I was looking to start the school year off with a bang. And well, if nothing else, this project sure had a lot of banging! You literally pound the log all over with a mallet. Then you are able to peel off strips as the growth rings break apart. Pretty amazing stuff. Also, thoroughly exhausting for the record. My seriously hearty, extremely active kids were tired and I mean truly tired, after taking long shifts pounding splints.
The kids were taking part in a wilderness program this year (which they kind of, sort of, already aren’t all doing anymore- it’s a long story and probably beside the point). Most of their backpacks did not survive last year’s adventures. I got it into my head that it would be an incredible experience for them to use materials sourced from the wild to build their supplies for venturing out into the wild. Me and my big ideas. Steve felled the tree for us. Black ash is supposed to be the very best wood for this type of project, as this wasn’t an option for us, we settled on white ash. I think our technique could use some serious work. I feel like there is some magical element we’re not privy too that would just take it too a whole new level. We learned a bit from one basket to the next, but if we continue at this rate, we will have to make approximately one thousand and four baskets before we get anything that looks right. It is functional at least. It was so much work! I think Elijah is the only one who’s still keen on trying to make baskets for everyone. Maybe in time. Spring, when the sap is rising is a good time for harvesting. Perhaps we’ll try again then. Which gives me two seasons to try to figure out what we’re doing wrong! Or if not exactly wrong, at least not quite right!