Posted by: wolfcampcollege | November 15, 2010

Puyallup Classes Harvest Willow and Rose Hips

The rain held off for our homeschool class today but by the time the afterschool class started it was drizzling and dark.  No matter, we had plenty to learn and do.  We started off both classes with a quick go-around about changes we had noticed in nature since we had met last time.  Many of the trees have lost their leaves and hummingbirds are still being seen.  We had our first frost a few weeks ago so the rosehips are ready for harvesting.  As we talked, we kept our hands busy practicing the reverse wrap method of making cordage. 

Gathered around our phenology calendar.

We checked out the Wolf Camp phenology calendar and talked about the importance of noting when we see changes in nature and charting those changes year after year. 

Reading about happenings in nature throughout the year.

We headed outside to learn the length of our stride so we could better judge distances and pace off the area for our study sites.  The kids had a great time practicing and counting their paces!

Learning how to pace off distances.

Heading back after our pacing exercise.


Everyone was then tasked with drawing a square foot of ground of their choice and all of the things on it (leaves, twigs, flowers, etc.) in 3 minutes.  The concentration was amazing and the drawings were excellent.

Such concentration!


Everyone got into the drawing.


A finished product.


Another great drawing with a beautiful bird!

Sharing details about their square foot with the group.

We played a quick game of fox and hare.

Sneaking up on the "hare".

Heading over the fence to collect rosehips.

Next it was time to harvest some fresh rosehips from the Nootka roses (one of our native roses) growing near our yard.  Everyone had a chance to check out our underground yellow jacket nest – from a safe distance, of course.  It was a little less active than earlier in the season but there were still several bees coming and going every minute. 

Getting a little help to reach the high branches.

Honorably collecting rosehips after the first frost.

Our rosehip harvest.

We harvested a basket of rosehips then turned our attention to the willow tree.  Everyone learned how to honorably remove branches from the tree then we headed back inside to process our materials.

Clipping willow branches.


Everyone practiced harvesting a few branches.

We made rosehip tea for everyone to taste and a willow decoction for the adults to try. 

Removing bark and leaves for our willow decoction.

Boiling the willow.


Our willow and rosehip harvest.

Splitting willow to make baskets.

It sure takes a lot of practice to split these things! See our rosehip tea steeping in the jar on the table?


Then we learned how to split willow branches to prepare for making baskets.  It takes a lot of practice to split them without breaking them!  Everyone got to take some home to see how far they could get.  Then it was time to bring our class to a close.  Chris and I can hardly wait ’til we meet again to learn about oak trees and acorns!  

A tasty end to a wonderful class.



  1. Gretchen still talks about the Rose Hip tea. I don’t think anything will ever compare for her! Thanks for the great learning experience!

    • Thanks Heather! I imagine it ranks up there with the great ice fishing she’s doing this week! Hopefully she’s hitting the walleyes hard!

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