Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Amazing
Adventures of Miles, Tony and Zach:
The Adventure to Maine
By Miles Vernon

Chapter 1
Relaxing in the Hamptons

After we flew back from Canada last month, the animals are happy to be in our huge property with fields, trees, Rocky Mountains, and the bay. When I walk outside on the porch, I see all the wild animals, surprisingly, getting along. I thought that for sure the grizzly bear would eat the pheasant, but they just stay away from each other. Even though all the other animals are wild, Popcorn, the Dalmatian, somehow gets along with the others. As I’m sitting on the porch and drinking a cold glass of lemonade, Collin runs up on the porch and shows me a giant spider crab he caught off the docks. I run over to the docks and see my dad pulling up a rope. As I help him pull it up, I see over ten stone crabs in the metal crab trap and they are fighting over a chicken leg. When he pulls them up onto the wooden dock he calls Gabby. Even though Gabby can sometimes be a little “girlie”, she is also a bit of a tomboy and doesn’t mind picking up crabs or dealing with dirty jobs.
When my mom pulls into the driveway, she’s in a bright orange dune buggy!!! I run over and she explains this is a belated birthday present for me. Of course, when I was 16, I got my drivers license, and now I’m ready to drive around. I drive down the road and see my favorite country market, Round Swamp Farm. Round Swamp Farm has the best cinnamon buns you’ll ever find, they grow all their vegetables, and they get their eggs right from a chicken coop outside the market. Next, I see some giant beautiful sailboats in the harbor. And last but not least, a flock of Canadian Geese flies overhead forming a V-shape, and I think that they are probably going back to Canada where we were last month.
When I drive back home I see the baby otter and beaver making themselves at home in our huge pond in front of the house. The porcupine, flying squirrel, possum, and chipmunk are climbing through the thick branches of an old pine tree sitting in our front lawn. Another type of tree in our yard is a beautiful, young cherry blossom tree. At the base of this cherry tree are one hole and two dens. The hole contains the snowshoe hare, and the two dens hold the wolverine and the red fox. In the wild, the fox would have normally eaten the snowshoe hare a long time ago, but I teach them to get along with each other and it seems almost magical because it has worked. Playing in the old cornfield behind our house is the black-footed ferret, the young bobcat, the spotted skunk, the grizzly bear cub, the fawn mule deer, and the baby wolf. The ring-necked pheasant is more of a house pet and seems to get along great with my brothers and sisters. The blue jay will fly away for about an hour or so but he always comes back with more bird friends, such as a robin, red cardinal and woodpecker.
I hold my baby brother Andrew’s hand and slowly walk onto the wooden docks. I pull up the oyster trap and see 13 to 15 oysters. It is amazing how so many creatures can depend upon others for their food or shelter. In the oyster trap is an oyster toadfish that is trying to scarf one of the oysters down for his lunch. A mini flock of seagulls flies overhead and land on the dock. I feel badly because some of the baby seagulls look very hungry so I throw them 5 or 6 oysters. One seagull grabs one of them in his beak and flies way up high into the air. Then he drops the oysters and they fall onto the dock and crack open. Lastly he flies back down and he eats his lunch. When I bring them into the house, dad cleans them and throws them onto the grill. After catching the spider crab and stone crabs my dad had thrown them back into ocean because they are not good to eat.
Because of the 20-acre fields that surround our home, my animals must feel like they are in heaven. As I look over the fields behind my house, I take in the beauty of the sunflowers growing tall, the mowed grassy area behind the pool, the tall hedges that line one side of the property, and the stacks of hay from the wheat field to the left. I walk inside my house, into the kitchen and climb the stairs to my bedroom. When I open the door, Timber, my moose, jumps off my bed and runs downstairs. I usually make sure that Timber has gone to the bathroom before I put him in my room, so it looks pretty clean. I walk over to Phoenix’s brass cage and see 5 little white eggs sitting in the straw at the bottom of his cage. My heart races with excitement and confusion at the same time because honestly I had thought that Phoenix was a boy. I was wrong and she will soon be a mother. I am happy to take care of these chicks before they hatch, and begin to think about how I can help them to be safe. I know that if I touch them my scent will be on them and possibly put them in danger from their mother abandoning them.
I see Nila under my bed; her green glowing eyes light up in the darkness. I start to worry for the safety of the eggs. I suspect that she may not harm them, but my job is to protect these little beings. So, I shoo her out of the room and begin to notice how much bigger she has gotten since I first got her back in South America. Twilight the raccoon burst out of my closet and follows Nila downstairs. Since Twilight is a nocturnal animal, he was probably asleep in the closet. I am relieved to be rid of the two predators for the time being. There on the ceiling fan is Weddell’s tail curled around the center and he is hanging upside down. I slowly lift the silky anteater off the ceiling and into my arms. Phoenix, the elf owl, flies down the staircase and I shut the cage. When I get Weddell outside I introduce him to the new Canadian pets. In the Hamptons it is very peaceful.
