|Posted on April 15, 2011 at 12:53 PM||comments (0)|
One of the fun things KodyGirl and I have tried is making our own worm bins and self watering bins. The self-watering bins work great. Unfortunately the worm bins were not nearly as successful and ended up in unhappy worms with very little compost. Very sad since we have a lot of kitchen waste that needs composting. Now for the good news. The multilayer Worm Facotry that I really really want is currently being offered in a giveaway. You can read all about it here http://creativecarissa.blogspot.com/2011/04/worm-factory-review-and-giveaway.html?showComment=1302886268000#c8329098488075869592 .
Winning or making your own worm bin is a great way to get your gardening season off to a good start!
|Posted on August 11, 2010 at 10:21 AM||comments (0)|
This is from Cori's blog and is a wonderful example of including nature studies in your family's life. By-the-way, if you spend any time outside be sure to check out Henry and his plantain story in this post. That stuff works for all types of stings and scratches you may encounter as you do nature studies. We use it just like Henry describes.
|Posted on May 19, 2010 at 2:18 AM||comments (0)|
I went a little bit crazy and found a bunch of ideas for nature study, handcrafts and games for camping this summer. Hopefully there is something in the post for everyone. ~Cori
|Posted on April 26, 2010 at 5:30 PM||comments (1)|
Yes, KodyGirl has proven Ms. Mason right once again!
I've been in the process of revamping our homeschooling and have been thinking about what has and has not worked within the area of nature studies; esp. since one of my kids is considering being a forester or a naturalist as a career option. As I was thinking about this and remembering some recent nature identification based discussions with my youngest I realized that most of what she remembers she learned........in story form. She will proudly identify a Douglas Fir pine cone and when asked how she knows what it is she will give a brief synapsis of the Native American story she was told in regards to identifying this particular pine cone. She does the same thing with star identification. She remembers the story along with the facts. Whenever she and I discuss medicinal herbs, which is fairly often, she will tell me about how that plant is used in the Warriors books. She is even planning a garden based on the plants used in the Warrior books. Now she has done plenty of other types of nature and life science studies but she rarely refers back to those experiences at all....unless there was some sort of living book or story telling involved.
I am going to have to remember this as we move away from the more formal resources we had been using in the past. I need to get more comfortable storytelling and find even more living books. Thank goodness there are plenty of stories in Keepers of the Earth...I'm going to need them with this child.
|Posted on April 6, 2010 at 7:44 PM||comments (0)|
Are you up for a challenge? The Children and Nature Network founded by Richard Louv, author of "Last Child in the Woods" has issued an outdoor challenge for April. We are going to do it. I hope you will join us and post your experiences. ~ Cori
For more information click on either of the following links:
|Posted on April 1, 2010 at 7:00 PM||comments (0)|
This recipe is originally from Acorn Pancakes, Dandelion Salad and 38 Other Wild Recipes listed on our nature study page. We found the recipe to be rather skimpy on the details so here is our version.
1 cup biscuit mix, tempura, or other batter
3/4 cup to 1 cup milk (we thought 1 cup was too much)
1 TBLS honey or other sweetener
4 cups dandelion flower heads (without stems!)
seasonings of choice
1. Pour between 1/4 and 1/2 inch of oil into deep skillet (medium size is best) and begin to heat.
2. Mix together the ingredients.
3. Place dandelion flowers head down into the batter and spoon more batter over top to cover.
4. Drop head first into the hot oil.
5. Fry until golden brown.
6. Turn with tongs until golden on the other side.
7. Drain on paper towel and serve hot or cold.
*Make in small batches
*I thought they were too sweet but the kids thought they weren't sweet enough.
*Using a fork to pick out the flowers from the batter and drop into the oil allows the excess batter to drain so your oil stays clean longer.
