» Archive for December, 2008

Papermaking

Sunday, December 14th, 2008 by Marie

The ancient craft of papermaking has found a place at the Bosque.

Using both recycled paper and fibers we collect in the forest, we have started to make many different test batches of paper.

Brie making paper

The process took awhile to get going…  Suzanne, Brie, Ben, Dominik, Charles, Trevor, and others have all contributed to our developing knowledge about papermaking.

We made a block and deckle by making frames out of cherry wood, and attaching plastic mesh to one of the frames:

making the block and deckle

We collected many fibers from the forest to experiment, including stalks of the red hot poker, which we have been propagating heavily over the last few years:

red hot poker

And we had a blender attachment made for a drill in order to process large quantities of fibrous pulp.

The results have been great!  Volunteers and visitors have had fun experiementing with different ways to make the paper pretty and useful.  Some of the fiber combinations we can fold for potential notecard products.

paper

Type of fibers we have been trying are the red hot poker stems, maguey leaves, madrone bark, newspaper, toilet paper rolls, bamboo, and others.  As we identify native plants we hope to test all of them for their papermaking usefulness.

suzie making paper

The Malpais

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008 by Marie

The Malpais, or “bad lands” is an area covered with volcanic rock near the Bosque.  While nearby, the malpais is very different, providing a fun field trip for those interested in hiking around the area and enjoying a different ecology and somewhat surreal landscape.

The malpais is protected by a spirit named Maringa, who protects the area and she will cause those who wish to harm it to lose their way.

walking into the malpais

Today Brian traveled with a local guide and a couple of our visitors to explore a bit of the malpais.  The guide, from a local pueblo, takes us to a rock, called piedra campana, that sounds like metal when you knock on it, as well as many caves that we climbed inside.  There is also a spot with hundreds of carved stones related to the giant people said to inhabit the area before the arrival of the Purépecha people.  One of the names of this place is huaraches, for the carved designs in the stone representing the footprint of these giants.

There are two volcanic peaks to climb.

La Peña is a peak which the Purépecha kings ritually climbed every year.  The Purépecha mythology tells of three moros who dance on the textured stones at the peak.

The area called Coyotera is one of many which has caves to explore.  It is equipped with a zip line to cross over a small canyon.

Allison in the cave

On previous trips to the malpais, we have discovered an amazing amount of orchids, bromiliades, epiphytic cactus, and eucalyptus trees.  A guide or GPS is necessary to avoid becoming lost in the complicated trails that weave through the area.  There are many spiky plants to watch out for, some which cause irritation.  Watch out for poison ivy!  The terrain is a bit rocky (perfect for ankle twisting), so it’s important to wear good walking shoes, and the climate is a bit hotter and less shaded than the Bosque, so sun protection is a must.

bromiliad

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