Thursday, February 10, 2011

fast tracks

I live on about 60 acres of fields, trees and prairie. I'm incredibly blessed to look outside every day at this slice of paradise. I try to tromp around often--on skis in the winter, on foot in the summer, occasionally ripping around the trails on our 4-wheeler.

The more I'm out there, the more I see. Initially I recognized common tree and plant species, birds and bugs. After those became familiar, I began to see the birds' nests, smaller insects, the rarer plants like wild violets that only bloom in spring. I've hunkered down with books about birds, bugs, animals, trees and plants--learning their names and fun facts about them. Visitors get dragged along our trails while I point out the highlights--"See that honeysuckle growing over there? We didn't plant it, one year it just popped up! That's the benefit of not mowing your fields. Over time the landscape totally changes, the shrubs come in, the invasive weeds disappear, more shrubs--did you see those dragonflies?" I'm obnoxious, a nature zealot.

Because Mr. T was in Webelo Scouts, we went to a "Whose Scat Is That?" program to learn all about animal and bird poop as part of a merit badge for him. We learned how to identify it and glean information from it. Now when I troll through the woods I can spot the obvious (deer, rabbit) and the more mysterious (skunk, fox) traces of wildlife.

Imagine a Boy Scout parent meeting where the Scoutmaster looks for somebody to help the boys earn a merit badge in Tracking. The qualified adult must a) know a bit about animals and their tracks and b) know where to take the boys to find these tracks.

Imagine a mom with a big mouth, a lot of property and the know-how to find tracks in a snowy woods.

You know by now where this is going.

And why my shopping list next week includes several packages of Plaster of Paris.

Spill it, reader. What strange thing is on your shopping list lately?


  1. I still have my plaster cast of a deer print from Girl Scouts.

    I haven't had anything strange on the list lately, but I do remember getting borax and school glue for some strange project. I think it made slime or bouncy balls.

  2. We've used plaster for death masks ;) even weirder - maybe...

  3. Hmm, strange things on my shopping list? Nothing lately...

  4. I just got a vitamix blender. So even though it's not weird for most shopping lists I have an insane amount of fruits and veggies on my list.

  5. Nothing too strange. But I had my husband buy some swedish fish to make Rice Crispy sushi rolls this weekend! :)

  6. Nothing too strange. But I had my husband buy some swedish fish to make Rice Crispy sushi rolls this weekend! :)

  7. i have nothing strange on my shopping list for this weekend. {sigh} i have cleaning supplies on my list, which SUCKS as that means i'll be cleaning. yuck.

  8. 1. Pirate gear for my almost 4 y.o. nephew ... AND his stuffed koala. (We'll buy the boy's gear and make matching stuff for the animal.)

    2. New insoles for my running shoes.

    3. Sundries for our big trip (including a new voltage adapter, a cell phone that works internationally, more refillable bottles for toiletries, and plenty of underwear for the whole family.)

  9. You and I have so much in common. I totally dig that stuff.

    For the first time in my life, long underwear was on my shopping list this week.

  10. Nope, nothing. Just apple juice, milk, toilet paper, and AAA batteries.

    I would really love to be able to recognize animal tracks. Ryan will point out a few to me, but his knowledge is limited too.

  11. Eleggua needs a new cigar...
    * ; D

  12. It's the perfect season to go tracking! A little fresh snow, a few acres of land, and have fun!

  13. I'll write plaster on my list now that you mention it!

  14. I remember a list from when my twins were tiny. The list read:


    It took a full beat for me to realize that life was the breakfast cereal...

  15. I've got a Boy Scout also. Thankfully hubby knew not to sign us up for winter camping. They were out there building snow caves to keep from the below zero temps a couple of weekends ago. NOT here I tell you ... give me the Hampton Inn!

  16. awesome! you're gonna plaster of paris poop!


    And say what you will about wisconsin, we got some made nature fun!



  17. Millet flour and potato starch. Ah, the gluten-free life. :)

    I wish I were scatting with you! ;)


Spill it, reader.