Fun activity I want to save for later:
This summer when I got to spend some time in Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula, I tried to find out more about the creek running close to our rental.
During the research I learnt about a group restoring Ennis creek and then came across this song son Wes wrote for his Mom to acknowledge restoration efforts.
I think it's beautiful, the story as well as the song: Lifeline
Walked Camp Long and saw 2 Garter snakes under Critter Board.
Visited my sit spot and had an almost magical moment when after 20 min of Seahawks cheering neighbors and the bummer, I heard about 5 different birds alarming all of a sudden.
About 2 minutes in the big black neighbor cat hunted by. He didn't notice me at first. Then he looked a bit irritated at me and took off through the curved cedar.
All the birds still alarmed for about 2 more minutes steadily before the quieted down and only a sparrow kept alarming.
After doing a Bird sit last week it was super cool to experience this.
Wander at Schmitz
Slugs, mud, log
Looked at crusty lichen on big trees
Got to Linne Doran late
Emailed til 2
Heard alarm at 6
Not a happy camper
Learned about Linne Doran History
Went on a bird wander
Saw a grey jay maybe
Learnt more about bird language
Presented spotted towhee pipilo
Cool stories about poly robins
Walked to Mosswood w Genevieve
Chatted with Rowan + Maggie
Went to Tolt with Allegra
Camas is Self-Heal
Bird long white brown
How did the Oakmoss (Evernia prunastri) get under the hazel?
And do lichen grow on specific trees?
I also discovered the mysterious plant shining in the light was a wall lettuce, which I always confuse with nipplewort and also sow thistle.
I reviewed some plant descriptions.
Sat a little after a nice wander exploring Me Kwa Mooks. It was pretty quiet. Just some sanding sounds from neighbors. Sanding wood? And some music. And some screechy sound from the cherry log. Juvenile crow? And some clicking. Most likely from the little hummer.
I talked with Hazel, my old friend. Left my scent next to the log. Put some branches on the new trail and downhill. Whoever has the guts to master the course can explore.
I smelled Hazel, the maple, the soil, the ivy. Most familiar and surprisingly not strong. Ivy leaves don't smell in September.
Right after, it rained and rained and I stayed happily inside.
A wet day in the PNW. We needed it to have some relief from the smoke, but still. I was not super excited to get out when it got darker - it was already dark all day - and also colder, but I did it. I needed to figure out how many paces in each direction I need to draw my Master map.
I walked in, enjoyed that the trash pile was gone, walked up, sat down, noticed the rain hitting the leaves and with my Owl eyes I tried to react to every movement, but all the movements where just leaves bounces up and down after being hit by a raindrop.
When I took off the mask for a second, I could smell the smoke in the air, like a camp fire.
I then focused right in front of me where the Roly-Poly was hanging out yesterday, but couldn't see anything move. I looked to my left and there she was. Graciously blending in with the pretty stump. I was memorized for a bit by this beautiful sight. She looks like marble. Not all slugs are usually that pretty and elegantly glued to a stump.
I saw some fresh cut hazel twigs on the ground and tried to figure out what happened - and found a little trail going along the power line connecting to the power pole to one of my neighbors back yard fences. Now I wonder if they want to be connected to the Park, or just needed excess to the power pole where all the Internet cables are connected, but I couldn't see anything different about the hazel there. Very mysterious.
Walking back to my spot - counted steps - I noticed this plant beaming in age. So fragile. Delicate. Laced. Another master piece. And the light just hit it to make it shine. One more time.
Watched Nat Geo's 'Big Sur' and looked up Sea Otters.
Tried to find out about their order.
1.1 Feloidea - Felidae
1.2.1 Mustelidae family (weasel)
184.108.40.206 Lutrinae (Otter)
220.127.116.11 Melinae (Badger)
18.104.22.168 Mephitinae (Skunks)
22.214.171.124 Guloninae (Wolverine)
126.96.36.199.1 Mustela (Weasel and Stoats)
188.8.131.52.2 Mellivora (Ratels) Afria/Asia
184.108.40.206.3 Ictonychini (Zorillas and kin)
Also did a quiz on Mustelids:
and one on scat:
This morning when I stepped outside for a second, I heard a very loud crunch on the right Douglas fir out front. I waited a bit and then the little fluffy tail came in site. I waited a bit more and my neighbor squirrel positioned itself on a little branch carrying a big nut or acorn in his mouth. The sound when he climbed head down the trunk to get to the branch was amplified, almost screaming at me. I do think he knows me. He rarely screams at me even if I pass under the tree. He nibbed a bit on his food before dashing off over his highway - from one Doug to the next over the cherry into the Cedar.
One of my goals is to earn his trust and be able to get closer. Also to find out if he is in fact a 'he'.
When I stepped out in the afternoon to go to my sit spot there were two of them in the tree. One climbing down a very brittle, dried up looking branch, I would avoid if I was a squirrel.
My Stellar's Jay feather might be a wing feather.
I visited my sit spot. I would think I come here since May. It definitely feels longer, but I think I switched around from my front porch to the opening to different spots in my little forest. After Kai, my mentee left, I started taking Tim to do sit spot - and started climbing up the little hill - and then left. It's close to the Junction in 4-5 directions.