I walk downstairs to the basement to check on my mother. There on the table is Bandit, our badger, the one we saved from the wolves. My mother has been stitching him up all day and is almost done. She put lots of medicine on him and he will soon be in enough shape to play with the rest of the animals. The blue jay that we had now named Little Jewel flew downstairs and landed on my shoulder. When we carried Bandit upstairs we fed him some meat and his white stripes were shaking in pain. He looked into my eyes and faintly moaned. I hugged him tight and he licked me on my cheek. I brought him outside and saw Gabby teaching the deer fawn, which we had named Bambi, how to jump hurdle fences just like a horse. In my family, everyone seems to have a certain pet that they prefer the most. My mom likes the snowshoe hare because she is soft, gentle and sweet and cuddly, just like her. My dad likes the grizzly bear cub because it is fierce, strong and loves the outdoors and humans. And of course, my sister Gabby likes Bambi. Ashley runs upstairs holding a flying squirrel she had named Glider. When all of a sudden the golden lunch bell that’s tied to our white pergola rings. I run down to the pond to get the beaver and the otter out of the water so they can come inside.

As I approach the pond surrounded by rocks, a little leopard frog jumps in the water and a salamander slithers out of the water after she had just laid her eggs. There was a little vole on the other side of the pond that seems to be trying to catch a centipede. As I get down on one knee and stick my hand in the water, Bix, the beaver, shoots out of the water and licks my hand. I pull him out and I notice Luzon, the river otter, is following him. I lead them back to the house and they chow down on the meal. In bowls, spread around the brick patio is all sorts of food. I look through them and notice fish, tree roots, berries, tree nuts, ham and other red meat, ants, worms, hay, grass, and a big tub of water.

Chapter 2
Boy and Girl Scout project

Today I am very excited for my siblings; Ashley and Collin, because hopefully they will soon become a Boy Scout and Girl Scout. Each of them needs to earn the POLAR BEAR BADGE and several other badges in order to become Eagle Scouts. Ashley is seven years old and Collin is eleven years old. The POLAR BEAR BADGE is a badge where they have to camp out and sleep in a cold environment. So I’ve decided to take them up in the mountains behind our house for one night, where it is very chilly. After that they will get their polar bear badge and they will finally have merits towards becoming eagle scouts.
I gather up all the animals, pack our bags, say goodbye to the rest of our family and we start our journey. For food we have packed hot chocolate, grilled oysters, steak, and we picked up a couple of ears of corn in the cornfield. We walked through our pumpkin patch, and there in a little huddle are two cotton-tailed bunny rabbits chowing down on a piece of pumpkin. I grab a couple pumpkin seeds so we can bake them later. We climb up the mountain using hiking sticks all the way to the top. Collin slips and almost falls. I grab his hand and he is dangling over the steep mountain. Sure enough the little Cub Scout he has become, he pulls out a grappling hook tied to a thick rope and hooks it on to the cliff of the mountain. We climb up the rope and finally reach the top. I turn on our walkie-talkies, and we get perfect reception back to the house. We zip open our backpacks and all the animals rush out checking out their new environment. Pincho (which means spike in Spanish), our porcupine, has left some of his quills in my backpack. I pull the three quills out and show them to Collin and Ashley. I put them in a little jar to keep for later. As I’m searching through my bag, I feel something. I pull it out and it is Nila’s cast from when she had a broken leg back in South America. Ashley pulls out our sleeping bags, I get lunch ready and Collin sets up the tent.
While we’re at it, I think they should maybe get some other badges completed like the FIRE BADGE. The fire badge is where you have to start a fire with two sticks and no lighter. “I know the sticks can’t be too wet or too dry,” says Ashley. So she has to pick the perfect sticks. After a while she finds two and starts rubbing them on an angle. After about ten minutes she gets a spark and surrounds the little fire with rocks. She adds more sticks and blows on the fire to give it oxygen to grow. Within five minutes the fire is big and roaring and I check FIRE BADGE off her list. Collin completes the task as well. Collin and I find a big tree in the more luscious part of the mountain. Ashley pulls out a hatchet that she brought with her in her backpack. Collin and Ashley are both wearing their little uniforms with their sashes around their shoulders covered with different badges. They start cutting the tree with Ashley’s hatchet she had gotten when she passed the WOODWORK BADGE, but then they realize that at this pace its not going to get them anywhere. So I call over Bix the American Beaver and he chomps it down in less than 10 minutes. I give Bix a pat on the head and we roll the log back to our tent. I hand Collin his pocketknife and he starts whittling away. For this project hopefully Collin will get the WOOD CARVING BADGE. After awhile he makes a beautiful wooden wolf, which is the symbol of his troop, Troop 107. I take the little sculpture and shove it into his backpack. He also makes a wooden spear that he can use for target practice. After a hard day we walk inside our tents and we take a little nap. All the animals rush into my tent surrounding me and I slowly fall asleep to the sound of nature.
I am startled awake by Otto, the Grizzly Bear cub. He licks my face and I rush out of the tent. On all fours he sniffs his nose and follows a trail down the mountain. I rub my eyes and squint to see what he is after. There on the ground is a sign that says, Nature Nation. I open my eyes as wide as I can, and pick up the sign. When I see the sign, it reminds me of Nature Nation, an old fort that our whole family put together when I was six years old. I wake up Ashley and Collin and we run down the mountain with all the animals following us. We run through the forest until we get to Nature Nation. The last time I was at Nature Nation was before I left to go to Antarctica when I accidentally crashed into New Mexico. We walked through the big wooden walls and we spread out in different directions checking our old fort.
