Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Thursday Home School Workshop…sadly, when the weather turns colder, the attendance drops off.  It was a brisk day, but not that cold in the sunshine, so we headed down to the labyrinth cove to see what we could see!  We were greeted by the Canada geese as they were also sunning the cove.

We discovered some fishing line that was carelessly left by a fisherman.  Too many times, I have seen ducks and geese tangled in fishing line resulting in much pain and suffering.  We rolled it up to take back to the Gathering Room to discard in the trash.

We noticed several nests in the trees.  The leaves are almost all gone now, and the bare limbs and blue sky revealed the homes of squirrels, birds, and of course, the hornet’s nest! It is still dancing in the wind and hanging by a tiny thread.

They also found the seeds of a Tulip Poplar tree.  The boys thought that the middle part of the bloom looked like swords for Lego men, and they also decided that they would work as talons for the eagle project, too! We noticed the different bark on the trees, and we tried to identify the tree from the bark.  We agreed that the leaves made identifying them much easier!

We walked back to the log cabin for a game of checkers. We didn’t even notice the chill!

Back at the Gathering Room, we resumed our eagle project.  With a Paper Mache base, we added feathers, and they decided to hunt for a tree branch to have him perched.  We will need to add eyes (probably acorns) and attach the feet, but he should be complete next week!  One of the homeschoolers is writing a report about birds of prey, and we will be completing the project in the next 2 weeks.

A time to have our lunch, and then a time to share a “Cabin Path Field Guide” that one of the families have been working on since the beginning of this school year.  It included pictures of wildflowers, trees, animals, and animal tracks that they have seen. It also contained a leaf collection, and other things that they found interesting. It is a wonderful journal of The Cabin Path!

Winter is here, but nature continues to share in all seasons. I’m glad for the faithful few who wrap up and get outside...even if it is a little chilly!

I think that they agreed, too!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Be Thankful

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.

A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.

GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.

Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.

Author Unknown

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fall at The Cabin Path..many Cabin Dinners and Pioneer and Native American is one of them:

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Home School Workshop this week:

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Georgia Mushroom Club met at The Cabin Path for a walk.  BEAUTIFUL weather!! but also dry, so we did not find the mushrooms that are usually found here in the fall.  We did, however, find many.

 New friends for The Cabin Path, and I hope they will visit often!  Thank you all for sharing your knowledge about mushrooms!

Here are some of the mushrooms that have been found here at The Cabin Path:

and a link to the Georgia Mushroom Club:

Friday, October 01, 2010

It was a morning of showers, but a forecast of clearing skies.  Our TREES Workshop began.  We met in the Gathering Room to discuss some facts about trees, and then we hit the trails as the sun peaked through the clouds.  We saw the damage from storms earlier this year.  We lost many trees.  “Tornado” or “down bursts”…the damage remained the same, but the shallow root clusters of those towering giants were still amazing to see.

On our walk, we stopped to pick up some of the “golden stars” of the Sweet Gum Tree.  We talked about the differences between the Evergreen Trees and Deciduous Trees. We saw the canopy above us, and we began to explore the forest floor. We talked about animal and insect homes, and how the fallen limbs and leaves renewed the soil and provided a habitat and camouflage for many critters.

As we stopped to watch two tiny toad jumping among the leaves, we were all awe struck as a snake quickly grabbed one of the toads and held it tightly in its mouth. It was such an unexpected event for all of us, we simply stood and watched as the snake began to slither away…toad in mouth! I was certain it was a non-venomous snake, but I was uncertain of its exact species.  I emailed a reptile expert friend who identified the snake to be a Midland Water Snake.

       I was a little unsure about the reaction of such an unsettling event, but all of the kids and Moms were eager to go on with the walk. “COOL!” was the common comment! It was an important lesson that nature teaches, and it made the discussion of the food chain very realistic! They understood that trees helped give food and shelter, and all things are connected and work together.  They also continued their walk eagerly looking and watching, but I had to admit, the snake’s lunch was a little hard to top.

      We walked to the labyrinth cove and talked about how fallen trees in the water gave cover to fish and insects.

We saw the Long Needle Pines, and we collected some of their needles. I explained that many Native American wove intricate baskets with them, and many have survived for over a hundred years. (an art project for our Native American workshop!)

Our path back led us by the old log cabin, another use of trees. After a tour of the cabin, we rested on the cabin porch. There was even time for a game of checkers.

Before we left, I pointed out the hornet’s nest hanging like a piñata from a tree near the cabin.  I explained that it too was made from wood!

