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Staying Busy During Stay at Home

Posted by Janée at May 20, 2020 10:29 AM |

How some volunteers are staying busy without trail work parties on the calendar.

With WTA work parties on pause, some avid volunteers have had a little more time on their hands than normal. 

Naturally, they've spent it creatively. Some are keeping their hands busy with embroidery or crafting, some opened their homes to new (fuzzy) family members, and some are pursuing other hobbies (while keeping their trail maintenance gear at the ready, of course). 

Let's Go Fly A Kite (six feet apart)

You'll normally find Galen Denio volunteering frequently near Spokane, but this springtime he channeled his enthusiasm into another skill — kitebuilding. 

Galen flies his kite
Successful flight! Photo courtesy Galen Denio.

"With March, April and May winds perfect for kite flying, I thought I would regress to childhood and build a kite. A few 1/8” dowels, a newspaper sheet, scotch tape and a roll of twine and I was in business! Flew the first time too!"

If you're interested in building your own kite, Galen suggests following this plan.


Tool maintenance and repair wizard Jim Scrafford has taken his ingenuity to a whole new level; since lockdown started he's built his own wood mallet and chisel in his forge ... er, garage. Plus, he already had all the materials, so he didn't even need to go to a store for anything!

Jim with his homemade mallet and chisel.
We cannot wait to see these in action, Jim. Photo courtesy Jim Scrafford. 

"I straightened and cut off the blade of a adze that I had, then welded a pipe to it. Turned a wood handle (doug fir limb) to fit into the pipe, and added a metal collar to the end. For the mallet I used oak and some darker wood to dress it up. I had a real fun time putting these two tools together." 

Craft-your-own Tool

Inspired by a small kit purchased at a craft fair, Karen Bean has kept her hands busy with embroidery. She followed a few stencils, then decided to branch out on her own, creating some very trail-work appropriate designs in the process. 

10/10 would hang a crosscut embroidery on my wall. Photo courtesy Karen Bean. 

"The crosscut saw is an original hand-drawn design. I have ideas for a few more outdoor themes. So far I've done 8 6-inch embroidery designs during stay home stay safe. Some are more complex than others." 

Strong Bike Game, Selfie Game still developing

Triple-threat volunteer Pat Limberg (she's an assistant crew leader, office volunteer, and participates in Hike-a-Thon) is also a prolific cyclist. She and her husband Jesse (also a trail maintenance volunteer!) have been tearing it up around Seattle, even stopping for the occasional selfie. 

Volunteers Pat and Jesse on a bike ride.
"... Might add I am not good at selfies." - Pat Limberg

"Jesse and I have been taking advantage of this time to explore parts of the city on our bikes while trying to avoid the Burke-Gilman as much as possible. Here we are at Warren Magnuson Park...Really miss working on the trails and my time in the office."

Socializing at home

Assistant crew leader and WTA ambassador Richard Mellon and his wife Shelia took the opportunity of a lot of time at home to adopt a kitten named Elsie. Elsie had been a stray for much of her life, and so was stressed when approached by strangers. But Richard and Shelia wanted to help, so they offered to take the shy tabby. 

A gratifying degree of comfort indeed. Photo courtesy Richard Mellon. 

"Having a quiet house with no other pets, we decided to take a chance and brought her home in mid-April. After a first week spent mostly in a safe place behind the washing machine, she's begun to show a gratifying degree of comfort in her new environment. Settling in is a slow process for all of us, but we are happy to be sharing in her new life."

Using proper ppe

Cherie Chandler shared this heartwarming photo with us early on in lockdown — she was working with her son, teaching him to use a hammer and nails, and before they got started, he went to get his WTA hard hat and gloves for the project.

Brian using proper PPE
We're sure he just took the hat off to measure. Photo courtesy Cherie Chandler.

"Brian went and got his PPE without me even having to mention it! I'm pretty sure that's thanks to WTA." 

For the birds

Gerry Chambers has been accompanying her partner, Ed Deal, on raptor surveys around Seattle for the Urban Raptor Conservancy. Ed's been monitoring the Seattle peregrines for 28 years, and studying Cooper's hawks in Seattle for 9 years. Now, Gerry has joined him and they've been exploring Seattle early in the morning, in neighborhoods and parks.

Gerry and Ed birding in the time of coronavirus.
Gerry and Ed, birding in the time of coronavirus. Photo courtesy Gerry Chambers.

"It turns out the shutdown coincided with [Ed's] peak time for trying to find nests, so I have been out with him most mornings, searching for nests and trying to confirm incubation. It's quite easy to do social distancing when you're outside at 6 a.m., and it's a perfect opportunity to explore the city. 

So far Ed has found 57 active nests and 49 are incubating. The eggs should start hatching in the end of May or beginning of June, then we get to look for the babies."

For the bees

Sandra Hays has been staying buzz-y (heh) during lockdown by designing and building her own bee hives. She wanted to give them a safe place to hang out, where they'd be snug together and protected from the recently-detected Asian giant hornet. 

Sandra's bee hive
"I'm doing this for the bees; not the honey" - Sandra Hays. Photo courtesy Sandra Hays

 "My goal is to provide habitat for the bees that is as close to a tree hive as I can make it. The entrance holes are 3/8" to allow the bees in and out but are too small for the Asian giant hornet."

What are you up to?

We want to know how you've been spending your time recently. Let us know about projects, hobbies, or the TV show you can't get enough of. Send a photo or two and a short description to Janée at, and you might be featured in the next issue of our magazine!


Muledeer on Staying Busy During Stay at Home

Love the embroidery! Those squares would make a cute quilt intermixed with nature themed fabric!

Posted by:

Muledeer on May 21, 2020 08:39 AM