Monday, November 23, 2015

Nature Study

This one tiny bloom seems a bit confused about which season it is supposed to be - but pretty either way! One of my favorite things to do on a slow day is go for a nature walk. I can remember as a little girl collecting goodies out on my walks and I haven't tired of it yet!

My children, fortunately, are just as interested as I am which makes it a fun thing for us to do together. We just go outside and marvel together at nature and all the intricate details of it. They made up "acorn skating" today. If you live near or under an oak tree as we do - you hear the loud pops all day and night as they hit your roof, windshield, sidewalk and in our case, skylights. It worries friends who come over sometimes who are not used to the sound!

At any rate, our yard and several others in our neighborhood are covered in a veritable carpet of acorns. This led to the discovery that you can sort of slide over acorns and they will roll you along - ahhh, what we do for fun! And, oh that sweet creativity of imaginative children!

We brought all of our goodies home and sorted into three categories: nuts/seeds/berries; mushrooms/moss/fungi/bug shell and then leaves of various sorts.

I brought my laptop outside and we began our research to learn more about what we'd found - it was interesting as we usually get crafty or artistic with our finds and this was more scientific and like a treasure hunt to notice details and think of ways to describe the item to Google.

We struggled on leaf identification other than the obvious ones but had much better success on our other items.

We learned that hickory nuts are extremely hard to crack and faintly smell like maple syrup inside. We were thrilled to find this one nut above that had a root growing out of one end - what a great visual of the job of seeds!

We learned about those brown cherry looking things on our neighbor's tree - ornamental pear! And, some interesting seed pods came from a crepe myrtle. We also came across three different varieties of acorns and had fun examining the differences.

We learned a lot about how to identify a mushroom and all the differing properties that help narrow down what kind we found. We see so many ugly mushrooms it felt sort of fun to find the quintessential red/white variety.

Lichen. Fungi. Cicada. Sweetgum ball affectionately called a "crouton" by my outdoor-salad-making-children! :)

Magnolia. Maple. Oak. And, other things we haven't quite discovered yet. The variety of color, design, edges, points, texture, stems, thickness - all of it is quite dizzying. God is an amazing artist and we are so privileged to have it right out our door at all times.

Have you taken a nature walk lately? Did you discover anything new to you or especially wonder-full?


Mom said...

Love this! I fondly remember our nature walks (picking up "goodies") when you were little, but we didn't have such a ready resource to look up what each item was. You are making great memories as well as learning! :)

Jennifer Williams said...

We also love to take nature walks and collect 'goodies.' We have a nature table by our kitchen windows where we put our collections. I laughed when you talked about your visitors being startled by the sound of acorns falling on your home. We have lots of pecan trees on our property that drop huge pecans on our house and cars. It can be very loud, and it does tend to worry visitors to our home. I always have to explain what the sound is. :-) And I chuckled over your kids calling the sweet gum balls 'croutons.' We also have a sweet gum tree, and years ago one of small boys at the time dubbed them "pokey balls," and the name stuck. :-) Happy Monday!

Tina Leigh said...

It's always such a busy time of the year for us here but one good thing is that we are working outside in creation and it is cool. I can only admire the changes here. One variety of the pecans has a beautiful leaf color change to a golden yellow. To look into the orchard & see a golden tunnel...When we are grading our pecans, we always find interesting things, tiny pecans, two pecans growing together, some odd type of pepper looking things (that must be from a weed) peanuts! Always odd things coming across the conveyor, tiny turtles, mushrooms. You never know! I love nature. I think having an appreciation for nature is seeing God! It always renews me. You are instilling an awesome thing in your children. I love the different colored leaves yall found & the fact that you are taking the time to teach your children about them. All of the treasures yall found are details of God!

Monica Wilkinson said...

@Jennifer: glad you can relate to the crazy sounds falling nuts make! :) I don't really even realize it anymore unless we have company! Pokey balls - cute! Love the imagination and descriptions given by children!

@Tina Leigh - YES! Details of God for sure!!!