Winter is fading fast. Temperatures reached 60 degrees today! The only snow left is on shady north-facing slopes, and even there it is just in patches. I'm guessing it will all be gone by the end of the weekend. All in all, we had a beautiful day for nature study, but it was very muddy. I have a lot of laundry to catch up on now. And (ugh!) I forgot to have the kids wear boots, so now I have to wash their shoes too.
Our winter series challenge for this week was to measure off a small square of earth to study up close. The goal was to see how many different things we could find in our square. We chose a spot in our backyard.
An initial inspection revealed the following: snow, moss, grass, tiny plant of some sort (had little buds on it), ice, and leaves. The top layer of leaves were all frozen together. Then it was time to dig.
Digging proved to be more difficult than the kids thought it would be since the ground was frozen. The area around the moss was especially tough.
But eventually they made progress and found a few more items. Grace was surprised to find a leaf that wasn't crushed at all.
They also found a long, but thin root and lots of little rocks. The kids were disappointed to not find any worms or bugs hibernating. So we decided we will do a little research next week on what happens to worms in the winter.
We had to leave for an afternoon appointment, but decided to revisit our square when we returned. It was full of muddy puddles! Removing the layer of snow and frozen leaves caused the ground to thaw in the afternoon sun. A good indication of what we have to look forward to in the coming weeks -- even more laundry. Some of you might remember this picture from last year.
We also got a head start on next week's challenge: looking for signs of animals. My guess is raccoon, but we'll have to look at the resources Barb has recommended.