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Field Day: The Late Summer Edition!

I ask you, what has become of our summer? Can Labor Day be just two weeks away?  Field_day_button

"A nip in the air today, and autumn, playing hide and seek with summer ..." from August Ends, Leonard Clark

Late summer is, perhaps, the most beautiful time of year. Of course, I end up saying that several times a year ~ I so enjoy the unfolding charms of every season. But whatever the calendar says, the natural year has its own set of rhthyms. Late summer's is one of languorous pause, stirred only by the gentle touch of September. The heat and haze begin to lift and there's a new freshness in the air. We feel the autumn coming and we know summer is nearing its bittersweet end.

And so it was such an afternoon - filled with the song of the cicada, the warmth of the sun and the earthy smell of the garden - when our Late Summer Field Day group gathered for a picnic. We poured the lemonade and passed around the field journal, each of us adding our own summer memories ...

We began with Marcie's beautiful nature photography. Interspersed throughout our journal entries below, you will find her wonderful pictures. Here is the first one, a breathtaking summertime sight:


Hummingbirds at feeder

Late summer means days by the sea ...

Fresh from the beach comes Michelle and her family. They spent a lovely June afternoon tidepooling, and met some absolutely fascinating sea creatures! And even more tidepooling brought a whole new batch of discoveries! Surely the cries of the gulls, the crash of the waves and the spray of the sea will stay with them all winter long.


~ Viceroy butterfly ~

Late summer means hiking, camping, exploring ...

And just what are summer memories made of? More often than not, they include a trek in the woods or a sojourn to the mountains or a day spent exploring nearby trails. Recently, Kristina's family spent a lovely day climbing up the trail just behind their house. How lucky they are to live in such a beautiful spot! (And I bet those blackberries tasted sweet!)

Meanwhile, Meredith's family joined with several others in an amazing experience out west, learning the lessons and blessings of Camping 101! What a gorgeous corner of the world to explore, Meredith!

And Donna's crew spent a wonderfully adventuresome day at a neaby nature preserve. What fun they all had, exploring the wonders of God's Creation.


~ Toad in vegetable garden ~

Late summer means bountiful gardens ...

Very often we need not even step outside our own backyard to experience the fullness of summer. One is nearer to God in a garden than anywhere else on earth, goes the old saying. Well, I do know one thing for sure: when God is in your heart, the beauty of the world will not escape you. Jennifer's garden is bursting with such late summer treasures as plump luscious figs while her table is happily groaning beneath the peach havest!

And how much there is to learn in the other Jennifer's garden! Those pumpkins are a late summer marvel to watch as they grow ... and the autumn treats that will follow should be equally marvelous!

And how about a tour of a neaby farm with lush vegetable gardens and plenty of animals to see? Angela and her family made just such a trip recently. I can almost taste the tomatoes and other heirloom vegetables from Angela's own garden - they sound oh-so-delicious!

Donna Marie shares a beautiful post about how her Mary garden provided bountiful blessings this year - an abundance of awe, creativity and wonder. Sounds like that garden was the greatest of successes to me, Donna Marie!


~ Roseate Spoobills nesting ~

Late summer means birds and birdwatching ...

Every season holds its own special birding joys, though around here we've had a bit of a summer lull ~ but not so at Krisann's! Her family has been watching a family of swallows as their second nesting has produced three baby birds! I spent a recent afternoon watching a flock of swallows dip and dive over the trees - I'm very glad to learn more about them from Krisann!

So much of what we learn in nature is sparked and supported by excellent books. Sherry tells us about one such book, Gay-Neck: The Story of a Pigeon. We happen to have a soft spot for pigeons and their country cousin the mourning dove. Thank you for the book suggestion, Sherry - sounds like an inspiring and rich read, indeed!

Now as you all know, we here at By Sun and Candlelight have a real passion for birds. Well, you can just imagine how eager we are to follow Elizabeth's family down their upcoming rabbit trail - it's for the birds! There's so much to consider - the feeders, the books, the blog (and that coffee!) - you can just bet we'll be hot on the Foss family's birding heels (wings?)!


~ Marsh Hen in Cypress tree ~

Late summer means bugs ...

And what would summer be without bugs? (Well, don't get me started ...) All of God's creatures play their part in every season, I suppose! And they are a huge part of the season (sometimes too huge). Several friends have had quite interesting insect encounters ...

For Sarah's family, caterpillars are the bug of choice come August - their very hungry nature study sounds (and looks) like loads of fun!

Meanwhile, Helen's family made their own caterpillar story - and their new nature journals will surely be filled soon with more insect finds ...

And speaking of insects, Cay's family is having quite the time with the bugs of the deep south! Cay, you're holding up admirably well considering all the recent, er, excitement - but such are the days of our natural lives!

Whatever my feelings for bugs, the trilling sound of the cicada is a fond and familiar song by late August. But how about the birth of a cicada, how familiar is that? Not very! We've heard a cicada, seen a live cicada, and found its shed skin, but Rachel has the most amazing step-by-step details of cicada metamorphosis at her blog! What an incredible moment ...

Despite my squeamishness, my boys are serious insect watchers and would-be collectors. So I will pay close attention to Rebecca's bug collecting post. I know my boys would love to compare notes with hers!


~ Walking stick ~

Late summer means sharing nature with our children ...

When we explore nature with children, we first need to share it on their level. Often this begins with a promise to spend time - lots of unstructured time - out there with them. Cheryl is making plans to do just that this year. She may have procrastinated in the past, but her plan for the new year sounds great!

Sharing nature with children also means providing them with simple and useful tools - tools that will bring the nature up close and personal. Theresa always has so much to share with us all when it comes to nature study. How beautiful it is that her daughter JBug is following in her mom's footsteps - and equipped with a magnifying glass, there won't be much she will miss!

You must take a step into The Lord's Garden where Alice is having wonderful fun discovering her local nature right alongside her children! I love reading all about their activities and discoveries!


~ Baby bunnies - so sweet! ~

Well, it's getting late ~ the fireflies have come out and the stars are twinkling in the inky sky above. A beautiful summer night is unfolding, but there is a bit of a chill in the air. The dry leaves are rustling in the breeze and the crickets are singing a slower tune. Before we go, let's raise one last glass of lemonade and bid summer adieu ...

I hope you've enjoyed our late summer gathering, as we perused the pages of our collective field journal. I am so grateful to all who accompanied me on this Late Summer Field Day! And many thanks to those of you who stopped by to share in our memories! I surely hope we'll catch up again in the fall! Round about mid-October, look for another Field Day ~ The Autumn Edition. (Now there's a season to love!) ;)

And August bows to September ...

"By all these lovely tokens

September days are here,

With summer's best of weather,

And autumn's best of cheer."

~ Helen Hunt Jackson