One of my favorite places was Dream Lake. Dream Lake is a body of water that has a zip line that starts at one tree and goes across the lake to another tree. All the places in Nature Nation we named. Dream Lake has a canopy of trees covering it and it is almost always shady and calm. Ashley discovers the old Swan Swamp Creek, where there are lots of fish and rushing water. This swamp has tons of swans that lurk in the mucky parts of the water. There are lots of logs and trees growing out of the swamp and lights glisten through the leaves and make a beautiful reflection off the water. Next, we notice the main tower, Acorn Palace, which is the place where we used to sleep at night.
Acorn Palace is a huge tree house that has six small beds that are covered in deer fur. We also have a little wooden crib that is lined with bunny skin for Andrew. The reason we were so angry with Bones when we were in Canada was that he hunts for the glory and fame, while my family will only hunt for the meat and some of the skins to keep us warm. It’s not like a family that lives in the forest, but we simply like to relax in peace in the woods. The best part of Nature Nation is that it is deep in the woods, and there’s hardly any civilization, which means there are tons of animals. Another cool place in Nature Nation is Sky Moon Tower. Sky Moon Tower is the tallest tree in the whole woods and at the top we have made a little platform with a fancy telescope I got for my 11th birthday. Sky Moon Tower is our lookout post because you can see the whole forest from up there. In Acorn Palace we also have a small grill that my Dad has brought in that gives us the ability to cook food. Even though I haven’t been here in a long time, my family regularly spends time here while I traveled. Although this is a great place to camp, we must camp more rustically and in a cold place as the Boy Scout and Girl Scout Rulebooks say in order to get the POLAR BEAR BADGE. So, we head up to higher, colder ground to accomplish this.
I take Ashley and Collin out to get another badge. This time they will hopefully accomplish the ARCHERY BADGE. So I set up 10 bull’s-eye targets for Ashley and Collin to shoot. Snowball, the snowshoe hare, jumps up into my arms and seems very afraid of the bow and arrows that I have brought in my backpack. They take 5 or 6 shots and sure enough on Ashley’s sixth shot, she gets it right in the red bull’s eye. Collin tries a couple more times, when finally on arrow number 42 he gets the shot. I check archery off the list, and we go to Swan Swamp Creek for some fishing. I pull out my fathers Rapala Jr. Pro Spinning Combo Rod and Reel and hook a big pink worm on the end that I found under a rotting log. I give the Rapala Jr. to Ashley and I take out the Rapala Storm 2-pc. Spincast Reel Combo Stick and put a worm on it too. Then I hand it to Collin. I walk back to Acorn Palace and open the wooden garage which took me and my father two months to build, and inside are four ATV 500 quads that are painted camouflage. On the back of one of them is a small iron crate. I open it and inside is a Browning 450 Marlin rifle and a Winchester Super .306 deer rifle. I grab them, slip them into my backpack and run back to Swan Swamp Creek. When I get back they have already caught three catfish. We take them back to Acorn Palace in a bucket and check the FISHING BADGE off the list.
When we get back to Acorn Palace, we climb the ladder up into the tree house and I de-bone and remove the skin from the fish and throw the filets on the grill, the corn that we brought from the stalks, and the pumpkins seed for a sweet snack. A main interest of mine is cooking, so I brought tons of different spices and sauces for the food. We leave Nature Nation and bring the cooked and sautéed fish up the mountain. Finally, after an hour of hiking we get to the top of the mountain, and since it is getting dark, we look at the beautiful stars starting to come out.
The full moon rises quickly and when it turns dark the night is very cold and crisp. We revive and stoke the fire that Ashley made earlier today, and we eat the catfish for dinner and set up the tents to spend the night. Violet, the bobcat, rushes up to the warm fire and lays down to feel the warmth, and Zorilla, the wolf pup, scampers up to one of the ledges and howls at the full moon. Me, Ashley, Collin and all the animals sit by the fire telling spooky ghost stories until we all fall asleep, afraid.

Chapter 3 Waking in the Mountains
I wake up and the coals from the fire are smoking. Morning is beautiful and birds are chirping in the trees above. I take down my tent and push it in my backpack. I wake up Ashley, Collin, and all of the animals and we start on our walk down the mountain. When we finally get to Nature Nation, we walk through Mossy Oak Valley. In the valley there is a vast, open area with tall grass and tons of dandelions. We walk to Rainbow Pond, which Andrew loves to swim in, and finally we get to Acorn Palace. We open the wooden garage and hop on the quads. Ashley rides on mine and Collin rides a separate one. We go slowly so all the animals can follow behind. Zorilla, the wolf pup, is chasing my quad and barking at the sounds of the wheels rolling in the mud. When we finally get to a road, we look both ways, and I cross the road to a secret path that leads to our house. When we’re entering the pumpkin patch, cotton tailed bunny rabbits run out of the way. I check the POLAR BEAR BADGE off the list. There are also tons of wild turkeys that run in all directions when we come rolling through the fields. Usually, Collin and Ashley would have done the POLAR BEAR BADGE with the rest of their troop but Mr. Phillips and Mrs. Carter, Ashley’s and Collin’s troop leaders, decided that each family could do it separately.
