Session Two was so rich and full of seasonal discovery.
The process of getting our acorn flour ready for baking this winter.
For session two, our focus was the wonderful native and keystone trees in our area. We were quite busy this session interacting with the abundance around us. We started at Ragle Park walking and sitting among about the mighty oaks and processing their nutritious acorns for our winter baking projects. To celebrate Day of the Dead the Foxes and Kits gathered together to visit the Pleasant Hill Memorial Park. The Foxes walked onward to the Luther Burbank experimental farm, where we harvested many chestnuts and seeds from all the unusual and interesting plant experiments that Luther Burbank left us. We learned how trees usually follow a pattern and can fit in two categories, deciduous broad leaf trees and evergreen conifers. But there are some sneaky rule breakers out there that like to do their own thing, like the Coast Live Oak, a broad leaf tree that stays evergreen all year. We spent one of the days at Jenny's house propagating the many tree seeds that we had collected and been gifted (thank you Spencer!), in hopes of planting them at our homes one day in the future. One of our biggest accomplishments was building a living willow structure together. We all fantasized about one day sleeping under the stars in it together. At Tori’s our hard work continued, where we wove our baskets using dogwood harvested at Jenny‘s house, and tule that was harvested this summer at New Family Farm. At Riverfront Park, the Foxes each began working on a personal herbarium, which we will continue to collect for and add to in future sessions. Our collection of pressed specimens came from the many trees that we learned about and visited on our hikes. We also had the great fortune of seeing not one, but two bald eagles! On our last day together at the Laguna, the children were so delighted to see a curious river otter that came right up to us as if it was saying "hello".
Basket weaving and acorn leaching at New Family Farm.
The children enjoyed sharing the day together as we honored and remembered our ancestors on Dia de los Muertos. We had a procession through the cemetery, and ate lunch together with the foxes, and wrapped bundles of sage to take home for incense. As the autumn leaves continue to change color and fall, the kits have been busily collecting and pressing leaves to save for crafts, leaf rubs, and learning to identify which leaves belong to which trees. At the same time, we have been gathering more acorns to process and store for acorn cookies this winter. While on a hike at Ragle, we heard the acorn woodpeckers calling. As we watched a pair land in an old dead tree, we noticed how most of the holes are filled with acorns, their winter store! And just then, some of the children noticed how the stop signs at the park have holes in the metal posts, which were surprisingly stashed full of acorns as well. As we gathered around to investigate, the woodpeckers were making a bunch of noise, yelling at us it seemed! Perhaps they didn't want us to find their stash!! We learned that acorn woodpeckers live in small community groups, and work together to collect and store acorns in a "granary tree". Or stop sign post! With one or two always on guard while the others gather. They also help incubate the eggs in a nest, and raise the young together. Way to work together, woodpeckers!
Woodpecker signs and sightings at Ragle Park.
Dia de los Muertos by Mischa Sok Willow Fort at Jenny's by Aniela Power