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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Nature Studies in the Desert

One of my favorite things about home-schooling my children is I get to be a part of their world as they discover new things.  I get such joy from that!

Another thing is- I'm constantly learning new things, which is AWESOME! 

For our science studies this year, we are exploring nature.  We have nature readers that we read from, and we also do hands-on projects and field trips. 

Last month, we went observing nature.  We went to the nearby "Montes Creek" and explored.  Early Fall is a fun time to explore plants because many are still alive, yet changing.  We found seed pods of different types.
There were still flowers blooming.
The girls took their nature journals and drew what they observed.
I found a single gorgeous flower that taught me a lesson that day, and I almost missed it.  It was the only one of it's kind in the area, that I could see.  It was a very small bloom, it's colors quiet, more stem then anything, but it caught my eye.  As I examined it, I noticed it was intricately put together- definitely testifying of our Heavenly Father and His wonders of creation.  Each petal was delicate, thin, and perfectly formed. 
Upon closer inspection, I noticed the contrasts in color that worked so beautifully together in drawing my eye in, from the bright golden pollen on the long tips of the pale pink stamens to the reds and greens on the knotty stem. 
And the striking pink center really set off the white of the petals.

I was happy to find this flower in the untamed desert.  It was a little smile on my journey. 
The lesson I learned from that flower was that God is real and that we are real to him.  If he can make a measly seed, tossed by the wind, settle in the dirt of a desert, take root, then grow as insignificant as it may seem to the landscape around, into a thing of beauty where it blossoms and flourishes... well then... consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, and the birds in the sky, how they fly- God clothes the lilies of the field and feeds the birds in the sky.  He will feed those who trust Him and he'll guide them with His all-seeing eye.
We found many beautiful creations.

And to think, we found all this life in at this place...  Montes Creek... About dried up.
It is literally the desert we live in, and looking around it seems dead.
But there are signs of life, and if you look carefully, like we did that day, you find it.

To me it was amazing to see just how much beautiful life goes on around us, even when we look out and can see only barren wasteland. 

After our trip to Montes Creek, we took a nature walk around our own backyard, marveling at how even the weeds can be beautiful.  And how much life there is even though no one but God cultivated it.

We didn't plant these, just some cantaloupe goo we threw in the garden.  Too bad the frost will get it soon :(

Our yard looks a lot bigger from the top of the hill!
Mean weeds, but they are kinda pretty when they change for the fall.

Amara found a baby cactus about as big as her finger.

These branches have bulges on them- perhaps seedpods?
Lily is observing the bulges on those branches.

Not sure what this yellow one is, but it's everywhere in the desert.

Prairie dog hole.  We have about a gazillion of those in the hill behind the house.

And we have a gazillion of these lovelies, too.  Weird how it grew in a "fairy ring."  Wear shoes when outside, but take them off when you come in or we get cactus spines in our carpet (sad for the person that finds those in their foot).

These weeds grew by my house in Orem growing up.  Not sure what they are, they don't smell good, but the flower is pretty.
And we planted a peach tree in the spring and next to it sprouted 3 sunflowers and a couple gourd plants.  That was a surprise, but since they were getting water, they grew.  Kinda cool.


Mom C said...

Beautiful essay about your nature walks. So happy you could go with your mom and April to the conference.
Love, Mom C

Bobbie said...

I really love your post of the nature walks. You are such the best teacher and student for them and with them. I can so appreciate your 'childlike faith' about you. As your m:o)mME that has brought my joy to me! That little pink flower is so happy because it bore testimony of God and His glory and you took time to notice it and was lifted by it!! You are probably the only person in it's lifetime that appreciated it, to show it to others, so they could in turn be thankful to God, too, as I am!!