Early Childhood Programs Blog

Living Off of The Land Week 8

November 7, 2016 - Earth Friends


Happy Halloween!  We had a fun and spooky day at Irvine as we learned about onion grass, worked on our shelter and collected milkweed for our fire in our costumes.  Henry found a cricket and Alex and Aidan wore their Halloween costumes (Henry lowered his ninja mask for the picture).  This little cricket was shaking in his tiny cricket boots I’m sure!  20161031_135325

We were planning a campfire with families and our friends (and siblings) in the Native Communities class so we needed some good fire starter.  Milkweed fluff (seen below in the gallery) is a great fire starter.  It burns quickly, though, so be ready with more tinder like small twigs and dried leaves to keep the flame going.

Next we made our way to our shelter but we decided to stop for a mid day nature snack in the form on onion grass.  Surprisingly it tasks better than it sounds and has (in my opinion) a bit of a garlic taste as well.  It also looks a lot like scallions or chives.  Aidan said it tasted like his sour cream and onion chips he just ate.  The larger onion grass actually has a small bulb on the bottom and the taste seems to get stronger the closer you munch to the roots.  Oh did I forget to mention that Andrew was also dressed up for Halloween as a chicken!


After our tasting we headed to the forest to continue work on our debris hut.  Debris huts take a lot of natural materials to build!  Depending on the size of the debris hut, which should only be large enough for one person to fit into, like a sleeping bag, it requires a significant amount of sticks, leaves, moss, bark, ferns and other debris that is used for structure and insulation.  So far our walls are about a foot thick in most places and this should be almost tripled in order for the shelter to be effective at keeping you warm and helping you survive a cold night.


All the kids got a chance to squeeze under the massive log into the entrance of the debris shelter on the other side.  You can see the progress we’ve made on the shelter below in the gallery.  After piling armful after armful of leaves on the shelter it was time to head back to the fire pit at the amphitheater for a mini Halloween celebration.  We collected some sticks for the fire along the way and once we got to the amphitheater we gathered sassafras for tinder because the oils burn very well.  We also gathered some spice bush for some tea to enjoy along with our s’mores (check out the spice bush tea below).  Victory dawned her witches hat for the occasion.  The Native Communities class joined us and among them we had a teenage mutant ninja turtle and a firefighter on hand just in case the fire got out of control! 🙂