Thursday, June 4, 2015

Nature Calls: Out & About!

It is summer vacation for most. 
Down time. 
No school. 
Free to play all day...

Around here Dad's job is actually busier now than at any other time. And it's ridiculously hot outside these summer months. So we school!
But when he gets a couple of days off, we join the majority and enjoy some end-of-spring and summertime fun.
This week we had two glorious days of nature-loving activity around here.

Day 1: a local state park

Due to the insane amount of rain during the month of May, we couldn't hike any trail except to the spillway (which, in our opinion, ended up being wonderfully refreshing and enjoyable altogether).

Our noses were greeted with a fantastic sweet aroma, of which we soon discovered was coming from the Basket Flower. I always thought these were thistles, but they only resemble them in appearance. They are not at all prickly like a thistle. This is where Miss Mason's sanctioning the close observation of nature pays off!

Basket Flower

Besides the Basket Flower, we also were inspired to find the name of this pretty purple bloom, which turns out to be a Lemon-Mint (also having a nice fragrance). Interestingly, it contains an oil from which cintronellol is obtained. The dried and crushed leaves rubbed on the body can serve as a modest insect repellant!

A glowing red mushroom...

Hiking atop the dam, we came to the spillway and were amazed by the sight of water rushing down several falls, something we had never seen before due to the drought of years past. It was so invigorating...


Day 2: hiking up the creek near our house 

Again, it is amazing how the presence of water changes things. Appearance. Attitude. Animal-life.

Our usual creek scene, due to all the flooding, had been changed because of mudslides and movement of rocks to where at times it was difficult to remember where certain points of interest were previously located.

But the massive amounts of water also cleaned up the look of the creek. It was so delightful to walk through smooth shallow pools and over modest, refreshing cascades.

And on our way home, we gathered some wildflowers for a pretty table bouquet, consisting of the Lemon-Mint, Meadow Pink and Mountain Pink.

A pleasant reminder of our days out & about in nature.


  1. I too love the wildflowers that end up on my kitchen table albeit quite common ones from our neighborhood! We used to live near a wonderful creek that my boys loved to explore and wade in. These are the best parts of our school days. We still have yet to find a good one near our new home (new state).

    1. Oh, I do hope you come across a good place to go exploring! I often think how we would manage without so much nature and wide open spaces for natural discovery if we lived in a city. It reminds me to be so thankful :-)

    2. I'm hopeful as I've found a Charlotte Mason inspired homeschoolers group and we will be joining them next week for a nature walk with plans to sketch. I'm excited!

      I'm glad you have a rich environment in which to explore. I'm sure I will find the same in time even if it is a little further away!