the tree we love

Every morning after breakfast we rush to get our teeth brushed, bodies slathered with sun protection, and feet out the door to enjoy a morning walk before little Berg gets sleepy.  The walk is never as long as we’d like, but we’re making very good use of our time, finding favorite places that are only a few minutes stroll from the house.  Lately, we’ve made certain that we pass a favorite Ponderosa Pine.  The tree is stressed, to be sure, likely infested with bark beetles.  It may not have many years left, but in its last moments, this majestic tree is full of life,  sheltering and feeding all sort of critters.  We’re pausing every day to see who is visiting the tree.

I am an on-again-off-again nature journaler.  I’ve been more likley to post findings on line than on paper, but every now and then I’ll sketch up a bird or a plant and jot down some notes to help me remember.

I’ve always hoped that the boys would catch on.  They hadn’t until recently, when E-man took a nature-based art class in the park.  He was given a nature journal (by someone other than me!) and he seems to be quite excited about recording his nature studies on paper.  We’ve been visiting Cornell’s All About Birds and listening to bird songs and reading about their behavior.  It’s been quite fun.  Even G-man’s getting in on it. Here’s a bit of their work featuring the Violet-Green Swallow, who happens to be nesting in the tree we visit:

I love how E-man is incorporating the birds’ habits in his drawing.  Notice the cavity nesting site and the aerial insect foraging.  They  both pay great attention to markings.  The forked tail was important to E-man in his drawing.  G-man focused on the small beak.

Perhaps you wonder about little Berg’s role.  While we draw he keeps busy crawling the perimeter of the house, on the hunt for electrical cords we forgot to unplug and finding bits of dirt, rocks, sticks and other scraps on the floor for tasting.  He’s probably the busiest of us all.

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