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.
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.