Nature Journal
January 29     Was down at my In-laws place on sunday and my brother and I went for a walk along  the creek. It's a muddy bottom creek that flows around the house at a leisurely pace and along the bank it's dense with blackberries and saplings. We thought we'd see if we could make it through the thicket. That alone was fun, it always facinates me how you can look at a wall of green and somehow manage to crawl, walk and climb through it without nearly as much trouble as you initially imagined.

    So anyhow as we made our  way through we spotted a mound of mud, maybe a foot and a half high and 2 foot diameter. It was obviously made by some creature or another and was located just 3 feet from the waters edge where there was a very clear entry/exit  ditch to the water. Who and what made it and why? It was not a house, it was not food and it did not appear to be the shrapnel from a dig. 

    Right next to the pile of mud there was a tree sapling that was laying perpendiclar to the ground about a foot high that had chew marks on about 5 foot of its length, the chew marks were only through the thin bark. It looked like a vine maple sapling.

    The only other clue was that about 15 feet upstream and through some thicket there were tracks that appeared to be raccoon, there were also 2 holes that had been dug down that had water in them, the holes were about 16 inches in diameter and 12 inches deep. The holes and tracks again were only 3 to 4 feet from the waters edge and there too was an entry/exit ditch into the creek.

    The tracks were the same size as that of a raccoon but I failed to see a clear  "back foot" print of racoon. As they have a large triangular pad on their  rear feet. They all looked like front feet, front feet without the "C"  shape to the pad, but then my memory feels sketchy now, I'll have to go look at them again. 
January 16      So here it is, early January and I'm seeing more and more robins! I love robins! Robins often times mean spring is on the way however that's not always the case. Robins migrate for food not because of the cold, in winter they eat fruit and in spring and summer they eat worms. Well ok they don't "just" eat worms but you get the idea.
    Some Robins may infact find a little stash of food somewhere and won't migrate at all. But as a whole, they do migrate. And although it seems as though they came back a little early.
    I for one welcome them back!!
January 5       There is a place I go walking, its my “walking spot”. Sometimes I walk slow, sometimes, I walk fast, its my walking spot and  it’s at the local park.  On the face of it, most people would tell you that there isn’t any wild life there. The interesting thing is, I’ve seen more wild life there than when I’m way up in the mountains. Let me tell you about my wild adventures at the local park.

        This is your usual park, its about a square mile of woods nestled in the middle of suburbia, it has a lake, a nice asphalt walkway that goes all the way around and there’s also a baseball field , some kids play equipment and picnic tables.  Wal-mart and Home depot are on one side, a college is on the opposite with housing estates on the other two sides. My favorite part are the other trails that make there way through the rest of the woods to the surrounding estates.

       My walks generally take quite a long time, there’s so much stopping involved, hear a bird call there or a flash of something traveling just out of perception over there. 

       One time I was walking past the place where the frogs are always making noise and just up the track there was an almighty screech and great whooshing of wings and rustling leaves. Adrenalin instantly flooded my system and not wanting to miss anything I went charging through the bushes in the direction of the commotion.  At the time I was a little worried about scaring away the show but at the same time I knew it would be over fast. All I knew at this point was that it involved a bird and something else.

      So I crash my way right to where I believed the noise was coming from and sure enough. Nothing.
I was feeling a little disappointed right about then so I  relaxed a little and as I spun around using my owl eyes, there it was, perched atop a maple limb under the forest canopy, an Owl. Staring at the owl I found myself in complete awe, but when it spread its massive wings and silently glided through the trees I was in complete wonder.

       I have two theories as to what took place causing all the commotion, either the owl just had a meal with a creature that wasn’t quite cooperating or a Stellars Jay was getting a little too annoying for the owl and the owl acted out.  I will never really know but its fun to try to recreate what happened.

    This brings me to the time when I was stalking a deer, granted I never did get real close but the excitement was awesome. So here I was walking up a new road that cuts through to the college. Up ahead a dear slowly meandered its way across the road and went into the woods on the opposite side. I ran as quietly as possible up to just about where it entered the woods and began to stalk. Turns out that it had taken a well traveled animal trail thru some tall grass. As I advanced towards the deer in total excitement and concentration  I hear to my right the unmistakable tapping of a woodpecker! So there’s my dilemma, do I continue stalking the deer or do I watch the woodpecker? Just as the thought crosses my mind the deer gets spooked, most likely from me and bounds off, leaving me, to my satisfaction, to study the woodpecker.

