Tag Archives: nature

Washington Oaks Park

We gathered up three of our four kids and drove on over to Washington Oaks.  It is a really pretty place and we picked the perfect day for it!

This is more of a formal garden than the other parks that we visit.

They have beautiful ponds and flowers everywhere.  There was a wedding here, when we walked by.  Must be the month for weddings, because there was one in Palatka Ravines the last time we were there.

This is a climbing rose, but I don’t know the name of it.  I got a couple of bug pictures on this flower. 🙂

Pea #2 decided to make use of some of the palm trees.

We had a lovely day!  I might bring the Biology students here next school year.  Need a change from Guana River.

New Pet?

At the H.E.R.I. Homeschool Convention, I stopped by UNIVERSITY of FLORIDA ENTOMOLOGY and NEMATOLOGY DEPARTMENT. They have something I want to buy.

Back to the story.

This is a Giant African Millipede. It can get up to 11 inches long.  They are docile creatures.  Diet is fruits, vegetables, and decaying matter.  To protect themselves they coil up in a tight ball protecting their underside and legs.   They lack speed and the ability to bite or sting.  These are sweet, harmless creatures.

Giant African Millipede

Millipedes have between 36 and 400 legs.  They have anywhere from 11 to 100 segments, with each segment containing two pairs (four) legs.  Centipedes  have one pair of legs per segment.  Now you know the difference between millipedes and centipedes.

The body is mostly rounded.  The head is flat on the bottom and has pretty impressive mandibles, which you can’t see in this photo.  Isn’t it cute?

The Head

I arrived before the crowd of kids, so I was blessed to be able to hold one!

New pet? I wish.

This is not what I want to order from the company, but I wouldn’t mind having it. lol  The legs do not tickle, they feel more like Velcro on the arm.

A Snake. Or Is It?

Once again, I was called upon by my family to…

“QUICK!  GET THE CAMERA!”

So I obeyed, grabbed the camera, and ran out the back door.

Sir Husband was holding a green snake.  I’m thinking, you screamed at me to take a picture of yet another garter snake.  How many photos do we need of the garter snake living somewhere around our home?

Upon closer look I discovered it was, ok…Sir Son had to tell me it was not a snake.  It was a Glass Lizard.

Also called a Glass Snake or Legless Lizard.  They are very common here in Florida.  They grow 2 to 3 feet long, but 2/3 is the tail. Like most lizards the tail will break easily away from the body, if provoked.  The tail then wiggles to attract the predator while the lizard escapes.  Don’t you wish your excess baggage would just break off?

What makes this a lizard and not a snake is the eyes have eyelids and it has ear openings.  It also has a wide tongue and feeds on insects, slugs, and worms.  Mm Mm good!

Classified under the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Reptilia, order Squamata, family Anguidae.

Just so you can compare a Glass Lizard to a snake, here is a picture of a Garter Snake.

The Garter Snake likes to eat toads.

Classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata,class Reptilia, order Squamata, family Colubridae.

Now you know the difference between a snake and a Glass Lizard.  🙂  Go out in God’s creation, find a snake, photograph it, identify it, and report back to me.

Growing Bacteria

Module 2 of Apologia Biology.

In this module we are instructed to go out, collect pond water, and observe God’s creation.    Thursday, was the day I took one of  The Peas to a nearby park to collect the pond water.

The day was cloudy with rain coming, but we had to go this day to have several days before we do our experiment.   I was looking forward to a time out with one child and exploring the area.  I’m thinking we can stop, look, and listen to our surrounds.  It didn’t happen, we got there and there were several lawn maintenance people, mowing and blowing the grass.  Ug… the noise!    Well, at least we can collect the pond water and look around.

To prepare for the collection, I had The Pea make the device.  All she did was take an old mop handle and tape a ladle to it.  We needed to be able to get to the bottom of the pond.

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As we were walking with my camera, box of plastic jars, backpack, and a long handled ladle, we got some funny looks from the workers. I thought one would be coming to ask what we were doing, but they didn’t. Maybe it wasn’t so strange. There are lots of homeschoolers in the area. lol

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Once there we quickly gather our pond water.   The rain was coming.

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It was’t easy pouring the water into the jars with that long ladle. lol

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Since the rain hadn’t started, we decided to make a quick  observation of the area. I took pictures instead of getting out the nature journals (that we haven’t started yet). We will draw in the journals later.

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We found many little wild flowers and one mushroom.

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Each jar has a food source in it to help the bacteria grow. These items are listed in Exp. 2.1. I have placed the jars in the garage where it is dark. I cracked the lid, to allow oxygen and then covered them in a paper towel, to help keep it dark.

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A better way to allow oxygen in, is to place a piece of pantyhose over the top and attach with a rubberband. I can’t get to my bedroom furniture to get an old pair out (another story), which is why I just cracked the lids.  I also don’t have any rubberbands, because The Pea took them to make a ball and I haven’t seen it in months.

Here is a picture of the inside of the jars. Nasty huh? It will get worse. lol

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The experiment will be completed on Tuesday. That gives us five days for the little buggers to grow. I hope it will do well.  This photo was taken on Friday and the smell was already pungent.  It should be nice and ripe on Tuesday.   Our classroom has no windows to open.  lol

Stay tuned…

This is my happy place.

Happy Place

God’s beauty

Indian Paint Brush

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Forget Me Not

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Lily

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Forest

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A little sunshine

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Take a Hike!

A couple of weeks ago, the family, plus one friend, went for a hike at Princess Place Preserves.  This was our second trip and we will return.  It is a beautiful placed to visit.  You get wildlife and history, all in one place. 🙂

The first trip we toured the home and heard all about its rich history (that’s for another post).  This time around we went for a hike.  First we have a hearty picnic; blackened chicken wraps, watermellon, fresh veggies, and homemade brownies.  Not to mention water; lots and lots of water.

After the picnic we head out on the Blue Trail.

The Blue Trail is an easy trail that will take half an hour.  With five kids in tow, we thought this would be best for our first hike around the place.  Due to our keen sense of directions, and the fuzzy map, we ended up on the Green Trail.  It turned out to be a really unique place to hike.  So, with that in mind, yeah, we meant to take the Green Trail.

This Green Trail is a bird sanctuary.  In the middle is a fresh water marsh, with an artesian spring to keep the water from becoming stagnet.  We saw many birds, but I wasn’t able to get any photos.

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It’s Time!!

For burly men to pitch the tent and sit back with a cold one; while the women bring on the food, swat bugs, and yell at the kids to get out of the tent with muddy feet.

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It’s time for food, bugs, and hot weather.

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It’s time for silly girlie fun.

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It’s time for smoke and roasting marshmallows while wearing your bathingsuit. Unless you are my youngest daughter and it is 225 degrees outside; then you wear jeans.

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It’s time for Continue reading

Flowers of St. Augustine

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