Willow Rake

by Dino Labiste



Aaaah! The great outdoors. Breath in the fragrance of fresh air. No smog to make you hack and cough. Just the scent of wild mint, the aromatic smell of Bay laurel leaves, and a hint of vinegar weed. A babbling creek to lull you to sleep and the sounds of squawking acorn woodpeckers busily stuffing their acorn granary. What better way to recharge your energy and get away from urban life. A chance to drink in the rhythms of the earth and practice your primitive technology skills.

A few friends and I took a couple of days off to relax on a camping trip in the woods. Far away from the hustle and bustle of city routine. Our campsite was nestled under towering Valley oak trees that were getting ready to settle in for the winter. Their leaves had changed to its golden colors and had blanketed the earth with hues of yellow, orange, and brown. The ground was littered with huge, chocolate colored acorns everywhere. An abundant crop this year.

We had arrived late in the evening and the first agenda was to prepare our sleeping area before the sun sank over the horizon and the chill of the evening air crept in. Markus Klek decided to construct an oak leaf bedding to cushion and insulate himself from the cold ground. Gathering up Valley oak leaves with just your hands is a time consuming chore. Markus thought of making a willow rake to sweep up a huge pile of leaves and to use the rake as a scoop to carry his load.

After cutting some long, straight willow branches near the creek, Markus stripped off the bark to use for lashing material. He took six willow branches, added a willow cross piece near the end and tied the cross piece to the other branches with the willow bark. Markus then bound the six willow branches into a handle and, in a matter of minutes, he had fashioned a useful and efficient tool.

Raking up the leaves into a pile was very fast and easy. Markus scooped up the pile of Valley oak leaves and deposited the stash onto his bedding area. He placed some logs on the opposite edges of his pile to confine the leaf debris to one spot. After the first night, the leaves compressed into the ground and a new layer of oak leaves were added for the next night.



With creativity and respect, Nature can provide for your needs as long as you don't take more than what you need.

Aaaah! Smell that crisp, morning air. Wake up to the melodic song of chirping birds. There is no place like the wilderness to soothe and comfort the restless spirit.



E-mail your comments to "Dino Labiste" at KahikoArts@yahoo.com

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