Sunday, October 3, 2010

OHC: Snakes

Join us as we study nature using The Outdoor Hour Challenges. This year Ryne and Grace are joining with friends Cameron and Avery to explore this beautiful world God made. Moms, Kellie and Casey, are enjoying the adventure as much as the kids.
This is the story of four kids, a snake, and two chickens. But no geese.
It was our second attempt to do OHC #2: Geese, but we weren't really sure where to go about looking for them. The weather forecast indicated it was going to be a perfect day, so we decided to take our nature study on the road and go for a picnic. Our quaint little suburb has a nature sanctuary that, embarrassingly, neither of our families had ever visited. Who knows, maybe we'd find some geese there.
We were stunned. The nature sanctuary is amazing. It's been nine years since we moved into the Blue House -- how is that we're just now discovering this treasure?

Even more amazing: My son, the reluctant nature journalist, was the first to ask for his clipboard.

And this is where my camera batteries died. But Casey came to the rescue with the next three amazing pictures. Thanks, Casey!

The kids were much more observant than the moms. They noticed all the really neat things first. Maybe it's because we're so busy watching the kids. I think it was Cameron who spotted the praying mantis.
However, Avery was the one who made the big find for the day. Do you see it? My camera found one last gasp of battery life to take the next group of pictures before dying again.
It kind of creeps me out that any normal bush or small tree could be hiding one of these.
Avery actually first spotted the snake on the trail, but he quickly shot into the tree and slithered from branch to branch.
We spent at least 15 minutes watching our scaly friend. Absolutely incredible.
It's either a Smooth Green Snake or a Rough Green Snake. I can't tell the difference in comparing dozens of internet pictures to my picture. In our part of the state, it should be the Smooth Green Snake, but the state publication also said they haven't been spotted for years due to habitat destruction.

So what about the two chickens? That would be the two moms. We were too nervous to let the kids touch the snake. I think Ryne would have touched it if I had let him. Now I feel bad, because when I looked at the first two entries from the spring snake challenge there were pictures of kids holding snakes. And then there was this entry that really made me feel like the biggest chicken in the world. Now that's a brave mom!

Chicken or not, we had an incredible day. Next week we're going goose hunting.


  1. Now you have a great place to do future nature study...right in your own community! A+ for giving it a try.

    Now about the snake. I think it is always wise to not touch a snake unless you are absolutely sure it is not dangerous. Also if it is endangered or probably don't want to scare it by trying to catch it. I think observing it carefully is the best way to learn about its behavior anyway. Leave the touching of snakes to times you are sure it is not dangerous. Children need to learn to be curious but cautious in my opinion.

    I think you did a wonderful job with this unexpected subject! Thanks so much for sharing your day.

  2. Great points about touching the snakes -- I hadn't thought about it like that, especially if it is the more rare type. We were pretty sure it was harmless, but not 100%, so I guess that contributed to our nervousness. I can be an overly cautious mom and sometimes worry that I'm killing any adventurous spirit in my kids, so I guess that's why I poked fun at myself. Thanks for making me feel better about it. : )