Fire Keepers | Weeks 6 & 7 | Fire, Shelter & Family

Wow, we’ve had such a sweet couple of weeks with the Fire Keepers!  Here’s how we’ve been enjoying the sunshine…

Week 6
An epic leaf fight amongst the crew brought about an exhilarating start to our day.  The fallen leaves of Big Leaf Maple are not only fun to play with, but also provide excellent insulation for primitive shelters, and you can even stuff handfuls of leaves in between the layers of your clothes if you need some extra warmth on a cold day!  Autumn leaves are truly an amazing survival resource (especially when they’re DRY!)

After leaf play, Pat and I split the Fire Keepers into two random groups and presented them with a fire challenge.  Each group worked together to collect kindling, scrape tinder bundles, baton wood, and set up fire structures.  Then the groups had the opportunity to see if they could successfully light and sustain their fire.  It was wonderful to see each team work together and learn what worked an what didn’t work.  We will continue to practice this skill throughout the winter!

Our wander brought us up to Owl Pellet Plateau, where we scoped out a spot to build our “far away” big group shelter (we’re also planning on building another smaller shelter closer to our meeting spot— it’s good to have a couple of options!).  We found an awesome little nook up there and started brainstorming a shelter design.  We spent lots of time clearing the space and getting to know the area.  There was also some bow-drill practice going on, harvesting of licorice fern roots for future forest tea, and some good ole free play and fun.  We’re excited to sink into this new secret spot and get to know it better (and build a cool shelter up there!)

Week 7 Family Visit Day was a blast!  Our morning was spent roasting apples, playing Fire in the Forest, and getting to know the visiting parents and siblings while sipping forest tea.  The story was about our favorite Secret Scout Society members: Grima, Linnea and Jan.  One evening Grandpa Balder presented the three of them with the challenge of building a primitive shelter to sleep in.  After a failed attempt at building something to keep themselves warm and dry throughout the night, Grandpa Balder encouraged them to pay close attention to the way that squirrels build their nests.  Grima, Linnea, and Jan eventually observed the squirrel nests closely enough to see that the squirrels rely on lots of leaves to insulate the inside of their nest, and a latticework of branches to hold those leaves in place.  The also have quite a bit of debris on the outside of their nests as which are an outer protective layer.  The three scouts spent countless hours perfecting their shelter so as to mirror these same concepts that the squirrels use, and they eventually built a very warm and waterproof shelter!  Thank you for the wisdom, squirrels!

After story, we headed to the nearby wooded area that we call Heart Home, where we played Owl Eye and Meet-a-Tree with our families.  Some kids also worked on designing a small debris shelter.  Nettle cordage-making and even a bit of bow-drill practice was also going on.  There was a sweet “village-y” feel to our time there!

Afterwards, we headed to the pond, where we observed Mallards and Wood Ducks, explored the clay, rescued a “digger-bopper” from the water, played Hospital Tag, and had some sit spot time (which for many of us involved observing a Great Blue Heron!)

It was truly an awesome day and we are super grateful for all of the good times we had with the Fire Keeper families!  Thank you for spending the day with us!!