One morning a week I get this incredible one-on-one time tucked into our homeschool schedule to study nature up close with my youngest in the nest. Though I like to stay partial rather than favouring activities amongst the children, I must admit this is fast becoming high on the list as a best loved outing of the week.
And probably more so because the weather has been holding out for us up here in the northern hemisphere. We’ve been granted the joys of warmth and shorts and sandals for quite some time through September, which has my heart soaring, and my feet out walking more often (though sadly we’ve had to don hats and coats a few days in a row now that it’s October).
Before we set out on our hike, we read a little bit about marshes, ponds, and bogs.
If you look close enough, you can spot the blue heron in the not so great zoom on my cellphone below. We weren’t as quiet as I’d have liked to continue watching it fish. It flew off within a few seconds of our twig snapping approach.
Along the way, we took our tree and wildflower book and set to figuring out what flowers we were finding along the trails, and also what trees we were looking at from both studying the bark of the tree, the shape of the tree, and of course, the leaves on the tree.
We found oodles of these Impatiens Pallida, which we’ve discovered are related to the Spotted Touch Me Not family.
And of course this time of year there’s lots of Golden Rod and Purple Asters about. I LOVE this combination along pathways and roadsides as you probably know from my blog header pic, which was also taken along an RBG trail one gorgeous fall day last year.
We have this tree in our backyard and I found it in many places along our pathway past the bog at the RBG so we hauled out our tree book to identify it as the Buckthorn tree/shrub.
This bark from the Plane tree is one of my favorites (though if we’re talking the look of a whole tree, my absolute favourite tree has always been the Willow.)
And for littlest, the highlight is always feeding the birds. She had the joy of feeding not just the friendly and highly social black-capped chickadees, but also the downy woodpecker, as well as the nuthatch, who are likely only social creatures at the RBG where they’re used to hikers with a plethora of seeds attached to our hips. We were, at one point, somewhat swarmed with some argumentative fellas vying for the seeds (of which you can imagine I’m not so good with…high-pitched screaming doesn’t go over well in bird sanctuaries.)
Studying the milkweed before heading into the forest.
We have this really neat photo of a dead mole we found while hiking, but somehow seeing it on the blog, as much as it’s all part of nature trailing it, was just kind of gross, so we opted not to gross you out with that, and will show you some dead, but pretty, maple leaves nearby instead.
Happy trails to y’all this coming week! Maybe we’ll see you along the path. And look at that big tin of Timmie’s hot chocolate! I promise to share some with you if we happen to run into each other.