*The original recipe didn't call for spices. These *need* seasoning or they are very bland
*My son and I liked them, although he did say they weren't nearly as good as onion rings, but might be if they had seasonings. My girls strongly disliked both the taste and texture. I think these fritters may be an acquired taste and I highly recommend seasoning them to your family's preferences.
|Posted on March 29, 2010 at 11:25 AM||comments (0)|
"Ordinary Life Magic" is a great unschooling blog. I love her ideas for art, science, nature study and the all around encouragement for masterly inactivity. I also liked her post about Negative Thinking. She has a couple of blog addresses, so be sure to click on each link. Enjoy! ~ Cori
Arts and Crafts with Egg Ideas:
A good post about Negative Thinking:
|Posted on March 16, 2010 at 8:33 PM||comments (0)|
I like this blog, Jimmie's Collage. I like this post about a rock and mineral study she did with her daughter. I only wish my boys were old enough to put this much into it. I'm keeping this bookmarked for later. ~ Cori
Jimmie provides some links and here is another source for rocks and geology:
|Posted on March 16, 2010 at 11:37 AM||comments (3)|
Do you have a child who loves honey? Does anyone in your family have asthma or allergies? If so, then here is a fairly easy activity to do with children or as an SOS (Saving Our Sanity) activity for yourself. I find making herbals to be quite relaxing and sooting to the spirit during stressful times. Since there is no cooking this is even good with young children---as long as you have a high tolerance for sticky messes. The following video, from LearningHerbs dot com, gives a good overview of the process.
1. Place the herbs or flowers into a small glass jar. I used a pint canning jar.
2. Pour local honey over the herb. Yes, you really do want to use local honey rather than national brands. If using it to help prevent asthma and allergy attacks using local honey is vital as it contains pollen from local plants.
3. Using a thin utensil, mix the honey and herbs thoroughly.
4. Top off with more honey and stir again. Repeat until the jar is full of mixed honey and herb.
5. Close with a tight lid.
6. The first week you need to restir the herbal honey daily. For less mess, you can also flip the jar daily to mix the herb and honey.
7. Let steep for 2 to 5 more weeks.
8. Strain the herbs out if you want. Delicate flowers like roses and violets can be left in.
How to Use:
*Spread or drizzle on favorite foods.
*Take a teaspoon to a tablespoon daily for medicinal purposes (asthma, allergies, digestive problems, etc.).
*Stir a tablespoon into hot water and drink as a tea.
*Add to your favorite tea or hot beverage.
*If using dried herb or flowers fill the jar only 1/4 of the way full.
*If using fresh herb or flowers fill the jar upto 3/4 of the way full
*If making for asthma/allergy prevention I add a tablespoon of bee pollen (and strain the honey only if absolutely necessary to make it edible).
*DO NOT USE WITH INFANTS UNDER 1 YEAR OLD.
*Always use local honey. For the more medicinal honeys I add in some Manuka honey, although I find it too thick and expensive to use alone.
*If your child does not like traditional homemade cough syrup you can use the same herbs in an herbal honey and use it to soothe sore throats.
*In general, I try not to heat the honey I am using but if your honey is too thick go ahead and heat it just enough to make it thin enough to get into the jar and able to mix with the herb.
*The range of what flowers or herbs you can use seems fairly wide. I can't wait to try rose and violet honeys once these plants start blooming. In the fall you can make rose hip or garlic honey. You can also use spices such as cinnamon.
Herbal Honeys We Made This Week:
Tummy Remedy Honey: use fennel seeds and chamomile flowers
Lavender Honey: I love anything lavender scented or flavored. Can be used for upset or anxious children.
Dandelion Flower Honey: this one is a pure experiment
First Aide Honey: we use this instead of products like Neosporin, I like to use equal parts comfrey leaf, comfrey root, lavender, plantain. THIS IS NOT EDIBLE due to the comfrey root. Great for cuts, scrapes and minor burns.
Fennel Seed, Star Anise & Licorice Root Honey: my family loves anything fennel or black licorice flavored. This is another one of our experiments.
|Posted on March 10, 2010 at 6:41 PM||comments (0)|
Here is a nice blog. The link will take you to her posts related to Charlotte Mason but there are other good posts too. Enjoy, Cori
|Posted on March 2, 2010 at 11:41 AM||comments (0)|
I found a great website for Nature Study! It is organized and informative and they also carry a wide variety of products for nature study.
