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Part two of three how to video on make a coiled basket out of grass.  I begin the sides, and even out the shape.  In the third part I will show several ways to make a handle depending on materials, tools and time available.

Basketry is an art form with many variations. One form found in many parts of the world for hundreds and maybe thousands of years is coiled basketry. In this country (the U.S.) the most recognized form would be the pine needle baskets made by Native American groups in the Southeast and possibly elsewhere. Many materials have been used in the past and today.

In this video I demonstrate how to make a simple and expedient coiled basket out of dead grass and string. This will be a three part video so I can show all aspects of the process.  Many other suitable materials could be used in the same way.  This is one of the few basket weaving techniques that could be applied as a survival skill because it is immediate with no need for soaking or lengthy processing of materials (willow shoot weaving would be another).

If you enjoy this video please subscribe to my Youtube channel to be sure to see the next two installments in the coiled basket series.

My family really enjoys make maple syrup right from the trees in the back yard.  We only make a little each year and so do not have any specialized equipment.  This year I employed an expedited version of a rocket stove made from cement blocks to boil the sap.  It was quite efficient.  We did not use much wood and produced something close to a quart of finished syrup.

Nothing I have ever purchased has tasted as good or been as satisfying as what we make in the back yard.

 

Pileated woodpecker sign

Pileated Woodpeckers leave some very obvious sign.

While at work the other day we came across this quite recent excavation by a Pileated Woodpecker. What was not so obvious was the scat we found mixed with the wood chips at the base of the tree.

Piliated Woodpecker sign

I have never seen this much scat from this species in one place like this.  It must have had a good meal.

Pileated Woodpecker scat

A close up of the scats (above) and an example of their contents (below).

Contents of pileated woodpecker scat

Take a look at all those bug parts, most likely wood ants taken from the hollowed out interior of the tree. The large size and elongated shape of the hole it what signals Pileated rather than a smaller cousin.

Whiskeyjack
 
While in Ontario’s Algonquin Park my wife Deneen and I encountered a well known and charming creature of the North, the Grey Jay (Perisoreus canadensis). This corvid is related to the more Southern Blue Jay as well as the rest of the corvid family which includes crows, ravens, and magpies. Like those other corvids they are smart,  consummate opportunists, and well known to the people around them.
 
camp robbers
Grey Jays have other common names that are often used; Camp Robber and Whiskeyjack, a anglicized pronunciation of a Cree name ( likely Wisakedjak).
 
Grey Jay eating from the hand
They have some unique behaviors, one of which is breeding and nesting in the Winter. To be able to do this they hide or “cache” food when it is available. They hide it in many different spots, later finding it, possibly by memory, the way we expect Grey Squirrels to do.
 
The name Camp Robber comes from their habit of taking food from people, often right from their hands whether offered or not. 
 
 
 

The snow is slowly leaving us here in New England.  Before it turned to slush and ice I got out to do some tracking in beautiful conditions.  In this video I go into detail on how to distinguish Red Fox from other species without using measurements.  I also include a good explanation of a few ways to tell canine from feline and, we see a bit of hunting behavior by our friend the fox.

Thanks for watching. Please like and subscribe.  If you want to learn more about tracking first hand go to my school’s website www.threeredtrees.com

River Otter are a cool animals. Following their trails always leads to adventure and insight into otters adventurous nature.

In this video I follow an otter trail on the Bantam River in Litchfield CT as it slides its way along the ice to a snow buried beaver lodge. Hope you enjoy it.

 

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