Tuesday, October 21, 2008

And The Beat Goes On

I haven't forgotten about the blog-o-sphere...I've just been terribly busy. Which is a good thing. It seems almost every day this month we've had a school group in, which is wonderful. Today's group cancelled due to the weather (there was a possibility of snow in the forecast - which so far hasn't happened), so I find I have a few free moments to drop a note on-line.

While "autumn is the season that I like the very best," I find that it doesn't provide a lot of easy nature stuff to write about. It's not like there are new flowers blooming, or new insects flying around, or birds feeding their young. Oh, there are certainly fascinating things happening, but who wants to read another essay about how leaves turn color, or why the birds are migrating southward?

As I look out my office window today, the world is grey and brown. The sky is grey, the tree trunks are grey. The leaves remaining on the trees are tan: American beech, which will hold onto their leaves through the winter. The wind is blowing, making the leaves shiver. And who can blame them - it's in the lower 40s out there and the temp is dropping, it's been raining, and snow is predicted. If I was left standing out there, I think I'd be shivering, too.

Looking back at this fall, it seems like it came and went in a heartbeat. The leaves, when they finally turned, were colorful en mass for about a week and a half, and then they dropped. The shaggy mane mushrooms erupted from the soil and self-digested within two days. Warblers came and warblers went. Even the migrating geese seemed to have consolidated their trips into about a two week window. And now the mountains are holding their collective breath and waiting for that first snowstorm (not counting the snow that has already fallen on the High Peaks).

This weekend I will be at the New York State Outdoor Education Association's annual conference, which this year is in Lake Placid. I'm hoping for good weather for the commute, and for the paddle on Sunday on the Chubb River. And I'm looking forward to making an ulu in one of the workshops! I expect I will see some familiar faces there - people I've worked with in the past. It should be a good time! And when I get back I should have plenty to share.

In the meantime, my brain-tanned and smoked deer hide has arrived and I will be trying to get up the courage to attempt learning quillwork on leather. It's one of those things that looks easy enough, but when you read about others trying it, it seems to be a lot more difficult that you anticipated.

We are also gearing up for our annual Halloween Program for the local schools. I have to start making bat tortillas, owl cookies, bone-shaped breadsticks...and preparing my portion of the program: bats. It's my favorite one of the cycle: I transform the exhibit "maze" into a bat cave, have the kids all don hardhats, and with my headlamp on, we enter to cave to learn about bats. The exhibit is draped in black cloth and I have many of my bats (I've quite the collection) hanging around. They will learn about the cultural as well as the natural history surrounding these animals. Our other staff will be doing similar bits about owls and skeletons. Afterwards, we have homemade Halloween-ish snacks. It's a lot of fun.

So, in case I don't get back to the blog before November (and Election Day), I hope you all have a Happy Hallowe'en!

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