Monday, February 11, 2013

Lichen Prints


This is an activity that we actually did a few weeks ago…but I thought that it was pretty cute and a fun seasonal type homeschoolie activity to share.


It’s very simple. Watercolors + lichen + paper. TA-DA!


This could be done with any kind of material. Whatever is seasonal and lying around on the ground outside in a beautiful place to be found, brought inside and made into prints.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Winter Walk

Note: This post is from a week ago.  Couldn't get the images to load.

Chobie, Mr. Bubbles and I just went on a little walk outside to gather some lichens for a project we will be working on tomorrow (or possibly the next day depending on how the visit with grandma goes).  As we walked along, up one of our usual routes up the road I asked him about the plants that he saw.  Mostly, these were browned, withered seed stalks, but he was still able to recognize some of them.  During the summer we worked a lot on identifying the plants that grow here, so it was great to see him ID plants during the winter.  I think it’s important to be able to identify plants throughout all the seasons and not just in flower or some other part of the yearly cycle.


As we walked we noticed things that we liked and talked about them.  Unfortunately theres a lot of trash and rotting garbage in the woods around here left over from former residents of the abandoned properties neighboring our current residence at the EBR (Exotic Bird Ranch).  So there goes this picturesque little winter walk I was describing.  One of Chobie’s favorite things was a battery he found laying in the road. L Raising hippy children, fail.  XT (I guess this was supposed to be Ami’s code name on the blog, I kinda forgot for a while, but I’m gonna start using it again) were fantasizing about how great it would be if there was some government grant program that citizens could apply for to get some $$ to cover expenses for cleaning up the woods…


We did also find a lot of beautiful lichen. They are amazing half-moss-like half-fungal beings who grow all over trees or the ground and are some of the most cold-hardy vegetation around.  I guess they even grow in the tundra, if I remember correctly. 



This one is usnea, well known in the herbal world for its antibiotic properties.  I remember hearing that usnea was used during wars before the advent of pharmaceutical antibiotics. Remembering all this as we were walking along, I got inspired to make some usnea tincture.  So that adds one more thing to my present “to gather” list. (It currently includes usnea, rose hips, and blackberry vines).



We also picked up a few other items of interest: a budding branch that fell during some recent winds (Chobie called them “bugs” and proceeded to point out each one on the branch), self-heal seed stalk, plantain seed stalk, and western red cedar leaf.


I’m loving winter around here.  It’s funny because a lot of people we knew (especially certain worrisome, concerned (perhaps even overbearing) friends and family members) were so concerned about us being up here all winter.  But it’s actually great, and I’m even saying this while we don’t have running water (that’s definitely a longer story than I’m prepared to write in this post, but let’s just say we didn’t get the memo that for this specific set up it’s not enough to just leave the faucet on in the house, but you actually have to blast a hose all night too when it gets to sub-freezing temps).  We just bundle up and go out and walk. In some ways its better than summer was, mostly because I’m without the extreme seasonal allergies.


And the final item of interest we encountered…Chobie found this “Christmas tree.” And brought it inside.