Just like that we are halfway through the school year! Time flies when you are having fun, and it hardly rains if you are mostly outside. It has been great to see our number swell a little and a lot of sweet bonds form between the children and special places in the forest that we have interacted with in different seasons and all kinds of weather. There are some deep connections forming and if you have the time someday soon, have your little Fox Walker lead you on an adventure to a favorite place in the forest. I know some of you have done this already and it warms my heart to hear the stories.
This week we wrapped up our immersion in the tree world with a week focused on the beautiful and healing Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa). A few months back we had collected some very early Cottonwood buds with the children off of a few fallen branches on the ground after big windstorm and soaked them in olive oil. Our hands got so sticky with brightly colored reddish-orange, sweet smelling resin from the buds as we picked them. This resin contains salicin, a compound also found in Willow bark that has been proven to sooth pain and inflammation as well as arthritis and other muscular ailments. It is a powerful medicine that has been utilized for centuries as Balm of Gilead. Melissa wrote a great blog all about it which you can find here: https://featherandfrond.org/blog/2016/10/26/blessings-from-the-wind-cottonwood-oil-and-salve. Now is a great time to look for fallen branches and swelled buds if you are interested in making some yourself!
On Thursday, we started a fire in our little stove can and got to work making our medicine! The Fox Walkers helped melt down some beeswax in a double boiler and add our Cottonwood bud infused olive oil to the pot. They added some Douglas Fir pitch for extra forest healing and antiseptic magic and mixed it with a cottonwood branch. They each helped to pour the hot, beautiful clear yellow liquid into little salve containers and watch to cold air turn it into solid, spreadable form. This Forest Balm that came home is for your family to treat your aches, pains, bruises, scrapes, burns, etc. It makes a wonderful addition to a first-aid kit or medicine cabinet!
Other highlights of the week include hearing a story about "Little Star" and Cottonwood, some epic tree climbing sessions, building and floating boats down the raging creek, playing big running games, celebrating a birthday and finding a rad new spot in the forest above Frog Swamp flats that was PERFECT for playing Eagle Eye.
See you tomorrow and bundle-up! Its going to be cold and beautiful tomorrow.