Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Country Drives for Learning

Yesterday I took my 3 year old son and the babies for a drive on the local country roads. I was hoping to induce some naps. 

I confess to being an unschooler at heart.
I find any excuse I can to load the children into the van and drive a country road with the windows down,
so we can experience a little nature (I love hiking but it's a bit more difficult right now with the twins). I like to point out all the animals and plants and talk about them as we go (I suspect my cheery voice also has a calming effect on babies who need naps).

We have a couple of favorite routes. Yesterday we took the one across the highway from our neighborhood. The gravel road circles an old horse ranch. One particular young horse ran to the fence and followed us around the corner.

The heat was high and the noise from the cicadas was beginning to grow. They get louder as the temperature increases. The midday temperature has been hovering around 100 degrees lately.

We continued down the dusty road toward the creek.
I love to cross the muddy boggy creek bottom. We spied our old friend the blue crane, also called the blue heron, there yesterday. He'll usually stand still looking like a stick unless we stay too long. Then he'll fly into the nearby trees and shrubs for cover.

Next we went over the railroad tracks and by the cemetery. There are plenty of newer homes on the old road, many built of brick. To me they look a little out of place, like city houses that have been misplaced. 

I am partial to the old homestead on the left. The house is big and white and a little 'lumpy' looking. It's probably been there for 60 or 70 years. It has personality, character and a sense of history. It's not really pretty...exactly... but it's homey looking. It's surrounded by screened porches, shady trees and old clotheslines. I can envision myself there- presiding over laundry on laundry day and sending the children out for fruit from the old peach trees...(sigh) ...maybe someday.

We passed the homestead and slowly cruised by the llama farm where all the llamas were avoiding the heat of the day by cozily cushing in the sheds and munching. 

Down the road a bit more, past the patch of Indian Blanket wildflowers there was a small herd of black cows crowded under the trees lining the fence.
On this road one can see an occasional snake slithering and a tarantula tiptoeing here and there...not today though.

As we neared another creek I slowed down so we wouldn't frighten away any wildlife.
We stopped on the bridge and watched quietly. A small turtle was sunning himself and the dragonflies were darting all around us catching mosquitoes in their feet 'nets'. 

By this time, the cicada's songs were reaching deafening heights! Summer is definitely here!

As we turned towards home I noticed the many butterflies fluttering and I spotted the pretty purple of thistles and the bright red of a passing cardinal. 

Rounding one of the corners there was a cluster of towering sunflowers nodding their cheery heads as we went by.

Yes! This is school! This is life! This is what God gave us to enjoy! I can't wait for another day and another drive.

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