I take the list of badges to Collin’s troop, Wolf Needle 107. Then I take the list to Ashley’s Girl Scout troop, Eagle Falcon 362. Their troop leaders gladly check off all of the items and give them each their badges. When we got home I go outside to play with the animals. We play a big game of tug-of-war. Since I didn’t bring Timber, Twilight, Bandit, Phoenix, Nila, or Weddell, I go upstairs to greet them. When I open the door they run downstairs to play with the rest of the animals, and I write a list of all my pets’ names: Phoenix-Elf Owl Bambi-Mule Deer
Nila-Jaguar Glider-Flying Squirrel
Weddell-Silky Anteater Jellybean-Chipmunk
Timber-Moose Luzon-River Otter
Twilight-Raccoon Marshmallow-Possum
Bandit-Badger Freckles-black footed ferret
Bix-Beaver Blaze-Red Fox
Zorilla-Wolf Spark-Spotted Skunk
Arabian-Ring Necked Pheasant Rascal-Baby Wolverine
Violet-Bobcat Little Jewel- Blue Jay
Otto-Baby Grizzly Bear Pincho-Porcupine
Snow Ball- snowshoe hare Popcorn- Dalmatian

Now that this badge is over with my younger brother and sister, I am onto a new adventure. Today is an exciting day because I am going to Maine. Because it is summer break, I have two whole months left for vacation. I plan to camp out in the wilderness in the rural state of Maine. Maine seems like a good place to do this since there is lots of forest, yet it is also close to the ocean. I have to pack lightly since I’ll be walking a lot, so I can only bring a few of my animals. My parents have agreed to baby-sit for the rest of the animals while I am gone. My first pick is Freckles the black-footed ferret because he is small and has an amazing sense of smell. My next pick is Little Jewel, the blue jay, because I may need air support. My third pick is Bambi, the little deer, who is now big enough for me to ride. Lastly, Pincho, the porcupine will join me because he can climb through the trees and has prickly quills that I can use as a weapon to catch some food. We pile in the dune buggy and my mom and drives me the seven hours to a rural area of Maine. They plan to take a trip to Kennebunkport, Maine to be near the ocean, so they don’t mind the drive. They drive me deep into the woods, say goodbye, and I walk off into the forest with my backpack and animals by my side. My first task is to make a shelter; a tree house or maybe a log cabin come to mind. I decide a few minutes later I want to create an underground shelter.
The first step is to dig a cave-like ditch into the side of a hill on an angle, so I pull out the little shovel in my backpack and start to dig. After a long day of digging, I am finally done and the cave hole is over ten feet deep into the hill and eight feet around. I sit down, open my backpack and drink a cold bottle of water, which is one of the last man-made things I have with me. The next step is to make a log door. So, I walk deeper into the woods until I find some thin but straight and sturdy oak trees. I pull out my axe and chop down a few trees. This process takes me about three hours. Bambi, who is now strong enough to pull the logs back to the pit once I set up a pulley system onto her shoulders from some rope I have in my pack. On my way back I see a small moose carcass and I cut piece of the tough hide to use as door hinges for my oak door. I finally complete the entrance door. It’s not as elaborate as Acorn Palace, or anything in Nature Nation for that matter, but it will have to do for one month.
I run down to the creek and scrape the clay off the side of the river. When I was young I took pottery classes and became a good potter. After I make five or six pots from the clay, I use the rest to make a seal tight ventilation around the sides of my log entrance, so I will have a wind and water free doorway. I open the door and all the animals slide in too. One of the saddest parts about this trip is I know I may have to kill animals for their skins, fur and meat, which is something I do not like to do being an animal lover. I decide to end for the evening and get a good nights rest for tomorrow will be a hard working day!

Chapter 4 Learning to Hunt
I wake up to the sound of pitter-patter of animals scurrying through the leaves outside my door. Even though it is late summer, because I am farther up north in the state of Maine, which is near Canada, the leaves are already starting to turn a bit yellow and orange and the air is cold at night.
I walk out the front door and to my surprise a mother moose is grazing in the field right in front of me. I am amazed because she does not even notice me. I start toward her when all of a sudden the male buck charges in my direction. I am forced to dive headfirst back into my den. I stick my head out to check my surroundings a few minutes later, and the moose have left and the coast is clear. I help Bambi up and out the front door and I wake up the rest of the animals. I get onto Bambi’s back and we ride off into the forest. Since I have known my pets for quite a long time now, we have learned to trust one another, but I must be careful because some of these creatures in the woods are wild and do not know me and could attack and harm my pets and me. Bambi rides out into the field and starts to graze on tall weeds and grass. Little Jewel flies above me and checks her surroundings. All of a sudden I look down and see a large Elk antler on the ground, so I pick it up and stuff it in my pocket for safekeeping. When we are deep into the woods, I find red and black raspberry bushes that will make a nice breakfast. If I am correct, they seem to be safe, and I run back to the lodge to get my clay pottery jar. I fill my jar with delicious berries! I jump onto Bambi’s back and we search for more food.
In the trees, I notice acorns are falling onto the ground, so I stuff them into my pockets because I think they’ll come in handy later. I pull my pocketknife out of my pocket and cut a deep hole into a maple tree. My plan is to let the tree drip its sap into my clay pot overnight. Once I have the sap, I will boil it down to make maple syrup. Then, I will roast the acorns over hot coals, grind them between stones, and add them to spring water to make flour. Once I have this flour, I can make homemade pancakes with maple syrup. It will be a long process, but will be worth it to bite into delicious homemade pancakes and maple syrup! I learned this cooking trick from a book I read when I was nine years old, My Side of the Mountain. In the meantime, I tie the elk horn to a long straight stick that I find in the woods to make a spear. I need to hunt an animal now. I run into the woods to find easy game, such as rabbit. After hours of looking, I find three rabbits huddled together, nibbling plants. I crawl in the weeds until I am right on top of them, and all of a sudden I jump up and stab one of the rabbits in his belly. I hate to do this and cringe, but I have to do this to survive. The two other bunnies scurry off. I now have to take it home, skin and roast it over the fire for breakfast.
