This past winter I had a most unfortunate experience while dog-sledding. While on a rest break, my dogs reacted to a red squirrel and before I could find my brake, I found a small tree. After a very brief, violent encounter with the tree, both my hands and wrists were mangled, bruised and bleeding. After a visit to Minden Hospital, I came home with ten stitches across the back of my left hand. My right hand escaped stitches but was cut and bruised. I looked like I had Frankenstein hands! This was not good. I need my hands for basket weaving!
I cut and gather and process natural materials all year round so that I can leisurely weave baskets as the snow flies and the wood stove burns. Now I wasn’t able to use my hands, so there was no basket weaving happening for a month and a half! Not to mention, no more dog sledding or cross country skiing.
Once I could use my hands again, the pressure was on to race against Mother Nature. I use fresh dogwood and willow, and the warming spring temperatures were quickly closing my window of time before pussy willows and leaves would start to emerge.
Forget about the leisurely weaving! Now I was weaving baskets as quickly as I could, all day long, and Mother Nature was cooperating, keeping the temperatures cool enough that my dogwood and willow were not drying out. As long as I had fresh materials, I could continue weaving. The last few baskets I made actually had willow that was trying to sprout their flowers.
The baskets I make in the winter represents my stock for the rest of the year so I was happy that my season was extended with a cold wintery spring! My right hand has fully recovered and my left hand bears the scar of impact and I will probably always have a wonky ring finger. But I can still weave baskets. Of course I’m not very fond of red squirrels anymore and I will be wiser when I resume dog-sledding next winter.