Rick's Journal

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Fall Semester at Hawk Circle: September 5th-October 30, 2010

Have you ever shot a real bow and arrow? Gathered your dinner from a mountain meadow or grove of trees? Do you know how to skin and prepare good meat from a hunt? Can you make a warm shelter to spend a cold night in the woods?

These are some of the skills offered in the Fall Semester at Hawk Circle.

It's not just skills, though. It is about wandering, connecting, and exploring yourself as you connect to the natural world.

Time changes at Hawk Circle. You can read for hours in the sun or grass, then be inspired to make indian curries for
dinner with your fellow students. You can make your own buckskin, or an ash splint packbasket that you will have for generations. You can sleep under a star filled sky so clear that it takes your breath away.

Insight, healing, rejuvenation and finding one's path are what this program is all about. It will change you in a good way. You will find strength, knowledge, direction and friendship.

Autumn is my favorite season, and the colors of the leaves, the frost, the fresh berries and foods are all amazing. I love giving someone their first taste of cattails, or wild game cooked over the fire. I like sitting out in the pre dawn on someone's first bow hunt, waiting to see what comes along, while we are invisible.

You can build a shelter with sticks, leaves and bark. You
can draw sketches of plants, or carve a bow and arrow. You can learn to timberframe cabins and homes using sustainable methods our ancestors used for hundreds of years, too. You can spend time in the garden, harvesting the remains of the summer crops and planting new seeds for the spring.

Later, as the season winds down, we sit around the woodstove, working on our projects, playing guitar or drums, and share our stories along with sweet birch or pine needle tea. "Will it snow tonight?" someone will ask. "If it gets cold enough!" I will answer, and we go to sleep wondering what the morning will bring.

Eventually, we find our spots on the mountain where we will go to seek our vision, our inner path and truth and purpose. Here we sit for day, or several, some without food, asking for guidance and direction. We support each other in our
seeking and inner journey, under the guidance of our mentors and staff. "It's hard" I say, "but it's worth it."

There is a light that begins to shine in a person's eyes when
they uncover their truth and discover their own path. It is a shine that comes from within and it let's part of their spirit out into the world, seeing things in new ways, with hope and trust and brightness.

If you need a little inner light, or the taste of autumn olive jam on fresh baked bread, come spend a season here at Hawk Circle. We'd love to have you around our campfire.

Willow Spring Trail Camera Pictures

I put my trail camera on a small elm tree overlooking a little wet spring to see what might come by. It's about 200 yards from my house, and the game trail is in an area that gets little human traffic. The whole area used to be pasture, along with some old heirloom apple trees that could have been an orchard a hundred years ago.

The red osier dogwood, black willows, sedge grasses, arrow wood viburnum and nannyberry provide excellent cover for all kinds of animals, as well as food, and there is plenty of water, too.

The trails of deer, foxes and other animals crisscross the region, and there seems to be food available during every season.

I didn't bait the area, so these pictures are all from animals moving around, in their natural environment, doing their thing.

The porcupine chews on plywood scraps inside our timber framing barn workshop, when he can get in.
We hear him gnawing in the woodshed or barn, and it is always fun to see how our students react to finding him with a flashlight at night!

One thing that is funny is that we don't really see the raccoons or hear them at our camp, even though they are clearly here and around us all of the time. Very few tracks, no problems, etc.

I hope to keep it that way! I am sure they get a chicken or two during the year, but you never can be sure it isn't the bobcat or a fox, either.

The bobcat is probably a large female who had two kittens last year. I saw the pair of them while bowhunting last year, chasing a rabbit. I first saw the rabbit, a small cottontail, stalking his way through the honeysuckle and hawthorne, and I couldn't figure out why he was stalking until he was out of sight. Then a few minutes later, I saw the young bobcat sniffing and following his trail. He never missed a step, and he would stop and sniff the air above his head to catch any other scents. He was followed shortly after by his twin, who seemed to be mostly checking up on the situation. Neither of them saw, heard or smelled me, perched in my tree stand about ten feet up. It was one of my favorite moments hunting last year.

Enjoy the pics. I have moved my camera to another area, and will keep moving it around and seeing what I get. I am hoping to get some pics of the coyotes, which have remained elusive so far, and also the fisher, the beavers, maybe a mink or two, and even the rare but present bear in the area.... I will post them as I check the camera every month or so.