Identifying Areas To Improve Upon. Reflections, Paul’s Pre-K, Week 3

Week three done already!  It feels like we’ve been at this for much longer than that!  Paul is into it, he asks to do his “homework” just as sister had to do her’s during the school year.  I love that … Continue reading

Nature Walks – October 2015

“So come, get ready. Don’t delay! We’re on a nature trail today.” ~Maurice Pledger, from In the Forest As I keep saying, time just feels like it’s flying, and I can’t believe that October is come and gone! For the … 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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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 – September

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

~Maurice Pledger

This comes almost a month late, but better late than never, I guess.  My excuse is appropriate though, I feel, as I haven’t had a proper computer for the past three months. But finally!  Though, unfortunately, we are not sure that we like what we got…and may send it back.  Until we make a final decision, I did all ready download some pictures, so I might as well use them.

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Summer lake

On Labor Day, we headed to the lake, and enjoyed the summer weather riding bikes, playing in the water park, picnicking, and fishing.

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Cicada on sunflower

Elizabeth spotted this cicada while we were down by the garden.  We had just been on the road, and hearing the cicadas, I had commented that sometimes we used to see them on the branches of the trees in Honduras, but I had never seen one here in the US like that.  We briefly looked into the high branches but didn’t see anything there, as cicadas blend in pretty well.  But then we went to the garden and her keen eyes spotted this one on a bright sunflower.

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Butterfly chrysalis

One day, I spotted this chrysalis on the little used clothes-line, which is strung between trees behind the house, slightly in the woods.  Elizabeth has long been interested in chrysalises, I sometimes wrap her up in a blanket as a “pupa”.

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Large basswood leaves

For the unit in which we read We’re Going On a Leaf Hunt, we went on a leaf hunt. On our hunt, we collected leaves of many different species of trees and shrubs.  Our hunt culminated in these huge basswood leaf, which Elizabeth could not resist. She picked the one in her hand.

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Monarch butterfly

Lastly, one day while looking at the cows across the road from the part of the property that is down by the garden (our property touches two roads), I happened to look down and see that the toddler was standing on this monarch butterfly.  We picked it up gently, then carried it down to the horsebarn (that has no horse :(…), and Elizabeth wanted to leave it inside in case it was just stunned.  The following day, she checked to see if it was still there, and it wasn’t.  We hoped that it had flown away and continued on it’s journey south.

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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 – July

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

July, of course, is high summer with all sorts of interesting things to see on the nature trail, and Elizabeth impresses me every day with her observant eyes. My husband made a comment on it and I said that I thought that it was partly because she is closer to the ground than we are, but of course, it’s more than that. Kids have amazing observational skills, that can be honed to be more sharp if encouraged, or diminished with discouragement. Here are some of the things my 4-year-old discovered this month on our property. P1070219 While out riding bikes by our garage one evening, Elizabeth, who has been on the look out for a toad or frog since we found one hopping along the trail one day, heard/spotted this one. Unfortunately for this toad, it was partly inside of a snake’s mouth. We tried to not disturb the snake too much, but it did get spooked enough to spit out it’s dinner, which is too bad for both the snake and the toad. P1070105 Probably ranking as one of the coolest things I’ve seen on the property so far was this Red Eft, the juvenile morph of the Eastern Newt. My husband found it right next to the front porch, and it hung out there for about 24 hours. Because their skin secretions are toxic, we washed our hands after touching it, and tried to not bother it too much, hoping it would stick around for a while. P1070027 One of the books in the Moving Beyond The Page curriculum is Fireflies by Julie Brinkloe, in which a boy joins his friends as they catch fireflies. So, since fireflies are out now, I thought I’d let Elizabeth get an experience similar to the one in the story so that she could empathize with the character. Twice now we have braved the mosquitoes and caught fireflies in her butterfly net in the twilight. We put them in a jar with cheese cloth on the top and let her keep them in her room over night, before letting them go the following day. P1070072 There are a few of these plants off of our trail, near the field end of it. Last month we observed the little white flowers it had, this month we were checking out the fruit, which is slowly turning gold and looks like it belongs on a Christmas wreath. We don’t know what it is, so if any readers know better than us, we’d love to know! P1070082 The last exciting thing we found this month on our nature trail were the blueberries and blackberries at the end of it. Here’s a picture of our first bounty, and sadly, they are both all ready done in our garden. Note worthy: this year, the domestic blackberries produced a ton of fruit, and the fruit of the wild bushes was left to the birds. Do you take your kids on nature walks? What are some interesting things you have seen together?