Spring Blossoms

We have experienced an unusually mild, dry winter.  There has been no snow on our mountains and yet we have experienced some of the worst frost ever.  Since it is still August, it came as a surprise to find our fruit orchard full of blossoming trees.  My previous early spring blossom sketches in my nature diary were done September last year.Blossoms1

My youngest daughter led me out to enjoy the warm sunshine and we went to view “our” Maple tree. We first measured our Maple tree  in 2011 and the little tree was just as tall as Miss.L12, just over 1 meter high.  This spring it is twice my height!  I was glad that my nature journal contained many of my older nature study pages because we could compare our current tree study with previous years and seasons.

Sketch Book Blossoms 001

Sketch Book Blossoms 004

We spent time looking at the variety of fruit trees’ blossoms.  I was utterly enchanted by our blue berry blossoms which looked like little bells.  We sketched and painted and we both experimented with wet-on-wet water painting which worked wonderfully! (I’m afraid that my scanner did not pick up the colors of our watercolors.)

Sketch Book Blossoms 002 Sketch Book Blossoms 003

As our time was running out, and we had already spent much of our morning outside (time flies when you are having fun sketching), I sent Miss.L12 with the camera to capture all the blossoms.  We plan to use the photos to sketch and paint or simply to compare the differences between the different blossoms.

Blossoms

We are so happy to enjoy our lovely early spring nature study here in South Africa and wish a happy autumn to those living in the Northern Hemisphere!

Blessings,

(Contributing this post to the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival.)

Spring Maple Tree Study for OHC

It was a beautiful spring day and we studied our very young maple tree.

Acer circinatum (Vine Maple) leaves showing th...

Image via Wikipedia

We planted the maple sapling last summer and it had made a lovely show in autumn.  Then it stood, small, bare and forgotten the entire winter.

Now, with the warmth and longer daylight, the leaves just budded and the tree looked tender and vulnerable in its spring awakening.

Before we went outside, we studied leaf shapes and terminology with biological terms, just to offer a richer vocabulary for accurate descriptions ~

leaf blade, leaf tip, veins, petioles,

shapes like palmate, ovate, lancelate,

leaf arrangements such as even, compound,pinnate

leaf edges such as serrated edge, scalloped, entire and so on.

Barb’s OHC Spring Maple Tree Challenge required us to carefully observe the leaves and blossoms.

So, with our indoor work done in just a few minutes, we took our notebook page, clipboards, pens and pencils and went outside.  We sat on the grass very close to the tree, looking, listening, quietening … and then journalled.

I love these sketches!

My middle-schooler journalled first.  Then she outlined the one little leaf I allowed the girls to pull off the tree and so she captured the exact size.  She drew in the veins in detail. Then she did a leaf rubbing.

When her younger sister saw the leaf juice made a mark on the paper, she also took the leaf to make a rubbing …

She drew around the edges of the leaf.

Then she made a rubbing, but her rubbing was different.   She placed the leaf on top of her page and rolled her pen firmly across the leaf blade.

Then she traced the marks the veins had left on the page.

Clever.I journalled and sketched in my nature journal.

I focused on the leaf edges, veins and leaf arrangements in detail.

Then I sketched the small tree as viewed from a distance.

I really love our time outdoors.

It is so important for me to appreciate nature with the kids.  If I don’t take part in this discovery, I become the teacher/ observer, taking photos and reading the study guides, which is partly why I think we stopped doing regular nature walks when we first started our homeschooling.  I have to admit that my best efforts in “making it educational” and “teaching the facts and details”  have caused more harm than good.  My over-zealous approach has often caused my older children to withdraw.

Now, trying it again with my younger children, I tell myself,

“Keep it simple, take it slow, enjoy and savour this time with them.”

Blessings,