Today I stepped into the forest with the intention of taking out some of the trash left behind as it distracts me from focusing. It was a lot and I could not understand where all the new trash came from. Did the wind expose it as there is a whole layer still there from a former camp. I was very happy to clean up the bits and pieces. One was a plastic Easter egg (apparently left behind from our last egg hunt - and then rolled in the open - who does that?) where someone clearly enjoyed the chocolate inside. The wrapper was torn in lots of little pieces. Squirrel?
I went and took note of the scat on the little hillside next to the beautifully rotting log, which could be cat or raccoon or anything that size. Will need to investigate. Looked up all the scat in this size and didn't find anything that fit it. It was too small for house cat or raccoon and the form too long for anything else in that shape. Close by are lots of empty hazel nuts and feeding debris. Probably from the Squirrels or rats? Will need to investigate.
On my way back I found 3 feathers about 3 feet apart. Two bright blue and one fluffy. I was looking around for more, expecting a kill site, but couldn't find any more.
Later, I looked up 'Fairmount Park' and my sit spot on Google Earth and the parcel finder and another page and did the same for my sit spot at Linne Doran.
We were given a story about 2 boys experiencing nature very differently.
How do you relate to the characters?
I relate to Sean experiencing endless curiosity about about basically everything and how all is related. I do feel like I had a 'Grandmother' (my Dad), in my life that modeled deep nature connection to me early on. We spent a lot of time outside, always barefoot, had a little garden, lived along our Sparrows, harvested berries and smelled hedges as we passed them on our walks. We walked a lot. We walked in a sit spot loop - always passing the same spots - keeping track of the natural world as it unfolded over the seasons, as well as the people.
I can also relate to Martin feeling I don't know as much about all my neighbors in my new home (for 15 years - compared to my home growing up for 18 years). I did lose a bit of that connection during college and career and slowly pulled on the threads of connection when I raised my kids. I tried to raise them a bit like I was raised, just with a lot more restrictions, as city life and crime rates seemed to be a little more threatening to let them free roam when they were little. Over those years we all got lazier and less comfortable with harsh weather, longer excursions, but still went on walks. Just more like Martin. Getting from point A to B without stopping, taking it in, smelling, observing, wondering.
I slowly get more comfortable with the uncomfortable now, having backpacked over 125 miles this summer and being out and about for the last winters, on tracking trips, camping, driving on ice and snow. And also going on evening walks passing the same yards, noticing changes in the seasons, 'for sale' signs, stickers on cars, birds in the highest trees on the route.
We will spend a lot of dirt time this year and sit.
My current relationship with my sit spot is somewhat torn as I see so many things and feel really connected but the space feels somewhat transient. Change is in the air. It's a City Park and neighbors on all edges interact with the space in different ways.
I did have the most impact on the space, restoring it to native plants, removing the intruders. It feels interesting as an intruder myself. But I might call myself 'introduced' and 'non-invasive', as I try to play along with the others in a respectful, harmless way. Am I really?
Stealing valuable resources: Light. Water. Air. Space. Smothering over the others. Just like the Himalayan Blackberry? I do use resources. Some are limited. Some raised in value because people like me moved here and made space more rare. Outpricing the locals/natives.
I will go now and introduce myself to my little nature patch, I feel to know for a while now, and try to reach out and find my 'Octopus teacher' (Jon Young just suggested his friends Craig Foster's new film). I will try to see everyone and everything with new eyes.
I really like the idea how external tracking and relating to a place also activates internal tracking. I will try to pay more attention to that.
But this time I will wear shoes as my spider limbo made me be a little less cautious and step in Himalayan blackberry which left an inch long gap on the bottom of my foot. Ouch.
With smoke still being really bad in our area Anake happened online over Zoom today.
We talked about Core Routines in the morning which allowed me to hop on Village Talk right after where we talked about 'how having role models or mentors affect our journey with intuitive experience. I shared about my Great grandpa working with a wishing rod (finding water with a stick) thinking that intuition was celebrated once in my lineage. Also how my mentor has such a deep nature connection but a different style that it helps me learn but also stay in my own intuition. And that being connected to others through a coven style group definitely makes me open to spiritual connection.
In the afternoon we had a second Anake Zoom where we met in small groups. My group had my Lofties and a few new people. We talked about our sit spots.
Despite the smoke, I needed to go outside and check in with my forest friends. I took off my socks and climbed down the stairs.
First, I visited Hugo, my little buddy. The fern I gave him as a companion didn't seem to have survived the summer heat but Hugo seemed to be doing better. It definitely helps that he doesn't get as many destructive visitors.
I had to roll back my little log I used in my sit spot. My sit spot rock was still there. I had to clean up a bit. Lots of trash left from the telecom workers.
