Saturday, November 6, 2010

Leaves and Letterboxing

 We headed out for a letterboxing adventure at a park in the middle of town this week.  Everyone was tired, showing the early signs of the colds the girls woke up with this morning, and enthusiasm was flagging.  Until we got there and saw how beautiful the woods were.  The path we took, following the letterboxing directions, was going to lead us past this pink haze that decorated the forest.
 I let the girls read and decipher the instructions...
 At the base of a two-stemmed tree, they began to search through the leaves.
We studied this hole for a very long time, sticking sticks and then arms in, but we found no box.  Wouldn't that be the perfect spot for hiding a spot? We circled and circled the tree, but found nothing.
 We all felt a little disappointed, but found a spot to clamber about and eat some snack (snack usually helps).  I'd also brought along The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown-ups, so we sat among the leaves and talked about leaves.  Lovely.  I've been inspired by this post (it is not loading properly right now;  I will amend this later, but in the meantime, the blog is Small Things, and there is a button in their sidebar for their Tree Study) about their year-long tree study, and knowing that the girls are ready for more in-depth information about plants and trees, beyond identification, I've been thinking of ways to weave it into our days.
 They were eager to search for examples of simple and compound leaves - the ones remaining anyway! - and to notice whether they were growing in an opposite or alternate pattern on the branches.  We continued our walk, knowing that there was another letterbox yet to come...and this one was also disappointing! This time it was because it was so not hidden at all, but sat in its very own box out for everyone to see...and the log had long since run out of room for our scribblings and stampings.  Ah well, it just further convinced us that we need to start planning for our own planting of a letterbox.
 We at last reached the cloud of pink...this is a new tree to us (euonymus atropurpureus) - I think it is sometimes called Burning Bush, but we've learned it as Wahoo, which is also what we say when we see it now - WaHOO!!  It is gorgeous right now.
Its stems are really unusual, with lines or wings of a cork-like tissue along them.  
We pressed a few of the leaves we collected, and today we made leaf drawings, like those I saw here.

7 comments:

alissa said...

wahoo! so pretty. thank you for giving me something new and lovely to read about during my insomnia!!!

Phyllis said...

Beautiful post. I especially love the burning bush stem and the leaf pictures. I might have to try that!

Tan Family said...

Wonderful post, and gorgeous pictures! I am inspired to do the leaf drawings with my own children. :)

merry said...

Papa Marzo has a euonymus bush in his front yard and in the fall its color is so LOUD! I love, love, love the leaf drawings! What a cool idea!

loveinthesuburbs.com said...

I'm glad you had such a great day. I love those leaf drawings! I want to try that with my kids. Thanks for the idea.

Anonymous said...

Hello. 5 years past and I just now stumbled upon your post. I thought I'd chime in and let you know that the burning bush you encountered was Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus aka burning bush) rather than Euonymus atropurpureus (Wahoo). Though pretty and widely planted, E. alatus is a naturalized and often invasive plant. E. atropurpureus on the other hand is native and, in my opinion, a beautiful and truly elegant shrub - but very hard to find, at least near me. Though similar, there are readily observable differences between the two and I will leave that you to look into further. I offer this information not to correct, but to motivate you to find yet another reason to keep hiking the forests, looking for another chance to scream 'WAHOOOOOOO!"

slim pickins said...

Thank you for this information!! I'll have to look into the differences...we are still greatly enjoying our journeys into the woods...