The spiders have been spinning their webs in the trees and a few have even spun webs in the dream catcher hoops that we make with the flexible cedar boughs. We have been learning some facts about spiders, including how many legs they have, how many body parts, how they live, what they eat and how they spin their webs. Did you know that spiders do not have teeth and instead liquefy the inside of the insects and suck the juice out with their straw-like mouths?
The songbirds have been chattering in the forest as they forage for the alder seeds that are covering the ground. Flocks of chickadees and golden-crowned kinglet’s are so noisy in the trees and seem to be all around us and yet they are so hard to see, even we use our eagle eyes. All of the animals are becoming more active as the sleepy hibernation time is over. We have also been hearing and seeing the ravens, hawks and our native doug fir squirrels.
New leaf buds are forming on all of the plants and a few of the buds are starting to open. Beulah was the first one to notice this month that the sword fern fiddlehead babies had formed at the base of their elders. We have been challenging ourselves to spot the new growth on even the tiniest plants and the seemingly barest of branches. We have already eaten our first nettle leaves of the season and are delighted to still be finding tightly-packed alder catkins to nibble on.
The children have been very actively creating new hideouts and imagination places in the forest. During the months when the plants are dormant it is a lot easier to blaze trail and to see small animal trails we can follow. We have been challenging ourselves to find places on the land where we have never been before.
We have been studying how different things decompose: how they look in the process and how long it takes them to fall apart. We have found logs so decayed that we can pick up a handful and squeeze water out of the wood. We watched one of our orange peels grow hair and then turn to mush.
The insects have been emerging and we have seen moths, ladybugs, earthworms, little white forest worms, beetles and fairy bugs. We found a bald-faced hornet still sleeping in some decaying wood and carefully left it to hibernate.
By Erin Kenny ©2011