I went up to the curvy cedar, picked up some trash there and sat a little bit in my sit spot. I heard a lot of city noise and the ferry horn. Air plane. Construction. Cars. But also the hummer and some other birds. I watched a
On my way back I noticed all the spider webs and I started to do a limbo dance/crawl so I wouldn't touch all their cobs. There were about 6 back to back and it was quite the challenge and a lot of fun. I didn't enjoy the blackberry canes as much on the ground. Barefoot. I grew up barefoot. I should check in with my Dad how often he is still walking barefoot.
I visited my little Madrone babies. My toddler seems to be doing great. Everything around him is brown but he is bright green in his little spot over the marker. Seven of the 10 babies seem to be viable. The Cedars on the other hand are all dried up. :-(
There were lots of clumps of moss lying around the south of the house I once learned the crows love to feed their offspring with.
When I came back in my socks where not on the porch anymore. I found them on the couch.
Not entirely sure how I found this, but I love it so much, I need to share this video/link.
Just in case, the video goes away and I need to look up what this was about, it's about phallus rubicundus. The Washington post did a short little article about this type of mushrooms which are often called stinkhorns: “The slime sticks to the feet of insects, which spreads the fungus when they land on damp mulch, but a more effective form of spore dispersal begins when the fly feverishly sponge up the sticky, stinky syrup, consuming as much as 80% of their body weight in stinkhorn slime in a single day. The putrid breakfast doesn’t sit well with the fly’s digestive system. When a bout of diarrhea ensues, intact stinkhorn spores make their exit. Each resulting fly speck can contain more than 22 million stinkhorn spores.”
The flies eating this fungi are going to have terrible diarrhea later!
This morning we had Intros over Zoom with the entire Anake cohort.
Who am I?
Why am I here?
What longing am I moving towards?
I needed a couple attempts to trim my share down to what I wanted to say. It was nice to hear everyone's voice and being able to see their faces. I guess it's the benefit of getting smoked right now.
For me it's a lot about spirituality, finding my voice and reconnecting with my inner child while learning and spreading the love of connection.
I am still pretty happy about my written introduction in the google group. Written is definitely easier for me to express myself.
...just not yet.
Washington had a big cloud of smoke move in from the South and the air quality was very unhealthy. I already felt some discomfort from the smoke on Friday and I was happy I didn't need to be outside all day in the smoke, and a bit sad Anake got postponed.
It gave me time to help my best friend get her new house a bit more ready, which I wanted to do - and to get things more in order at home before I am taking off half of the week for the rest of the year.
We had our Orientation Day yesterday. Strix Occidentalis. 2 Clans.
The smoke moved in quickly and it was nice to have the face masks.
I particularly enjoyed the walk and learning that my sit spot for years is between the 'Cable Tree' and the Ancestor Hill.
I also got to visit my sit spot and decided to put some intentions in my Anake year and remembered how Kyle introduced me to the site and demonstrated his skills on the log in the Enchanted Forest. So, I took this and thought what would Kyle do and started rolling down from my sitting position and lay above the big old stump where the 3 little birds visited me a while ago, where I got inspired to learn about the Hemlock, Cedar and Huckleberry, I didn't know yet. I loved to lay there in the still and look up in the tree tops. Another perspective. A bit of playfulness and cheer build-in.
My name is Christine (she/her) or Biene. I'm very excited to join
Anake this year as my longing for more connections with the natural
world and other people has steadily increased during the pandemic.
Growing up I roamed the woods in the Bavarian alps, climbing my
favorite spruces, observing the little creek, falling in and breaking
my collarbone (ask me about the fish), playing house under the hazel,
snacking on dock and purple dead-nettle with my best friend, chasing
dandelion seeds, picking grapes, apples and berries, in awe with
Nature. In 4th grade I finished my school's scavenger hunt first. It
was held in my woods, a home game for me.
After college I worked in Marketing and Internet StartUps, produced an
Astrology show and sold wine and delicacy online. I moved to West
Seattle in 2004, where I raised my Climate Action Family, built the
West Seattle Bee Garden, started the West Seattle Coworking space, and
work as a bookkeeper for the Community School of West Seattle,
currently closed during Covid, which allows me to join the Anake
In 2016 I got my mind blown attending Art of Mentoring at WAS, rolling
in mud, chasing the Golden Elixir (GE) with a bunch of fun Canadians
that I made say 'about' a lot. It was the highlight of my summer,
being playful, rekindling with my childhood passions and the following
year I wanted to do Anake, but there was just too much going on in my
life, so I joined the Tracking Intensive and the Wild Plant Intensive
the following year, became a Native Plant Steward and Master Forest
Steward. I volunteer for the Green Seattle Partnership, the Bee
Garden, South Sound Nature School and Seattle Tracking Club. I love
learning, becoming more humble with each day and hanging out with
other Nature nerds.
I am fascinated by all things Nature and a few of my favorites are
chickadees, mason bees, huckleberries, nettles, deer mice, madrones,
hoverflies, crows, maidenhair fern, lupines, ghost pipes, spittlebugs,
racoons (we Germans call them 'wash bears'), sphagnum moss, oaks,
horsetail, yarrow and thimbleberries. My all time favorite pastime is
going on wanders and foraging with friends.
Curious Bee. Forest Steward. Nature Nerd. Climate Activist Mom.