Picking the right tree
|Cutting the bark||Peeling off the bark|
|Scraping the Bark||Rolling the Bark||Bringing the Bark Home|
Making the Basket
. From Days of Augusta. (1973). J.J. Douglas Ltd. Vancouver, B.C.
This story is told by Augusta or Mary Augusta Tappage, born at Soda Creek in 1888. It was recorded in 1973. There was also a video produced featuring Augusta to accompany the selection of stories by Augusta.
And that’s how they make a basket –
With Saskatoon wood,
And thin cherry bark.
The Saskatoon wood makes it strong.
The spruce roots make the weave.
The cherry bark is design.
And the choke cherry tree.
It’s made of birchbark, this one,
We use them for picking berries.
They’re good for berry baskets.
First we cut the birchbark from the tree.
Don’t just take any kind.
By the feel of it, yes, how thick –
You’ve got to pick it out.
Don’t just cut it away.
You cut it toward the sun this way.
An old man told me “cut toward the sun”.
See the dark brown lines how short they are.
Is good. The long lines tear.
The short are strong, just as God made them.
Don’t just sew with anything.
Use the spruce root where it strings out
Just below the ground.
Take it up with gloves
and peel them and split them –
It’s easy when the sap is running.
And make it strong with Saskatoon wood
Bent around the brim,
And put a handle on the buckskin.
And there you have a berry basket –
A birchbark berry basket,
Layer on layer, just as God made it.