Holed Up North

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There is nothing like walking through the woods (actually it’s a Boreal Forest) in the Fall.

The smell of the dried leaves and damp forest floor. The squirrels gathering food and the birds singing the joy of the warmth before the north wind starts blowing and everything gets covered with white.

The forest is so dense with green in the summer it is hard to “see” everything. But in the Fall, all the leaves are gone and it is all laid out to discover. The variety of lichens, mushrooms, fungi, ground ferns and mosses is mesmerizing. I carry several plastic bags and pick a little of everything.

I then make another trip through looking for downed rotted out birch bark trees. White Birch Bark Trees are so tough on the outside. They rot from the inside out. So that’s what I look for and when I see one I just pick it up and dump out the insides and just the birch bark is left. I dry it and it works perfect for the birch bark houses. I use the lichens, mushrooms, etc. for decoration on them.

Sometimes I use twigs and small branches to decorate the houses with as well. Every couple years I go along the road and cut the alder for different size branches.

The brush and small trees here offer such a wide variety of colors that I get a little of everything. And if I need to have “green” branches (meaning it is not dried and dead) to make something that I need flexible branches for (like little chairs) I just go outside the shop and cut a fresh one.

I even gather small stones from the road (advantage of living on a dirt road), wash them and after they’ve dried spray them with varnish to give them a sheen for making my “stone” chimneys.

I’m always looking for new ways to use the nature around me. To share it’s beauty.

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