"For over 20 years, Acorn Naturalists has offered resources that advance science education and promote environmental literacy. On our website and in our print catalog we present a dazzling array of resources and activities that nurture curiosity about the natural world. Our selection provides teachers, outdoor educators, parents, and naturalists materials to enhance classroom and field learning."
I found it while linking books for my blog. I wrote a post about Animal Tracking and included some of our favorite books about animals too.
Check out the Acorn Naturalists website:
And my blog post, Animal Behaviors, Signs and Tracks:
I would love to hear about your favorite resources for animal tracking.
|Posted on February 14, 2010 at 9:19 PM||comments (0)|
If you are looking for inspiration to get outdoors, here is how we are approaching our Charlotte Mason nature study. Older children might enjoy scavenger hunts. My younger children love looking for fairy homes...
|Posted on December 13, 2009 at 3:31 PM||comments (0)|
A friend posted this video to her Facebook which is how I came across it. I am including it here because, even though the activities may seem basic and simple to us adults, it is a perfect example of what kids do when they are given masterly inactivity time (ie. play time with minimal adult interference). Masterly inactivity is when children explore, practice and/or apply what they have learned previously but with NO adult interference or input. Masterly inactivity can be just your child by themselves or with their friends. According to Charlotte Mason, masterly inactivity is one of the prime gifts we can give our children and a major factor in a well-rounded happy childhood. Masterly inactivity was a major factor in my childhood and I spent much of mine exploring the woods, playing with the animals or sitting in trees. Unfortunately, much of today's society seems to overlook the importance of masterly inactivity as it seems somewhat in opposition to our modern perceived need to keep our kids safe from the world outside our homes.
|Posted on August 15, 2009 at 12:37 PM||comments (1)|
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a112/destinysdarkness/Garden%20Photos/chicory2_1.jpg%22%20border=%220%22%3E%3C/a%3E" width="1" height="1" />Drats. I couldn't get the picture of chicory to load onto the site. Guess I will have to use the pictures I took even though they aren't nearly as clear. Will add those next time I'm adding images to the website.
Anyway. On to my little story about Chicory. Ever since childhood there have been these blue roadside flowers that I just love. They are the most beautiful blue ever. I've spent most of my life admiring these flowers. Then, last month I was reading a chapter in Pocketful of Pinecones where she is talking about when the kids found a chicory plant. I turn the page and her drawing of said plant closely resembles my favorite roadside flower. But the illustration in the book isn't in color so I'm not 100% sure it's the same plant. Low and behold, yesterday the kids and I were driving down one of our streets when I see my favorite roadside flower. So, I eventually get back to that spot and take some pictures of it. I then hit the internet to see if this really is chicory---and it is. Yay!!! I've always read about chicory in my historical fiction books but never realized it was that flower that I like so very much. Now, Drakon and I have another wild edible plant to add to our studies. I am quite excited!
Chicory can be used as a coffee substitute/additive. Apparently you can also use the leaves for salad making and I know I've read some medicinal uses for it. Will have to go back and find those! Now, I'm wondering if the beautiful flowers are edible. I just love adding flowers to my salads and Kody Girl wants to learn how to sugar the edible flowers we often come across.
Pictures of the beautiful chicory plant will be forthcoming.....
|Posted on July 4, 2009 at 2:21 PM||comments (0)|
Yesterday was so darn hot that we knew we were going to have to spend the afternoon outside so we headed out to Hornings Hideout--a favorite hangout of our family. The kids have practically grown up there and Bassman always enjoys running into his friends that live and/or work there. I was hoping for an afternoon of nature studies but it was too darn hot for focused attention. Luckily, it was a great time and place for some masterly inactivity lol. The kids love the play structures and space to run around. And of course, there are the full scale naval battles. (Okay, really just water guns with paddle boats on the pond but great fun none-the-less on a hot summer day. I don't think we could have gotten wetter if we had fallen into the pond lol.) I was even able to sneak away for some quiet time of my own and did a smidge of nature sketching. And yes, I have finally learned how to upload images. Now I just have to figure my camera out more so that I get better photos. I am so glad the photo of the deer came out as it was just one of those perfect life moments.
