I apologize for the sporadic nature of my posts... I think I am going to go for a Monday-Wednesday-Friday kind of deal, because frankly, I don't have enough going on for five posts a week!
Last weekend, the Eagle River Nature Center was hosting a workshop on making your own baskets from birch bark. I found out about the event a bit late, so it was already full when I called to get a slot. In my somewhat snarky nature, I immediately find myself thinking "well fine you stupid nature center, I'll figure out how to do it myself."
So off I went to do some internet research and figure out how to go about doing such a thing.
Obviously, the first step was to find myself some birch bark. Now, as Karl and I are both stewards of the forest (and not about to break the law either), we had to find some already dead birch trees. Cutting the bark off of a live tree will lead to it's premature death, as well as making it an eyesore for other travelers through the woods. We headed over the park at the end of our street, and set off on the trails looking for some fallen down birch trees. It would appear that birch is a rather hardy tree, because almost every dead tree was something other than birch. We found a few small ones, but the narrow trunk made for very thin bark that was nearly impossible to peel off. Eventually, we found two pretty large trees and I was able to peel bark until my little heart was content. Once I got started, it actually wasn't too difficult - all I used was a utility knife to score the bark, and a putty knife to loosen any stubborn areas.
Here's a sampling of what I brought home. The pieces ended up in varying sizes, because it seemed that the bark would split where it decided, regardless of where you had planned. Check back on Wednesday to see my creations!