Finding fall is becoming easier and easier this past week. From persimmons to pumpkins, we have found all sorts of neat things to pique our interests!
On Tuesday, we were joined by a fantastic Irvine volunteer named Theo. He accompanied us on our farthest hike yet! We visited the class favorite- autumn olive trees to notice that almost all of the berries were dried up and gone! We ‘asked’ the tree to tell us why it wasn’t producing fruit and we listened patiently and quietly for its silent ‘answer’. Our class deducted that it must have been the changing season that is causing the fruit loss. We walked past the sunflower field on Bauer Preserve and saw that unfortunately, all of the flowers are no longer bright and facing the sun. The same field looks quite different now. Some friends hiked to the hidden pond that resides far out on that property and saw that it was marshy and mostly dried up, but still neat to see. The rest of the group climbed on some really neat hay bales around that area and tried a bite of a little orange looking fruit called a persimmon. We found out quickly however, that the taste of a not-quite-ripe persimmon is pretty intense. Some friends said their mouth felt ‘numb’ or ‘puffy’. The astringent in unripe persimmons can be taken away by letting them dry out for several weeks. Maybe we will see what happens to the ones we picked but I don’t think we will be puckering up to persimmons anytime soon!
On Thursday, we had another visiting volunteer named Dennis! He will be joining us in our Thursday fun in the coming weeks! We started with a super silly story about a little falling leaf. Each one of us told a portion of the story and everyone had a good laugh!
Some leftover pumpkins from last weekends Pumpkinfest, served us well as each of us picked one to do with as we saw fit! Many of us tumbled our pumpkins down the access road, kicking and chasing them all the way down!
When we got to the bottom of the big hill, we stopped and spent the good part of an hour harvesting the seeds out of our pumpkins, carving them and painting them! It was a relaxing and concentration filled activity on such a pretty day! Miss Paula gathered some black walnuts and we painted with their ‘ink’. Through testing and tweaking, we found that adding water to an over-ripe nut made the darkest ink. The more water we added, the darker our ink became!
Our story this week was Why the Sky is Far Away by Mary-Joan Gerson. This story is a Nigerian folktale that taught us not to waste the Earth’s gifts. Did you know that the sky was once very close to the Earth? People could easily reach up into the sky and grab anything they would like to eat from it and its bounty seemed endless. That was, however, until the sky became angry with people taking it for granted and being wasteful with what it provided. The sky ended up moving very far away, and people had to work for their food from then on; a great conversation starter to talk about how we can honor the gifts of the Earth.
Honor and Cherish, Forest Protectors!