Monday, December 18, 2006

More Shafts and a Basket

I took a trip to Eagle Creek Park on Saturday to visit my favorite spot for harvesting arrow shafts. The Last time I went was during the late summer. At that time there was more sap in the wood. The arrow shafts shrank as they dried. This time more of the sap is down in the roots so I don't think they will shrink as much.

I carefully selected eight branches from various shrubs. Before cutting each branch I first checked with inner vision to determine whether I should take it. Using inner vision is something I learned at the Tracker School. It is a way of spiritually communicating with all of nature. It is useful for many things, but in this case I can use it to determine whether removing the branch will help or hurt the environment. The great benefit is that I don't have to rely on my knowledge of the ecosystem to determine this.

I could have easily harvested a dozen or more shafts if I wasn't doing it in a caretaking manner. There were many very nice straight branches that I passed on because removing them would have hurt the shrub. It's also worth noting that by limiting the number of shafts I harvest, I can give each one more attention as I straighten them over the coming weeks.

Before cutting I also gave thanks to the branch and shrub for giving its life for me. After I made my cut, I spread mud over the cut. The main reason I did this is so that it wasn't easily visible that someone cut a branch. The bright cut of the branch stands out in the dull brown of the landscape at this time of year. The shrubs were on a main path so people may walk by them often. I don't think it is exactly legal to cut branches in the park. I have no regrets because I am caretaking, leaving the woods better off than I found them.

The shafts I have are pretty straight, but I'll be bending them each night as they dry to make them straighter. I don't feel guilty watching tv if I spend that time straightening arrow shafts. They are a little thick, but after they dry, the bark is removed and they are sanded, they should make good arrow shafts.

With the excess branch parts that aren't going to become arrow shafts, I made a basket. I started the basket with the refuse from my earlier harvest. Last night I was able to finish it. It is made completely from leftover Arrowwood Viburnum branches. The handle is a little small so I probably won't be carrying anything heavy in it. I may either add a stronger handle or remove it entirely.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fallen Oak

My friend Chad's Oak tree fell down last week. Luckily it fell the way it did. It could have as easily fallen on his house.

This was a good opportunity for me scavenge some wood. I didn't hear about it till the day the wood cutters came to chop it up so I couldn't get as much from it as I wanted. By the time I got there, only big pieces were left. I didn't have the chance to get wood for bows, baskets, throwing sticks, ax handles, etc., but I have some pieces to make bowls.

I sealed the ends of the wood with paint primer so that it doesn't dry rapidly and crack. Sealing the ends makes it dry through the bark more naturally. Once it's dried, I'll use coals to burn the wood away until I have a bowl. With a wooden bowl you can boil water/food by dropping in heated rocks.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Gourd Canteen

When I was home for Thanksgiving my brother and I worked on some gourds my mom had. He made a bowl out of one. I made a canteen. I would've made a post about this sooner, but it took me awhile to complete the yucca cordage. I made 8 strands about a meter long. This allowed me to make a decent netting around the body of the gourd. The middle of each strand is centered on the bottom of the gourd so 16 ends are used to make the netting using square knots to join strands. Once I got to the neck I took 2 groups of 8 and reverse wrapped them into a handle. I wove the ends into each other to complete the circle. Ideally the strap would be a lot longer so I could throw it over my shoulder, but I didn't really know how long to make the strands when I started. This guy holds about 1 1/2 liters of liquid. I still need to scrape out some of the gunk on the inside.