Sorry for the horrible lighting is this photo, but here's what my kitchen sink looks like right now:
Signs of a lovely couple weeks of nature study!
One of my favorite things to do with the kids is bring in twigs to force indoors, then watch the same process happen naturally outside. It gives us a chance to see the change in an up-close controlled environment and do some extra observing and sketching.
Right now we're watching cuttings from a sycamore tree, a horse chestnut tree, and our pluot tree.
:: The sycamore
On our nature study outing last week, we noticed the sycamore buds starting to burst. We took one cutting with all buds still closed to watch at home, and another already opened to sketch right away. This is the first time we have caught them at this stage, and they are so interesting to look at! Hairy bud covers splitting to reveal velvety, teeny-tiny sycamore leaves, and their familiar seed balls in infantile groups of three, still green and soft.
:: The horse chestnut (aka California buckeye)
These are really satisfying buds to watch open at home. It only takes a couple days to go through the whole process:
I'm glad we grabbed this one when we did, because by this past week, it was hard to find a bud still closed at the park--they had pretty much all burst open. A friend's son described it as "fireworks," and I think that's a very apt description!
You can see we did the same thing last year. The kids really enjoy checking the progress each morning.
:: The pluot tree
We always look for the first blossoms of each year to mark in our Calendar of Firsts. We spotted this year's just a few days ago--a few tiny white-pink blossoms high up out of reach. I snipped a twig to watch bloom indoors that same day. A couple days later, the buds were bright green against the dark knobby wood. This morning, there are a bits of white peeking through the tips. They're set to open soon!
Have you done anything similar? Any other kinds of trees we should be watching? And do you enjoy watching spring unfold, petal by petal, as much as we do?