On the outdoor classroom

Yesterday was a conference day at our daughter’s school so she got to spend the day at home with her dad.  It was a self-described Nature Day.

Armed with a magnifying glass, they went to watch the ant colony at the Old Sitting Stump.

Tom kicked over part of the stump to better see more of the carpenter ants, and disturbed a nest of voles*.They’re very tiny as you can see.  And our daughter told me they were especially fun to see under a magnifying glass.So they put them in a jar to better watch them.  And, while they were at it, they found some wild asparagus.And later in the day, Little Edie the fearless feline flushed out a baby wild bunny.  We tried to find its burrow but failed.  Poor little thing.  The little dot on its head says it’s still a nursling.

*Voles are my greenhouse nemesis as they loves themselves some seedings.  They also are incredibly prolific.  Sure, these little ones probably won’t make it but their mother will go on to have as many as 7 more litters in 2010.

9 responses to “On the outdoor classroom

  1. I remember finding baby bunnies when I was a kid. We tried to raise them, but they always seemed to expire of some kind of distemper. On the other hand, I found a nest of nursing chipmunks while digging for indian burial mounds. I fed them with an eye dropper and they survived into adulthood as family pets, until one of my sisters left the cage door open and the chipmunks drowned in the sump pump. Tragic story, but I have tried to forgive my sister.

  2. My kids found some baby field mice and got a kick out of feeding them to the chickens. They didn’t tell me and I was thoroughly disgusted when I found out. I am not sure why it seems okay to feed the chickens two inch long caterpillars, but feeding them half inch long mammals just seems gross.

  3. My old airedale would stand guard over a disturbed nest until I returned all bunnies and covered them carefully. At the time we had flocks of crows who hunted the neighborhood; they would disturb the nests when she wasn’t on duty.
    What happened with the bunny? Not even asking about the voles.

  4. Little Edie? I love it!

  5. Voles and moles are both bad here. If I found vole babies, I’d feed them to the chickens too.

    I need to remember to buy some Juicy Fruit gum to stick down the mole’s hole who’s tearing up my only flower border. I got smarter with the veg boxes- they’re all sporting a hardware cloth petticoat…

  6. What a great day! I’m so glad she didn’t have school today!

  7. I didn’t know that’s what the little dot meant! We are overrun with bunnies in our neighborhood, but since we don’t grow our vegetables at home, it’s not a problem (The veggie patch is at a community plot ten blocks away. For some reason, the rabbits stay away…)

  8. The picture with the magnifying glass is precious – and I can’t believe what a productive day it was!

  9. Ed, tragic indeed! Good for you though for trying. It is a big responsibility to take care of little bitty things, especially if you’re fairly small yourself. I am also quite sure your sis was just as upset as you were.

    Bethany, I agree, quite gross…but whoa they tend to find them all on their own when they’re out and about so, well…chickens are omnivores certainly!

    Pamela, what a great dog. The bunny hung out for a couple of days with Mama Wrinkles and she helped feed him. We realized he was plenty strong so we let him go yesterday afternoon. And the voles got returned to their nest after dark and that’s where they still are (daily checking by someone small).

    Sharon, we went round and round about her name mainly because we didn’t have a Big Edie to join her. But honestly Little Edie is one of my heroes mainly because of her fashion sense.

    Paula, another thing I am thankful for is that my clay soil is entirely too thick for any mole to try to tunnel through. Hardware cloth saves my butt too quite often, glad you tried it!

    Liz, they had a LOT of fun (I didn’t even mention the frog catching session) and yeah it’s just a prelude to this summer vacation.

    Mama Bean, lucky you on the location of your garden! Yeah it’s definitely bunny season. We tend to go for a nightly bike ride and they are crazy-numerous out here in the country, especially at dusk in the fields.

    Annette, indeed! There’s always something to do if you have a magnifying glass; they are indeed the bomb if you have small people. Spiders! Ants! Baby voles!

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