Monday, August 17, 2015
Birch Bark Container Making
Our world today is moving fast, much too fast for our family. We have been working hard for many years to live slowly and simply on this earth, and to deepen our connection and appreciation for the natural world. It is part of our mission as a family, and I like to think we are succeeding, at least from our perspective.
Part of living slowly and simply for us has been returning to many skills of the past that unfortunately have been lost in our modern world. Gathering food and herbs in the woods to eat and to make medicine, baking bread, growing our own food, putting food by for the winter ahead, raising chickens, making our own self care products from soap, to healing salves, to body butter, cooking from scratch, using friction to start a fire, making what we need instead of buying, and so on. We have returned to these practices for no other reason except that they make us happy, truly happy.
It is a way of being that fosters health and well being, for our family, it gives meaning to our day to day life, it gives us hope for the future, a future that my little man will walk towards with these skills as his foundation, and it makes us grateful for our connection to the past and these skills that were necessary for survival, and grateful for the present and the choice we have to live our life this way, to be engaged in a life full of meaning.
Our survival is not dependent on these skills, we do have the market and the grocery store if our gardens don't produce as we would like, if we don't put enough food by for the winter we still have access to fresh, healthy food just a short drive away, and if we don't get a coal to start a fire, there is a match nearby. We don't need these skills, but we still think they are important. Important because they connect us to another time, and to our ancestors. These skills, in essence, connect us to our roots. So we take time and make an effort to remember the old ways, to learn primitive skills, again not for survival, but to add a little something interesting to our lives, and to deepen our appreciation for the past.
On Saturday we took a drive to Little City Farm, our second visit to this lovely urban homestead and eco bed and breakfast. Our first visit was for the bee workshop back in June. This time we went for a birch bark container making workshop. We brought along the little one that homeschools with us, and enjoyed a lovely afternoon with like minded folk.
We learned how to properly harvest birch bark, how to prepare it to work with, we chatted about all the useful things that can be made with birch bark, we made birch bark rope, we made pegs out of branches to hold our containers together, and we made our own birch bark containers. The kids made two each, and I managed to quickly whip up a little one for myself before the workshop ended. It was a lovely afternoon of both fun and learning, in a beautiful garden.
We now have a new skill to add to our skill set, and while I don't need to make a birch bark container to cook my dinner over an open fire this evening, I am quite happy to have this skill, and even happier that we shared the afternoon learning this skill together, as a family.