Sunday

First Flowers of Spring


You’ll have to excuse my light posting of late. My husband and I have been flirting with the idea of listing our house and finally took the plunge and contacted a local relator. We started scouting potential neighborhoods with her and managed to fall in love with a home on a wooded lot right smack in the middle of where we were hoping to move.

In LOVE I tell you!

Anyway, priority number one has been whipping our house into tip-top shape so we’re in a better position to make an offer and (fingers crossed) move into this perfect place.

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But enough of the house talk, let’s talk about the next exciting event on the horizon – SPRING! I've been absolutely engrossed in the book Nature for the Very Young: A Handbook of Indoor and Outdoor Activities and I've been bookmarking activity after activity that I'm hoping to try with Claire. Everything is arranged by seasons so I've zipped through to the Spring and Summer section. I wish I had come across this book when I worked for the park service -- managing groups of young children in the woods can be a challenge but there are some great ideas in Marcia Bowden's Book for "classroom management" while exploring the great outdoors with kids.

Inspired by the book, Claire and I set out on a hike to search of the first flowers of spring. If you’re a fan of Chalk In My Pocket on Facebook, you should recognize a few of these photos. I had great fun reading through everyone’s guesses as I left cryptic clues about the species – Tovah M., Kelli K., Linda V. and Krista’s Paper CafĂ© get the bragging rights for correctly identifying this bloom as…

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SKUNK CABBAGE! The mottled red-purple hood hides a cluster of tiny yellow flowers that pack a punch of skunky stink! Claire thought it was absolutely hilarious and we sniffed and sniffed to find the stinkiest of the bunch. I explained the purpose of the strong smell was to attract insects to help spread pollen but Claire was more interested in what eats this plant.

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She observed what looked like nibble marks and turned to me for a rundown on what insane creature would snack on this smelly plant. I had no idea and promised to check the Internet for information at home. Turns out only bugs and slugs dine on this variety of cabbage, it’s poisonous to mammals (as if the smell weren’t enough of a deterrent). As one of the first pollen producers of Spring, I’m wondering what honey tastes like if bees are released nearby? Would it taint the honey? Any beekeepers out there have an answer? I know honey takes on the taste of clover, lavender and other aromatic plants…I have yet to see “Skunk Cabbage Honey” in the local stores though!

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Claire spent the remainder of the time at the creek stomping in mud and attempting to fish with a stick. I don’t have the heart to tell her about the inefficiency of her bait (mud), pole design (lacking spear, hook or line), or the fact that there are no fish to even be found in this creek. Every time we visits she says, “I’ll think I’ll try again to catch that whopper fish.”

Maybe next time honey bear.

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And the next time I get the urge to find blooming plants in a swampy area, I’ll be sure to pack some muck boots. Luckily my super cute purple kicks from LL Bean wash up nicely in my front loader!



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9 comments:

  1. Great day, great post. Thanks for sharing your stinky skunk cabbage. :)

    Love your purple shoes, I have the black ones!

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  2. Ryan didn't find the skunk cabbage so appealing the other day. I did find them to look very interesting. I think I'm just longing for spring! We went through three changes of clothes and two pairs of shoes that day. Looks like you had a wonderful day as well :) SPRING HERE WE COME!!!

    Sue

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  3. How hilarious you guys tried to find the smelliest of the bunch. Those are gorgeous flowers.

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  4. They are beautiful the more I look at them! They remind me of something I made in a ceramics class eons ago! We need to go on a nature hunt to find some of these! They are in swampy areas, right?

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  5. This looks like a wonderful outing!

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  6. Skunk cabbage...
    There are many skunks around our home. I'm hoping this plant does not smell THAT bad!
    Dorla
    www.escuelitaaparicio.blogspot.com

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  7. Beautiful post! Skunk cabbage honey...hmm...I don't know about that one :)

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  8. How funny! I think I'll wait for the violas and tulips :)

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  9. We have quite of bit of that along our brook....I think it is really beautiful in the spring... the rest of the time I could do without it! Great pictures...love the muddy shoes!

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