Forrest Fenn’s Holiday Ornament Contest

LichenSo it’s December 20th and I still hadn’t submitted an entry to the contest over on Dal’s site.  Better late than never, right?  But before I headed out back, I checked the rules once more—hand made of found, natural items—and thereby saw the awesome competition.  Fantastic ornaments.

{Results are in.  Congrats to the talented winners!}

Okay, so clearly I’m not winning this thing but since Forrest is mailing every entrant a bona fide arrowhead from his collection, I’m not not entering.  (BTW you still have time to enter, too.)

I planned on making bells somehow out of pine needles since I hadn’t come up with any other ideas.  You know, Snoopy’s “Christmas bells, those Christmas bells, ringing through the land, Peace on earth and good will to man.”

I booted and bundled up.  It wasn’t long before the hike took its own course.  I got to a pond that was just icing over, bubbles trapped below the surface, took some photos, and proceeded along the frosty edges.  raccoon prints

 

While I took more pictures, the outline beneath the surface finally registered.  Yikes.  An alligator snapping turtle?  It was in shallow water.  Is it hibernating?  Is it even alive?

turtle in ice

A little farther on, I found another one.  It’s much bigger, older cousin maybe.  I didn’t see them this summer, but often enough in summers past to paddle carefully and not tip over the canoe.

turtle 2

 Add those beasts to my list of frightening things.  (Spiders, snakes, prions, and, I forgot to mention, cougars.  One’s been sighted again within twenty miles of here.  Yes, really.)viny

Anyway, on my way to the white pines, I found some twiny, viny stuff for binding, red berries for color, wild grape vines for fun, and all manner of prairie grasses.  A thought started to form in my mind.  Hmm.  One of Forrest’s treasured possessions is Sitting Bull’s Peace Pipe.  Still running with the Peace theme, it began to take shape.  But just in case, I continued to the pines and grabbed cones and needles—brown from the ground, green from the branches torn off by the White tail deer who just love destroying the young trees when their antlers itch.red berries

So, here’s what I brought in the house.

raw materials

 

 

Here’s what I came up with.  (See the authenticated original here.)P1000070

 

 

 

“IMO” (very important words on Dal’s blog) this ornament is small enough and light enough to go on a Christmas tree.  I could prove it, except our tree isn’t up yet.

In fact, it’s still alive and well in the back yard, a beautiful Frazier fir that we planted maybe 7 years ago.  Maybe tomorrow Mr. W will saw it down and bring it in while I bake cookies.  Company’s coming.  I’m not usually this far behind, but it’s hard to say no sometimes.

Besides, I’m “having too much fun!”

milkweed

Cabinets of Curiosities, and Serendipity III

Fertility Frog Pipe Bowl

Fertility Frog Pipe Bowl

Yesterday was annual artifact ID day at the local museum.  My last springs finds were designated likely Matanzas of the Mid-Archaic age, pushing 6,000 BP (before present).  Curiously, the older the artifacts, the fancier the stonework.  Mostly I had a lot of flakes and some ‘blockies’, a new term for me, meaning just a rock, not a prehistoric artifact.

As I browsed the museum, lots of things reminded me of Forrest Fenn and the Chase.

Forrest Fenn's Treasure Chest

Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Chest

No surprise there;  it invades the mind.   [Not unlike the virus in the Preston/Child book I was in the middle of reading.  More on that in a moment.]

The frog, of course.

The stone faces — think one of his bronze jars.Stone Faced

Mackinaw Cache

Mackinaw Cache

A cache, not the Fenn Cache.

Red ochre…..

Red Ochre

Surveyor’s Compass…Surveyor's Compass

This strangely shaped stone piece…….

Curious Stone

And, okay, not a Clovis in a Mammoth (on Forrest’s bucket list), but how about a spear point that nicked a bison’s rib?

Bison Kill found in Illinois River at 'water low'

Bison Kill found in Illinois River at ‘water low’

Lots of interesting maps and letters on the walls, showing the moving Indian boundaries, the Military Land Grants on the (then) frontier, settlement of Illinois from the south toward the north.  (I’m awaiting a copy of An Illinois Reader, editor Walton.)

Cover of "Fever Dream"

Cover of Fever Dream

Back to the book —  Fever Dream — the finding of which was in itself, serendipitous.  Think second-hand shop.  It was an advance reader’s copy.

I was most of the way through the book before yesterday’s outing.  When I came to this cabinet, I did a double take.

Carolina Parakeet

Carolina Parakeet

Yes.  The extinct cornuopsis carolinensis, or Carolina Parakeet.

What were the odds!  The bird and the artist Audubon play an intriguing role in the thriller, which I went right home to finish.

Happy hunting!  Or should I say Chasing…..

Audubon's Parakeets

Audubon’s Parakeets

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Serendipity

The morels and asparagas already gone, I wandered a washed field on Mother’s Day afternoon and found a trove of arrowheads, mostly pieces.  Like gold and fish, they are where you find them.  I think luck plays a part, but also some logic and imagination.  To find Forrest Fenn’s The Thrill of the Chase treasure, it will take all of the above.  And research.  He says the lucky finder will be able to walk right to it, deliberately.

And so, we seekers continue our research and refine our plans.  A simple Venn diagram (see Wikipedia) is a series of overlapping circles yielding useful data.  A Fenn diagram is going to look more like a flow chart

Flowchart

Flowchart (Photo credit: BWJones)

branching off each time a clue has more than one solution.  There are so many diagrams because no one knows where to begin.  Well, we might think we do.

I thought at first it would be a simple fill-in-the-blank game.  Decide where the warm waters halt, where to put in, and what the blaze is.  Okay.  But ‘halt’ has many meanings, likewise ‘warm waters’, even ‘warm’.  And then you start to wonder, what does ‘it’ even mean!

A couple weeks ago, I came up with an utterly unique answer for “where warm waters halt”.  This week, I even found a butterfly connection.TTOTC book jacket

So, maybe the Chase isn’t keeping me away from the internet, but it has gotten me into the library, especially the  history section.  Here’s to all your discoveries made along the way.  Enjoy.