Monday, October 14, 2013

An Autumn Weekend of Beauty!

We had such a gorgeous weekend!  We spent so much time together as a family with family and with friends.  Made for a pretty perfect time!  Our first stop was Marion, IN to see Mississinewa of 1812.  We walked through the camps with some friends who also went along.  We got there in time for the River Battle, but wasn't in a good location to really see what was going on.  We did see the Field Battle though, surrounded by lots of school children.  I'll say when those children all cleared out, it made for a much more enjoyable field trip for our family.  : )  One thing we enjoy is just sitting and talking with people.  We learned some pretty neat stuff about how they made boats and then used them and the oars to make their tent.  We also sat and played music with some folks.  Very enjoyable and of course one of Jonathon's favorite stops.  We also stopped and sat down with a couple men at their camp that just looked like they had stories to tell.  They were actually cooking up bison tongue in a pot and shared some of their fixings with us.  Well, not all of us tried it, but a couple did.  Me, not so much.   

It was a lovely day together.  We were done there earlier than we had thought we would be, so we were able to stop by Jonathon's brother, Michael's house for a little 50th birthday celebrating.  Is always nice to visit with family.  That completed our first day.

 The Native American story teller.  He told stories of when he was a boy.  So enjoyable to listen to.
 And he sang some songs.  Interesting how one of the main words he would sing always sounded like he was saying "Yahweh".  

 This was a fascinating stop.  The wigwam was interesting to look through, but the man who built it had some good stories as well.

 The two men serving up bison tongue.

Onto day 2.  We woke up leisurely on Sabbath morning, had breakfast, then ate lunch and read some Scripture right before heading out the door.  I had remembered that there was a special event at the Kendallville Library called Pawsitively Fun.  The Humane Society had dogs and cats there, as well as the Noble County 4-H Dog Club.  They had obstacles for the dogs to do, crafts and activities for children to do, door prizes, and lots of furry creatures to pet.  The children loved it!  We ended up being the only family that came out to participate in it.  Was really too bad because it was a lot of fun for the children.  We did make a new friend that joined us in the crafts who had an adorable beagle there in the 4-H Dog Club.

We left there and headed to a little park that is part of the Acres Land properties.  We pass it almost every time we go to Kendallville and have always wanted to stop but just never did.  So, today we decided we'd stop there and take a walk.  It was really a nice park!  The trails were great, the trees were beautiful, and the children collected lots of pretty leaves.

We came home and the children and Jonathon walked back to the woods here to check out how overgrown it was and to spend some time creating a wigwam.  The sun set and we all went back to work cleaning up the kitchen and getting ready for the work week.  What a great day!

Lonidaw Park, north of Kendallville.  The sun shone beautifully through the trees!

There were lots of grape vines hanging along the trail at this park.  One of them looked like a good swinging vine, so Jonathon tested it to see if it would hold the children, then they each tried their hand at swinging or climbing up it.

 Now the papa had to try it.  Let's just say he's not as young as he used to be.  The children all walked away uninjured.  He did not.  : )

Onto day 3.  Jonathon and Benaiah woke up early and got out the door to go help a friend with some work on his house.  The other three children set to work on school lessons, and I gathered up camping food to take to Maple Wood for lunch.  I had to get a cute picture of Saphira on our stairs before we left.  So cute!
 Maple Wood was having a Color Walk through the woods and had a campfire to start it out if anybody wanted to come roast hot dogs before the walk.  I read about it in their newsletter, then saw it again posted on FaceBook.  We planned to meet Jonathon and Benaiah there along with my parents.  We ended up being the only people at this event also.  Why aren't people taking advantage of these great programs?!  Well, we certainly enjoyed the campfire, roasting hot dogs and bananas, which was a first for us.  Then we set out in the woods for some amazing finds.  Was a great time for all of us!

 Our bananas that we cooked over the fire.  We sliced a groove out, stuffed it with peanut butter, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips, then we wrapped it in foil and threw it in the fire.  They were really quite tasty.  Most of us preferred them to not be cooked too long because they got really mushy then.  Warmed and the ingredients melted made them just perfect!

 Keeping our eyes open for neat leaves of different kinds of trees, and other interesting happenings.

 We taste tested 2 different kinds of hickory nuts.  I'd never had one before, and they sure are delicious!

 Scott Beam loves to chase leaves through the woods as they fall from trees.  At one point everyone was racing around (some more than others) trying to catch a leaf.  Harder than you'd think.  This is my dad trying to get the one he saw falling.  Not sure if he got it or not, but he sure put on a good show.  

As we were walking, I noticed an area along the path that was swarmed with yellow jackets and flies.  We called Scott over to see if he knew what was going on there.  He looked and thought about it, then said, "Is there a white branch above my head?"  Sure enough, there were 3 white branches above his head.  The white covering the branches were little tiny aphids.  Their waste is dropped and goes to the ground where the flies and bees are then attracted to the area.  The first tree we saw them on we couldn't see them up close, but there was another tree like it closer to the nature center that we could get a much closer look at.  From a distance it just looks like a blanket of white fur on the branch, but upon closer inspection, each little fur ball moved.  We put our hands kind of wrapped around the branch without touching them, and you could actually feel heat from all their little bodies being busy at work.  Amazing!  There were also lady bugs sitting near the aphids.  Lady bugs eat aphids.  They sure had a buffet here!  Very fascinating!    

There sure is a lot to see in nature.  If you just take the time to observe and notice things, you'll see all sorts of amazing creatures!  Was a great day spent with family, in the quietness of the woods, learning some things, collecting leaves, nuts, and seeds, and being thankful that we have this time to be together!

Take a moment and do something special with your family on these wonderfully warm autumn days.  Make memories doing some simple things.  Sometimes those are the most treasured of all the memories created in a lifetime.