Thursday, April 29, 2010

Outdoor Hour, Challenge #1

I have long intended to start the Outdoor Hour Challenge series based on the Handbook of Nature Study. We just never seemed to get to them. Winter is not exactly the time I wanted to start something like this. While we could do it during the winter, it would have been much less rewarding than now. If we get into a good habit, then we might continue through the winter. We'll see.

The first challenge was fairly simple: spend time out side, talk about what you saw, investigate further.

outdoor hourWe spent our time in the back yard. The kids brought all sorts of things in with them: tree leaves and seeds, flowers, pine cones, grass, a little of everything. Then we sat down at the table and looked over what they found. There were some new things to identify, and some things we already knew. Kiddo wanted to put his things on sheets of paper so he could write down what they were. What a great idea! Kutey followed suit, but she was less interested in the writing part. The tape was the fun for her! She moved on to coloring once everything was taped. Once Kiddo had everything taped down, we started learning more about many of the items on the pages. We identified the maple trees in our yard as silver maples based on their leaf shape and seed shape. We learned more about dandelions. We learned that the small purple flowers that have been growing everywhere in our yard are common blue violets. We learned that our evergreens are some sort of spruce tree, though we are still uncertain as to which kind.

The most interesting thing we learned is that we have lots of wild edibles in our backyard: Dandelions can be eaten, the maple tree can be tapped for syrup and sugar, the common blue violet leaves and flowers can be eaten, and the creeping charlie is used in various edible forms, such as tea. We're planning a feast from the wilds of our backyard! It makes me even happier that we have not sprayed our yard in 9 years. We can consume these items with out worry, as long as we pick from our yard!

So, what wild edibles do you have in your yard?

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