Where did October go? I think I ask this every year, but this year I’m positive it flew by! We have enjoyed some great weather, and the colors seem especially beautiful this season. Here is a look at some of our discoveries:
This month on the Handbook of Nature study blog one of the challenges was to study hawks. Throw us in the briar patch! If you know us at all, we love hawks, especially red-tail hawks. In fact, we are anticipating the arrival of the hawks in our area any time. Every winter we see dozens of hawks that sit on our power lines and in the bare trees on the outskirts of town, but we have never really studied their arrival or departure times. We believe it to be a wintering place for them because the temperatures are more mild on the prairie than up north. We will try to do some monthly graphs when we see them start to appear as winter approaches. In the meantime, we enjoy watching a red-tailed hawk that roosts on the top of a silo.
Sumac was also one of the weekly challenges for October. We found a patch of Staghorn Sumac bushes that had lost their leaves but the fruit panicles, or crimson colored cones, were in full autumn beauty. We read in the Handbook of Nature Study on pages 683-686 that the staghorn sumac gets its name for the way its bare winter branches look like the horns of the stag, or male deer. Journal pages and watercolor paintings of sumac are still to come…hopefully:)
Finally, we used sugar maple leaves and Mod Podge to decorate recycled jars to use as tea light centerpieces for a 4H banquet. Although a bit time consuming and messy, it was a fun to give one to each family as a take home gift. It is amazing how the Mod Podge brings out the colors of the leaves! Isn’t Fall wonderful?