Early Childhood Programs Blog

Living Off of the Land Week 12

December 12, 2016 - Earth Friends, Preschool

Today was the day we planned on finding the elusive wild persimmon tree.  Here is a link to learn more about the wild persimmon.  It kind of reminds me of an apricot.  http://www.eattheweeds.com/persimmons-pure-pucker-power-2/

Needless to say we were unsuccessful on our hunt but we know it’s out there since it has been seen by other people.  Knowing the location of edible wild fruit is very crucial in situations where you are living off of the land.  This adventure also forced us to be more observant and enhance our skills of identifying trees from a distance by their shape, bark, and other features.  During our journey to the wild persimmon tree, which remains at large, we found a lot of really great nature artifacts and learned about other awesome plants.  One of those is pictured below.  This is Devil’s Walking Stick.  It gets its name because it grows straight perfect for a walking stick but then you can’t use it because look at those thorns!


We continued down the trail.  We knew (or thought) the persimmon was on the new property as part of Irvine and to get there we had to either take the long way around on the trail or do what we do best and travel through the forest and find our own path.  While blazing new trails we learned about an invasive vine called Oriental Bittersweet (seen below), which does what invasive do best, take over other plants.  We also found a very fresh dead red fox (seen below) and a second very clean and well preserved carnivore skull right next to it.  We learned how to tell the difference between a carnivore, herbivore and omnivore based on the skull shape and teeth using this skull.  Carnivores have forward facing eyes, canine teeth AND pointed molars.  We have canine teeth too but we have flat square shaped molars which makes humans omnivores, like a raccoon.  The skull we found either belongs to a coyote or red fox.  We were leaning toward red fox because of the size.


We were getting closer to our destination when we found a large flock of red-winged blackbirds in the sunflower fields.  We learned that birds gather together in large flocks in the winter for a few reasons.  One is to find food, which is easier to do with more eyes looking and other is for protection, safety in numbers.  Birds are also not concerned with defending a territory and fighting over mates this time of the year so they are more capable of getting along in groups.


After we discovered the wild persimmon tree would need to be discovered on a different day, we took a break and learned a really fun Native American game with an unknown name.  The game is very simple and yet incredibly fun and teaches hand-eye coordination and dexterity.  The game starts rather simple but can increase in complexity if you want.  You are essentially tossing a waited baton back and forth with a tapped handle where where you are meant to catch the stick.  You then have to toss it holding it the same way you caught it.  The stick is tossed between a circle of people and you toss it randomly. If you miss or catch it wrong you lose a limp until you’re down to one tossing hand and kneeling.  Here is a picture of us trying it out!  In this particular game Henry and I were the last two standing.


We finished the day reading a story about the native peoples of the pacific northwest called the Salish.  Happy holidays everyone from this sycamore tree that looks like it’s decorated with ornaments.