Sunday, February 25, 2007

Back to Nature

We've moved on, put the math books away - although the Gnomes still grace our shelves and our abacus still rattles daily - and have gone back to nature. Or, rather, Natural Science. It's our second natural science block and we're revisiting our old friend Grandforest Tree.

I think we'll spend two weeks here. Nightowl really enjoyed reviewing her work from our Fall Natural Science block (it's wonderful stuff). Now we're doing a few winter/early spring Natural science projects. The plan is to do an even larger SPRING natural science block in April. We've revisited her tree friend, read several stories about the forrest in Winter, gone on a nature walk, and have created a rotting log terrarium. We're also collecting tree seeds and next week we will plant them in small cups. Hopefully, we'll have a good start that we can transfer to our Lasagne Garden this spring. So far Nightowl has collected: apple seeds, buckeyes, acorns, and evergreen seeds (we removed these by warming up the pinecones).

However, our favorite project thus far has been tapping trees and collecting sap for maple syrup. We have a group that meets every other week. And last Thursday we went out to the woods, tapped trees, collected sap and learned how to make maple syrup. It was way cool. Sure we've all read about tapping trees and we all love syrup but these kids actually got to do it. Very nice. We ended our afternoon with a pancake and maple syrup lunch and long romp in the woody outdoors.

Now, we're feeling quite inspired and are planning, this, week to tap the maple tree in our front yard. Turns out there an entire culture of "in-town tree-tappers." All the gear and instruction kits are available at our local hardware store - who knew! We're not sure if we'll actually get any sap or any syrup, but then that's not really the point here is it? Updates on this later. In the meantime here's some images of our sappy adventure. Sweet!

Drilling the hole.

Choosing the tap. Tasting the sap.

Preparing the collection jug.

Boiling the sap.

No comments: