Welcome to Field Day ~ The Late Autumn Edition!
Can it really be the first of December? It seems we were only just stepping out together for our first Field Day journey last June. Now, autumn is coming to a close, and we are standing here at winter's doorstep. This is a time of contradictions - outside the world is coming to a screeching halt (or so it seems) while inside, all is aglow and alive. Before we rush headlong into the holidays, though, let's pause for a moment and remember how good the autumn has been to us.
Let us remember the golden sunshine, the falling leaves, and the crispness of the air. Let us drink in the colors of the landscape, so unique to this season; it will be some time before they grace our vista again. The fields are brown and withered now, perhaps a bit crunchy underfoot. But, in the scheme of it all - to everything a season, remember - autumn's empty fields are no less beautiful than the meadows so full in the spring.
A balance must be met at each turn of year. Just as in summer, when our homes graciously stepped aside to allow the out-of-doors to shine and beckon, so now must the out-of-doors bow to the pleasures of hearth and home. Of course all that said, it is certainly not a time to batten down our hatches too tightly! Oh, no, for there is still much to see and enjoy out there - if not in our backyards, than most certainly through our frost-covered windowpanes!
All we need is a little encouragement ~ the proper frame of mind, the proper outdoor gear ~ not to mention the proper refreshments to return to. (Nothing warms and welcomes like a mug of something hot after a cold hour or two spent outdoors.)
I hope this Field Day post also serves as some encouragement, with some ideas and inspiration to tide you over through these next cold and yes, even dreary months. Truly there is much to do, and always, something to remember. Let us then remember, together ...
I am pleased to be joined by a happy and hearty bunch of friends and fellow nature enthusiasts. All throughout my post, you will once again find a number of Marcie's breathtaking images. Happily, her photos are joined by a few others this time; I think you will agree, all the pictures are filled with the delight that only nature can bring.
Marcie captured the beauty of a Louisiana Bayou.
Speaking of delight, who better than a child to seek and find the smallest and sweetest gifts in each day? When Alice sent me this darling picture of her Catherine, I immediately returned to my own little girl days - roaming my family's backyard, warmed by my trusty golden poncho. No kind of weather deters the joy of a child when she is allowed to explore and befriend the out-of-doors.
Now I ask you, does autumn get any lovelier than this?
Sometimes a field trip makes for a wonderful field day! Perhaps you enjoyed a trip to the pumpkin farm as Alice and her sweet bunch did this fall; her talented children always have the loveliest thoughts to share and Theresa's description of fall captures its essence perfectly. And speaking of talented children, Elizabeth's son Michael ventured forth into the wilderness and returned with gorgeous photos and heartfelt reflections on fall.
Krisann's family spent some beautiful autumn hours by a river and were amazed by the animal tracks they found along the bank. What a lovely day and an excellent science lesson to boot! Jennifer's family enjoys visiting the Public Gardens throughout the year and watching the seasons change. Their photos are lovely and to "hear" November through the words of a child is a true gift. Closer to home, an inspired lesson masquerades as a lively game - and reveals many of autumn's treasures!
One of the miracles of autumn is that it happens all over the world. Kira and her husband have traveled far from home to experience the greatest miracle of all. Kira writes: "My husband and I are currently halfway across the world in the country of Kazakhstan adopting a baby girl (nineteen months). This is our first Thanksgiving that feels like a traditional Thanksgiving for us even though we are far from all our loved ones and in a foreign country! This is because we have snow and barren trees here ~ as I always imagined late autumn to be like! I took this picture right outside the door of our temporary apartment building. I assume it is a common bird like a sparrow, but being from the southwest (Arizona) I am unfamiliar with birds from these colder climates. (It's currently in the mid-80s in Arizona!) This picture was taken just hours before the first big snow of November."
A pair of lovely snowbirds, half a world away.
And let us not forget our many good friends in warmer climes - they will surely supply us with tales of sunshine and warmth throughout our long winter months.
Marcie's son enjoys the Gulf of Mexico - on Thanksgiving Day!
Leticia's family also enjoyed the water on Thanksgiving Day, after a family hike led them to the beautiful bay. And Rebecca brings glad tidings from warm and sunny Florida! Recently she shared a nature walk with her children and a very lucky neighbor boy. Together they discovered many interesting examples of autumn nature.
And how about a trip back to the mangroves with Jennifer, Hal and Marianna? Such beautiful images, both written and photographed, I felt like I was there - and wish I was! We can always rely on the S/V Mari Hal-o-Jen for warm thoughts and fair winds.
As we all know, we needn't sojourn much farther than our own neighborhood to witness the wonder of nature. Tracy and her children spent the month of November observing their neighbor's ginko tree - and a lovely nature study followed suit. Jane and her children are enjoying the lovely fall colors down south - brighter this year than in recent memory. What a special day, Jane!
