November started cold and snowy back at the land! We got to Left Hand Canyon and the hills all around us were covered in snow… It looked beautiful but was very cold – and not everyone had yet adjusted from the warm days of October we had received!
In order to keep the Bobcats warm and moving, we decided to go for a big hike up to the meadow to possibly look for tracks. After soaking in all the warmth we could from the fire, we started off to find a dry way across the creek. Not having a bridge to cross the creek made this difficult and it was an adventure in itself just getting up to and across the dam that spans that water upstream of the property. On the other side of the water, a few of us started breaking rocks to make simple stone tools. This is a simple process that connects us to ancestors long ago and the kids really enjoyed it!
At this point a few of the kids were complaining about the cold and talking about going back to the fire. We were not going straight back after all the effort it took just to get there. Melissa didn’t skip and beat and challenged the Bobcat Clan to make their own fire from materials on the land and dry tinder they had brought in their backpacks. The Bobcats stepped right up and got to work looking for materials! Some found dry grass hiding under logs, pitch and twigs from Pine trees, dry Juniper twigs hidden under canopies, inner bark from cottonwood trees among other materials.
The clan got to work in a frenzy of activity! The mentors were hands off besides giving the occasional tip or suggestion to someone or asking a poignant question. There were a few minor arguments about techniques and people not having their voices heard but overall everyone was hard at work and working together! After the 30 minutes of gathering/prep time was up the crew was given a flint and steel striker. After everyone got a turn or two, no one had been able to light it up. We offered matches (which turned out to be poor quality). Finally after the 4th of 5th match one of the kids was able to keep it lit long enough to light the tinder bundle! The Bobcats had done a good job collecting materials and had a pretty nice fire going! They decided to stick around there for lunch and to enjoy the warmth of their well-earned fire. By this time it was mighty sunny too which was a bonus!
During the time here I went to get a water bucket to have by the fire for safety with Mariajose and Satya. On the way back we found an amazing stash of Prickly Pear Cactus fruits. We all got some little hair like spines in our fingers while collecting. The two kids were so excited that they went back to gather enough fruits for the whole clan. (and extras to share with nearby Bear Clan!) They figured out that lightly roasting them over the fire burned off those painful little hairs! Yum!
As far as nature name similarities, our own Lucy is a Prickly Pear! And on the way home Wyatt, our own Black-necked Garter Snake found a beautiful dead reptile that appeared to be Black-necked Garter Snake! Pretty cool!
The clan was so excited about this experience that they offered to start to Village fire for the whole community the next week!