Sorry I didn’t get the blog out last week, sometimes you blink and it is tomorrow!
The past two weeks have been fantastic both weather wise and as far as the energy of our group. The Chickadee Circle boys have really gelled at this point and it feels really good to be a part of this group. The last couple of Autumn Wednesdays have been unseasonably warm and we have done our best to make the most of it.
After the intensity and focus of our blindfold walk the past week, I decided to be a little less structured when we got back together. With the weather being close to 90 degrees the boys came to the conclusion that they wanted to get down into the creek and walk all the way to the “T” where the canal comes in… There was no arguments from me as I try and get myself into some form of water as often as I can!
Some shoes came off, some were swapped for more water appropriate footwear, while others chose to walk in their sneakers. Right away (after the shrieks of “it’s cold!” died off) we notified that the waters were higher then we remembered from the previous week! The boys also noticed the thistle patch some of them tromped through barefoot I think with a little bit of pride.
One part got so deep that it was halfway up my thighs on my 6’2″ frame and for the kids it was almost up to thier waists! The shrieks had a quick reprise here, but someone noticed a crayfish hiding in the vegetation along the creek near the deep part. We tried to catch it but it was too fast and we kicked up too much sediment, but it was cool to see!
A little bit furthur down some of the boys started building a dam and under the bridge, we noticed these cool little tracks with five bulbous fingers that kind of looked like a baby’s hand with claws! After some research in the Scats and Tracks book, we identified them as racoon tracks. Another cool fact in the book told us that raccoon often hunt for crayfish near streambeds and sometimes leave holes as sign. We didn’t see any holes but have something new to watch for!
While the others boys started their dam, Gavin and Wendell had started a different sort of work project. They were digging in the sand and started creating this wild little resort for critters. This included a lazy river, a hot tub and some water slides and pools. Soon this caught the attention of all of the other boys and everyone was working together for a common goal! It definitely felt like some busy beaver fall energy!
I really enjoyed seeing all of the boys working together on a common goal and everyone found thier voice and added thier own touch to the project! I asked them all if they needed to work up to the end or play a big game — and not one of them voted for a game! So it goes, they were focused!
They worked up till the end and everyone was excited about what they had accomplished!
The next week, that same group energy manifested itself right from the start. As we got to our snack spot, the older clan came through blindfolded. The Chickadees did a great job of keeping silent and respectful as they passed. Then we silently followed them and watched them all carefully slide down the steep hill and go over the rope swing — BLINDFOLDED! I think it was pretty inspiring for the fellows to see that.
After Thanksgiving and snack, everyone started working on making and “nest” out of cut grass on the park sign.
. This went on for longer then I thought they would be interested. Some of the boys took breaks and made brooms out of spruce branches to clean up the grass. Everyone was very focused on the project. Remy was trying to make some rope out of grass to tie up his broom. We found a corn husk on the ground on the way to the park and I used that to twist up some cordage. It seems like a fun skill that if the boys are interested, we might all be able work on together this year!
We also found a small patch of yummy delicious Chickweed (Stellaria media) hiding under the Spruce and everyone got a little taste! It is one of my favorite wild edibles. Beyond being delicious and loaded with vitamins and iron, it is a powerful medicinal used for skin care, as an anti-inflammatory, and a host of other things! It is amazing what medicines are hiding right in plain sight!
Everyone decided after that to visit our Chickadee Circle climbing, sit-spot tree from Week 1. Two of the boys had yet to visit and the others were eager to lead the way! A few boys wanted to go blindfolded so we went at a few different paces. It is great to see the boys so comfortable with each other to allow themselves to be led blindfolded. That really takes a lot of trust and I honor your boys for taking that on!
At the tree everyone enjoyed climbing and sitting… Some yellow jackets flying to close made a few boys nervous, but no one got stung and everyone had a good time! We came down with enough time to play our Coyote and Badger game before final circle.
It was really sweet in the circle to learn that Alden had added his own verse to a song that I had taught them called “Wood, Stone, Feather, and Bone”! If you are lucky maybe we can get the boys to sing it for all of you soon!