Monday, April 29, 2013

The same nature walk....but new again!

"Let them once get in touch with nature and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight and habit through life." ~Charlotte Mason

One of the the things I encourage the children to do is to try and find what is different in the yard as we go around. In the spring, this is super easy to do as the plants are all new and the changes seem obvious on a 
near daily basis.

Remember these lovely flower? They were only just opening and covered with rain drops the last time I took a picture.

The daffodils are coming fact, in the 2-3 days since I took this picture, the buds are just past the leaves & far more yellow. Oddly enough, my next door neighbor's are all completely in bloom!

With the much warmer weather, comes the opening of windows & the patio door. Unfortunately, even the the screen door latched, this big beastie has figured out if he jiggles it enough, it will unlatch and he can get outside. Today, we let him stay out and roll in the dirt. He was very happy about that, nibble on fresh catnip, ate some other plant leaves that he should not have (and those with cats know what happened later, lol!), inspired the 2 year old to try same said leaves. Momma figured that one out immediately and we had a chat about not putting just any old plant in the mouth.... For some reason, G3 would not cooperate with looking at the camera & smiling, so here is his tongue.

This is where it gets complicated about what plants we can and cannot eat around the yard. The mint (even the cat mint), the parsely, basil, & chives  are just fine to eat the leaves of as one feels the mood. Other plants, not so much. Then, we have the asparagus bed showing up (those spikes have grown another 2-3 inches since this was taken a couple of days ago!). I like to eat it straight out of the bed. But, the younger 2, while knowing it is edible, have no clue how to properly harvest it.

The regular vegetable garden is not yet quite ready to plant, but we will probably start getting things in there this coming weekend. Before we put up the fencing that keeps out both the 4 legged & 2 legged critters, the children love to run around the beams. PE? Who needs PE class when they can do this? But then, we also have a very basic low balance beam that we use for fun obstacle courses in the yard.

We also looked at the pussy willows last time. Before they were just barely out and very soft and fuzzy. I love them at that stage. Here, you can see that they are "out" a whole lot more. 

A quick study in our Handbook of Nature study revealed something I had not known until now....the fuzzy parts are the flower! Seriously, I had no idea. But, my children won't go through life with that kind of cluelessness.

Here is one take just today and you can see the change that happened in just 2 days time. They are now covered with pollen
While running around looking for things, as we come up the far side of the yard, the little ones decide that a game of Hide & Go seek is in order. G3 is quite certain that he is hidden from M3.

However, in the running about near the pine tree on the left, they spied something bright blue under it. It is a beautiful (and sadly, very cold) robin's egg. We talked about what it was and that there was a baby bird inside that would not hatch out now. We were very sad about that. Such a tiny beautiful egg.

Surprisingly, G3 wanted to hold the egg, but not for long because M3 was already dashing across the yard to look at the next fun thing! That might be a good thing, because I am fairly certain there was a tuft of bunny fur in the mix below the tree...

During today's walk around the yard, we noticed the ant hills that had showed up between the bricks at the firepit and the back sidewalk. I gave both of the little ones magnifying glasses to use so they could watch these tiny ants up close. G2 spent quite a bit of time watching them. 
This is not from the nature study walk at all, and really belongs in the earlier post about Macktown. Except it doesn't totally fit there either. This is the Rock River in Rockton, IL.  It is WELL over its banks here, rather loud in places, and moving very, very swiftly.  It is actually down a couple of feet since last Thursday.

It gave us the perfect opportunity to talk about where the snow goes when it melts & where rain goes when there is too much for the ground to soak up. We also talked about the dangers of moving water and how they should never go into water like this because they would get swooshed away and we might not be able to help them.

If the weather holds tomorrow, we will go over to the local nature preserve and see what changes we notice since our last trip there in November. I wonder if the frogs are out by the pond (the pond is in the background picture of the blog).   And I know just where to look for some asparagus there...

"Children should be encouraged to watch, patiently and quietly, 
until they learn something of the habits and history of bee, ant, 
wasp, spider, hairy caterpillar, dragon-fly, and whatever of 
larger growth comes in their way.
(Vol 1, II, Out-Of-Door Life For The Children, p.57 )"

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