Today was declared Field Trip Day, so after davening and parsha stories we took the rest of the day off, packed up a lunch, and headed out to Skidaway Island State Park. I can't even begin to relay how wonderful this day was. The temperature was in the mid-70s, so really utterly perfect. The biting insect factor was low (but still there!). We first went to the playground and played then ate our lunch. Another homeschooling family pulled up at about the same time. They were from out of town, but had brought grandma to Savannah for an operation. They had two very nice children and they all enjoyed playing together.
After lunch, we took our car down to the beginning of Big Ferry Trail. There's a nice path (former road) that goes straight out to the slough from the parking area. I passed out scavenger hunt cards that I put together last night. They were laid out in a 5 x 5 grid, with each square big enough to put a sticker on when we found the thing from the list. Look here to see what was on our list.
The scavenger hunt had them really LOOKING intensely at things while we were on our hike. I think it would be fun to include some little activities in the grid next time, like to sit very quietly for five minutes and afterwards talk about what you heard. We did manage to find everything on our list. The hardest to find was a feather, but we saw stuffed birds at the nature center and decided to count those. They were real feathers, after all! :)
We had a GREAT time on the Big Ferry Trail. This was probably our best walk ever, and unfortunately I forgot the camera at home. :( We saw lots of interesting things - walking sticks (first time I'd seen on in the woods!), squirrel nests, great horned owls (only heard them), ibises, crabs that were barely 1/4" long, salt flats, alligator ponds, frogs, giant black beetles, and freshwater and saltwater sloughs. At the mid-point of the trail is a wonderful observation tower that looks out over the salt flats. We also took a small side trail and walked out onto the flats themselves. Slightly mucky, but not in a terribly messy way. I think it's time to get our annual pairs of boots, though!
There was a tree identification pamphlet at the trail, with numbered trees along the way. We learned to identify Spanish bayonets, cabbage palms, saw palmettos, water oaks, sparkleberries, native bamboo (but I forget the actual name), and pignut hickory. Others too, but those are the ones I'm sure I'll recognize again. :) Eli spied a letterbox in a hole in a tree, so that was a nice bonus. We all signed the little book, but sadly had no stamp since we weren't going letterboxing on purpose.
Afterwards, we stopped at the lovely little nature center and said hello to all the little animals there (snakes, baby alligator, baby turtle, box turtles, hissing cockroaches...) and to the very tall fossilized skeleton of a giant sloth (and we just happen to be studying rodents this week!). Then home for dinner. Really lovely. The fresh air was magnificent, and I was really wishing we were there camping right now. It was so perfect.
Then dinner at home came out great and that's always a good thing. And most of them ate it too; that's a great thing! We had whiting (frozen fillets from Walmart) pan-fried with herbs, flour, salt and pepper; linguini with pesto and preserved lemons; and a salad (a little too puckery with marinated tomatoes from shabbos... kind of bleah). I had some beautiful basil, so I made a pesto with almonds, basil, garlic, and oil, then tested out a spoonful with some preserved lemon. WOW! Perfect taste blend. So in went 1/2 a preserved lemon. The pesto was great next to the fish and on the linguini. Really yummy. Yes, I'm obsessed. But don't worry, I'm not planning on making preserved lemon ice cream any time soon. Hmmmmmm... maybe??!?!? :)
Amirah and Raizel have bad colds now, so I don't know how much learning we'll get done tomorrow. On the other hand, we got oodles of geography, zoology, and reading done today! Everyone was supremely happy with our outing. Looking forward to another one soon.