Our days and weeks of late have been filled with both settling and exploration. Each day we settle into our new home a bit more, create new cozy nooks and spaces for play, find the just-right spot to hang a piece of art or a kitchen utensil… And each day, we venture outdoors to explore the land. We are getting to know the map of our land, getting acquainted with the flora and fauna of the area, including a little owl, a few deer, and a snowshoe hare. And the kids are also busy nesting and creating space within the forests – several forts can be found, including a post office, a jail, and some home spaces.
We’ve found a lovely sledding hill that lands in the frozen marsh, surrounded by cattails. At least one of us (myself, ahem) is eager to harvest the cattails for food and craft in the coming seasons. We’ve wandered along deer trails and found bursting poplar buds to harvest, and foraged in the pine forest for resin. There is so much wild medicine here, so much healing and wisdom held in the trees and plants. I’m looking forward to using the poplar bud oil along with the pine resin and maybe some willow bark to make a powerful healing salve for myself and my friends and family who deal with pain on a daily basis.
This weekend, we’ll start tapping the few small maples and few clusters of birch to make a small, but special batch each of maple and birch syrup. Or, depending on the volume we receive from the trees, we may just enjoy the sap as it comes out of the tree or use it for wild sodas. Just before Pi Day we went for a walk and measured the circumference of the trees, and then figured out the diameter, using Pi – trees should be at least 6″ for tapping. Some people work with a minimum of 8″, but I’ll trust our local tapping expert (mainly because our trees are pretty small, and we really want to tap them, ha.) There is so much learning that just happens on a daily basis, even outside – especially outside? Yes, that. Looking forward to a spring and summer of nature based learning!