Of course we had to say hi to the peacocks. They have dozens of them. Pretty soon we will be able to go collect peacock tail feathers for crafts and such. The males, except for the white one, were in full display even though the females weren't giving them the time of day.Silly boys.
Here is the nature sketch. Unfortunately you can't see the details or read some of the words but you can get the general idea (that I am not an artist lol). It was quite a pleasant way to spend an hour or two. KodyGirl flitted through occasionally to check on my progress and offer her observations. I spent far more time observing than I did actually sketching. I also had no eraser so that was interesting and a good art exercise. Luckily, I was just trying to capture the essence of the place and season. I had read Jim Arnosky's Sketching in the Summer the previous day and therefore was "prpoerly" inspired.
Here is a photo of the actual location. Unfortunately it was not possible for me to really get a photo from where I was sitting while I was sketching (too close for my camera skills). If you look to the middle left of the photo you will see a bag, water bottle and/or sketchbook. That is where I was sitting sketching what I could see directly across from me. The creek itself had hundreds of waterboatmen and dozens of butterflies and moths.Isn't it just the image of cool tranquility???
And just before we left we saw this lovely image of a deer enveloped in the trees and sunlight. The imagery was quite powerful and a wonderful way to end the day!
|Posted on July 1, 2009 at 12:13 PM||comments (0)|
Yesterday was an absolutely lovely day. One of those days that makes you remember why life is worth living. I love those kind of days! Our CM inspired co-op started it's summer classes yesterday; PE and nature studies. We do them at one of the local parks that has both a field area and plenty of critter habitat. We also have the freedom of switching to other parks as needed. PE is always amusing since some of the kids, like mine, are not all that experienced in traditional games like kickball. I do have to say they are doing better with that game than they did last year, though. I think the obstacle course was the highlight for the kids. I know KodyGirl is hoping for more obstacle courses in the future. Last year their favorite activity was dodgeball but I think it may now be surpassed by their love of obstacle courses lol. *I* loved the nature studies we did after Pe and lunch. One of the moms has gone through a year-long nature training and yesterday she began teaching us how to identify trees. Thank goodness, because I needed some help with those dicotomas keys (or however that word is spelled)! She is having the kids make their own identification books which I think is a very worthwhile endeavor. I am considering making one for myself even. It felt so good to be outside with our friends! The girls were so happy and tired at the end of the day. I was feeling quite inspired by the time we left. Six and a half hours outside--it felt like such a CM day! Loved it and I feel more alive today (and a bit crispy around the edges) because of it. Just wish I had some photos of the day to share with you all. Maybe next week since I am taking my camera in hopes of capturing the red tail hawk on film and photographing some plants Drakon and I want to identify for our herbalism studies.
|Posted on June 23, 2009 at 3:08 PM||comments (2)|
Here's a funny. So, I went to this conference and attended various workshops, met various folks who's books and materials I have been using, as well as discovering some new ones. Well, after attending their workshop, getting to see the materials up close and personal instead of only online, and getting to chat with some of their staff and parents I came home very excited about the Wilderness Awareness School in Duvall WA. I'm telling Bassman all about it , showing him the various books I bought from them, and talking about this awesome camp for teens, when all of a sudden a lightbulb goes off. Turns out Bassman has actually attended one of their camps, a Bass Nature Camp and the folks who taught the nature portion are all from, or affiliated, with the Nature Awareness School. I remember him coming home from that camp so excited that was all he could talk about for months and he got several of their recommended readings for Christmas/Solstice that year. It really had a profound effect on him and was a positive influence in our household. Here's the funny part. Bassman and I found them completely independently and through different avenues and without the other realising it. He found them trhough Victor Wooten's Bass Camp and I stumbled upon them a few months ago via a really cool herbal website that had been recommended to me. Now, we have been disappointed with the wilderness camps available in our area but I think we finally have a winner lol. At least we know we agree on this one. And it's just one more reason KodyGirl wants to move to Washington lol (she was drooling over their classes last month). Their site will be added to the website's links page and once I finish reading them I suspect their books will make it to the Nature Study page as well.