Towards the very beginning of January, around the same time the juncos made their first appearance, we had a wonderful adventure out in the snow. We were "rowing" Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost , illustrated by Susan Jeffers, one of our Five in a Row books. I need to mention here that this poem presented a terrific opportunity for us to talk more about poetry and rhyming words. We also read (and are still enjoying) some lovely collections of children's poetry, which I'll talk about in another post soon to come.
In the FIAR lessons, Jane mentions the idea of looking for animal tracks in the snow and using Crinkleroot's Guide to Animal Tracking by Jim Arnosky to identify them. We all enjoyed the Crinkleroot book. I intend to check out more in this series.
After reading Stopping by Woods early one evening, we set out all bundled and carrying our flashlights to do some "tracking". Kurt led the way with our first stop being the bird feeders. There we expected to find lots of little bird footprints, which we did, but we also found an exciting surprise - rabbit tracks! The kids were ecstatic. Superman and Giggly Girl ran ahead with their little lanterns to see where the tracks led. They did an excellent job of following the trail (Crinkleroot would be proud) and found that the tracks stopped in the back corner of our property at the entrance to a pipe that is half-buried in the ground. Kurt got down on hands and knees and shined the flashlight into the pipe but couldn't really see anything. Superman ran down to the other end of the pipe, which is also open, and saw that there were also tracks leading into that end. Even though we were never able to see the bunnies, we're fairly certain we've got a rabbit (or two or three...) living out back in our little pipe.
Since we had come to the end of our "rabbit trail", Superman and Giggly Girl began their own individual exploring all over the yard, and each made special discoveries. Giggly Girl found yet more rabbit tracks right up by one side of the house, and Superman discovered two different kinds of bird prints on our patio. One was a "hopper" and the other a "walker" - newfound information from our friend Mr. Crinkleroot.
At this point, Sweet Pea had ripped off both gloves and was having a grand ole' time falling face down in the snow and eating it - on purpose. So we called it a night and returned inside to warm up and have one more look at Crinkleroot's guide. There we confirmed that we indeed had seen rabbit tracks along with the little bird tracks.
Now if we can only have that big snow that was promised this week, we'll be able to go and hopefully scout out some new wildlife living in our backyard. Who knows - maybe a raccoon or deer?