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Monday, February 18, 2008

Green Hour Assignment #1

Our first intended Nature Walk, Danny is on the left, Devin is in the middle and Camille is on the right. Devin is a neighbor that the children have recently made friends with. We were glad he chose to join us! We walked around our 3 acre yard today.

I need a new camera. This ant pile has black ash intertwined in it, it looked black in person. The kids thought it was neat how the ants would use ash from the burn pile to build their home.

A squirrel's nest.

This is a hole left by an old tree stump, you can't see the deep dimensions. I was afraid to go near it because of snakes or whatever else I didn't want to observe today.

This is one of the many tree stumps in our yard. A few years ago, a storm made 5 tall pine trees fall. This one is rotted out but I showed the kids the rings on top and explained a little about how a tree ages. We then took a piece off and saw termites or ants crawling inside, they ran for cover quickly.


Banana shaped dried leaves on what looked to be a vine. Hmmm.

The creek at the end of our property, it is a run-off ditch and I don't allow the kids to play here.

Algae in the ditch.

Tomorrow Camille will pick two things she saw today to learn more about. She did find a leaf curled up and asked me why it does that. The picture didn't turn out. I need a better camera. I'll update this post with what we learned. Hopefully our copy of The Handbook of Nature Study will get here to help us out.

TWO focuses for this week as dictated by Camille:

1. "I want to learn all about pinecones. I want to know about why they close/open and what type of moisture is inside."
Answers found in Eyewitness Books: Tree by David Burnie, pg. 44-45

2. "How does a pecan tree work? Why does the pecan tree in our yard have wooden flowers on it?"

Once a pecan tree is mature, it will go through different stages throughout the year. The growth stages are:

  • The Dormant Stage: Pecan trees are dormant during the winter months. This is kind of like a rest period for the tree. During dormancy, the tree doesn't appear to be growing, but many important things are happening. In order for pecan trees to produce pecans during the next year they need at least 200 chill hours during this period. (A chill hour is an hour where the temperature is between 32F and 45F.)
  • Bud-break/Pollination: During late April and early May, pecan trees pollinate. Pecan trees are monoecious, which means they have separate male structures (catkins,) and female flowers (pistillates). The catkins are long, golden tassels and produce pollen. The female flowers receive the pollen and nut growth begins.
  • Nutlet Stage: The young pecans continue to grow in June and July and are called nutlets.
  • Nut-Fill Stage: Pecans mature during the nut-fill stage in September and early October. Some varieties of pecan trees produce many small clusters of pecans, and others produce fewer large clusters.
  • Shuck-Split Stage: After a 200-day growing period, the pecan shuck opens, allowing the nut to drop.
The wooden flowers Camille saw on the pecan tree were the empty pecan shucks. How cool is that?

Join us in the Green Hour Challenge hosted by Barb of Harmony Fine Arts!



Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...


I am so glad that you and your children are going to participate. Your property has a whole *lifetime* of learning to be found right there under your noses.

I am excited for you all!

I fixed the link and later I will try to figure out how to make Mr. Linky public...this is a first time for me to use this little feature.

Thanks for posting....great job! Wish I could have been there. :)

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Alana in Canada said...

Oh that sounds just wonderful. What an incredibly rich environment.
We still have six feet of snow on everything! But hey, I guess snow and icicles and what not are part of nature too!

Looking forward to what Camille comes up with. Does she know she's "teaching" my kids, too?

Daisy said...

Wow! You have so much to explore right in your own yard! Learning about nature is something your children can carry with them forever. I still remember those walks with my Papaw as he taught me the names of each tree and plant we'd come across. Those memories are dear.

Kysha said...

That's looks so beautiful. You've inspired me!

LisaWA said...

Jessica how cool is that?! Exciting to hear dear! Exciting to hear!


my5wolfcubs said...

THREE ACRES? Oh, my, jealousy with glowing green eyes rears its ugly head!
What a delightful day! Keep up the wonderful studies!

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

There is a whole section in the Handbook of Nature Study on pines and an explanation for the pinecone too!

Nothing about pecans though. On page 9 there is an illustration of how to make a collection of nuts and twigs in a box.

Thought I would share since you don't have your book yet. The HNS really does have a lot of good stuff in it to share.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom
PS I love pecans and eat them just about every day. :)

Tina said...

First I want to say your header looks very nice. Very Natureist (is that a word?). :o)

You all look liked you had a wonderful learning experience. We will be joing you all. :o)


the good, the bad & the ugly said...

Thanks for the link to the Green Hour Challenge. Very cool! The banana shaped dried leaves might be dried pods from trumpet creeper. My husband is a biologist and that is what he says it looks like. The trumpet creeper is so beautiful when it blooms, so you may be in for a treat this summer when they bloom!

Life With My 3 Boybarians said...

Your children are in short sleeves!

It must be so much easier to do a green hour when the world is green near you. Our weather man said we would experience temps of -40 in the upcoming days. Not a typo. Negative 40.

Our ground has been snow covered for months and months. I haven't seen grass since around Thanksgiving. *sigh* It's beginning to feel like a real life Narnia movie around here, and this beautiful post of yours has me feeling cabin fever.

Short sleeves. *swoon* Enjoy! I will live vicariously through you.

TolleLegeAcademy said...

Jessica, I loved your post! I'll be learning along with you and look forward to future challenge installments. :-) I also wanted you to know that I just emailed you about the EyeClops.

Mama Peep said...

Oh how I miss that GA weather! Looks like a great time was had by all.

Thanks for sharing.


snpnmnmi said...

I would say your banana shaped pods are what is left of milkweed. Around here (KY) our variety (and there are many) has a plain flower and the pod, which will hang on forever, is the best part of the plant. Watch it, though... casue it can be invasive! Love your pics!
Tammy :):):)

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