Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Early Bird and the Stubborn Human.

Crisis, threats and close calls have a way of expediting processes, Por ejemplo: Yesterday I almost burned down my tipi and everything in it while attempting to bake bread, today I bought a grill grid to put over the open fire. Problem solved, and the evolution of mans return to tipi continues. I used my left over badder from yesterdays debacle and cooked up some more bread, it turned out much better this time, still not all the way cooked in the middle, but I take what I can get. I always end up cooking more than I need, but left overs never go to waste. The bread has a striking resemblance to pancakes (not by design) which makes it great for a quick breakfast. Starting a fire and cooking in the morning is to much of a hassle anyhow, so it's nice to have something ready.

Morning in the tipi is an interesting time. I'm not much of an early bird, but I now know why the term is early bird and not early grasshopper or early ant. The early bird gets the worm, and the early bird wakes up josh in his tipi when he's trying to sleep at 5:30 in the morning. The neighbors rosters do their share, but they're no match for the song birds right above my head. The structure of my tipi consists of 12, 25 foot lodge pole pines (Trivia of the day: Do you know why they are called lodge pole pines? Answer: The settlers gave the trees this name because they noticed it was the type of tree natives used for their tipis, or lodges, lodge poles. Lodge pole pines were the perfect trees for the natives of the great plains region as they often grow very close to each other and in an attempt to compete for sunlight they grow tall and straight, perfect for a tipi.)

First, the three strongest poles are tied together on the ground, this is the tripod, the base of all things tipi. the tripod is then lifted (typically requiring two people) and set into place. Then the remaining 9 poles are placed evenly around the three main poles. Once all the poles are in place the remaining rope used to tie the tripod is wrapped around all of the poles 3-4 times and the rope is staked into the ground to add extra stability against high winds. So if you can picture that, you can see how all twelve poles converge at the top of the tipi, about 12 feet in the air, then the remaining length of the poles sticks out above the canvas forming a hour-glass type shape.

What I noticed through the interest of the birds is that the convergence of the 12 poles resembles a birds nest, and the top half of the hour glass shape is a perfect perch for a bird hangout. It's like a coffee shop with free wi-fi for birds. This isn't something I take issue with. I'm glad I'm able to provide this asset. I feel like a contributing member of society, albeit, the bird society. But some times the birds get a little rowdy and I fear a hostile takeover of the tipi. When this occurs I shake the poles a bit and they usually back off. And the whole singing at 5:30 AM thing? Really birds? You need to chill out. Or maybe I'm the one that needs to get with the program. I live in the elements now. It's time for some adaptation. When the sun seeps in, replacing the beige shading of the canvas with a golden yellow it's time to rise and shine, and when it's to dark to walk around without fear of stepping in the fire pit which may still contain hot coals from dinner, it's time to hit the sack. We spend a lot of time today trying to beat nature, maybe we should give cooperation a shot.


  1. This is a very cool blog! Good luck with that bread!

  2. Have you read the book Into the Wild? because they should have made you a part of that book.

  3. Quinn,

    I read Into the Wild in college, it made me want to pack up my things and head out west. It took a couple years after that, but I made it out west and now I live in a tipi, perfect! :)

  4. Is there any concern that birds will poop through the holes in your teepee, or will bird poop get filtered outside the teepee the way rain does?

  5. John Haley,

    I wouldn't call bird poop a concern, but it is a definite possibility. From my experience they prefer to poop on a target, such as my white canvas.

  6. John's question is exactly what I was wondering that entire post. Bird poop would be a big concern for me. Do you sleep in the middle or of to the side? I guess that could make a difference.

  7. Leah,

    I sleep on the side, no fear of bird poop, and I haven't had any bird poop come into the tipi so far, so that's a good sign!