Friday, September 19, 2008

...and Ponds

We have had a lot of fun around water these past couple of days. Yesterday, we went out to Hillsboro to Rood Bridge Park. We had been there for a birthday party quite a while ago, but it hadn't entered my mind again, lovely as it was. Then the naturalist at Jackson Bottom told us it was a better place to investigate pond life than Jackson Bottom, so off we went hoping to spy the elusive crayfish. We went with our friends the E family who are also homeschooling their kids, and daughter N is Amirah's really good friend. It's a beautiful park with a creek running through it. We followed the creek path downstream and came out onto a beautiful pond that had a concrete platform jutting out into the water. It was perfect for lying down on and peering down onto the pond bottom. We saw water skippers on the surface and little snails scooting across the bottom. I saw something large-ish wriggle it's way into the mud when I came close. No idea what that was! We scooped some mud into a mason jar to see if we could find any mud creatures, but no luck. With our big pond net we scooped up several little fish feeding near the shore and put them into our observation tank for 20 minutes or so. They were translucent and you could see their internal organs. The biggest ones were an inch long. We also scooped up some insect larvae and they were walking around the bottom of the tank. We saw tadpoles too, but they were much too fast to catch and very wary of any movement along the shore. Smart tadpoles. After our explorations we took a lovely little walk (including, yikes, a bit of a runaway stroller courtesy of Avi, Eli, and a hill; all's well that ends right side up), went to the playground for lunch and play (mostly play), discovered that the faucet there could work like a giant sprinkler, got soaked, and went home happy.

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