Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fall Hiking Fun

I totally love the fall!  I love the crisp air and the changing leaves.  It's so much more inviting to me than summer is.   Monday we took advantage of the beautiful weather and went for a family hike instead of pouring over books all day.    We drove to one of our city's local parks.  There are lots of hiking trails and things to do.  Unfortunately, you have to drive by the playground to get to the hiking area; so a lot of your hike sounds like this "Are we going to the playground?"..."Maybe later, if we have time."...."Ooooohh."  long pause..."can we go to the playground NOW so we know we have enough time?".  "Um, NO!"   Wait approximately 3-5 minutes, and repeat the entire conversation.  So a big thank you to whoever designed THAT park.

Despite the incessant whining million questions about the playground , we had fun and learned some things as well.  My husband knows far more about identifying trees than I do, so he led our expedition through the woods (not to mention if there were any bears they could eat him while we ran away to get help). 

We learned to identify oak, maple, walnut, hickory and ash trees by their leaves.   Here is a sampling for you.  Can you identify these?

In case you live in the city, or an area where there are no walnut trees, here is a photo for you!  The green ball on the left is a green walnut.  It'll turn black and get all oozy and then you split the outer shell to find the inner shell (the little black nut in the other hand).   Then of course you have to split that shell to get ot the walnut meat.  (Oh, and in case you don't know...wear gloves, that black ooze will stain your hands indefinitely.)

We also spotted some very interesting fungi growing on various trees.  We'll be identifying these later in the week when the rains set in.

Squirrels are funny creatures, truly.  The ones in our yard at home are very entertaining to watch.  Apparently the squirrels in the wild have learned some small amount of etiquette.  They at least eat their meals at the table, but they aren't good at cleaning up after themselves.

We also sat down to eat a snack.  Although we opted to sit on a  cleaner picnic table instead of placing our food on a table that OBVIOUSLY has had lots of little squirrel butts on it recently.  Lindsey is just as cute as a bugs ear.

Then her sister has to go and look at the camera like THIS...and cause her father to start to twitch, again.

It was a fun and relaxing day.  We headed home and had grilled cheese, tomato soup and hot cocoa for dinner before my husband left for work.   While I fixed dinner, Thomas built our first fire of the year.   The house was warm and cozy, and all was right in our little world.

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