Dreams, Cloud Shapes, Cats, and Caterpillars. Reflections, Paul’s Pre-K, Weeks 5 & 6

Looking back on the last two weeks, I don’t feel like much formal schooling was done, yet I remind myself that at one point I had considered unschooling and really we’re doing lots of other things outside of the book … Continue reading

Back To It! Reflections, Paul’s Pre-K, Weeks 1 & 2

I am so excited!  I have decided to homeschool Paul for pre-k and we started last week! He is old enough that he would be entering pre-k for the 2017-2018 year, but I just don’t think he is ready to be in school all day.  … Continue reading

Nature Walks – September 2015

“So come, get ready.   Don’t delay!  We’re on a nature trail today.” ~Maurice Pledger, from In The Forest September.  September done, no less.  Actually, my nature walks pictures from September 2014 were in my mind all month.  I kept remember … Continue reading

Nature Walks – June 2015

“So come, get ready. Don’t delay!  We’re on a nature trail today.” ~Maurice Pledger, from In The Forest As the end of June was drawing nearer, I feared that I wouldn’t really have any good pictures for our nature walks … Continue reading

Nature Walks – October

“So come, get ready. Don’t delay! We’re on a nature trail today.”

~Maurice Pledger, from In The Forest

October was beautiful here in Upstate New York.  I spent a lot of time raking leaves, and the kids came out and jumped in the piles.  Here are some pictures of autumn in our yard.


One day, Elizabeth decided that she wanted to have a picnic.  Her brother was asleep, so we took some blankets and snacks outside.  It was breezy and the clouds were moving fast overhead.  I enjoyed just laying back and watching them, something I don’t have the time to do very often.


A very small sampling of trees in our woods.  Just this amount of trees lets loose A LOT of leaves though!


One day while raking, I found this huge worm right up on top of the grass.  Both kids held it for a while, then Elizabeth “saved” it by carrying it to the center circle that our driveway runs around.


Also while raking, I also found these two caterpillars.  Our woods house lots of different kinds of caterpillars, and support a healthy bird population – which we absolutely love!

Nature Walks, August

“So come, get ready. Don’t delay! We’re on a nature trail today.”

– by Maurice Pledger, from In The Forest

I can’t believe that August is finishing up! Can you? We started our homeschool, yet maintain time to get outside. Summer is the easiest time to see interesting things on the nature trail in the north, and we were not let down! Here are some of my favorite things that Elizabeth and I saw together this month.


Elizabeth holding red eft

The tally for red efts seen on our property this summer is up to three, and each successive salamander that we find is smaller than the last. Here’s red eft #2.


Fungus with fungus!

It’s quite humid in the woods, and we have seen a plethora of different types of mushrooms either on the trail or just off of. These were some that really interested Elizabeth, starting out brilliant orange, and then they wilted and got moldy. We laughed at the idea of a fungus having a fungus on it… It also tied into a book on microbes that we got a little bit ago, she’s now an expert!


Tiger moth caterpillar

Elizabeth found this caterpillar at my grandmother’s while my mom and I were having our yearly yard sale. The best ID I could make on it was that it is a tiger moth caterpillar, if I’m wrong, please let me know! The little guy hung out with us for a while, but didn’t want me to photograph it’s face, it was shy.


Argiope spider

This decorated lady has reappeared in the garden. She is an argiope spider, also known as an orb or garden spider. I personally have a phobia of spiders, and as she is the largest spider I’ve ever seen in the north, I always give her a wide berth. But Elizabeth finds her interesting. Here’s a little story: Last year, Elizabeth was loving spiders, and every spider that she found on the house (there are lots as we live right in the woods), she picked up and let run all over her. She knew this lady was in the garden, and as she is so large, and makes a large, sticky web, she was trying to avoid colliding with her. But one day, she forgot, and walked right into the web. The large spider was on her forearm, and that girl screamed bloody murder. This year, Elizabeth gets close to check the spider out, but she is more conscious of where it is. Luckily the web is on the fence where you can’t walk into it.


Rainbow over Niagra Falls

Lastly, and our nature trail doesn’t end remotely close to them, but we went to Niagra Falls one day. It was drizzly, but the sun came out after a while and here’s a beautiful rainbow over the falls.

Nature Walks – June

“So come, get ready. Don’t delay! We’re on a nature trail today.”

-Maurice Pledger

A friend of mine who homeschooled her kids told me that after their daily lessons, she’d take the kids on nature walks, and I love that idea. It wouldn’t be a stretch for us to make it a habit, as we do all ready loosely do something of the sorts. Here are some fun things we have seen lately on the property.


Decorative caterpillarWe found this interesting caterpillar on a wild raspberry bush. I had originally guessed that the white things were the eggs of a parasitic wasp, but upon uploading the picture and seeing it on the computer, I can see that they are just part of the caterpillar’s fancy suit. Maybe they are meant to fool a parasitic wasp into thinking this caterpillar has all ready been parasitized? Or maybe they help it blend into a leaf that has caterpillar eggs all over it?

Next, we heard a buzzing coming from the door of the garage, and discovered this fly caught in a spider’s web. Elizabeth was enthralled, and we watched for quite a while as the fly struggled and the spider threw one line of silk after another over the insect. When we returned later, the fly was wrapped up. The following day, there were no signs of leftovers at all.


Another day when I was reading stories to Elizabeth before her nap, she heard a bird call out her window and went to look out. She then called me over to see two “nest” right out side. Well they weren’t nests, they were two Northern Screech Owls eyeing the birds at our feeders! They were very relaxed, even when they noticed us in the window, I mean how could we be large predators way up in that tree that they hadn’t noticed before?


This is how they looked a little bit later when I went outside to get a better look and some pictures. This time, I did seem like a predator, so they assumed the stiff, upright position that makes them look deceivingly like a piece of broken branch. I love how they squint their eyes!

Do you take your kids on nature walks? What are some interesting things you have seen together?