Wood Frog Class!

Now that all the snow has been gone for about a week and a half, the wood frogs nature class was finally a go!

These are some really neat frogs! They dwell in the northern most climates and can shut down their bodies for the winter months and then “bring themselves back to life” in the spring.

At our class today we all headed down to the vernal pool and though the frogs were quiet, we did get to see eggs and some spring growth happening. Liam had learned in the forestry class a few weeks ago that if you count a sprig of pines, you will then be able to name the type of pine tree it came from. Meaning 5 pine needles= a 5 letter word= WHITE- white pine.

counting pine needles

counting pine needles

spring growth- the shape of them caught our eye

spring growth- the shape of them caught our eye

Looking for frogs

Looking for frogs

Observing eggs! About 500 in this picture

Observing eggs! About 500 in this picture

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eggs floating on the surface of the pool

eggs floating on the surface of the pool

Winter Hike at Salmon River and Day Pond State Park

Yesterday we headed out to go hiking with our Happy Homeschool Hiker group. The weather turned out to be perfect, being mostly sunny and not as windy as it has been with high’s in the upper 30’s .  I t was a pretty big turn out as everyone in the group was able to make it to the hike. We started at Salmon River by the covered bridge, it was recently restored and one of the last covered bridges in Ct.

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We walked through the bridge to the trail head and it didn’t take long for all the kids to start throwing rocks into the river, breaking the iced edge.

 

The bridge had a few windows inside to look out and view the river.hike bridge

 

 

 

 

luke bridgeriver hike

 

 

 

 

We headed up the trail along the side of the river, it was a little bit snow covered and pretty steep. The older children are really great about helping out the younger ones. Everyone was hiking and pointing out plants and rocks along the way, small conversations with each other- it is truly fantastic how well all the children in this group get along, help each other and have fun with made up games along the way.

hikeWe reached the look out at the top of the trail and then headed back down to the cars. Next up was a hike not to far down the road at Day Pond State Park. As we arrived at our next hike, all the kids were so excited to see a man ice fishing and that they were too allowed to go out on the ice. This was the first time on a frozen pond for a lot of them being that our winters have not been that cold lately. A few wipe outs! After feeling it out and getting accustomed to the slippery underfoot, they had  great fun running and sliding on their feet. A few enjoyed some popcorn while waiting for the others.

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ice hike

 

 

 

After some free time we headed down the next trail. It was a bit muddy and many spots had water running through, covered in ice. It didn’t take long before a few adults and children started to grumble about being wet and cold. The sun was starting to hide behind the trees at this point so we did about half the trail and turned back.  Hopefully next week we’ll head out again!gangsnow hike

 

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished~Lao Tzu

Last week our hiking friends contacted us, as we had not been able to join the group for our weekly hikes for a couple of months now. Gratefully, they were flexible and accommodating to our availability this week and we met for a two-part hike yesterday.  The quote “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” fits perfectly as our hike was one of the longest yet; 7hrs on the trails!

-Haley Farm State Park and Bluff Point State Park-

Upon our arrival our friends were there to meet us as well as a new family! It was great to see our older family and we immediately hit it off  with the new family.  We set out and the boys all ran ahead, grabbed sticks, talked about legos and such 🙂 It wasn’t too long before they spotted a nesting area in the woods and took guesses on who’s home it may be. We then stopped by the water’s edge and they climbed along the rocks- the imagination and conversations never stopped!

Next, they all spotted a huge boulder to explore and had a quick quiz on what type of rock it was and how it was formed. A few of the puddles surrounding the rock had baby spiders  in them! They all loved this find!

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We headed out took a new path that led us to a foot bridge over the train tracks and as luck would have it, the train came by. As we continued walking the boys continued with games; hiding behind trees, climbing rocks spotting different specimens to examine and throwing rocks into a small body of water we came across. We stopped for a snack, explored some rocks and shells then turned back to head towards the cars….again many stops for exploring, conversations and climbing rocks!

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Once back at the cars, we decided to head over to Bluff Point about five minutes down the road for a picnic lunch. It was only down the street, but the difference in temperature was drastic! We all had to bundle up as the wind was pretty constant and cold by the picnic tables. As we all cleaned up and re-packed our bags for our next hike, the boys had gathered their legos and started a new games chasing each other around and making plans for a get together to trade pieces with eacNew Image09h other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once everyone was ready (many bathroom trips and last minute adjustments later) we headed out to make our way to the Bluff. As we came to the first beach area, the boys found many rocks to collect, jellyfish and clam shells to explore, etc. This stayed true for the entire walk! We kept joking that we were going to be hiking back in the dark! A normal hours walk out to the bluff turned into  about a two hour walk- We finally made it to the bluff, took some photos and then headed down to the rocky coast just down below for some more explorations and a lesson on types of rocks as one of the parents has vast knowledge on rocks and their formations.