Mandy keeps close to home as well, enjoying the falling leaves with her adorable daughter. I am sure those leaf paintings will be treasured forever, as will this sweet memory.
In a moving tribute to the splendor of the season, Alice and her children created a still life ~ an absolute work of art that represents all they love about their autumn garden. This lovely creation expresses in a personal and memorable way, all the joys of the season within the realm of their beloved Cottage.
Also marrying that balance of indoors and out, Margaret explores the reasons she loves late autumn - and, oh, how they resonate with me! She writes, "We are cyclical, seasonal creatures and are wired with the desire to know our Creator." Oh, Margaret how very true! And how better we know Him when we seek to understand the world he has created for us! The seasons suffuse our very lives, and how brightly their lights shine on the path we all walk together.
Angela's family is blessed to live in a beautiful spot - surrounded by trees and fields, the majesty of the seasons cannot be missed. I loved reading of all their end-of-season plans, and I look forward to hearing more about their bird study - a subject near and dear to my heart!
Matilda shares a beautiful blossom from her garden, and its fleeting beauty before ...
and after, below - highlighting the passing of one season to the next.
Matilda writes: "One of the diffucult things about living in Texas is the unpredictable weather. There's an old saying that goes: If you don't like the weather just wait a minute! It will change. Well, this year summer began in March and still isn't over ... This is a Gerbera daisy that was planted by the original owners of our house and was a lovely surprise the first spring we lived here when we saw it peeking up at us. Daisies are my favorite flower and I especially love this variety. This last late bloom caught my eye when I was thinking about the Arctic blast supposedly heading our way. I will probably bring it inside tonight so that it can brighten our lives for a few more days otherwise it woud just wither away in the cold wind ... It will probably be the last bloom we will get this year if the cold front turns out to be as strong as they are predicting ...
And what a difference a day makes! From bloomin' daisies to icicles in 24 hours or less!"
There is so much to explore and enjoy close to home, as Maria and her darling children found on their sunny autumn jaunt. I'll bet that bright, lovely day stays with them all winter long - the leaves, the webs and especially that gigantic bug! Venturing a bit further out Maria's gang spent a most exciting morning learning all about salmon and trout - inside and out. A gorgeous day spent in the sunshine, learning all together - what fun!
Speaking of bugs, Mary Ellen shares a wildly funny post about wildlife! You know, there are many sides to nature, and some are rougher than others, but for the love of her son, Mary Ellen is enjoying her time spent in "Boy Country." Now that's a loving and generous homeschool momma. :)
Cay's family has also befriended a rather large insect specimen - in fact, she and her children have happily welcomed "Sam" into the family - or was it Samantha? - you'll have to check out her post to see!
Cheryl reminiscenses about how, unexpectedly, she befriended some various forms of wildlife in years past. Or rather, furred and "fungified" creatures sought to befriend her! Cheryl's post points out the delicate - if not difficult - balance that exists between us and the wildlife around us - because sometimes it just doesn't keep its distance!
Thankfully, Marcie's white tiger is only as close as these bars allow it to be!
Autumn is a time of harvest, and for that we look to the earth's bountiful blessings, many which can be found in the wooded areas near our homes. Above us in the majestic tree canopy, we find nuts of many kinds - and Sherry celebrated the pecan all through November! I cannot imagine an autumn passing by without the smell of a pecan pie in the oven.
While below us, hidden beneath the roots and the soil, we find mushrooms - as did Susan and her son who studied many varieties, from the edible, to the inedible to the questionable. Fascinating!
As we enter the winter season, I can think of no lovelier nature study than the herbal activities Elizabeth has planned for her family. Herbs are a delight to grow, delicious to consume and a boon to the medicine cabinet. Elizabeth's plans will explore all these facets of yet another of earth's blessings.
Autumn brings with it windy days and along those winds one finds all manner of seeds making their way here and there. A beautiful example of God's perfect plan! Theresa and her children study nature in so many ways and in such a thoughtful manner, I can imagine how well they will undestand this process - and other methods of seed dispersal - when they finish this particular lesson! Their nature notebooks are amazing in detail and style!
Mary writes about their year spent focusing on owls, and shares tips for bringing depth and meaning to any nature study. Wonderful experiences and all kinds of research led her family to a familarity and better understanding of its subject. This is nature study at its deepest and best.
Marcie saw this owl at the Louisiana Renaissance Festival.
Thank you for joining me on this Late Autumn Field Day! I am so grateful for all who have participated in these fun days a-field! This project has been such a joy for me to compose - I hope you will consider joining me again before too long! Perhaps a Midwinter Edition round-abouts January 12th?
In the meantime, I wish you the happiest of holiday seasons, and please - keep warm, keep well and be blessed.
"If you keep a green tree in your heart, perhaps a singing bird will come." Chinese Proverb