We climb onto Bambi’s back and ride back to the camp. We go into my new cave home and I begin my campfire, slowly. All of a sudden, Freckles starts faintly whining to warn me. I get up, look around, and a fat black bear is making his way in our direction. I peer up and decide he must have smelled the dead bunny and fire I had built. I must react quickly, so grab a stone at the floor of my house and chuck it into the trees to distract him from our direction for a minute. In that time, I close the log door and cover the entrance with orange leaves just as he turns his head back in our direction. He is confused and walks back into the deep of the woods. Phew! We escaped disaster for now. I decide to feed Bambi all the berries and he licks his snout in appreciation. Freckles is a meat eater like me so I toss him a cooked, crispy rabbit leg for his breakfast. He ravenously chows down his meal and looks up with a mouthful of meat. After he swallows the first bite, he seems to be smiling at me. He chows down on his breakfast.
I come back through the door with two clay jars, and when I come back Little Jewel and Pincho are waiting patiently for their meals. I return with one jar filled with bark, which is a porcupine’s favorite meal, and the other filled with seeds for Little Jewel the Blue Jay. Little Jewel flies over and lands on my hand and I gently stroke her turquoise feathers until her eyelids slowly close and she falls fast asleep. I set her down in a nest that I had made for her and I just out the front door to look for new food. While I am searching for food, a sandy raccoon waddles down the hill with a handful of shellfish, which means there is a beach nearby and that opens a whole new food source for me and my pets. All the animals climb out of the hole and I pack my backpack and get ready for the trip to find the water. When the raccoon passes, he leaves a sand trail behind, so I scoop up as much of the sand as I can. I show a handful of sand to Freckles, who cocks his head. He sniffs it, and matches the scent towards East. I pick him up, put him on my shoulder, and I ride off on Bambi into the horizon. The weird part of this is that the raccoon seemed to be coming from the North, but if Freckles is correct, he says the beach is due east. After over twenty minutes of riding, I finally come to a wilderness beach. Once we are there, it is immediately cooler and the sand dunes are high over the beach. Freckles is not used to the sand and is tripping. The sand is deep and we walk slowly. Piping Plovers are all over the beach, and seem to be running around and chirping to each other. The waves are crashing and make a thunderous sound as they hit the shore.
I wade through the shallow, ice-cold water to a sand bar, and begin to discover my surroundings. I look back and Freckles has discovered a horseshoe crab and starts to run circles around it curiously. I whistle to Freckles and he leaves the horseshoe crab behind. Once I am on top of the sand bar, I see tons of Lion’s Mane Jellyfish, and Summer Flounder buried in the sand. The waves are relatively small so I decide to jump into the surf and the ice-cold water shocks me for a second but I acclimate again soon. My goal here is to get the Flounder and maybe we can have an early dinner. Seagulls are flying and squawking over our heads, which is making Pincho freak-out. Porcupines are not usually great swimmers, so Pincho is hesitant to walk out onto the sand bar. A double crested Cormorant swoops out of the water and lands on the sandbar way out in the deep waters. A Cormorant is one of my favorite ocean birds because it is a special type of bird that swims like a penguin but also can fly like a hawk. I slowly and carefully take big rocks and roll them into the water surrounding the Flounder and creating a little corral. I then jump into the corral and start my hunt.
We bring home two flounder and a clumsy lobster that happened upon the shore about twenty minutes later. I put on the rabbit skin gloves that I made yesterday and grab a jellyfish. The gloves protect my hands from getting stung and I rip off a handful of tentacles that would have stung me otherwise. I release the jellyfish back into the water. I tie the tentacles to a short stick and make a sort of taser – this should come in handy! The cool thing about jellyfish tentacles is even when detached from their owner they still have their stinging power. I put the taser in my pocket and we leave the beach with our dinner. Once we get home, I cut up the flounder with my pocketknife into slices. Then I season it with some wild herbs that I found growing in the field next to my camp. I shred the herbs and sprinkle onto the fish that are resting on large leaves. Next, I take some more leaves and wrap the fish tightly. I dig a pit, put hot coals inside the hole, lower the fish on top of the coals and cover the hole with large leaves, to create a steam oven to cook the fish. Next, I pick up the crawling lobster that I had found and crack the hard brown body, tail and claws with a rock and lower it into the pit as well. Together, the fish and lobster will steam and make me a seafood dinner. I run out into the woods and scrape bark off the trees and fill one of my big pots. I bring the bark back to the house and let Pincho the porcupine and Bambi eat that as their dinner. They seem happy. Little Jewel fluffs her feathers and makes a quiet chirping noise that signals to me that she is hungry. I gather some wild berries that I had seen growing on a black raspberry bush in the same field where I found the herbs.