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At this point the sun was starting to set, so we started to head back. We were using flashlights by the time we made it to the parking lot! It was a beautiful sunset and a great way to have spent our day! A round of hugs for all, plans to get together soon-we were off! Nothing was rushed, and everything was accomplished!

 

 

 

 

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Our Happy Homeschool Hikers Group

Through photos; This is our weekly hikers group, all from this summer! Most hikes started with a two hour hike then it was time to swim!

Mashamoquet State Park in Pomfret,CtSilver Sands State Park in Milford, Ct -Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme,Ct

MASHAMOQUET

SILVER SANDS– very early morning hike to make it to the Island before the tide started coming back in.

Unfortunately the beach was closed for swimming so we all headed to Chatfield Hollow for an after hike swim.

ROCKY NECK STATE PARK

“I Spy” So Much Fun!

Today we headed over to a place called Bakerwoods Farm.  It has just about   everything that we look for in a worth while educational field trip.  Imagination, nature, science, history, animals, nature trails, a picnic area and the  kids favorite part: the “Gnome I Spy Nature Trail”l!

We first set out to see all the animals as many of them came to greet us upon our arrival!

I think “peggy the goose” was one of the first animals we met, who we learned has quite a little history to her life so far.

Peggy the Goose

We made our way through all the animals.

Grazing Horses

Babies!

The Big Guy

The we headed out to the “I Spy Gnome Trail”.  The first thing is to get your paper with the items to “spy” while on the trail. We spotted everything on the list except for three things while on our walk…maybe next time we’ll get them all?!

Knock, Knock!

Then we took a lunch break and finished up with another nature walk through the Ancient Path Trail. We used our imaginations and made up some short stories and ideas about the facial expressions we saw in the trees!

As we left, we talked about what stood out to us today.  For Liam who’s 8: The Gnome Trail- cause it was really cool to walk around and find all the hidden objects!

For Luke, who’s 2, he said( in so many words): I like the bird with the costume, he played pee-a-boo! He kept saying “costume” because of the way the birds plumage stood up around it’s neck. 🙂

For me, I appreciated the entire experience and feel very grateful for the hard-working people who run places like this for others to enjoy- very welcoming and fortunate to have people like that in this world!

There is no fee, they accept donations.

We “spied” many other nature items throughout the day as well.  If you can take a trip, I urge you to take advantage of this peaceful, relaxing, educational and fun atmosphere it’s very unique and you’ll spy many other things I have not mentioned as well!!

Covered Bridge

Some Hives

Liam spotted some pretty fungus

Pretty roadside

This is not just a hike!

Alas, the sun finally made an appearance and we were ready to hike after a long week of being stuck inside! We live in New England, so therefore, we packed both our suits and our sweatshirts- not knowing just how the weather was going to turn out as the day progressed. Gotta love it!

We meet regularly with a small group of local homeschoolers’ and hike new trails. This week we set out to Wolf Den State Park! A favorite trail of ours, that we have hiked once or twice in the past.

This week I took to noticing that the group of children~more in particularly my own, have really begun to be quite the little nature bugs! They all have so many questions about the plants and trees they are seeing, or looking for conformation on recognizing one from a previous hike. “What kind of leaf is this?” “What is this over here?” “What kind of bug is this?” “Isn’t this the same flower we saw last time?” “Did you hear that bird, what bird is it? ~They all take turns to yell out with excitement at one point or another with something they’ve spotted, and everyone else runs up eager to see!

The flowers have blossomed as well as the relationships with this group! They seemed to have quickly noted the likes and dislikes of each other, and will shout to each other when they spot something they know the other is interested in. As well as a fair warning! They check in with each other as we walk, look out for one another and encourage one another along the way as feet and spirits get tired. My youngest son riding along in the backpack get many visitors too, whether it be for a rock or stick or some other treasure found for him to hold, or more precious, another child walking beside us holding his hand and talking with him!

This week was pure conformation to me that this is not just simply a nice hike outdoors with friends, this is hands-on life learning at it’s best! So many basic skills and life long relationships are being formed! Image

ImageImageCan’t wait for next week! 🙂ImageImageImage