Sunday, June 8, 2008

New Paddling Partner

Today I'm announcing to the world that my days of solo canoe paddling may be over. My wife and I are expecting the birth of our first child (apparently a boy). I'm convinced the ultrasound photos show him with his hands in the paddling position solo canoeing on his left side. My wife mentions he doesn't seem to be kicking but more like shuffling, maybe testing out his balance and practicing underwater recovery strokes in the fluid world of the womb.


Paddling away in the womb


Of course I'm probably just seeing what I want to see but I've already decided to pick up the new MEC NAYA infant PFD to get him used to the paddling experience and have even started drawing up ideas more mini-paddles, bark canoe toys for bathtime, and a canoeing-themed mobile for the crib. Unfortunately, I've failed to convince the wife that instead of using a commercial basinet, I could make another birchbark canoe model for the little one to sleep in. The naturally curved shape of the hull could've been perfect to rock the baby to sleep but she just laughed off my suggestion nervously (which I interpreted as "no way in hell is our baby going to sleep that!")

I'm reminded of the fact that while reading The Indian Crafts of William and Mary Commanda by David Gidmark during my canoe building research, I came across his chapter on the Algonquin Tikinàgan or infant cradle-board. Apparently very few people were left with the skills to build these pactical infant carriers when the Commandas' work was documented in 1980 and an internet search today reveals precious little info on the topic. Wikipedia mentions it in passing on their Algonquin page:
    "For babies, tikinàgan (cradleboard) were used to carry them. It was built with wood and covered with an envelope made of leather or material. The baby was standing up with his feet resting on a small board. The mother would then put the tikinàgan on her back. This allowed the infant to look around and observe his surroundings, therefore start learning how everyday tasks were done."
Snowgoose.ca's Native Gallery has a few shots of a bark carrier made by Atikamekw builder Edmond Dube, fully decorated with winter bark etchings.


Edmond Dube's Birchbark Tikinagan posted on Snowgoose.ca


Guess the bushcraft loving, nature freak in me is hoping my little one learns to the love the beauty of the outdoors as much as the old man...



4 comments:

Pawistik said...

Hey Congratulations! Big news in the blogosphere.
Have fun, now you can start carving kid's paddles.
Cheers,
Bryan

Murat said...

Thanks Brian! By the way, I've been thoroughly impressed with your boat building project for the girls and their involvement in the decoration of their own paddles. Great stuff!

Pawistik said...

Thanks Murat, the girl's paddle is finished shaping as of yesterday. I need to finish it up this week since Friday we're heading out to the lake and I plan to launch their new kayak. In an effort to make the edge of blades more durable I'm going to try to put a copper wire around the blade. The trick is getting it to stay in the right place around something less than 1/8" thick and curved. I bought some crazy glue this morning which I'm hoping will tack the wire in place until I can epoxy it on and add a layer of fiberglass to the blades.
Cheers,
Bryan

Murat said...

Copper wire edging, ehhh? What an interesting idea! I hope you document your experience and let us know how it turns out.

Post a Comment


Newer Posts Older Posts Home Page