Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Buckskin Pouch Day With The Knapps
Today we continued the Koviashivuk series, The Earth Is Our Home led by Chris and Ashirah Knapp by meeting again at beautiful Broadturn Farm. We were first blessed with a gorgeous spring day, dry and warm. After we all gathered for a good morning welcome, we went in search of signs of deer--tracks, scat, nibbled plants, maybe hair. Today's project would end with all the kids making their own buckskin pouch, but first it was important to learn about how the deer lives its life. On our walk into the woods, Chris showed us an old apple tree and explained that deer will eat the still small and not very tender apple buds. Many of us also ate some apple buds which tasted like apple, but were very bitter. Once in the woods, there was a stream to cross, with enough wobbly moss covered rocks and babble to make the crossing seem adventurous. By the time we found our way over hills and stumps and dead wood, we all were shedding our extra layers, now too warm. For the first part of the morning, we also shed our boots (it really was warm enough!) to learn how to walk like a fox. We learned to use our "owl eyes", or peripheral vision and we would learn to cup our ears to make "deer ears" to help us detect sources of sounds in the woods. Everyone enjoyed a game of camouflage, a game similar to hide and seek and red light green light where we all had fun trying to blend into our surroundings and reaching Chris before he noticed. After all that fun, it was time for lunch.
Following lunch, it was time to learn about making buckskin pouches. Chris demonstrated at least three ways to construct the pouch and a couple of stitches for closing it. It seemed like all the kids were eager to begin and soon our little spot in the woods was filled with lively conversation and the sounds of joyful work. Though sometimes the stitching seemed complicated, it was simple enough to take out the mistakes and begin again. By the end of our time with the Knapps, all of the kids were wearing buckskin pouches (and I noticed many kids looking at their work with satisfaction, repeatedly). So we packed up, crossed the stream again, walked back up the hill to the farm and said goodbye to another glorious day in the woods with friends. We'll meet again in two weeks, this time for Wild Greens Day.