Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Nature Walk


It's been good weather to be outside so we took an Easter Nature Walk this weekend. We used a simple printout we found here.  Thanks for the inspiration, Bless this Mess. To see other Easter activities and scavenger hunts we do, check out this recent post of 6+ ideas for a Natural Easter.




We didn't necessarily go in order, but found something prickly or thorny to represent the crown of thorns. This is most likely a raspberry or blackberry bramble which grows all over this area at Lieber Nature Preserve north of Bristol.

We also found something soft, like the linens Mary found left behind in Jesus tomb. This is the first year growth of the Mullein plant. We saw tall torch like remnants in other areas that showed us what it looks like during the second stage of growth as we continued walking. 


Nearby we saw this shoot of a Staghorn Sumac. It is most likely eaten at the top by a deer. It is velvety feeling as well. We also found the furry remnants of this scat that we suppose is coyote scat. Near the entrance there is a lot of poop. I'm sure some of it is dog poop, but there is a significant amount that includes fur. Here it looks like the "poop" has been recycled, leaving behind the fur.



In looking for something light, my son thought the clouds, sky, and sun were a perfect fit to show the light of Christ. 


In looking for something dead, they found the dead grass. They also saw new shoots coming up, giving them hope in the resurrection and the cycle of the seasons. 


For something sharp, they found pokey evergreens and a piece of sharp wood, reminding them of Jesus' pain. One son was prickled by a raspberry cane and he was reminded that Jesus even took that physical pain for him, knowing how to succor him. 

 

We found more signs of death that also reminded us of resurrection as new life is nourished through the death of these trees.

We liked seeing the woodpecker holes in this wood. Wood was on the list to remind us of the cross. 

We also needed to look for something colorful to remind of the hope and happiness that comes from Jesus Christ. Early spring is not very colorful, yet we were able to find a sign and the pond that had some color. It looks like there is a large dome out in the pond, most likely a beaver lodge. One son remarked it looked like the tomb--I loved seeing hime make these connections. We could also hear the frogs by the pond. The spring peepers are mating right now, calling out to find a connection. 


For something round, they found the seed ball of the button bush. It reminded us of the round stone that was rolled in front of the grave. Later, we broke it up to see the seeds. My son wanted to take them home and plant them in the yard. I do think the white balls are gorgeous in July. We looked at how it's growing so near and/or in the water and how we don't have much water in our yard. My son then wanted to help disperse the seeds, trying to blow them, but they were too heavy.

For something dark, we found our shadow. It represented the darkness that came over the world after Christ's death. Another scavenger hunt we found from Bible Based Homeschooling asked the boys to count the steps to climb a hill. We saw a hill nearby so they counted as they climbed, thinking of Jesus as he climbed.

One son had lost his soccer ball privileges after pushing his brother, yet he still found he could kick a stick! Oh the resourcefulness of a child! Note his arms in his jersey. I knew it would be a little chilly and asked everyone to bring a jacket so they had it available. He left it in the van, so found a way to stay warmer. He is 10 1/2 so I'm trying to let him find ways to self-regulate, make choices, and handle consequences. 

A curious mind found this red thing on the ground. He looked around to see it came from the staghorn sumac that lines the entrance to the preserve. 


Near the entrance there are a couple of trees that are down. They are the perfect jungle gym! We noticed some people brought wood and yard signs in to make a bit of a lean to. 


It's a great place to climb and negotiate risk. We found it interesting that there was scat in one section of the top of the downed tree. What climbs up there to poop so much? 


Loved this picture of the whole gang! 



Later that day, we visited new sheep at my sister's house. These are Jacob's sheep that are mentioned in the Old Testament. They have curved horns and are pretty interesting. The youngest is just a week old and named Easter. They are also our local egg providers, so we visited the chickens, too. It's nice to know where our food is coming from and look forward to lamb later in the year.

 

One of the chickens is a little friendlier than the other and took a rest on my shoulder. It reminded me of the chick that I inherited as a missionary in the Dominican Republic. It stayed in the house with us, sitting on my shoulder or back and pecking at my pen as I wrote in my journal. 


We had a fun day exploring Easter, new birth, local food, family, and watching General Conference on TV.

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