The Outdoor Hour-Challenge 2

We are so enjoying our nature walks. It’s funny how putting a focus and direction on something that we have been doing for ages adds so much fun. Today we did the Outdoor Hour Challenge #2: Using Your Words. We were to go outside and listen to nature then come in and write a few words relating to what we heard, saw, and felt.  It was suggested that we could begin keeping a nature journal. We didn’t get to that part of the challenge today but plan on it at a later time. We have everything we need for that, but we really are enjoying taking pictures and discussing the things that we have seen and heard. We are trying to look up the things that we have seen to get specific names and information but that is definitely proving to be a time consuming process. I really need some better field guides, specifically ones that include things from our region, to make this less frustrating. Maybe I’ll find something at the next library booksale. But because I feel that it is more important to appreciate God’s creations and their beauty and function than what their scientific name is (which we probably would not be able to pronounce anyways) we are not dwelling on it when we can’t seem to find what we are looking for. So for the time being we are using our words to just describe what we have seen and heard so that when we do run across the scientific information we will have our own word pictures in our minds. These are a couple of the cool things from today.
Tenodera Mantis (we think this is the correct species)
We think this is a Western yellow jacket but its markings are not like the ones we have been seeing in the books or on line.
This is a cropped close-up of a front view. Check out the yellow “snout”. Really cool.
We also had the opportunity to watch this really big (and to us, really ugly) spider spin a web. We were able to watch the spinnerets at work. That was really neat. Frightened by our presence we were amazed at how quickly it climbed back up the silk it had just spun. Super interesting.
On another nature note, unknown to me, my son had set a cage trap in the back woods baited with an apple, some crackers and peanut butter and cat food. This morning he found a racoon in there. Made me mad as a hornet. He has been told not to set the trap. He has already caught a possum and a squirrel in the past. He says he just wants to see the animals up close. I’m sure you know the shpeel I gave him. We carefully released the racoon and were very lucky it went on its merry way. Boys! (Not that I agree with what he did, it was interesting to see a wild one that close.) He has been forbidden to do it ever again and will be returning the trap. (it is one of those that the animal can go in, but can’t get back out, not one that harms the animal except to agitate it)
It has been such an inspiring couple of days I can hardly wait until tomorrow. And all this comes from 15 minutes in our front yard.
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Ginny
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