Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tree Class & Pond Play

Today was nature day for our nature group. We haven't made it to many outings this year and I didn't know most of the people there. But, we did see some old friends, and we made some new friends!

One of the moms arranged this meeting at her house in the country. Actually, it is a neighborhood, but they have 10 acres... 10 beautiful acres! She brought in a horticulturist to teach us about the tress on her property.

Here he is answering one of my questions:
Q: What makes a compound leaf a compound leaf and not just a bunch of leaves? 
A: All of it comes from one leaf bud.
Another questions I asked:
Q: What makes a tree "mature"?
A: When it pretty much has grown full size - both in height and girth. He said scientist were recently surprised when they put sensitive growth monitors around massive sequoias and found they are STILL growing!

Of course, I had to photograph some critters. We found a lot of these caterpillars. In fact, the family said they are everywhere and constantly dropping on them. We also saw a deer as it stood and watched the children playing in the pond. I grabbed my camera, but I wasn't fast enough.

And, the kids had a BLAST playing in their pond! The family dug it out about 2.5 years ago. And, they never stocked it with fish but it now has 3 kinds of fish. How? Birds, like egrets and cranes, visit ponds and the fish eggs can get stuck on their feet and legs. Then, of course, when they visit a new pond, they leave the eggs! Wow!

This was the other best part of the day for the kids - the water slide, jumping platform, and zip slide. Alex's favorite part was the jumping platform. The moms basically sat in the shade and talked. It was a wonderful day!


live4evermom said...

That looks like lots of fun.

Liese4 said...

Have you been to Jesse Jones park in Humble? They have an edible plant walk that is really neat.

Robin said...

Wow! That lady's house was custom made for kiddies! Actually, it looks like a paradise for my husband!...LOL!
Those spiny caterpillars can be dangerous. My kids are all allergic to them. We found out when Josh accidentally brushed up against one and thought he'd been bit by a snake. His arm swelled up like crazy and I rushed him to the doc. I was really surprised that the doc knew right away, by the pattern of the punctures, that it was a caterpillar.
Anyway, how wonderful that the horticulturist would come to her house. That's dedication! If my yard weren't so boring, I'd love to have a guy come here.

Donna said...

You know, we need to do that too! I love the way they are all set up for visiting children! Our pond is full of pine trees. :o) It won't hold water. But our ornamental pond has all kinds of interesting creatures.

It looks like the kids all had a great time.

By the way, I will vouch for the effect of visiting herons! Except that rather than bringing the fish, they keep eating the fish! They even ate STEVE. He was a giant goldfish (the size of a catfish) with one missing eye. One day our resident Heron got him and ate half of him before we could rescue him. It was so sad after three years of enjoying seeing him surface.

Ah well... that's how it goes I guess.

Rhonda said...

Wow, what a nice sized piece of land the family has. It is a child's wonderland, but I think that I would enjoy it just as much as the kids. I love the story of the fish and how they came to be in the pond.

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