This afternoon the phone rang. It was my co-worker. She wanted to meet me down by the Silver River to exchange the goods. I slipped on boots and winter jacket, hats and gloves and drove to our meeting place.
We parked our vehicles as close together as possible, reaching out to slip the small silver package from hand to hand. With a laugh and a wave and barely three sentences, we revved the motors and sped off.
Our exchange? A computer zip drive. USB Flash Drive. Whatever you call those slender pin drives which contain valuable software. We do these drive-bys a couple times each month to exchange our work-related material.
Today I decided to wander back by the river and view the melting. How exciting to discover the river mostly free and flowing! I locked the car (you never know who might want to steal the $20 in my purse) and wandered back through the brush and cedar swamp areas.
First discovery. A dead raven. I will not burden you with the entire obituary photo with bedraggled wet and wild feathers askew in all directions. Instead, you may view its claw. (The nitty-gritty nature enthusiasts among you may want to lean closer to examine it; the more squeamish reader may scroll rapidly on to other photos.)
I walked on to the left, attempting to get as close to the river as possible, without falling in. The snowy/icy terrain proved a bit slippery. Surprisingly so, as we’d recently gained a half inch of light snow since morning. Over there, hanging in a tree, a strange-looking piece of fur caught my eye. What the heck…? Any theories why this small piece of deerskin hangs by a wire in the middle of the woods?
This brought back memories of my attempt to brain-tan a deer hide back in the early 90’s. I had just attended the Tom Brown Jr. Wilderness Survival School and learned the basics about tanning a deer hide by hand. You utilize the brains rather than chemicals, although my memory is fuzzy about the process after all these years. I do remember spending hours and hours and hours and hours attempting to scrape and soften that hide.
Oh my goodness! I do believe we have an ancient photo of that very event. (You will also be disappointed to know that I did not succeed in tanning the hide properly. It never really softened into a supple piece of leather. No. Instead it turned into a hard four-foot potato chip. I eventually painted designs upon it and gave it back to the Earth as a gift.) You will also be interested to know that our basement did not smell like perfume for that week. The children even mostly stayed in far corners of our small house, attempting to stay clear of the smell.
Back to today. I shall leave you with a non-animal photo to appease anyone more interested in the mineral world. How about some stones peeking through the snow? Beach stones gathered last summer up in the Keweenaw, planted beneath flowers close to the house. (We’re bound to have one blog devoted entirely to beach stones next summer. Like shells, they’re tremendously appealing, aren’t they?)