Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Visit to the Turtle Rock Nature Center

Today our home school group visited the Turtle Rock Nature Center in Irvine. It was a warm and lovely fall day, the kind you probably only find in Southern California. Together, we hiked the trail. Here is what we saw.

A reminder of the majesty of our Creator.

This huge nest was in a tree by the creek. We forgot to ask at the nature center if they knew who it belonged to, but after doing some research, the boys and I think it belongs to the hawk we saw soaring over us.

Blue sky, wispy clouds, golden leaves of the sycamore.

On the trail.
This cactus looks like velvet. It begs to be touched.

But it leaves you with lots of tiny needles if you do. Thankfully they didn't seem to be painful.

Prickly pear cactus.

Wild mustard. It thrills me that my boys are starting to identify these things. They are becoming little naturalists.

There was a labryinth. The kids called it a maze and they loved it.

They all walked round and round chanting,
"where are we going? Where are we going?"

Simple pleasures.

The creek led to a waterfall. We stopped on the bridge to admire it and listen to the sound.
But there is a lot of chatter. They are like a bunch of birds, all chirping at each other and no one is listening to any one else.

Outside the nature center there is a park, Turtle Creek Park.
The best part about the park is the free flowing creek. The kids headed straight for it.
I love the girls all using the stones to cross the creek.

Others didn't bother with the stones and waded right in.

There were ducks in the stream too.

Lilly liked the ducks a lot. She kept calling them to come to her. They only came for food.

The creek had shells and we found closed, fresh water clams. The kids were perplexed that there were shells when we weren't at the beach. Some of the girls even found crawdad body parts. We didn't see any live ones, though. They must have been hiding in the murky water at the head of the stream.

After exploring the stream, we ate lunch on the grass and the kids played on the playground. My kids were asleep before we left the parking lot.

I must admit, there are days when I wonder if I can really do this home school thing. Days like this assure me I can. It feels so good to be there with our friends. I marvel at this way of schooling, this way of life. Right now, it is just right. I'm grateful.

"There can be no greater vocation in life than the family responsibility of sharing life with the growing child." Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

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