September Adventures

Our new school year has begun with some great new opportunities with other homeschooling families.  What a blessing to have friends who want to study together and are willing to come alongside us in our adventures.

Every September we catch and tag Monarch butterflies. You might be interested in reading some old posts about how to do this and how to tell if your butterfly is a male or female; it’s quite fascinating! Here are some shots from this year’s adventures.

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This is a male monarch because he has the two black dots on his hind wings, which are scent pouches.

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This is a female because she does not have the black scent pouches.

We also studied the thistle this month. You might be wondering why we would study such a noxious weed? Well, first of all, it is in the Handbook of Nature Study so it must be noteworthy and secondly, it seems to be blooming nearly everywhere right now so why not? Ms. Comstock describes two kinds of thistle in the HONS, the common thistle and the Canadian thistle. After studying the patch on our friends’ property, we concluded they had common thistle and completed our notebook pages found in the More Nature Study Book #1 Autumn 2011 collection from the Handbook of Nature Study blog. As you will see, the older ones worked on the advanced notebook pages, while the younger ones had a simpler version to complete. Some of the information that we learned will be helpful to our friends as they keep this weed from taking over their land.

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Another topic of study has been leaf miners and leaf rollers. We learned on pages 332-334 of HONS about the three basic types of leaf mines: the serpentine mine, the blotch mine, and the trumpet mine. We found two of them!

This is a serpentine mine on a cottonwood leaf.

This is a serpentine mine on a cottonwood leaf.

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A blotch mine found in a chinquapin oak leaf.

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Here are the blotch mines held up to the light. If you look closely you can see the individual plant cells that have been “mined.”

We also read about galls, or insect dwellings, on pages 335-337 in HONS. As we were hunting for leaf miners and leaf rollers, we found a gall on a chinquapin oak and several on hackberry leaves. When we cut open the hard casing of the hackberry gall, we found a small black larva inside the hackberry gall who seemed quite upset that we disturbed his house:)

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Hackberry gall

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Chinquapin oak gall

It has been a great month to study some old favorites and have some new adventures as well! It’s a fabulous way to enjoy the beautiful weather and my beautiful children at the same time.

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3 thoughts on “September Adventures

  1. What a wonderful month of nature study! Your images are so green and amazing…our brown landscape is so very sad. Thanks for sharing your entry with the OHC Blog Carnival.

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