On the Lookout (June 18-22 2018)

Monday morning we had to battle the thick, humid air and the mosquitoes!  It was cooler in the forest than out in the open but we had to keep moving to keep the bugs at bay.  We decided to do a forest scavenger hunt.

We divided into small groups with each group having its own collecting bag, scavenger hunt sheet and marker and into the woods we went.  We took turns carrying the bag or the list and shared the marker as we crossed off the things we found as we went. We remembered to move quietly because there was a bird and squirrel on our list of things to find and we didn’t want to miss them.  We were rewarded immediately upon the woods as there were TWO squirrels right there, playing on a tree in front of us as we entered the trail.

Excitedly we pointed out each thing we found on our list from spider webs and ants to tree roots, flowers and sticks shaped like the letter “Y”!

We had no trouble finding flying bugs as they were landing on us non stop and we also found a couple of really great things that weren’t on our list but definitely were worth getting a good look. First we saw really neat looking beetle and then Michelle found a white, almost see through moth on a leaf.  It was beautiful. None of us had seen one quite like it before.

C remembered where to search for the animal prints on our list as we approached the muddy area near the river. She lead the way and we were very excited to cross animal tracks off of our list of things to find when we were greeted by a great set of rabbit tracks!  By the time we left the forest, we had all found everything on our list aside from an acorn. We talked about how acorns grow on oak trees and we don’t have any oak trees in our forest. On the way back to the centre, however, we found some oak trees and, when we looked closely, we noticed the acorns were just beginning to grow. That counted for us and we checked the last item off of our list before heading inside.

With the end of the year quickly approaching, we have been very busy creating and planning for our end of year Forest School party.  We decided that, since the heat and humidity meant we needed to get indoors to cool off, we would get to work on one of our projects.  This required learning how to use a hand drill which we all thought was really awesome. We can’t wait to see how our projects will turn out!

Wednesday morning we were very excited to welcome Forest Lisa back to the woods.  We hadn’t seen her in a really long time and we had so much to share with her. As usual, she had so much to share with us as well.  She introduced us to all kinds of fun activities to help us learn about birds and butterflies and helped us to identify some of the bird noises in the trees above us that we didn’t recognize.   Check out her guest blog (June 20) to see all of the wonderful learning that took place on our last visit of the year with Forest Lisa.

Friday morning we were really excited to go into our garden.  It has been growing so much lately and we had plenty of watering, weeding and harvesting to do!  We were excited to find plenty of lettuce, radishes and kale to pick and got to work right away. Some of us helped Karen with the watering while others got to work weeding and helping to pick lettuce.  We also made time to sneak over to the chives for a little tasty, spicy taste and had big plans for the big bowl of colourful lettuce and and the large radishes we picked. They were going to be turned into a salad to eat with our lunch!

Our kale patch was going absolutely crazy and, since we had planned on making kale chips for our end of year party, we decided that we would harvest that as well.  Together we picked SO much kale that our bowl was overflowing!

Once we had all of the thing we needed and our garden had a good drink, we headed indoors to finish the work!  We cleaned all of the lettuce and made sure there were no bugs or dirt before we put it into a salad spinner. We took turns using the spinner and watching as the water flew off the lettuce and into the bowl.  How cool! When all of the lettuce was clean, we broke it up into smaller pieces before placing it into a bowl and into the fridge.

We gave the radishes a little scrub and then handed them off to Lisa who chopped them up for our salad.

Then it was time to prepare the kale for dehydrating.  We needed to remove any thick stems because those would become too hard to bite after being dehydrated.  From there, the leaves went into the cold water where it was rinsed and inspected in the same way the lettuce was before it, too, went into the salad spinner.  We really love that thing! We set the spun kale onto paper towel to be sure it was dry as we would be storing it in the fridge for a few days. We worked together to layer the kale between layers of paper towel and off it went to fridge until it was time to dehydrate it.

When lunch finally rolled around, we couldn’t wait to reap the rewards of the morning’s labour and what a reward it was.  We sure are great salad growers!

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