a woven life

a parenting and lifestyle blog


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Where We Walk: KU Field Research Station, Fitch Biology Trail

Fitch Biology Trail

 

“Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.”George Washington Carver

Just north of Lawrence, nestled in some of the most densely forested Kansas, is the University of Kansas Field Research Station. A series of trails, this patch of land is a unique hiking experience in that many plant species are identified with plaques. Say what?

You heard properly. Species identified for you. It’s a riotous good time, if quiet and learning appeal to your party animal.

The light was majestic, the day was warm. Deer galloped down hillside, having heard our approach from forever away. You know when you come across one of those places that is less than ten minutes from your home but you feel as though you’ve stumbled right into a fairy tale? This place. It’s the ten minute day trip. The trails are very well maintained. There are some shelters. I will have to hit the rest of the trails here and update you further on the majesty of this spot.

Driving out to the Field Research Station involves some windy gravel, more than one grand farm house, a jaunce past a small airport, a small bridge over a tiny creek. There is an area to park, providing trail head access to all paths. Because it is a research area, no pups or other pets allowed, so leave Fido at home. Otherwise, if you frequent Lawrence, but haven’t hiked here, I implore you to do so.

Here we are, a vision of red amongst the browns and grays (soon it will be green):

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Happy hiking,

Nicole


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Where We Trudge: In the Snow [w/ snippets of cabin fever].

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There are icicles hanging from my roof that I daren’t walk under, not that I’m going outside today.

Here in Kansas we’ve received a suffocating beautiful two feet of snow. While we did venture out of the home when it was still coming down two days ago, we haven’t been out since. Current air temperature, one degree Fahrenheit. I can do no more than put out a letter today. Today’s highlights, however, will include: popcorn, hot tea, a bubble bath (for baby), and the rare indulgence of Harry Potter background noise.

For our intrepid expedition, Oren wore: four socks total, long underwear, fleece pants, a short and long sleeved bodysuit, a fleece sweater, a snow suit, coat, balaclava, hat, insulated mittens, boots. He was a star-fish in an Ergo, wrapped in papa’s heavy-duty-army-surplus coat. He was untroubled by the snow falling in his face. A young Tenzing Norgay or Edmund Hillary, our Oren is.

Here he is now, doing serious science; experimenting with centripetal forces (tossing everything from a potato to a popcorn kernel into the salad spinner).

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As for today, the heat won’t shut off, a blessing. Thanks be to the grid. This is the perimeter of our house, in the event any polar bears wander too near:

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Here you can view our tunnel of salvation, for when our is bravery enough-mustered to see us in a car:

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This loaf has taken over Dingo’s room, which is the warmest room in our house (I’m eternally grateful that one room in our house meets this qualification):

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And this loaf is forever lingering in the nether-lands if my thoughts:

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We dub this baby-friendly banana bread. Cranberries, oats, flax, walnuts, whole wheat. Molasses, brown bananas, and raisins for sweet. A Michael specialty.

Indoors I will remain, perhaps a day more. I will finalize seed purchases and sow some indoor seedlings. I’ll be damned if spring doesn’t come.

From cozy but confining confines,

Nicole


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Where we walk: in the cold.

Our small clan has been more than surviving this season. With the help of copious time outdoors, this winter has been more tolerable than any I’ve experienced. Warm clothes. I became a mother and discovered how to dress weather-appropriately. I have a hunch that this is a phenomenon amongst others as well. So we bundle, we brew a warm drink, we pile Oren under blankets and hats and we set off into the world.

Only once in recent memory have I semi-regretted setting out for a long stroll. It was a windy day, and our walk away from home was easy enough. On our return, the wind whipped at Oren’s stroller and I clutched a blanket over his sleep-cocoon. Throw into the mix a walk over a river on a busy bridge. At times I had to lean into the stroller with all of my weight. Cars zooming on the other side of a short partition. Frozen water below. Dizzying.

This walk however, was through the park, on a day warm enough to be labeled pre-spring. I’m inflated with hope just reminiscing.

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In braving the cold we’ve encountered: three bald eagles, a new palette of color (juniper-lichen? yes please), the intoxicating drift of wood smoke, the creaking banter of trees, the prospects of our futures, a very fluffy hawk ten feet away, so many geese, sloshy dogs, and other red-cheeked folk glad to be outdoors. I am learning to like this season.

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Inside we rush, to brew some tea. We sit down together to warm over mugs. Oren loves to clink mugs together, “Cheers!”. He celebrates so constantly that he is alive. He is happy to be doing what we are doing:  a chilly walk, a sharing of tea, or spending days indoors as the arctic beats us with it’s piercing cold.

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I can’t wait until we walk in the warm.

Cheers,

Nicole


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Where we walk: in the leaves

 

autumn in old west lawrence

 

 

I’m of the opinion that this very autumn is particularly noteworthy. Here in my neighborhood I have spent mornings walking under trees that filter the entire world  warm hues of gold and red. It has been so riveting that I have witnessed cars pulled over, their humans out photographing the beauty. The trees are starting to shed their leaves, which is when I prefer to start snapping photos myself; it’s as if the brick-lined sidewalks are carpeted for a movie premier.

Today, Michael and Oren and I took our short mosey-route through the neighborhood so Oren could catch a morning nap. I finally remembered to drag my camera along and it has been really difficult to narrow down the number of pictures I wish to enclose here. They are all so lovely. I can almost smell the leaves underfoot just looking through these images. I can almost hear the sound of stroller rolling through the leaves. Oh Fall, please stay forever.

Truly yours,

Nicole