Week 12 | Fox Walkers at Fairhaven | Big Energy and Sunny Days

This past week at Fairhaven was our final week of the Fox Walkers for 2017! (Don’t worry, we start back up on Jan 9th and a few spaces remain if you are interested in signing up your little nature lover… ;) )  The clouds stayed away and we had a cold, sunny week  out in the woods. 

The Fox Walkers made little log bird feeders as a little gift for the bird. (or a Bird Lover in their life)   This was a fun little project -- I got some of the logs ready with some holes at home and then the kids helped put in perch holes and fit the the perches in using Doug Fir pitch as glue.   Although the power drill is much quicker, I have an affinity for old manual hand tools so I brought in a brace with a few bits.  This very simple and powerful tool has been around in nearly the same form since the late 1800’s. (A more primitive form with a permanent bit has been around in the 1400’s in Europe and the even more primitive bow drill has been documented as far back as 2700 BC in Egypt!)  I enjoy using this tool myself, but I really think its great for the kids to use.  Not only is it satisfying, but it really encourages cooperation.    This is definitely not the last time we will be using the brace at class.

This was our first time making these feeder and I was working with the biggest bits I could find at my house.  The largest I could find was only 1/2” and I realized as we were making them that it might be a little small for some birds.  Although next time I make these, I will use a 1.25” bit so I could refill with standard suet plugs, I do think the Chickadees, Bushtits and Downy Woodpeckers will love it! We are looking forward to hearing feedback and Bird sightings from our Fox Walker Families. We didn’t have any fat to render, so we made a “suet” mix with sunflower seed butter and a bird seed mix to stuff into the holes. 

Melissa told an adaptation of a Haudenosaunee story about the Sun and the Moon both wanting to rule the sky.  Moon wanted to rule so it would be dark all the time and challenged Sun to a game with high stakes. There were a number of black and white stones that would get tossed — if most of the stones were black, Moon would take over always and Sun if they were white.  Not everyone wanted that, so Little Star and some Chickadees kind of cheated and rigged the game in Sun’s favor.   Sun realized he didn’t want to shine all of the time made a deal with Moon that she could shine longer for part of the year (let’s call that Winter) and Sun would shine longer in SummerBeing Winter Solstice right now, I am grateful that the light is returning and our days are getting longer!

We played a favorite game of Melissa and mine called "Jays and Chickadees".  In this game, pairs of chickadees hide a nest somewhere.  There are feeding stations where they can venture to grab one piece of food at a time.  But lurking around is Stellar's Jay who is trying to find the nest and take the food from the Chickadees.   The little birds aren't completely powerless though -- if at least 3 of them link arms and alarm "CHICKA-DEE-DEE-DEE! CHICKA-DEE-DEE-DEE!  CHICKA-DEE-DEE-DEE!" then the Stellar's Jay has to leave the area temporarily.   This is a high energy game that is a great intro to Bird Language.  It also is a great way for the kids to work together.  A side effect of this is that you feel in your body empathy for the birds and wild creatures who are on high alert in the forest everyday. 

Other highlights included practice shoots some primitive arrows with a little quick bow and having the kids lead us out into the Hundred Acre Wood to the "Cedar Highway" area that just might be my favorite spot in the whole park now.

We hope everyone is enjoying time with family and will see you in January!