    If you want to observe animals at your local park, the trick is to go, go often, walk or sit quietly and make sure to visit at different times during the day.    
January 4                                                  The Vehicle and the Destination
      Your grandma is very sick, you want to go help her but you need everyone in your family to come and help. All of your brothers and sisters must help or your grandma won’t make it. Unfortunately your grandmother lives many miles away and your brothers and sisters have no desire to visit and help, in fact they have forgotten all about their grandmother. They are busy working, busy with life. You know there is only one way to grab their attention and take them to see grandma. You rent a Ferrari.              
      You drive over to your brothers house in this gleaming red speed machine. When you get there he comes out and takes one look and not surprisingly wants to go for a ride! So off you go flying down the highway. Its so much fun, unbeknownst to him you take him all the way to grandmas home. When he sees her he cries. He sees the pain in her eyes and how she’s been mistreated. He sees and now he finally understands, he had no idea just how much his families ignorance has hurt her and now all he wants to do is help.  You feel so happy you go back home to bring another brother or sister.
The Ferrari represents primitive skills, grandmother is mother earth and your brothers and sisters are earths population.

      Our planet is very sick, due largely to people living so far away from the earth. They have forgotten Mother Earth and therefore do not know her pain. How do we help? By bringing others close to the earth and doing so via a vehicle, than they will see with their own eyes what the earth really needs and most will want to help.

      Primitive skills is a vehicle that is being used very effectively, its kind of like a Ferrari. The first time they see fire by friction they are amazed and it’s a safe bet they‘ll want to learn to do it themselves. Then you show them how to make cordage and they will want to learn that also. With the right mentoring, as they learn more and more skills they will invariably draw closer and closer to the earth. As they draw closer to the earth they too will see the earths pain and want to help.

      Learning primitive skills is not the only vehicle. There are many ways to draw people closer to the earth. The lesson here is to not forget why we are learning and teaching primitive skills. To draw ourselves and others closer to grandma, Mother Earth.
January 3       What does it mean to walk the razors edge? Tom Brown talks about it and Grandfather before him. I don't claim to be an expert on this but let me give you my take.
       Its more about the spiritual than the physical. Its more about how you think  or rather don't think. Our minds are constantly cluttered by thoughts, and its this thinking that unbalances us. The spiritual mind needs mental silence. From what I understand, it's the thoughts about the future and the past that are the major disturbances. The present is where we should reside.
December 17     On December the 14 2006 Washington state was hit by a massive windstorm that affected all those between the coast and the mountain range. The worst part is that it hit the electricity grid hard, Puget Sound Energy started to compare it to the storm in 93 but soon realized that it was far  worse.  Almost a million households without power !  Some for over 4 days!
      Whether you want to call it global warming or bible prophecy the fact remains that the weather is getting more erratic and severe.
    How prepared are you? Be prepared !
December 9    Today it rained, it was cloudy, it was sunny and now yet again it is cloudy all the while staying below 40. The weather happens to us everyday. It changes constantly and we adjust to it on the same schedule, to stay comfortable.
                                                  Define comfort.
   Here I'll raise some questions, ponder these for awhile:
               Does your body define what's comfortable or your mind?
                Is it your mind that dislikes the rain or your body?
                Your skin gets cold, do you dislike that, why?

  Here's the real question though, is it possible to expand your comfort zone?
December  8     Is there ever  a day that need pass by without teaching our children something about nature?
    As we were driving towards our destinantion in my truck with just me and my four year-old daughter for passengers, we were playing a game called.......well ok it wasn't a game, we were just pointing out the deciduous trees and the evergreens. Sometimes yelling, sometimes whispering, sometimes pointing some times not. It was fun and she was learning. She wasn't just learning about trees,  no, today she was leaning about awareness. 

   Seeing the detail in something, is, awareness. Notice a bird sitting on a branch and then watch as it flys away..........What color is it, what are its markings, flight pattern, posture, size, call,  shape.
   There is seeing and then there is knowing.
December 6    Today a bird died in my care.  It's not what it sounds like, it was out of my control, it was sick. I spotted it at work and immediatly recognized something was amiss. It was not hopping like crazy, it was going slow.  What really alarmed me was the sparrow was only 6 feet away from me in a driveway, its nearest bush to hide in was 30 feet away and it was not making the least effort to fly away. Keep in mind too I wasn't sneaking through the woods either I was making a whole lotta banging noises and so forth.

   So I went over and bent down to take a look at the little guy and see what the problem was. It didn't take long to figure that one out, he had a great big growth on his head, lets just say it was cancerous, I really don't know but he wasn't a well bird.

  I scooped him up with little struggle and took him over to a maintenance shed we have at work, put him in a lil box, put on a heater and made some water available.

Thirty minutes later he passed away.
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