This mouse lives in a magical place,
Where the morning sun slowly sweeps away ice from frozen maple leaves,
Where Housefinches skip from branch to branch,
Hummingbirds call each other for companionship,
Trumpeter swans cheer each other on with honks.
Where the Great Blue Heron flies low,
the Bald Eagle watches over the Snohomish River,
And the Flicker spreads their colorful wings.
Where mallards swim together in circles,
And a Cinnamon teal might be seen.
Where endless bird poop can be found.
Where Caddisfly larvae uses silk to make a protective case out of gravel,
sand and tiny pieces of plants, so strong they are hard to pull apart.
Where Cedars make great hides
But less mindful visitors leave their tools and lunches
Decorating logs with sprayed art.
Where Beavers snack on young Cottonwood branches
Leaving behind their tracks to observe
Where Coyotes go swimming in the icy cold river
Taking a long time to build a fire afterwards
Where Bob saved the place from development
His death marking the end of the Golden Age of Steelheading.
This mouse lives in a magical place.
What are a few things that are especially helpful for you to feel more connected?
Came across a tree with unusual leaves and this spike cone at Lincoln Park. Looked in my Trees of Seattle book and over all the Lincoln Park tree walk maps and couldn't find it.
Googled for 'rare leaves' and after scrolling through images for a while, finally found it:
Liriodendron tulipifera (tuliptree)
My Sit Spot is next to my house in Seattle. I moved here in 2015 and the woods/green belt next to my house seemed very scary and dangerous. It took me almost 2 years to master the courage to slowly explore the area. There was a patch of ferns, a row of Holly trees of different ages and a few Maples. It was very overgrown by Himalayan blackberries and trashed with the remains of a homeless encampment. In 2017 I heard about the Green Seattle Partnership and reached out about the Park next to my house and how I could volunteer taking care of the woods. I got some Forest Steward training and over the last years I took out a big area of blackberries and planted over 600 native plants with the help of roughly 200 volunteers. I feel very connected to this land and not scared anymore as I check in with a lot of the new plants and spend a good amount of dirt time there.
When Covid started in March, I started going to a regular sit spot under the big maples in the Northeast corner of the park adjacent to my backyard and took my 14 year old son along. He was introduced to sit spot at WAS overnight camps and kind of likes it, but wouldn’t go without me asking. We usually sat for 15 minutes and asked each other some questions afterwards.
When I had to find a spot, I immediately went to my established sit spot facing the big Beaked Hazel and thinking about how I sometimes have to leave my sit spot in a rush when kids from the playground on the West of the park come explore the woods and I don’t want to scare them and hide quickly. I want to avoid that they go back to their parents and tell them a weird lady is sitting there and the parents wouldn’t let them go in the wood by themselves anymore out of fear that person, me, could be dangerous. Some of the kids know me from Nature Club and introduced me to their friends and parents when I work along the edge of the green belt, but I understand how I might seem scary if they haven't met me yet.
So, after a week of sit spot I decided to move my spot about 25 feet to the North into my backyard. It’s still under the big Maples but a bit more open, but also private, so I can see the big Douglas firs in the East and the tree tops of the Maples and the single leaning Madrona along the Park edge and won’t have to hide any longer. I instantly got rewarded by a Flicker pair hanging out in the tree top and was able to watch them for a while. I haven’t seen these for the last 7 months going to my old sit spot tucked away under the tree, but might have been right below these Flickers without ever noticing.
When I printed the maps I noticed how much tree cover the entire North edge of the Park still has with these huge towering Big Leaf Maples of different ages next to each other. I think the two closest to me on the top of the slope are the oldest, probably around 80 years old. Then 2 going down the slope, one entangled with the Madrona, past my previous sit spot seem to be about 70 years and then 3 more closer to the opening that seem 5-10 years younger. But they could all be the same age just growing differently in different conditions.
On the other site to the North of my sit spot is a giant Laurel that is very dense. I hear some noises in there, but can rarely spot anything. It’s just so wild.
On the slope east of me is Ivy covering the ground. I started planting dewberry there 2 years ago and harvested a bunch of yummy berries this summer. I have to be careful to walk through as the dewberries try to catch my feet and make me stumble. I had all the ivy removed but it grew back strong. Every time I sit, I think about how I should take out the Ivy again. It’s just such a nice ground cover for the birds and little critters. My hope is that I can take out the Ivy and the dewberry will be thick enough to take over the job of providing cover.
I try to go to my sit spot whenever I come home from running errands or a walk. Instead of walking up the stairs I’ll walk up to my spot first, sit a bit. When we moved in there was a giant tree - probably a walnut, maybe also home of a tree house - covering half of our backyard. After a couple of months, we finally saw it apart into big stumps to sit on. I call it the Elder Circle. We sometimes have a fire pit in the middle of it in summer, singing songs and roasting Marshmallows.
I can also see my empty bee boxes to the North and a young pine tree that is fighting for some light under a big long Maple branch. It feels a bit like a sick child. I thought about transplanting it but it’s about 14 feet high by now and I fear it might not survive a move.
On my way back I pass my little tracking sandpit I set up a while ago, while doing Tracking Intensive. It is covering one of the steps leading down the slope to the back patio. I am always amazed how many critters come through. I thought they might avoid stepping in the sand, but it’s lovely what nice prints they leave for me to inspect. I’ll scare the bunnies, when I approach the back entrance too quickly where they roam in our sunroom. Scaredy buns.
I try to practice fox walk coming in and leaving the spot, do deer ears when I want to tune in to sounds, and remember owl eyes to pick up on movements. Often I get tricked by leaves sailing down when I was excited about a bird or the squirrels showing up. I have to turn around to take in all sites and that seems a bit challenging. I don’t want to miss out on any action and try to use body radar for where my attention should be. Sometimes that changes quickly. I am curious how the activity will change with the time of day and can’t believe I have not seen or heard any critters (rats) hiding in the ivy yet. I was also confused I haven’t seen any squirrel activity there, but then saw one right when I foxwalked back to the house and it didn’t notice me, hauling an acorn past our backyard barbeque.
I am excited about all the things I might discover the next couple of months.
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
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.
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.
Today I found a message in my inbox. The Tracking Intensive got cancelled. Oh no!
This was my best bet to make sure I would get out in nature with some other people at least once a month and nerd out on tracks. It was my plan to stay sane and happy during Covid.
One of the parks I frequent had a station set up with a sign.
One link led to another and I came across this website about Coyote Research
Curious Bee. Forest Steward. Nature Nerd. Climate Activist Mom.