Sunday, September 20, 2020

botanizing a campsite

 i accidentally went camping. it happened like this: barb called me up and asked if i wanted to go paddleboarding and i was all like "oh, no. i would be sad if i was there but not camping" but the ranger was holding a site he said i could have so there was no reason NOT to be camping.


one night, right? yeah, ok. it turned out to be a week, but i had time to botanize.


so i drew a map of my campsite, and attempted to identify as many of the woody plants as i could.


1) white pine. these are not hard to identify. there were eleven of them in and around the campsite.
2) red maple. these are also not hard. (3)

but then we get to 

3) MYSTERY THING.







it's maybe a sand cherry? i spent most of a day going back and forth about it and sand cherry is the best fit. it looks cherry-like, but it lack the cherry smell and it's maybe too shrubby for sand cherry.  if you guys know what it is, i'll be delighted.

and then there are

4) THE APPLES. this whole area is ancient orchard. there are nine apple trees of at least two varieties in and around the site and dozens more up the outhouse trail and beyond the botanized area.

5) morrow's honeysuckle, one big patch of it, and more patches in a lot of places just outside the campsite.


6) staghorn sumac, young, a few of them, and only at the sandy border where the land drops into the lake.



7) MYSTERY II: belongs to the birch group. maybe musclewood? it doesn't really fit what i know. trunk has lenticels like black birch but is muscle-y. and no birch smell. the trunk shoudl either look more like a musclewood or it should have a birch smell. i hate this.



and then there were
8) american elms, five of them.

there ya go.

one campsite, one week. harder than i thought.























Saturday, September 19, 2020

2020 Vermont Venture: Weave a basket using natural materials

 i know it would have qualified if i had just made a basket and INCORPORATED natural materials,  but for me the overarching principle of of the Venture Challenge is to do, practice, learn, observe.


so i decided to try to make a basket out of garlic mustard straw, because that's a material that i had never used, but had noticed that it's strong and maybe bendy enough to weave with, plus garlic mustard is an invasive species and it's not possible to overharvest it.


but then i ALSO decided to experiment with weaving a twill basket, because not only had in never weaved a twill pattern, but i did not even know what the word was. i saw a pretty basket weave and thought: "huh. let me try to see if i can figure that out" and then once i figured out the pattern, i was able to search it up on the interwebs and learn that the name for that is twill.


my first try was a disaster, but i at least learned how to make the pattern. my second try is much better, but i still have a lot to learn. it would be easier, probably, to buy commercial materials, but i'm all about processing what i find.


here's my basket. the bottom view shows the weave best.






Friday, September 18, 2020

2020 venture vermont: Go for a walk around your home or community while staying at least six feet away from anyone else.

 i went for walks in the time of covid, up and down my road in order to get exercise. i sang as i walked, to strengthen my lungs.


here are the songs that i sang:





and then i walked at night in the rain to track amphibian migrations. i did a lot of walking, both alone and distanced with my friend barb, in camel's hump state park, bushwhacking off the honey hollow road, looking at plant life.

then i walked every old where, looking for sedges.

because yanno. walking. outdoors.



Thursday, September 17, 2020

2020 Venture Vermont: Find a historical fact or story about a Vermont State Park

 Following the 1903 forest fires, a fire lookout was installed on Camel's Hump in 1911. it consisted of a cement map stand, and later that year, a telephone line.




i maybe don't want to tip my hand about all my sources, but if you're into reading about camel's hump state park, i am really going to recommend THE CULTURAL LANDSCAPE OF THE CAMEL'S HUMP MANAGEMENT UNIT and the Camel’s Hump Management Unit [...] Long Range Management Plan .


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

2020 Venture Vermont: Build an animal habitat for your favorite animal in your home or backyard

 i am choosing to interpret this as build a habitat for my favorite animal that is in my backyard, because that seems like it will do some good.


this summer i noticed some little pickerel frogs hopping around in my backyard, taking shelter under my back steps. and i had some spare plant pots, so i cut some little doors in them to place under the steps to give the little dudes a nice place to hang out and eat bugs.






Monday, September 14, 2020

2020 Venture Vermont: Sit in a quiet area and observe nature. Write down or draw a picture of what you see


 maybe it's careless venturing, but since i do a LOT of observing nature and writing down or drawing what i see, here's a page from my notebook.


this is some of my observations from my sedge class this summer.


because sedges.


Sunday, September 13, 2020

in the driveway

I went out to the driveway thinking i would just make some notes on woody plants i already knew and sent some hours having to sort out things i THOUGHT i knew.

Here’s my list:

White birch
Grey birch
An assortment of white ash saplings
Some saplings of some kind of shadbush?
Spirea alba?


white birch. two sizes of teeth, telltale bark.

catkins in groups of three. i did not not know about the catkins

.

grey birch. leaf much pointier, triangular branch scars on trunk

i made a sketch of the grey birch leaves. took me a whole day.

ash sapling


the buds make me think it's white ash




this is a spirea, and checking against newcomb's wildflower guide, i think it is a spirea alba.


Saturday, September 12, 2020

2020 Venture Vermont: Learn to set up a tarp or hammock

sometimes with these items i have to get creative, because when it says "learn to..." sometimes i'm running into some difficulties.


for instance, i already know how to pitch a hammock, and i'm pretty good with tarp as dining fly, wind shed, and plow blade.


sometimes i feel i satisfy the requirement for an item like this (and one like this is always on the challenge) by learning a NEW setup, like if i figure out a friend's new setup for them. for instance, this summer my friend barb got a new hammmock setup and i helped her set it up and taught her some knots to use for tarp slinging, and then when another friend with a tarp that needed more knots arrived at our campsite, i helped barb itch that, which was her first time tying a bowline, a clove hitch, and a trucker hitch under application.


but also i like to learn new things. this isn't strictly learning to pitch a tarp, but i did learn how to build a baker tent OUT of hardware store tarps and duct tape and learned to pitch it. only took me seven months.


tent on my worktable
here it is on the worktable

tent in yard
pitched outside

it's made with silver colored tarps to reflect heat, and the top and back are lined with silver emergency blanket. it has a roll-down clear plastic front, and the idea is that you build a fire in front of it and it traps heat.. so while it makes a handy windshed and shade in summer, it is intended for winter use. it packs up pretty small and will fit well on my sled.

view from inside, front down
view from inside with the front down

folded tent
folded up


but also i'm not opposed to learning new tarp piches. they're harder with a rectangular tarp, but i'm learning to do some. this one is not very complex, but is new to me.


pitched tarp from front


this is a very stable pitch and would give very good protection from the elements. the line and front stakes can be left off entirely; with the inside pole you can pull the whole thing taut without the front lines to stabilize it. you'd still want them in a high wind, though.






Friday, September 11, 2020

2020 Vermont Venture: Create a meal cooked on a campfire

 i'm going to admit that i cheated a little on this one, because mostly my friend liz did the cooking while i tended the fire.


Liz says it counts as helping because often she has to cook WHILE building and tending the fire.


i'm counting this meal because it has the best associated photo, but the truth is i go camping, and camping means you're either making food on a camp stove or on a fire. as the weather gets cooler, you're going to have fire anyway, so there you go.


This is a venison stew. Liz is a campfire wizard.








Wednesday, September 09, 2020

2020 Venture Vermont: Create art out of rocks

 ok, so i colored a rock for my mom.




but also i had to pick up some river rocks for another project and i have some little ones hanging around and i've decided to stack them up from time to time and learn how they balance, and it's kind of a cool meditative experience.











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