California adventures 1

I’m in California, hence the adventure series. One if the things I love about parks is visiting their nature centres. You get a chance to see just how the animals around you look, which is helpful, since you probably won’t get to see them in real life. They also provide you with tons of naturalist info about that species, which helps you better identify track and sign in a new ecosystem. Here are some examples!

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bobcat
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Nature table

Every good naturalist needs a nature table. Here is a picture of mine. It’s a combo of skulls I have found or have been given to me, my favourite field guides, track casts, and projects I’m still working on.
I find it inspiring, as it brings
Some nature into mu urban bedroom, and it makes others ask me questions and so helps us better to get to know each other, with all my cards ( read: skulls) on the table.

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Teaching outside

My buddy Steve hired me to work some weekend programs for kids. One of my favourite things is coming up with fun and exciting ways to wake them up in the a.m., because we take away their watches. Steve dressed up as a dragonfly with a fox tail, and me as a bear with moose antlers. Both our costumes were home made! Steve
Played guitar while I danced in the twilight, and I think it set the tone just right for the rest of our wilderness adventure. Steve turned to me on the first morning and said:” how could they be expecting this?” Exactly. That’s the whole point! Act in a way that blurs the boundary between kid behaviour and adult behaviour, to show that adults can and still do play. I love my job!

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Eating bugs

My sister had her birthday out in the country, and naturally, the nephews were there. Someone needed to watch them out in the front garden where they can play. I figured it would be a fun activity to try my hand at harvesting grasshoppers with them. In a few hours, we harvested a quarter of a ball jar of grasshoppers, most of which were fat from stealing kale from the garden. I brought them home and froze them to kill them, then removed the heads and legs. I fried them up in butter and chilli and shared them with my roommate ( seen below) because eating grasshoppers kind of freaked me out. But guess what? They were delicious, and honestly quite beautiful! Hooray!

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Backyard food!

My parents got married in the backyard of the house where I grew up and where they still live. We have always played in a park out back, and though many things have changed about this park, two giant trees with big red berries in the fall have remained. I remember my uncle Mark hopping out of that tree during a round of hide-and-go-seek, and I remember asking my mom if I could eat those bright red fruit, and she said “no”. Fast forward 10 years, knowing a little bit more about botany than I did then, and these red fruit, now identified as pommes, are in fact from a very much edible crab apple tree. So I went out with my mama ad harvested a whole bunch, despite my mom’s fear of bees. We then dehydrated them. My sister hates them, I love them, and they will make a sweet source of carbs for our summer adventure, plus a solid food source in urban spaces.

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The summer project

So about this summer projects I’ve been babbling on about! My buddy Luke and I have decided to spend a month of our upcoming summer going completely paleo. This involves us making all our tools and clothing in advance, as well as wild harvesting food to keep our energy up at the beginning of the trip. This idea is inspired by lynx Vilden’s Stone Age living project, but with our own twist: we wanted to be in our own ecosystem in our own backyard.
Some of the projects we have to take on include:
– making buckskin clothing
– making clay pots
– wool blankets and sweaters
– fishing gear, hunting gear
– enough wild plants, meat and fat to make it a month
– stone and bone knives and tools
– other niknaks such as rope, combs, etc.

We’ve been preparing since last summer, but still have a good two solid months of work ahead, starting in May. Should be a hoot. Any thoughts about this? I want to know what you think!

Dumpster diving

Whenever I visit my crew outside Seattle on the west coast I’m always excited and amazed at how much food comes out of big dumpsters we visit on Friday nights. This food goes to feed us, but also our chickens, ducks, and rabbits. With composting bins these days, it makes it even easier to grab rabbit food, though beware of stinky dumpster juice on your clothes, which Charlie whined about until it finally got wiped off on the side of the dumpster. The food we get is almost never expired, almost always wrapped in something, and organic. We’ve had whole paleo diet turkey dinners this way, free of charge. Better yet, we help feed other members of my community, and have to come up with new recipes based on the food we get. It makes life VERY simple, and helps us reduce our food waste, because we are eating… Ummm… Waste!

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In one five hour trip, we have enough to feed a household of five and several animals for over a week!