Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Trailing Arbutus: Buried treasures better known as May Flowers

We went for another walk today with a couple local home schooling families here in Wasaga Beach, Ontario where we live.

We started our day with a small discussion of vascular and non vascular plants and a couple little experiments (The two home school families we joined today meet every week to do science together). We put celery in water with food colouring to show the veins in the celery as the colour water travels up (I forgot to go back in and take a picture after our walk though).
We also put a napkin in a dish of coloured water to show how non vascular plants like moss absorb their nutrients. There was also a container of non vascular plants like moss and some vascular plants like grass showing the leaves and the root system to examine up close. Then we headed out for a walk.
The plan was to look for vascular and non vascular plants but the kids had other plans after being shown a couple real examples and ran off ahead.
The younger ones stayed closer.
I managed to get a couple pictures of them but my real picture treasure for the day was finding May Flowers also known as Trailing Arbutus which I haven't seen since growing up in Nova Scotia as they are not Native to BC where I spent most of my adult years.
Seeing them brought back so many childhood memories of forest explorations. I hope that some day my children look back on all our walks with fond memories sparked by little details that bring them so much joy. It's amazing how such little things can fill you up with such great happiness.
They aren't grandiose plants, no large billowing blooms. They are just small dainty flowers that smell oh so pretty.

The Teaberries also known as Wintergreen were plentiful today and we snacked on quite a few. We didn't see any blooms so I assume these are all this years batch of berries. Teaberries can have red berries on them year round if nothing eats them.

 This is the only picture I got of the older kids...they were scampering up this hill to race down the sand dunes on the other side.
 On this hillside I found some Wild Columbine.
Columbine about to bloom
 Aayla was very interested in examining this tree while she waited for us moms to get to the was more steep then it looks and the youngest had a hard time climbing it.
 When we got to the dunes I spotted something which I think is a Morel but it looked like it was a bit past it's prime. I do not know enough about mushrooms to trust this as being the real thing and not a poisonous look alike either. This was the first Morel I have ever seen if in fact it is real. I just like photographing mushrooms.

By the time I got my pictures of the mushroom the older kids were off and running again and the younger ones stayed to play in the sand for a few minutes.

Then it was time to start heading home. 
On the way back I found some broken Robin's egg shells.
I also found this leave which has this bubble like hollow pod attached to it. Thanks to google I managed to find THIS info on what it is. I have never seen anything like this before...have you?
Aayla examines a weird sac on a dead oak leaf.
 The wild strawberries were everywhere, all in full bloom. There will be a good crop of them here. Such small little berries but they really are delicious.

We found some fallen birch trees which were perfect because I needed a tiny bit of birch bark for a project I need to complete this week.

We have been having so many lovely walks lately. I am thankful for such beautiful weather, wonderful company and budding friendships. The world is our classroom and we love learning in it everyday.

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