Sunday, October 16, 2011

October 16

Three of the girls arrive at the kitchen as we prepare for the day.  To give A some space to get some of his studies in, I talk the girls into a walk to the beach.  It is a grey day with the clouds low as they typically are in this valley.

Northern Flicker
Spider webs are easily spotted as we walk, even from long distances with the strands jeweled in beads of dew.  We find a recently dead and rather large mole in one field while walking to examine some fruit trees and joke that M would bring it back with her if she was here - a joke that only becomes funnier when, upon returning, M asks if we brought it with us.  At the beach, I find some small tracks - four toes, no claws - at the beach (it turns out to most likely be a feral cat) and B spots a line of mouse tracks in the mud.  We return to the kitchen hungry.

Afterwards, the 7 kids with 4 of us adult types hike out to try and find the "prospector's cabin".  It seems that few people take notice of the forest landmarks whenever they come out here.  I have never been there, only heard of it, and those that have been there don't seem to ever remember how to return to it.  It is a bushwack up the steep 2nd growth forest with no small amount of brash bashing.  We have someone with machete love in front, which is not the most efficient way to get through the forest for the machete wielder usually plunges headlong into the worst tangles without taking 2 seconds to look for an easier route.  Eventually, I watch this parade from the side as I weave through natural thin tracks.   Everyone is enjoying the adventure one way or another.

I am expecting a decaying log shelter, but it is not nearly that old.  It is a small frame one room cabin, not yet engulfed in vegetation.  It looks to me as a cabin built by a squatter, perhaps a hunter, perhaps just someone trying to live in the woods.  It probably dates to just before houses were built at the edge of the property...maybe 30 years.  The farm denizens have not taken much from it, if anything.  As we descend, I find a fairly obvious cedar peel (obvious to anyone that has studied the archaeology of cedar peels).  It is not a skilled peel...kind of a mess, but maybe someone's first attempts at such things, and it is big.  It might be that the cabin builders decide to try their hand at cedar basketry.  The scar depth shows an age that I guess at 20 or 30 years.  It is a very obvious landmark for anyone trying to retrace the route...if you spot that cedar you can find the cabin in the dark.

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