As we all find ourselves adjusting to what’s happening, and perhaps looking to find ways to fill some free time, there are a couple of things I find comforting: First, it’s as safe as ever to be outside! Spending time outside, whether that’s in your local public parks, forest land, or yard, is about as safe as possible. It’s easy to stay out of close contact with other people when you’re outside, and it is, as always, good stress relief. Second, it’s getting nicer out by the day! As the seasons change and we move closer to the summer solstice, it will only get warmer, sunnier, and drier. That all being said, this is a great time, as we say at Flying Cloud, to bring camp home with you and embody the spirit of FC in your own life. To that effect, I’ve written up a couple of simple home activities you can do from the comfort of your own yard, park, or stoop. Enjoy!
You will need:
- A carving knife
- a sharpie or pen
- a hook knife or gouge for the bowl (google those- a decent but cheap gouge runs about ~$20 on amazon)
- sandpaper: ~80 grit and ~120 grit
How to do it:
- Start with a piece of wood to use for the spoon’s “blank.” Wood from a straight, dry tree branch, split in two, is great. Planed lumber also works if that’s what you’ve got. It should be about the size of the spoon you want to make.
- Draw the shape of your spoon onto the blank.
- Working carefully (and with good knife safety!), carve away the excess from your blank until you end up with the shape of a spoon. Avoid carving too much in spots that can create a weak point, and don’t be discouraged if it takes longer than you expect. I often find this step takes me several tries.
- Once the shape is about right (check it against a spoon from your drawer! Put it in your mouth!), use a hook knife or gouge to carve out the “bowl” of the spoon. Be careful not to cut through to the back. Remember- you can always remove more material, but you can never put it back.
- Sand your creation! Start with the low grit and work high. Make sure you give every part of the spoon a thorough workover with each grit before you move on. 80 grit will take the longest, and the spoon should be completely free of knife marks before you move to 120, which is really just for finishing. If you want a really nice finish, you can go up to sandpaper of 400 grit and even higher.
- Oil your spoon. I didn’t put oil on the materials list because you probably won’t need to buy extra. If you happen to have walnut, sesame, flax, tung, or boiled linseed oil (also technically flax but you buy it at the hardware store) kicking around, use one of those. However, I find olive, coconut oil, or beeswax to do just fine. When applying oil, rub on more than you think can be absorbed into the wood, let it sit for an hour or two, and then rub it dry with a cloth or paper towel. Polishing with a cloth at this point does a lot to make it look nice too.
- Have fun, and remember, it’s not about how perfectly your spoon turned out, it’s about how much you get to enjoy using it!
You will need:
- Your eyes
- Your ears
- Nothing else!
How to do it:
- Pick a spot outside where you feel comfortable sitting for a length of time. 10-15 minutes is fine – only go longer if you think you can commit to it.
- Settle in. Pay attention to what you see, but also to the sounds you hear and where they’re coming from.
- Try to notice patterns. What kinds of plants are growing where? If you see animals, where are they? What are they doing? Take a couple of deep breaths and imagine what it’s like to be one of the animals that use the space.
- The longer and more often you sit, the more you’ll see. Most common animals have the capacity to recognize humans, and many are more likely to “act natural” if you’re familiar.
- When you see something really interesting, write it down or remember it for next time!
We would love for you to send these activities ideas to anyone you think will enjoy them. If you have any photos from you working on a spoon or finding the perfect spot, we would love for you to send them our way!
Be well and stay connected,