Thursday, December 2, 2010

Winter Hike (from MacBeth's Opinion)

The winter nature hike is a glorious thing!   Pull on your boots and jackets, and don't forget your hat!  Here are a few hiking ideas, and some ideas for your winter back yard: 
Hike a beach, lakeshore, or river bank (carefully!)
Visit the forest right after a snowBe the first to hike a field after a snow
Make snow angelsLook for tracks near water sources
Try Nordic skiing
Go bird-watching early in the morning
Take an evening hike
Take a "listening" hike--what do you hear?
Examine snow flakes (take your microscope outside so the flakes stay frozen)
Look for the "skeletons" of last summer's plants
Dig for tubers and roots:Jerusalem artichokes wild carrot (caution! must be positively identified), leeks, evening primrose, wild potato, chicory, onions, field garlic, ground nuts, anise root, sassafras, wild ginger, curly dock...
Taste fresh snow
Winter orienteering is a challenge!  Try it!
Play "fox and geese," a game like "tag," on a circular, spoked track in the snow (directions in A Prairie Boy's Winter)
Make snow-shoes, and walk with them!
Look for winter berries--who eats them?  Which berries are eaten last?
Look for last summer's nests
Cook outside and eat there too!
Learn fire building (read London's To Build a Fire)
Step outside during a blizzard (step inside quickly!)
Identify local trees by bark aloneTurn over your compost pile
Take the temperature of your yard--near the house, away from the house, the soil surface, under the soil, in the compost pile...Hang different bird-seed types in different places--who likes what?
Hang suet for birds, too!
Provide shelter from elements for wildlife--bird houses, bat houses, brush piles, old logs, etc.
Keep a record of the weather
Tap maple trees in late winter--boil the watery sap into thick sugary syrup, and pour it on ice cream, pancakes, or even snow!

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