By now my fish is starting to smell delicious, but want it to be fully cooked so leave it for the time being. Little Jewel has her berry dinner and I gather bowls of fresh water from the stream for everyone to drink. Freckles, the black-footed ferret tugs at my pant leg with his mouth, letting me know it’s time for dinner. I rip the leaves off and pull out the moist lobster from the shell, drop it in a clay bowl and reach down for the leaf-covered fish as well. Once I slowly unwrap the leaves and the fish is fully cooked and the herbs are rubbed in, giving it a great smell. I bite into the fish and lobster and they taste great. I scrape off bits and make a bowl for Freckles who is patiently waiting at my feet. He gobbles every last morsel up and we head down to the beach for an evening swim.
When I get to the beach, I see an animal in the distance, but can’t yet make out what it is. I cover my hand over my brow, and see it is a young mule deer buck. Bambi runs over to greet her kind of animal. The buck sniffs her cautiously and they prance around each other, eventually running down the beach together as sand flies in the air from their hooves. I wonder where she is going. They are hopping over each other, playing games. As I sit in the sand with Freckles by my side, Little Jewel sits on my shoulder and Pincho is on my lap. I notice that different types of ocean birds are beginning to surround us. I notice the Royal Tern overhead. He comes swooping in and lands next to my foot, very close. I move slightly and they all fly away. I am used to my animal pets that don’t mind humans and actually not afraid at all, so this must make these animals feel comfortable and is why they are coming close. But, I must realize that all animals are not as tame as my pets. A brown Sanderling runs over and stares at Freckles. Last but not least, a Ruddy Turnstone swoops down and looks at all of us, especially Little Jewel. Should I guard my little bird? I wonder, but all is safe so far. The birds seem to lose interest in us, and eventually they fly away.
As I sit with my pets, I notice their distinct personalities. Freckles, the black-footed ferret is very faithful and stays close by my side, and whenever we walk, he always glances back every few feet to assure himself that I am close by. Pincho, the porcupine, is very shy and doesn’t like to be active, and would rather laze about. If I didn’t make him exercise he probably would lay in his leaf bed all day long. Little Jewel, the blue jay, is very motherly and cares for others. She loves affection and watches out for the other pets. Bambi, the mule deer, is a skippy, happy-go-lucky personality, who loves exercising and has a good perspective on life. As I sit in the sand, I look at my pets and appreciate all their different personalities.
At the waters’ edge, I notice a sand dollar in the sand. I run down to the water and grab it just before the wave crashes onto it and takes it out to sea. I pick up the white shell and look at it. Amazingly, it is all intact and completely squeaky clean and white. It is beautiful! It looks like a star within a circle. I put it in my pocket for later and we walk to camp. When I walk into my cave my pots are on the floor, the water is spilled and my food is strewn about. Who was here? I wonder to myself, or maybe the invader is still here so I must be careful and hold back my animals with one arm. We listen carefully for any sounds. I turn the corner, and see the back of a raccoon-tail hat. The boy turns around and gasps when he sees us. He tries to run away, but I catch him and grab him by the scruff of his shirt. He looks at me with a guilty grin and hands me a half eaten piece of some of my herbed flounder. I let him go and he falls to the ground with a thud. He stands up again and tells me his name is Stanley. He has grass stains on his deerskin pants and frayed hems on his deerskin shirtsleeves. He is wearing moccasins. He wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and apologizes for stealing my food. He asks if he can stay with me and after about twenty minutes of begging I finally give in and say it is okay. I ask him his story and he tells me that he lives in a small village down by the more civilized part of Maine but he had run away from his parents (but won’t tell me why), so he has been hiding out in the wood ever since. He has been secretly stealing from me the last few days when I was away from camp, since he hasn’t quite figured out how to get his own food, and has been relying on my ingenuity. Stanley tells me he is only nine years old. He loves nature. He knows his family has been looking for him, but he is hiding out anyway. He can only be about four feet tall, but he does look tough anyway. He has green eyes and scruffy brown hair.
The problem with my hillside home is that there is only one room, and also the ground and walls are made of dirt, and moles often tunnel into my walls. Other creatures such as worms inhabit my floor, walls and ceiling as well. So, Stanley’s project is to cover the walls with a thin coat of clay to keep everyone else out, and make it cleaner. Stanley seems excited for the new project. Stanley also promises to make me a second room that is just for sleeping, so I take my pets for a walk and let Stanley do his job. As I am about to walk out the front door, Stanley pulls out a spear made of wood and points it at Bambi. I freeze, and then reassure him that this is my pet and not food. Stanley lowers his spear and apologizes and quickly sees all the other creatures behind my back. I help Bambi out the front door and feel the cool winds of the outdoors on my legs. Before I leave, Stanley gives me a chunk of Venison that he has saved in his pack. As we walk through the forest, many predator birds are circling us because of the scent of the deer meat. All of them land right in front of me and stare at the venison hungrily. I decide to make these birds my new pets. The first one that stares at me is a Peregrine Falcon. I put on my bunny skin gloves and he flies over and miraculously lands on my hand with his sharp talons. I am thankful for the gloves, and without them my hand would have been torn up by his talons. I feed him some venison, and let the other birds follow as well. The next one that comes over is a huge Bald Eagle. He has a white head, brown body and his beak is the color of a yellow rubber ducky. Then a red tailed hawk and a Sharp-Shinned hawk come over to me at last. I sit on a tree stump and all the birds fluff their feathers as they eat the deer meat. The Bald Eagle stares at Freckles, the ferret, which in the wild would be a tasty treat. I shield Freckles from the Eagle and smack the Eagle on the beak to warn him to stay away from my pet. He seems to understand and does not harm any of my pets. It is a miracle. After about five hours of playing with the birds, I have developed a close connection with them and they start to follow me home.
