Stacia Green of Fire University dances with fire on Friday night at the UC Davis Whole Earth Festival. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

Local News

Whole Earth how-tos: Whistles, bracelets, tea

By From page A1 | May 11, 2014

Check it out

What: Whole Earth Festival, themed “Curiosity Connects,” featuring music, food, crafts, education
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
Where: UC Davis Quad
Highlights Sunday: Documentary “Flow” screened at 10 a.m. in Young Hall; French folk funk fusion music by Dgiin, 2:20 p.m. on the Quad Stage
Admission: Free
Info: https://wef.ucdavis.edu

Haven’t yet made it to the Whole Earth Festival, or feeling the pangs of nostalgia already? Make your own whistle, braid your own willow cord or celebrate the art of tea with our how-tos, all based on activities taught throughout the festival, which continues through Sunday on the UC Davis Quad.

Bamboo flute
Based on instruction by Skyler Blakeslee

With long blond hair and a breezy half-open shirt, Skyler entertains the kids and adults crowded around him with a quick Irish jig. A quick and easy flute player, he always carries his silver tin whistle with him and showed me how to make one out of bamboo.

Materials needed:
— Bamboo
— Drill and forstner drill bit
— Sharp knife
— Stiff, round brush for cleaning

Notes before you start:
Kids, have an adult supervise.
“Nodes” in a bamboo are the seams along its stem — they are solid and divide the bamboo into natural sections. The length of the whistle affects its pitch, so it can be cut shorter or longer. If you have a different length bamboo than what’s listed here, just keep the ratios constant between the tone hole (the one closest to the mouth piece) and the six finger holes.
The bigger the inner diameter of the bamboo, the louder it will be and the more air it will require to play.

1. Find a section that measures about 10.5 inches from node to node.
2. Cut your bamboo about 1 inch past the node on one end, and just before the node on the other end. You should have a tube with one node an inch below the top of the whistle.
3. Create a shelf for your whistle. With a sharp knife, slice a thin piece of bamboo off, starting about an inch below the node to the top of the whistle. This should create a flat section about a 1/2-inch thick at the top.
4. Finish your shelf by cutting out the flat space above the node. The shelf should still be attached to the whistle, the round part of the top of the whistle above the node cut away. Don’t throw away this piece! We’ll use it later.
4. Drill the tone hole 1/4-inch below the node.
5. Drill six finger holes with the following measurements (measured from the bottom of the tone hole to the bottom of the hole): 4.48 inches, 5.07 inches, 5.85 inches, 6.63 inches, 7.12 inches and 7.8 inches.
6. Now, take the round part you cut off the top part of the whistle in step 4. Cut that down to create an arch about 1/2-inch across to match the shelf. There should be a small (1/16-inch) gap between the arch and the shelf of your whistle when you rest the arch on top.
7. Tie it down, clean out your flute and the holes with the stiff brush.
8. Make music!

Other sources: http://www.sammytedder.com/rvrcane1.htm

Willow cord
Based on instruction by UC Davis Outdoor Adventures

The UC Davis Outdoor Adventures plans and guides river rafting, camping, hiking and climbing trips, open to all (though students do get a discount). It also offers health care classes, like CPR and first-aid training. Use willow cord for bracelets, key chains or a loop for your tin whistle.

Materials needed:
— Thin branches of willow
— Charcoal
— Water
— Sharp knife

Notes before you start:
When collecting the willow (which can be found along Putah Creek and elsewhere), make sure to take just a branch or two from each tree. Don’t leave them barren!

1. Cut the willow branches in quarters along its length.
2. Strip the outer, exposed bark from the inner, more supple bark. You should end up with thin strips of light-colored wood.
3. Boil the inner bark for about an hour in water and charcoal. This will strengthen your cord.
4. Tear the thicker strips into thinner sections, 1/3-inch thick or thinner.
5. Hold a strip about one-third of the way from one end and twist tightly until a loop naturally forms.
6. Grasp the loop with your non-dominant hand so you have the two ends of the strand hanging down.
7. Twist the top strand tightly two or three times, then loop it toward you over the other strand.
8. Move your non-dominant hand down so it holds the twist you just made.
9. Repeat until you have the cord. One end will run out before the other — just weave in a new piece!

Gongfu cha — Chinese/Taiwanese tea ceremony
Based on instruction by Ashley Miller

Ashley Miller, a fourth-year anthropology student, studied abroad in Taiwan two summers ago but snuck off to study underneath Stephane Erler, who runs the English-language blog “Tea Masters.” Gongfu Cha translates to “To make tea with effort.”

Materials needed:
— Tea, like Gaoshan (high mountain) and Luanze (Oolong)
— Gaiwan, to steep the tea in
— A saucer and tea cups (lightweight porcelain)
— Hot water (boiled until the bubbles look like “crab eyes” — don’t over boil)
— Bowl for old water/tea

Notes before you start:
Tea ceremonies are an art, so the presentation and atmosphere are important. Flowers, cushions and a tray for the tea all help. Tea leaves can be reused 4-5 times, but must be steeped slightly longer each time.

1. Heat the cups, Gaiwan and saucer with hot water and empty
2. Add the dry tea to the Gaiwan
3. Pour the hot water into the Gaiwan, lifting the water vessel up and down to “make the tea dance”
4. If oolong or high mountain, steep tea for less than a minute. Smell the top of the Gaiwan for the tea’s light fragrance to know when it’s ready.
5. Pour tea into saucer.
6. Pour tea into the tea cups, filling each about a quarter cup each round to evenly distribute the flavor of the tea.
7. Enjoy!

Elizabeth Case

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