Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Bixler Lake Park & Water Balloon Fight

We've had such wonderful weather for getting outside.  The pollen has been plentiful this year, but I'm managing to ignore it between sneezes and still enjoy the outdoors and get in some exercise out in the woods.   We invited my mom for our walk to help her keep moving to gear up for our hiking weekend coming up.  Bixler Lake Park in Kendallville, IN has a great loop with so many things to see and it's actually a full 3 miles.  We didnt' know that when we started.  By the end, we were all tired and hungry.  :)  Alegra took the pictures as usual and captured some great things in creation.  Oh, and we saw way too many snakes that even had me jumping around on the trail.  It might have been a little comical as I was telling everyone "Stay on the path people!  There's snakes everywhere!"

 Alegra spotted this moth grouping.  Beautiful, beautiful moths!

 And then the first snake sighting of the walk right underneath the moths in the water.  Yeah, as it slithered it's way over the bank where I was standing, that was my first time of jumping and running back to the path.  

 My littlest, beautiful butterfly!

 We took a break in the campground section of the trail to go potty and play on the playground.  It's about the halfway mark, so it makes it something for the children to look forward to doing.  
 He pretty much adds fun to whatever he does.  :)

 We had an I Spy Game of who could find the frog.  Then we realized there was more than one, so that added a little fun to the walk and helped us stop to see the green along the way.  

 Another snake at the distance they should stay at.....far away!

 One right by the trail.  No thank you!

After our hike, we went home and the children were wanting to have some water fun, but I just couldn't bring myself to getting the slip n slide out, so they had a water balloon fight.
 She loves being outside...and eating grass.  She has this srunchy nose face that she's been doing a lot.  I think it's a Murphy thing.   :)

Let the war begin!!

 And this describes this baby's life.  :)  She is loved dearly.  Or maybe it should say that she is loved a little roughly.  And this is classic of Benaiah with his shorts on backwards.  Some day he'll dress correctly. 

 These two are going to be such good friends.  I love seeing them interact with each other.  My how time changes so much.  

We sure have been loving the weather.  I'll be so very thankful when the pollen is less, but for now, I'm getting through the season and looking forward to less snot in the future.  :)  We've had some big things going on around here that I'll blog about soon.  And a fun camping weekend coming up as well.  This is going to be the best summer ever!  If we enter into it with a positive attitude and delight for even the small joys, it truly will be wonderful despite anything that doesn't work out like we'd like.  Let the summer fun begin!.....and continue since they already are enjoying it!

Monday, May 16, 2016

A Walk in Dallas Lake Park

We had a morning filled with dentist appointments for all the children except the baby.  They all did great!  With a morning appointment, then off to a park for a picnic lunch, then back to the dentist to finish out the afternoon, I thought they all might enjoy a nice walk before we headed home.  We've never taken the new trail at Dallas Lake Park.  What a delightful trail with much to see.  While we walked I commented how LaGrange County has such nice parks for us to enjoy.  It truly is a blessing for those of us who love to get outdoors and enjoy creation.


 I thought for sure Benaiah was going to fall in!

 One of the challenges during our walks is who can find the first Jack-in-the-pulpit.  I found the one today!  Not all woods have them, but it is fun to find them.  It's like finding a treasure!

 She had a wrinkly face most of the walk from the wonderful sunshine!  When I turned around and talked to her, she gave me this face though.  Love her!

 This boy does gymnastics wherever he goes.

We spotted this bird as it flew away.  It flew too far away for us to identify it.
After asking around, I believe it is a green heron.  We had never seen one before.

If  you've never visited this park, check it out.  Lovely trails and creatures to see.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Boot Lake Nature Preserve Hike 2016

My dad is officially retired...well, at least from one job.  He'll be starting  another one soon, but for now, he's enjoying some free time with his wife and with us!  Jonathon happened to have the day off on the day that I had planned to meet my parents at a nature preserve in Elkhart.  He had other work around the farm to do, but decided to go with us and work when we got back.  A morning hike was just what we all needed.  

Boot Lake Nature Preserve in Elkhart, IN is a great park for hiking!  It's tucked away with great birding, trails of various kinds, and it's quite large, so we got in approximately a 2 mile hike.  Thanks to our friends the Brothers for letting us try their ergo for the baby.  With a big hiking trip in June planned we wanted to see if this would be easier on the shoulders.  Sure enough, it's much easier. 

 A tree for boys to hide in.  Just what they needed. :)

 I love loading Alegra's pics onto the computer to see what caught her eye to capture on her camera.  She truly delights in the little things and that delights me!

 Such small details, but life was thriving within every facet of these woods.

 There was some off trail hiking going on to look for mushrooms.

 This big bull frog somehow caught my eye as he tried hiding himself within the weeds.

 The sandhill cranes were amazing!  Their sound echoed through the woods all during our hike.  It was so lovely!

 I don't know how she spotted this tree frog.

 Ah, spring life!

A sandhill crane sitting on her nest, while a goose swims by.  Such wonderful birding!

 The first butterfly of the season, spotted here.  Lots of little blue ones too.


 Butterfly and bee.  They are doing their jobs and enjoying the warmth.

 Blue jay

 And then mushrooms were found.  This was the first time my mom has ever hunted for mushrooms.  We always had them when I was growing up, but it was always us children and my dad that would go.  Snakes and poison ivy kept my mom far from the woods.  This one was along the trail that she saw.  A moment of history right there!  :)  

 The older children took off ahead of us and didn't realize we weren't going the same way.  We just cut across the field some and took their picture on the other side.  They are getting old enough that I don't worry about their skills with finding where to go on trails.  They do really well!

 There were a few signs like the one above with information to learn about the park.  This one was of the various birds that can be spotted.  One a little further back was about fire restoration.  That one was quite interesting and we all learned a few things about how they control the fire and why.

 After Hadassah took a nap, she woke up thinking she should hike like her papa.  Jonathon said while he walked, she kept hold of his stick and laughed with every step.  She sure is a joy!
Another enjoyable hike!  Trying to squeeze in the time with my parents to help encourage all of us to get up and move while the weather is nice.   We'll see where our next adventurous hike takes us and who will join us!  School is almost out and the garden a little bit started.  Once those 2 things are done and completed, we'll be ready to explore the summer away!

If you know of any other really great parks with interesting trails or educational boards to read and learn, we'd love to hear about them!