When I get back to my cave, Stanley is covered in clay and is finished with his project. The clay is dry and I come in and walk on the smooth floor. The walls are brownish-orange and so are the floor and ceiling. All of a sudden, I see a clay staircase, so I slowly walk down and see a second room. This was done quickly. Stanley is panting and seems exhausted. I give him the rest of my flounder because he was an amazing help. I think we will become friends. Stanley and I walk to the beach to cool off, and all the pets lag behind. Stanley opens his pack and shows me all these interesting ways in which he uses the animals and elements around him, for instance, he has a sealed bottle filled with skunk stench to ward off enemies. He also has a bear tooth knife in his back pocket. He tells me he inherits these ideas from a long line of American Indians in his family. His great great grandfather was the Chief of a local small tribe. We walk down to the beach and an Osprey flies over our heads and lands on my glove. It is incredible how so many birds that are usually wild seem to come to me. I think he will also become my new pet. I name him Misty. All the fish have scurried off into the deeper ocean because they have seen me as a threat. I think these birds can come in handy.
In the next few days, I train my birds to become hunters, and unlike my other pets, I have let them mostly stay wild. Sometimes they fly away for hours upon end, but return to me again. Now that I have named all my birds, here is the updated list:

Phoenix-Elf Owl Bambi-Mule Deer
Nila-Jaguar Glider-Flying Squirrel
Weddell-Silky Anteater Jellybean-Chipmunk
Timber-Moose Luzon-River Otter
Twilight-Raccoon Marshmallow-Possum
Bandit-Badger Freckles-black footed ferret
Bix-Beaver Blaze-Red Fox
Zorilla-Wolf Spark-Spotted Skunk
Arabian-Ring Necked Pheasant Rascal-Baby Wolverine
Violet-Bobcat Little Jewel- Blue Jay
Otto-Baby Grizzly Bear Pincho-Porcupine
Snow Ball- snowshoe hare Popcorn- Dalmation
Misty-Osprey Pepper -Red-tailed Hawk
Dagger-Sharp-shinned hawk White Shadow-bald eagle
Pebbles-Peregrine Falcon

When we walk back to camp, the red tailed hawk is circling something ahead. We pushed through the trees and there on the ground is a woodchuck, circled by my birds. It has a frightening look in its eyes, and is running back and forth, trying to get away. I push my birds back and it scurries off into the trees. That is just an example of how these birds will hunt. I slip through the front door and Stanley follows. We redecorate the house and add more additions inside. I make a small wooden table, two stools, and Stanley made me deerskin moccasins, because by now from walking with bare feet everywhere, my feet have cuts, sores and are constantly muddy. I brush off my feet and slip them in. They seem to be a little big on me, but I’ll grow into them. I thank Stanley and ask him how he sewed me this pair of moccasins. He pulls out a thin shard of bone that he used for the needle. Then, he pulls out a long handful of string that is the only human made item he has left. When the birds get back, I notice there are six of them instead of five. I look at all of them briefly and notice an extra red-shouldered hawk that I think is related to a red-tailed hawk. It looks at me straight in the eyes, with a sharp beak and stares at me. I put on my rabbit skinned gloves and stick out two fingers towards his face. At first he pecks me, but then I stroke his head feathers and he digs his talons into my glove. I name him Pirate.
The birds also have piles of food in front of them. The Osprey has eight small brook trout, three medium rainbow trout, a huge fat lake trout, a striped bass, and two Atlantic cod. I guess he caught these from bodies of water nearby. It is amazing that he caught so many fish, because usually only one fish would fill him for several days. But, because we include me, Stanley and the rest of our pets, he caught extra for all of us to share. I pat him on the head and look at the bald eagle’s pile. In his pile are three medium rabbits, two squirrels, one small and one medium, and a large gopher. I congratulate him, and look at the last pile in front of Dagger. In Dagger’s pile, there are five medium land locked salmon, two small bullhead catfish, and several small herring. Finally, in Pebbles’ the peregrine falcon’s pile, are two medium sized wood ducks, three small sparrows, a barn swallow, and a small blackbird. I am amazed at how my birds got these fish, mammals and birds, and I take the piles of food inside. I dig a second 2-foot square hole and fill it with the ice I made by putting water from the river into jars and leaving them out in the freezing air on the night of the surprise blizzard. After this is completed, I have made a small icebox. I gut, skin and scale all the animals and put them in the freezer. I take a rabbit, a brook trout, and a squirrel and throw them to the birds and they eat their dinner with what looks like smiles on their beaks. It is turning dark, and many deer are grazing in the fields ahead. All the animals huddle around me and I hug them tight. The birds fluff their feathers, the ferret and the deer get close to me, and I feel a sharp poke on my back. I turn around and I see Pincho the porcupine trying to cuddle. I take him by his belly where there are no quills and hug him tight until we all fall asleep to the sound of bullfrogs croaking in the pond ahead.
I wake up and the sunlight is coming through my front door. I hear the rattling of hooves on my hill, and the clay on my roof is cracking. I burst open the door and over twenty deer are prancing on top of my house. It looks like they are running away from something so I turn around and see five grey wolves that clear right over my head with a single jump their nails graze my nose. One of them loses interest in the deer and starts running towards us. I pull out my jellyfish tentacle stinger and shock him on his stomach. It doesn’t hurt him too badly, but startled, he returns to his pack. When they hit the ground they start running, surrounding the deer like cattle. They are fierce predators and it is incredible to watch them in action. I was about to help the deer when I thought to myself “this is mother nature at work” and I realize I must step back and let the wolves do their job.
