Woodworking & Waterfowling Equipment
“Respect your elders!” Has anyone ever said that to you?
Sometimes people say that to remind us to be polite around older people. But respect can be a lot more than just being polite. You can respect what other people do, make, and believe. Think of an older person you know. What talent or belief of theirs do you respect?
When Pat was young he liked to spend time with his dad’s friends who were skilled at traditional wood crafts. He respected their skills and wanted to learn how to make the same things. He learned to do woodworking by being around these men, asking them questions, and working on projects with their help. Below is a photo of Pat and Ted Thyrion, one of Pat’s mentors.
One reason why Pat respected these men and their skills is because of where they all lived. The northwest section of Green Bay has lots of sloughs and marshes. Many of the people who live in this area value hunting and fishing and all the crafts that go with those activities. For Pat, learning how to make waterfowling equipment was part of his regional heritage.
Another way in which Pat is connected to this heritage is through his knowledge of the region. For example, he knows what land produces the best products for his woodworking. Listen to him explain about where he gets wood for canoe paddles. You can read along by clicking here.
Respect Goes Two Ways
Pat’s work is not showy and decorative. It’s simple and plain—a trait that is valued in his community of woodworkers. For example, Pat doesn’t make his decoys look as realistic as possible. He makes them sturdy and practical instead. Listen to him explain how his technique of making decoys has changed over the years because of changes in tools. You can read along by clicking here.
Pat became expert at working with wood and making waterfowling equipment. His superb work is well respected by the people who use his snowshoes, push poles, paddles, canoes, and decoys.
In Your Community
Do you know people that hunt waterfowl or use traditional boats and skiffs in your area? The waterways in Wisconsin are abundant, so many Wisconsinites have traditions dealing with rivers, lakes, and streams. Does your family have waterway traditions? Do you know someone that uses traditional decoys when they hunt for waterfowl? Does your family have a great wild game recipe you could share with you class?
If you’d like to learn how to make duck calls, identify waterfowl by their wings, prepare and cook waterfowl and many other related activities, then check out the Resources for Students. You’ll also find Pat’s great recipe for Wild Game Chili! If you’re interested in learning more about skiff building traditions, check out the links for skiff traditions in New Jersey and in Louisiana.
“That’s how I was taught by Ted Thyrion. I don’t have a lot of new and different ways to do it now, but that’s how I do it.”
– Pat Farrell