Wild Explorers

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Our other nature group has met up a few times this spring. We’ve been hiking all over the county and enjoying the end of our cool California spring. It’s definitely starting to heat up, so our hikes will most likely start to slow down or shorten. We did some sketching of the local (non-native) flowers in the area as well as went rock and fossil hunting. We spent some time in the creeks and discovered dead snakes and turkey vultures (who then ate the snake and left us the bones), galls and bugs we had never seen before (and no, I had it confirmed thankfully that is NOT a kissing bug- it’s a leaf-footed bug) and just enjoyed our time out in the wild with our friends.
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Learning About Chamomile

Last week’s home school herb was Chamomile. We spent some time getting to know the herb, looking at it, talking about what it can do health-wise and we sang some songs and read an herb story. We sketched some and painted some and the girls were served chamomile tea and chamomile shortbread for a snack. We left the lesson with planting some of our own chamomile seeds. Short and sweet introduction to another herb.
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Birthdays, Owl-ing and Fossils

We had a lovely couple of weekends recently. We spent a late afternoon with friends at a park in Ojai, sharing pizzas and then taking an early evening walk through the Ojai Meadow Preserve to find the Owls. We never did find them, but it was certainly a lovely afternoon with friends.
Jeff turned 36 at the end of May and we celebrated with a fun morning of presents and a little hike to find fossils. We had my family over to celebrate, eat steak and enjoy Birthday mint ice cream cake!

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Portrait Project

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Eloise: When you are out in the wilderness, you become quite the wild child; climbing trees, fearless and free. I love that you have such respect for the wild but are still so curious and excited when you get to spend time in it. Watching you build this relationship with nature makes my heart happy.

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Eloise: We came home to find our praying mantis eggs had hatched and some how our mantids had escaped. Praying mantis’ were crawling all over the place and we had to hurry and catch them all and get them outside. You were thrilled about this mishap and helped me collect the little fellas and had a field day with them out in the garden.
“Mama, I’m going to be a Paleontologist, a Veterinarian AND a Entomologist!”
I bet you will be, my little nature girl!

A Dandy Day

We’ve decided to concentrate on herbs and flowers for the duration of the summer for our home school days. The girls have all been really into making “fairy soup” and “flower brews” and I thought it would be a fun way to introduce local flora into our days as well as show them how some flowers and herbs can produce beautiful colors on fabric through dyeing and real edible concoctions too. We started with an easy herb- the Dandelion.
We learned about the parts of the Dandelion, sang a song, read a story about Dandelions and went out foraging for them in the neighborhood. The girls really enjoyed finding them all over neighbors yards and in cracks in the sidewalk. The foraged dandelions we used as sketching tools and then for use in our Dandelion solar dye. I bought edible (non-pesticide) dandelion greens for the girls to try. Most of them did not like the bitterness, but some didn’t mind when it was dipped in salad dressing. We also all had Dandelion tea and all the girls seemed to enjoy that. We sketched and painted the dandelions and then when all of us were ready to go home, we took Dandelion crown photos just for fun. (Some of the girls continued on with their dandelion study at home- Ellie spent some time really focused on painting a dandelion. Tyler wanted to re-create her dandelion crown with felt). It was a really nice morning of dandelion fun. (We’re going to let our solar dandelion brew sit for a week and then we will come back to it next week to finish the dye process).

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Portrait Project

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Eloise: Helping Dada put up the camping tent.
“When are we going camping again Mama?” – Ellie says a few minutes after we get into the car to head back home.

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Eloise: Looking fine and Dandy, my silly, sweet girl.

“The 52 project, a photo of Ellie, once a week, every week in 2017”

A Weekend of Camping

We spent the weekend camping up in the Santa Barbara mountains with friends. It was a hot weekend, but a fun one. Watching Ellie play all day long with her very best friends is so worth all the camping woes. She had a blast and since this time, I wasn’t camping alone with Ellie (like last time- my very first camping experience), it went much smoother. We played in the river, caught tiny frogs, made “flower potions” and the kids rode their bikes non stop while the parents tried to keep mosquitoes at bay and enjoyed a few adult beverages.
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