I wake up Stanley and I run down to the meadow to pick some fresh, wild strawberries. I fill one of my clay bowls with them and hike back to my cave. I make pancakes from roasted and ground acorns with water to create flour, and later pancakes. I boil sap I had gotten from a maple tree, and make maple syrup. We have a beautiful breakfast of strawberries and pancakes with maple syrup. We start our day with making new clothing. I take my backpack and all my clothing off and decide to make my own nature clothing of the animals my bird caught last evening. I make myself a bunny skin vest out of the three rabbits White Shadow had caught yesterday. A Gopher skin underwear with Gopher fur scarf. I also make two squirrel skin socks, and a fish scale belt. The raccoon that I saw with shellfish a couple of days ago, took my human clothes back to his nest. There is one problem now, and that is that I have a vest, socks, underwear and scarf, but no pants or shirt. I make a new weapon, which I call “Blowspear”. I hollow out a straight branch and put some of Pincho’s quills that had fallen on the ground. Next, I blow on the other side of the branch and the quill shoots out at over ten miles per hour or so. I walk deep into the woods until I find a small fawn. I load the Blowspear and shoot the deer to the ground. It is sad but if I want to survive I must do this. I carry the deer back to my cave and Stanley and I skin the animal. I get myself a nice pair of pants made from deerskin, and a shirt made of the wooly part of the animal’s coat. Now I am prepared for the cold weather. Even though it is pretty cold outside now the ponds are not frozen and the fish are going crazy. So, I think today is a good day to fish. I go to the pond and tie strong roots together until I get a thick strong root rope.
Next, I take a forked branch and tie more thick roots from each end of the forked branch. This makes a sort of net. I scrape the net along the bottom until I pull up several crayfish. I tie the root rope to one of the crayfish and throw the rope in the water. Next, I take a big stick, tie the other end of the root rope to it, and shove the stick into the ground. I bring the net back to my cave and fix the cracked roof with new clay. I fix Stanley a snack of cooked wood duck. After his meal, I run back to the pond to check if I caught anything. The branch has not budged and the water is calm. I start to head back when all of a sudden a giant splat erupts in the pond and flying lilly pads scatter against the pond. I run back to the branch, untie the rope and wrestle the rope until finally after thirty minutes of struggling, I pull up a huge Northern Pike. My dad said when he was little he used to catch lots of these in Michigan, but I’ve never seen one this big before. Their nickname is the fresh water barracuda, because they’ll eat ducks, frogs, snakes, muskrats, and crayfish, and just about anything else they can find. Even when I get the Pike out of the water, it is making some weird type of snorting noise and trying to get back into the water. I tackle him and stab him with one of Pincho’s quills. I caught the Pike by tying the Crayfish to a rope that looped around his face and tied him up. I carried the huge fish back to my cave and set it on the wooden table. Stanley is amazed and runs over to inspect the fish. He says in all the times he has been in the woods, he has never caught one this big. I ran down to the river to take a bath. All my birds followed behind me.
When I jump in the river it starts pushing me down, but I grab onto a log that is sticking out of the bottom of the river. On my way here, I had grabbed some birch bark, which is a special type of bark that grows on a birch tree. The Birch bark contains soap that when rubbed with water, it makes soapy bubbles and can be used to clean. I scrub myself up and go for a swim in the river. The water feels heavy and it seems to push me down ravine. The birds find a calmer part of the river and take a birdbath by fluffing their feathers and dipping into the water. After my bath, I chew on some mint leaves, which I have learned is just as good as brushing your teeth. I spit out the mint leaves and my breath feels minty-fresh. When I get back to the cave, Stanley is de-boning the Pike and preparing our dinner. The birds are waiting nearby patiently and hungrily, so I throw them pieces of my dinner. All of a sudden a Bald Eagle swoops over our heads. Whiteshadow, which is my Bald Eagle, flies up to protect his territory. He dive-bombs the other eagle to the ground. The opposing eagle flies up to Whiteshadow and whacks him with his wing. Whiteshadow flies up to the back of the other eagle and pecks him right at the back of his neck. The other eagle is temporarily paralyzed and swoops to the ground and lands with a crash. We all look in disbelief. Whiteshadow flies back when all of a sudden, a Gold Eagle, the largest eagle in the country, lands on a tree stump next to my cave. The wind form his wings push us back and he calls out with a shriek. One of his wings looks to be injured and he fluffs his feathers and stares at us angrily. He might not become one of my pets, but I name him Thunder anyway.
Stanley and I eat the delicious Pike and throw the scraps to Freckles, the Black Footed Ferret. I take one of the brook trout that the birds caught yesterday and throw it to Thunder. He shrieks at me and gulps it down in one bite. The next few hours he stays around our camp, walking almost like a human. After about a day of him lingering out, he finally lets me care for his wing. He shrieks and moans as I touch it and try to fix it with some herbs and remedies. I cover his wing with clay and let it dry. I have made a clay cast for him. He wobbles back into the woods and I play target practice with my Blowspear.
PART II TO BE CONTINUED.....Stop back in April!

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