Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nature Study: Summer Trails Part 1

We recently moved to an area with plenty of nature trails to explore and hike.  We have taken advantage of these hikes, but I've never really carried my camera with me (o.k. I've never carried my camera with me).  One, just another thing to lug; two, the idea was for the kids to draw in their nature journals; three, just never thought about it.  Since I recently started this cyber space for some journaling of my own; I have noticed my kids constantly reminding me, "get your camera mom, you can put it on the blog!"  I have to admit, we've gotten some pretty good spontaneous takes of our natural world in the last three months.

It is officially summer and it can get pretty hot out here.  My husband and I have agreed to make a weekly hiking trip early in the mornings before the heat is unbearable.  I'll try to just post some shots of anything new or interesting we come across.

This week we seemed to focus on the hot dessert bearing flowers and plants on our trail.  We ran into:
 
Wild Mustard (Brissica rapa)

I read somewhere that the Wild Mustard was brought to California from Spain by the Franciscan Father Junipero Serra.

Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla)
This is one of California's largest native sage, reaching height potentials of six feet.


 Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia littoralis)
 We couldn't get enough of these beautiful cactus flowers.  My oldest was definitely the expert on these.  She answered tons of questions from her siblings.  She explained how they store lots of water, how the thorns protect them from predators (what predators are), how this is a very nutritious plant and used by local Indian tribes not just for food but for medicine and on she went.  I asked where she had gathered so much information and her response was basically, " I remember and read about it."  Where?  Field guide, newspaper article, history book readings and remembered a field trip guided by a professional tracker two years ago about the Chumash Indian tribe.  "By the way," she said, "we can also eat the wild Mustard, if we have to survive out here."  Way to go girl!  One last picture of the Opuntia:

 And there go the kids ready to head home after a nice hike. Notice my dear husband carrying not one but two tired little boys, thank goodness their combined weight is about the same as his backpacking pack ;  )

4 comments:

Pam... said...

This is so nice. I love seeing other people's 'nature walk'. I see mountains and lots of sky. It is lovely. I'm glad you brought the camera.

Serena said...

Beautiful images. It's wonderful that your eldest could act as field guide for the youngers. Very interesting information!

Grace'n'Chaos said...

Pam, I like seeing other's nature walks too. It always reminds me that our neck of the woods (common to us) is new and beautiful to others; just as theirs is to us. I love how that blue just pops out.

Serena, thanks, she is quiet the big sister/mentor. BTW, I keep trying to leave comments on your blog, but I'm not very techie and can't figure out why :(

Silvia said...

Me too... thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting, now I got to meet you, and I can't have enough CM friends!