Friday, April 20, 2007

Nature Study Fridays

Some time ago I set aside Fridays to be our Nature Study day. There were a variety of reasons for that, but the biggest one had to do with the fact that Fridays are my most flexible day… I can actually go out on field trips on Fridays.

So I organized a small playdate with a friend and her children, and agreed to meet her at the park at 10:30 am. Actually, I jumped at the chance since I knew the weather would be nice today! Since I don’t drive, Jacobite was going to have to drop us off before work. We arrived at 8:30 am. Since the kids are usually not even up this early (they stay up late for Daddy) this was tough ;)

But worth it.

Here is the first thing we saw… a LAMB. GREAT homeschooling opportunity… we had been learning The Lamb by William Blake just this week. So we recited it to the lambs… who promptly escaped from the field.

The Lamb

by William Blake.

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed,
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee.
He is called by thy name,
For He calls Himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and He is mild;
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are called by His name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!

So we went off to tell one of the people who worked there. He seemed to think it was OK, and he invited us to come and see some newly hatched chicks. They were precious… the mother hen still sitting on the last three eggs, which we suspect were not going to hatch. I did not take a photo of them out of deference to the mother hen :)

After this, we visited the pigs and horses, which seemed a little bit of a let-down. We identified a couple of flowers, and then, we took a nature hike.

This was a great way to use up those hours and to use up a Nature Study Friday. We saw some wild flowers we could not identify… the very common tent caterpillars (which I practically had to drag M’Lady away from since she LOVES caterpillars) were quite in evidence too.

A few streams and a pond later… we spotted some rather attractive fungi. How appropriate, considering we were just looking at Beatrix Potter's pictures of fungi... and her lifelong fascination with them :)

And then, right before the end of our walk, we spotted it. A stunning native orchid… This one is a Cypripedium acaule, a Pink Ladyslipper or moccasin flower. It positively made my day!

After this, the nice chat with my friend, and the play of the kids was just icing on the cake. Thank goodness the weather turned!

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