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  • Earthwise Teachers

Welcoming Fire

This post is for the week of November 9th- apologies for posting late!

The cold, rainy weather finally arrived, and we welcomed the changing season by preparing the hearth in our tipi and making our first fire.

To make a fire, first you must make a coal. We lovingly prepared our kindling together- learning how to find dry sticks in the forest, and making piles of feather sticks, pencil sticks, and larger. We had excellent little fire helpers and soon everything was ready to birth our coal. Teacher Sarah and Teacher Torrey worked together with a bow drill while the children sang a fire song. The bow drill is one of the oldest methods of fire by friction, using just the friction between sticks to create heat and eventually make a tiny little coal. It is a basic survival skill but also takes quite a bit of practice, so our goal with making our fire this way is to introduce the children to the concept of making fire with our hands, and teach them that this is a very old way to be with fire. When they are older, years after they leave the shelter of our tipi, we hope that they will carry this experience with them and feel inspired to learn these valuable skills for themselves.

Once we make a coal, we must make a house for the baby fire to live in. This is a simple kindling structure with space to place our tinder bundle inside. Fire needs air and food to live and breathe, just like us. We feed our fire and blow gently on the coals. Welcome fire!

We were so intent on our fire tending and safety lessons that we didn't get many photos this week, but here are a few of the chestnuts we roasted on the hot coals and enjoyed together as a special treat on Thursday after we got comfortable with our fire. Yum!

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