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Our Winter Nature Station

It can be hard to get out in nature when the bitter weather and nagging flu season conspire to keep you inside. We rely on our birdfeeder windows quite a bit at this time of year, but this week we decided to set up a "nature station" on our deck. The station will feature different items as seasons and interests change, but for now we've set up a birdbath and some ice crafts.

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 Below is the heated birdbath:

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And here we have the "ice mobiles" we made (pre-freezing):

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I got this idea from an activity described in Nature's Playground (a fabulous book btw!) ...

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We took random bits of nature easily found in our yard (and a few things from our fridge) and set them in aluminum cake pans. We used sliced clementines, cranberries, evergreen branches and cones, dried leaves and cracked corn. Then we filled the pans with water and left them out on our table to freeze.

(Note - By the time we got to the last pan I realized that taping the materials to the bottom of the pan would keep things from floating around too much in the water. I did this with the leaves but it would have worked well for the pinecones, branches and citrus slices too).

The end result was to be a collection of pretty ice mobiles to hang in the trees (I could just see them glinting in the winter sun). They'd be lovely to look at *and* provide tasty for the birds and squirrels who frequent our yard.

But we had a few setbacks. First we had a snowstorm ...

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And then we had a week of near-40 degree weather! The mobiles have not yet frozen solidly enough to hang in the trees! Ah well ... such is the fickle nature of Nature. :) This activity has really drawn the boys' attention to the rising and falling temperatures this week though ...  

Not that I'm complaining of course, but it looks like we are in for more "mild" weather over the next several days and then possibly some storminess next week. If and when we do get these mobiles ready to hang, you all will be the first to know!

Hope you all had a good week - ours was nice and pretty quiet. Earlybird is still fighting that cough but I think he is at last getting past it. (Last night was the first in over a week he didn't wake from coughing.) Here's to a happy and healthy weekend ... see you all again sometime soon! :)

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