested in eating them, as he doesn't consider humans to be very tasty at all!  He warned them that cougars—like all cats— enjoy chasing after things.   So humans should never, ever run away from a cougar because it will chase after them.  Instead, humans should look the cougar straight in the eye, make themselves look big by putting their backpacks over their heads, and back away slowly.  This friendly and helpful cougar, who called himself "Mr. Big Cat", also taught Moon Bird and Running Deer that if they were ever to encounter a bear, they should also make themselves look big and back away slowly, but they should NOT look it in the eye, as it may think that they are looking to fight.  Moon Bird and Running Deer were extremely grateful for the teachings that Mr. Big Cat shared with them, and they promised to follow his suggestions for safety around cougars and bears!  

After story on Tuesday, the Fox Walkers discovered a mysterious hidden note under Story Tree.  The note contained a riddle written by Mr. Big Cat himself!   The riddle directed us to visit a couple of our favorite places in the forest, Cat Pounce Rock and the Cedar Horses.  Once we pounced off of Cat Pounce Rock and rode our Cedar Horses, we discovered another riddle under a rock which brought us to the Mud Monsters and Blast Off Hill.  We then found another riddle which led us to Salamander Hood, the shelter area by Frog Swamp Flats.  It was there that we discovered some special Halloween treats left for us by Mr. Big Cat.  Delicious fruit leathers!  What a special surprise!  We enjoyed our fruit leathers in the sunshine.  Thanks Mr. Big Cat!  ;-)  What a sweet way to embrace the spirit and excitement of Halloween!

On Thursday,  the weather was much wetter and cooler.   Luckily,  the popcorn faeries left us corn kernels, so we cooked up some popcorn on the fire to help warm us up in the morning.  It was deeeelicious!  Another project that we worked on in the morning was processing Stinging Nettle stalks to use for making cordage/rope.  The Fox Walkers were very helpful in flattening the Nettle stalks! 

The cold rain poured down on us for most of the day, so we took shelter under a fort in our Forest Home.  Since the fort had lots of holes in it, we spent some time collecting more materials to make it more waterproof.  Building a good shelter requires lots of work, but luckily this active crew of Fox Walkers didn’t seem to mind breaking and hauling big branches around!  After shelter-making and lunch, we went on a quest to look for spots in the forest that are naturally dry shelter areas.  We wondered which trees help shield us from the rain, and which trees do not?  Turns out that the big Cedar tree that's home to our beloved Cedar Horses offers a pretty dry place to escape the rain.  Thank you, Cedar Tree!