Friday, May 8, 2015

April 2015

April is an exciting month in the woods. Fiddle heads unfurl, blueberry bushes are in bloom, and
devil's club push their buds out into the world. The woods fill with song from birds that have been gone all winter. Change is afoot! Despite the increase sunlight and warming temperatures it is still cold in the woods! Forays still required 2 layers of long underwear topped by fleece, rain gear, bogs, mittens and hats. The kids couldn't resist taking their mittens off to play in the creek, but quickly learned how cold fingers get in spring runoff!

This month we noticed the creek growing and shrinking depending on the rainfall. A small tributary even sprouted up besides our stream, but by the end of the month it dried up as the rain let up. There was lots of creek play, with kids experimenting with floating and sinking and using tools to transport the water, pour the water, and direct the water.

To keep track of how quickly they sprouted up, kids used measuring sticks (sticks pushed into the earth at the current height) to see how quickly the fiddleheads grew each time we entered the woods. We noted new growth and watched buds unfurl into leaves. Blueberry flowers were a favorite snack as were devil's club buds and twisted stalk. Kids noticed lots of mushrooms, witches butter is a particular favorite of theirs to find.

We dug in mud and in decaying logs and found earthworms and centipedes. Mosquitoes found us and on some days relentlessly hounded us! Our first mosquito attack happened in March, and we were wholly unprepared! From then on I've brought insect repellent into the woods with us.

In the heart of "Elephant Castle"
Kids have balanced on logs and climbed up old decaying tree stumps, they made a trampoline out of a big hollowed out tree that bounced! They've noticed that bear bread grown only on dead trees, and that dead trees are homes for many new plants: blueberry bushes, baby tress, and lots and lots of moss. A big discovery was that dead trees decay into dirt and the kids love crumbling the decaying wood. "Elephant Castle", dubbed by the kids, is the name of their favorite stump. They love climbing up it's ramp and standing in the heart of what once was a tree.

Forest tea this month has been different combinations Hemlock tree tips, Devil's Club buds, Blueberry flowers, and Salmonberry leaves.

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