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What Is an Atlatl? How Is It Used? October 28, 2010

Posted by Wapello Warbler in History, Louisa County.
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At first glance, the picture above may look like a simple stick, but it is actually an atlatl (pronounced AT-l-at-l).

An atlatl is a Native American spear chucker than can add distance and velocity to a spear without sacrificing accuracy. Back in the days when David was using a sling to wing a softball-sized stone at Goliath, the folks living in southeastern Iowa were using these for hunting and possibly warfare.

To use one, you place the butt of your spear on the tongue of the atlatl (that’s the short little stub of branch). You grab the shaft of the atlatl and lay your index finger over the shaft of the spear. if you have a fancy atlatl like the one above, you can rest the spear in the little Y shaped twig at the other end, otherwise rest the spear on your knuckles. The next picture shows how it’s done.

Holding and atlatl

You throw the spear as you would without the atlatl except that, as your arm comes over your shoulder, you take your finger off the spear and snap your wrist. Finish with your hand pointing at the target.

If you want to add a little more pop to the atlatl split the end of the atlatl and place a leather thong across as shown below.

Atlatl with thong

My thanks to Kathy Dice, a naturalist with Louisa County’s Conservation Board, for teaching a dozen of us how to make and use spears and atlatls last Sunday. You can find out about upcoming LCCB events by visiting Naturally Louisa and subscribing to their newsletter.

In Memorium: Connie Street October 27, 2010

Posted by Wapello Warbler in People.
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Connie Street died Monday night, October 25th, 2010. Connie was a journalist and amatuer historian who wrote several of this blog’s most popular posts:

There will be a memorial visitation at Wittich-Riley-Freers Funeral Home 1931 Houser Street, Muscatine, IA 52761 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm on Saturday, October 30, 2010.

Lost in the Corn October 25, 2010

Posted by Wapello Warbler in Grandview, Small Town Life.
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In the Maze

Friday night I tagged along as our church youth group and Venture Crew 007 took in the Corn Maze at Barnyard Blooms in Grandview. I had a blast.

The teens ran the maze, pausing occasionally to scare the beejeebers out of each other.

We adults wandered aimlessly at times. Other times, we explored more purposefully, cheating with aerial photos we’d copied onto our cell phones.

Our Iowa corn is usually six to seven feet tall, making it ideal for mazes. GPS controlled planters make it posssible to do very elaborate designs. This year’s maze is a salute to our troops.

Aerial View

To make things a little more challenging, check points with quiz questions related to the theme have been placed in several spots in the maze.

Check Point

Weather permitting, the maze will be open through Halloween. Click here for cost, hours, and directions.

Keeping Up with the Fun October 22, 2010

Posted by Wapello Warbler in Events, Louisa County.
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October and November are outdoor months here in Iowa. Harvest is progressing rapidly. Football, marching band contests, and cross country have the teens outside. In addition, the County Conservation Board and the Port Louisa Refuge have come up with some unique outdoor programs.

Last weekend, I was out at Virginia Grove Park for the annual Halloween Hike.

This weekend I’ll be working my way through a corn maze, attending a workshop on using digital cameras for nature photography and learning to make and use an atlatl (spear chucker).

In a few weeks the Port Louisa Refuge will be open for photographers and birders hoping to get a good look at the ducks and other birds that stop there to rest on their way south.

You can share in the fun by following along in my blog or, if you live nearby, you can get advance notice of similar activities from the Naturally Louisa web site.

While you’re there, browse around. You’ll find all kinds of information that will help you plan a great weekend here in Louisa County.

P.S. Congratulations to the football team for advancing to the play offs, to the cross-country team for taking districts and moving on to state, and to the band for taking first place in the Ft. Madison and Mt. Pleasant competitions and earning a 1 rating at the state marching band competition.

Next Year’s Queen Anne’ s Lace October 18, 2010

Posted by Wapello Warbler in Nature, Wild Flowers.
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Wild Carrots

While I was poking around the roadside photographing sunflowers and asters, I came across a large patch of wild carrots. Next year this carrot patch will produce beautiful Queen Anne’s Lace. (more…)

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