Observation

The best thing about taking a nature walk (besides the obvious: you’re outdoors and taking a walk) is the ample opportunity for observation. Observing is a skill. Like any skill, observing takes practice to learn. We have to take the time to slow down and really look; make ourselves familiar with whatever it is that we’re observing. A nature walk¬† provides a plethora of opportunities to observe: leaves, flowers, feathers hidden off in the grass, rocks, trees, insects, animals, weather…. The more we observe the more we may notice: patterns, behaviors, where to look for a certain plant or for turkey feathers. As a keen observer we notice changes, ask questions and answer them.

Every season offers plenty of wonderful things to observe but fall is my favorite season. The cooler weather is inviting and reminds us of the harsher conditions soon to come.

Get out and enjoy it while you can!

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Ezra observes a spider during a walk back in September.

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For the Love of Critters

What have we been up to? Well, if you’re one of the boys, it likely involves some sort of critter. Personally, I have never been a huge fan of snakes but it seems my boys are budding herpetologists. Thankfully the only snakes we’ve seen around here are garter snakes which are at least harmless and they do eat a lot garden pests, like snails, which we have in abundance. While we are a little break from officially homeschooling we have been been learning a lot about garter snakes- what they eat, how to distinguish a male from a female, that they give birth to live young (often a lot of live young), how long they get, and so on. We’ve even begun measuring the snakes the boys catch.So far the longest has been a 25 inch long female- we’re guessing she’s about 2 years old since she’s not quite as long has females can get when they reach full size at 3-4 years.

It’s quite wet around here, due to the almost daily rain and the slight downhill drainage of our hayfield/backyard, so we also have some frogs- which the boys are quite adept at catching- mostly peep frogs who serenade us to sleep, and this green frog fellow.

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A peep frog.

DSCN2647 DSCN2655Luckily snakes and frogs aren’t the only fascination. We’ve also been observing butterflies and moths. Quite fittingly we just observed 5 painted lady caterpillars transform into butterflies.

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A virginia ctenucha Ezra caught.

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A little friend joining us for some pineapple juice breakfast.

Of course, the kittens are still favorites.

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And there’s always fun riding our buck Manson.

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What will they find next?!

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