The "what" of the environmentally-conscious method of this completion became obvious the moment I adopted a less human-centric perspective on whom I was hiding 'objects' in trees for
. But where
In order to avoid both city traffic and the possibility of getting caught in crossfire in certain parts of West Baltimore, my daily commute zigzags through many sections of parkland and other forested state land that locals use as parks. Every work day, I spend some of the drive looking wistfully at the trees and swearing that some day I'll really stop and walk around and enjoy these gorgeous surroundings at less than thirty miles an hour. Every day, the familiarity of schedule wins. To force myself to break this awful habit, I left for work earlier and came home a bit later every day for a week, stopping at the parks along the way. I imposed upon myself the following rules for tree hiding.
1. Only one object placed per stop (parking space), thus one per trailhead. This kept me from being lazy, and also from avoiding stopping in several parks that were in far less dodgy neighborhoods than I'd feared.
2. Park must be along a route I have taken to or from work, somewhere I wanted to investigate but never did.
3. Object may not be seen from the road (but must be accessible to birds or squirrels). This will make me walk further and actually explore.
Setting out with these guidelines in mind, a thoroughly rewarding and occasionally picturesque exploration just out of sight of the beaten path unfolded.
But first, the baking.
Birdseed Batter: it disturbed me slightly that the only lard-free recipe I could find for birdseed balls that could be hung from ribbons was nearly identical to the one for wheat-free cookies I make for folks with allergies, except with birdseed instead of oats.
Test Ball: the embedded ends of the ribbon are not tied, so that once the ball is eaten or disintegrates, the ribbon (nesting material) will fall off and never strangle the host tree. but will it hold?
we now enlist the help of the Almighty Toaster Oven. Respect it or suffer its burning wrath.
The test ball holds: the embedded ribbon holds, at least in the humidity-controlled environment of an indoor kitchen wall. this leaves me with the next conundrum of how to shape ten objects intended to be hidden in trees and eaten by wildlife.
Babies! I am going straight to hell. (Also, are babies made of seeds alive or dead?)
after baking an entire batch of ten children, i realised perhaps the witchy halloween theme of the kitchen has too deeply affected my psyche. it is too late to turn back.
Indeed, it is too late to turn back.
1. Gwynn's Falls Trail, Gwynns Falls Park
The first one was not terribly interesting at first, but it seemed like a passable start: a groggy Monday morning full of autumn air and good intentions. Then I turned around to head back to the car just in time to see this:
My heart was happy. This was exactly what I was hoping for. On to work, and the next.
2. Wyman Park
And again, not a hundred feet from where I am hundreds of times a year, a peaceful moment I hadn't previously stopped to notice.
3. City-owned forest, across from Wyman Park
Cookie is a bit hard to see, but is hanging from the tree on the left.
4. Catonsville Park
There's practically a Mangrove forest back here. And a football field where children play in some organised manner, uniforms and all. I lived near here for five years and it never caught my attention.
5. Druid Hill Park, South entrance, statue.
I always wondered what the statue was on about. It's William Wallace, apparently. Who knew there was that much of a Scottish population here to care? It was very difficult, here, to place the object where it couldn't be seen from the surrounding loop road. I couldn't climb any of the trees without attracting attention, so it would have to go in ground cover, instead. The squirrels discovered immediately
. In fact, this guy ran off with it while I was fussing with the flash on my camera. I sense squirrel fishing in my future.
6. Leakin Park, Eagle drive entrance.
The sign said 'you are here'. The rain from last night on the sign said 'it is wet', and that one shouldn't be climbing trees in office attire including 4 inch heels. But I was compelled, much to the detriment of my boots and, as I would discover later in the week, one of my knees. But there was ivy
, you see:
7. Hanlon Park
(geotagged below) with our very own red triangular tower.
I arrived just in time for a sunset, which almost made up for the fact that I really ought not have stopped here:
8. Carrie Murray Nature Center
As expected from signage on the main road, the nature center is a park building with a few outdoor enclosures for native kid-friendly animals, room for nature-oriented kiddie parties, trails. It also had some unexpectedly priceless signs. And another unexpected sign: one of the first of Autumn:
9. Druid Hill Park, from Wyman Park Road entrance
Another ground-level hide, as this is stretch of the park also comes mighty close to the loop road and open fields. The pavilion, however, is what I'd stopped for:
10. Patapsco State Park, Hollofield Area
Friday, I cut out of work early to place the last object, saving what I knew would be the best location for last. the bridge in the overlook is the road that I travel back and forth to just about anywhere.