The last two weeks at Fire Keepers have been pretty exciting! On Halloween, just before the weather transformed into wet, cold rains, we transformed into wild creatures with the help of some face paints a dedicated Mama dropped off for us in the AM and received our nature names! On the Wildcrafting front, we started shaving the bright yellow berberine filled bark of Mahonia nervosa (Low Oregon Grape) to make into a tincture that will be used to make hand sanitizer in the future.
Melissa wrote a pretty thorough blog all about OR Grape last year, check it out if you want more info — https://featherandfrond.org/blog/2017/1/23/oregon-grape-to-the-rescue …
A big part of both weeks involved cleaning up and getting a feel for a new favorite base camp affectionately known as Vine Maple Village! The vine maples, and second growth cedar, fir, and big leaf maple really hold our energy well and there is even some relief from the rain. We are going to work on a small lean-to that can help us stay even drier as the rains come back. We were surrounded by deer who seem to be in the midst of their mating dance. It was great to sit and see the differences between the does and the bucks with their muscular necks, large noses and varying racks!
Douglina the Chickaree left us a scavenger hunt that led us to some halloween treats, she is so sweet to us!
We played some awesome new games including Mushroom Tag and Epic game of “Renegade” Capture the Flag that lasted several hours! We really sunk into the forest and had some timeless moments of connection and inner quiet while sneaking through the understory and awaiting approaching flag nappers.
We all received new nature names and have another way to connect with the natural world. They say every animal has something to teach us and now all of these students have new teachers and allies as well. Have you asked them their nature name yet? We love learning new things as well if they want to teach us something at class.
Other highlights included log climbing and parkour, a wild butt slide hill that was rated Double Black Diamond as far as deer trails go, salamanders, slugs, owl calls, hill climbs, laughter and joy!