Our Nature Journals Week 12

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Spring arrived with torrents of rain, and granite skies, but as the week progressed, the skies lightened to blue, with the kind of puffy grey-bottomed clouds that England is renowned for.

The natural world is bursting right now with spring-time changes; the trees in the lanes are dusted with bright green buds, birds are singing, we hear the sound of insects in the woods. So exciting!

Rose began a page for her Field guide, all about the Oak tree:

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In her journal she sketched a wee Common Newt

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For my Calendar of Firsts, I painted an Ash twig, and a wee toad that Rose had found.

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What is happening in the natural world around you?

Happy exploring!

 

Our Nature Journals Week 11

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It’s been a lovely week here; spring sunshine and gentle breezes, with the odd heavy shower. The natural world is changing so quickly right now, waking up from its deep sleep. For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you will know that we have a lot of mud!

Rose decided to sketch her wee Horse Chestnut tree. In late summer 2015, Rose brought home a conker from the woods and planted it in a pot. Somewhat surprisingly, it began to grow the following spring (Horse Chestnuts often take a few years to germinate.) and is still faithfully growing.

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There is so much to record, but I plumped for the Lenten Moon, which was last weekend, a sprig of Pussy Willow, and a spunky wee Ladybird that crossed my path.
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How are your journals coming along this week?

Rosie’s Field Guide

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This week was the first nature walk for Rose and two of her friends. We are planning to walk together each week, then return to my home, so that the girls can work on creating their very own field guides.

Our first outing was a great success; I began by sending the girls off to play for an hour, as per Miss Mason’s instruction:

“Then, there is much to be got by perching in a tree or nestling in heather, but muscular development comes of more active ways, and an hour or two should be spent in vigorous play; and last, and truly least, a lesson or two must be got in.” Vol 1 pg 45

The girls were most interested in the pond, as the toads and frogs are spawning.

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Once they had finished their play, we began our object lesson. We are starting out with the study of trees.

Children should be made early intimate with the trees, too; should pick out half a dozen trees, oak, elm, ash, beech, in their winter nakedness, and take these to be their year-long friends. In the winter, they will observe the light tresses of the birch, the knotted arms of the oak, the sturdy growth of the sycamore. They may wait to learn the names of the trees until the leaves come. By-and-by, as the spring advances, behold a general stiffening and look of life in the still bare branches; life stirs in the beautiful mystery of the leaf-buds, a nest of delicate baby leaves lying in downy warmth within many waterproof wrappings; oak and elm, beech and birch, each has its own way of folding and packing its leaflets; observe the ‘ruby budded lime’ and the ash, with its pretty stag’s foot of a bud, not green but black – 

     “More black than ash-buds in the front of March.” Vol 1 pg 52

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Here are twigs from some of the trees we observed:

Hawthorn, Horse Chestnut, and Ash.

We observed the placement, size, colour, and texture of the buds. We talked about the presence of lateral buds, (growing along the sides of the twig) and terminal buds, which grow at the end of the twig).  Placement of the buds is key to helping us identify the tree; the Ash and Horse Chestnut have opposite branching (buds growing in pairs)  The Hawthorn has alternate branching, with the buds growing one at a time.

The buds of many trees are protected by a covering of modified leaves known as scales which protect the new leaves growing inside. The Horse Chestnut scales are covered by a sticky substance which gives even greater protection to the developing leaves. The girls thought that this would be a good way for the tree to protect itself…

We came home for lunch, and after a smashing game of Rapidough, I worked with the girls to help them create the first page of their Field Guides.

We are working on heavy A4 paper, which they can slide into page protectors, to be kept in a special, dedicated binder.

Here is Rosie’s first page:

Happy exploring!

 

Our Nature Journals Week 10

 

Lots of rain and sunshine this week, some days we have been soaked, some days, basking in the late winter sunshine.
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The frogspawn is in abundance, much to Rosie’s delight. She is hoping that she will soon find the endless strings of toadspawn.
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We have also seen many birds carrying nest building materials. In the garden we hang little tufts of sheep’s fleece, and the Goldfinches, Great Tits, and a wee Robin have been putting it to good use.
Our week has been unusual this week, in that we have not spent as much time on formal lessons as we usually do; we have been out on trips, plus we had the first meeting of a wee nature group I am running for Rose and two of her friends.
Not much time spent journaling, but Rose sketched a Hydrangea leaf:
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My Calendar of Firsts:
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How are your journals coming along this week?

 

Our Nature Journals Week 9

We have experienced so much variety of weather this week! Shrove Tuesday was freezing cold, with heavy rains, sleet, and eventually snow.  Although this week has been very chilly, some sun has punctuated the otherwise grey skies.

The snowdrops are still blooming, both in the woods and in my garden, and frogspawn is beginning to appear.

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Rose did a handsome sketch of the Magnolia buds on our tree.

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Her typewriter is currently in favour for all narrations.

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I sketched a Daffodil (March is here!) and one of the wee Wrens that visits our feeders.

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Happy March!

February Phenology Wheels

Back in January, we began to keep phenology wheels to record not only the changes in the natural world, but also the festivals of the liturgical year that we celebrate.

Here are our entries for February, which Rose worked on whilst I read from the February chapter of Roald Dhal My Year, which is new to us, and is proving to be a very lovely, engaging read.

Rose recorded the frogspawn that we found in the pond on Monday, along with symbols for Candlemas and Saint Valentine’s day.

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I recorded both the frogspawn, and also Hazel catkins, along with symbols for Candlemas and Saint Valentine’s day.

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Our Phenology Wheel posts for the year:

January

 

Our Nature Journals Week 8

This week has been sunny mornings, followed by rainy afternoons. then a dark, rain-lashed brush with Storm Doris.

Rose found our first garden frog of the year.

img_0833There were tears over this one. She can’t draw frogs she said. She doesn’t know how to get the colours right. It all became very sad. She drew the head on a sheet of printer paper. We worked on local colour, and adding in the darks. I remembered the battery operated eraser I had tucked away and I showed her how to use it to make the highlights.

And everything was all okay again.

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I found the first daisy in the park. Spiring is coming!
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What is happening in nature in your wee corner of the world?