Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Blow-out nature post

This is a strange re-entry from a week without posting, but it can't be helped.  I've been meaning to post on all this for more than a month, detailing some of the excitement at our house.  But, you know.  Life gets in the way.  We've been up to all kinds of things.

And so, while the baby is taking a much-needed "mega nap" and the boys are playing peacefully after nap/quiet time . . . the inspiration hits.

(Nevermind the house, which looks like a hurricane hit it.)

Both Blaine and I are intrigued by the intricacies of the natural world, both flora and fauna, and enjoy introducing its varied pleasures to our boys.  So with that in mind, here are some of the highlights from the last couple of months:

Last August Diego found an enormous green caterpillar with a brown face,
crawling in the grass under the basswood in our front yard.
We put it in a jar with a twig and basswood leaves and
after a few days it curled itself up into a cocoon, wrapped in leaves.
We kept it in the root cellar over the winter,
brought it out this spring,
and THIS is what it hatched into: 

It was HUGE, close to the size of my hand.
It was in the cocoon from August 2012 until June 2013.
It came out of its cocoon a few days after Eliah was born --
We had no idea what exactly it was until that point.

That night we put it on a rotted log alongside the garage.
It sat there for a good hour before it finally up-and-fluttered-away.
I actually got to see it happen --
It buzzed its wings a couple of times before it took off.
The boys were out and about on the acreage with Blaine,
but I was still sticking close to the house at that point in time
during my postpartum recovery period.  So lucky.

 The #2 amazing thing: morel mushrooms in our grove!
What the??  We were amazed.
This was the second week after Eliah was born.
Blaine went mushroom hunting on the first warm day after significant rainfall,
and bada-bing-bada-boom, there they were.
Tons of them.

 They were beautiful, just gorgeous --
I felt strong enough that I went out into the trees to see them.
(Still recovering from childbirth at the time, you'll remember.)
We had no idea that we could find morels in SW Minnesota.
My parents were here that week and since
I was obviously not up to kitchen work, we dried them --
They needed to be used/stored within 24 hours for peak flavor.
Un-un-un-un.  So exciting.

 Then there was our "pond life" aquarium 
and garter snake terrerium.
We had 2 varieties of snails, 2 crayfish, 2 fish, 
all kinds of water bugs, a leech, and 8-10 tadpoles in the aquarium.
Blaine and the boys dug up mud in the shallows of a nearby creek.
We had so much fun observing all the activity in the morning sun,
particularly the cranky crayfish tending their burrows.
We also realized this year that we have a garter snake den on our property,
under a cement slab near our quonset.  It was wild --
The boys were catching 7-10 snakes a day,
feeding them worms and even "basking" with them in the sun.

Finally . . . a baby praying mantis.
Truen got a bit obsessed with mantises this June,
and we indulged him by ordering mantis egg sacs off ebay.
We released them into the garden after they hatched by the hundreds.
(They are a tropical variety that dies with the cold weather hits.)
This particular little fella is living in the chard,
hopefully wreaking havoc with this year's grasshopper explosion.
We are hoping to catch a mantis and keep it as a pet this winter.

1 comment:

Ashley said...

If you ever have time you must read this blog. It is the chronicle of a fungi and its obsessed owner. There are too many twists and turns to recount. Seriously you will flip for this.