Summer is coming to a close for school children (and teachers) everywhere. The bell is fixin' to ring, and, like it or not, they will be back in their classrooms, slaving away at learning, by next week. So for this last week of freedom, let's make the most of every day.
For my grands, fun equals water -- river, lake, pond, creek -- any way they can get it. The handiest place is the creek that runs right back of our house. Usually, though, it is dried up to powder by this time of year. But thanks to an abundance of unexpected, generous August rainfall, the creek is flowing freely, just beckoning us to come and enjoy.
We started out in the little branch that runs through the long alfalfa field, on a journey of discovery. We pretended that we were the first explorers to uncover the secrets of this shaded, secluded spring-fed steam. It was chilly, and we thought we wouldn't get wet -- just wade and look and discover.
It didn't take long for some of us realize that it was simply not possible to explore a creek without getting IN the creek.
We were in a shadowy, leafy place that held an adventure around every corner.
A list of things we were looking for included fossils, feathers, rocks with neat holes, and bones. Addie liked this rectangular rock.
Are these fossils?
The big girls liked to get away by themselves for a minute --
A minute was all they got!
Blakely (on right) was a sweet addition to our group.
By the time we had explored this little creek, our appetites were calling, and we headed back to the house for lunch. Along the way, we noticed many things growing in Mother Nature's orchard -- hickory nuts, walnuts, acorns, buckeyes, wild plums -- and stopped to get samples to hold and talk about. We decided the wild animals should have plenty of food to prepare for winter. And there is evidence they've already begun.
After lunch and a little bitty rest (no sleeping, just quiet talking and some giggling), we went up the bigger creek to one of our favorite places in the whole wide Ozarks-world. The water was rushing over the concrete slab, creating a wondeful waterfall to play in.
Wyatt always has a good idea of a game -- this was doing something with the slimy green moss that was growing on the side of the slab. Ick!
Blakely and Emma went up above the bridge to look for tadpoles, crawdads, minnows and anything else alive.
Nets and buckets were employed.
Hands work best for crawdads.
Blakely found the teeniest frog -- about a half-inch across. We hope it lived.
So many butterflies are enjoying the wildflowers right now!
Poke berries are turning purple.
These last days of summer are truly golden.