     Back at the Gathering Room, we took time for a picnic lunch before making some leaf rubbing of our finds along the trails.  It was also time to practice a little rock skipping in the lake and just a time to visit and explore!

It had been another magical day of discoveries. It was not anything that I taught, but it was rich in the lessons that nature shared…something that I learn daily on my walks around The Cabin Path!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

We're changing servers...and there is a delay.... :(
Our website and email is down for now, but it should be up and running soon.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My walk to the barn this morning....a hint of fall!  The ground was wet from the rains the night before, and the fog on the lake looked like dancing ghosts. Everything felt clean and crisp...good for the soul.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Intuition is a spiritual faculty and does not explain, but simply points the way."~Florence Scovel Shinn~

A walk around last week....I looked for wildflowers, and I found several new ones! 

Downy Rattlesnake Plantain

Adder's Tongue Orchid and Mountain Mint

                                            Unidentified Yellow Orchid

The summer has been brutally hot and humid..and stormy!  Earlier this summer, we lost about 30 trees from a storm.  Straight line winds, I'm guessing.  It wasn't a large area, but it did some damage.  A friend cut the trees to clear the roadway to the barn, and the others will wait for cooler weather.  The "dry" then "wet" seasons have weakened the trees, and many old friends are falling.

Nature seems to endure all hardships...and go on to be stronger.  Change is continuous, sometimes cruel, but miracles prevail!

Earlier this spring, I watched for the Pileated Woodpeckers to nest in their usual spot. The tall dead Pine has been home to several generations of these large, majestic birds.  I often took my morning coffee up to watch them feed and care for their babies.  The "first flights" were magical..the low clucking of the proud parents would eventually give the babies enough confidence to venture outside the hole, and the flapping of their tiny wings while clinging to the tree was almost comical.  Lessons were learned quickly, and they all would loop through the woods hunting for bugs and practicing life skills.

This spring, they did not nest in that old Pine tree.  I wondered if the parents were gone. I had heard their calls, but yet I wondered if they were all right.  I had noticed new holes in a Pine tree behind the dam.  The oval shaped opening led me to believe that it was indeed a Pileated's home, but I missed my mornings with them. Perhaps this was the younger generation, and they wanted a change!

My walk around last week took me took me to the woods in front of the house.  As I walked by the old, abandoned Pine tree, I paused to take a picture of fact, I had walked past it and returned to inspect it more closely. Something seemed to make me go back and take this picture. It was still empty, but it stood tall and stark against the green of the woods. As I paused, I had feeling of sadness, but I did not understand.

Another storm over the weekend.  A limb crashed through my back windshield as I was returning from feeding the horses. A scary sound, but nothing that can't be repaired. Something earlier in the day had told me to park in a different spot, (and I did) but I had been rushing to beat the next approaching storm, and I pulled down to be closer to turn off the pump to the barn. Still, that voice had warned me earlier. Intuition.... that small voice that I ignored.

Another walk around yesterday...and back to the front woods.  As I rounded the curve, something was not the same.  As I got closer to the tall, white monument Pine that had been home to many generations of Pileated Woodpeckers, I realized that it had fallen in the storm over the weekend.  Was this the reason that it was not used for the spring babies?  If so, how did they know? And was that the reason for my quiet reflection and the photo from last week?

Animals seem to be blessed with a keen sense of intuition. I have read about animals that sense earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters.  There are service dogs that are used to predict seizures in people, and I even notice that our horses can predict storms and severe weather changes. The birds and deer intuitively know when strangers are in the woods, and I think most of us have heard those "voices" from time to time.  Is it that we are often too busy to listen, or is it that we don't want to listen? Is it an acquired gift, or a random

Perhaps that is why I love The Cabin Path.  Its quietness and beauty is a blessing that I do not take lightly, and as years go by, I am realizing the true miracles in this life.  Within each of us are gifts that are waiting to be discovered and explored.  We all have these voices, and too many times, they are ignored.

  Albert Einstein once said,
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

May I always be grateful for life's gifts...great and small.


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Another morning at the barn....feeding critters and enjoying the peace and semi-coolness of the day.  The heat this summer has been severe. Many, many days of 90 + temps..and heat advisories.  We have been skipped by most of the afternoon showers with the exception of some damaging storms. I have not spent the time outdoors that I normally do, and perhaps that is why I have missed this addition to the landscape for as long as I have. While sitting on the cabin porch, I noticed a bump on the roof of the hay shed. At first, I thought it to be the old fat possum that visits from time to time. I thought he had climbed the pole to escape some predator, and he was now trapped by the light of day.  As I neared the "critter"... I soon realized that it was a nest of hornets! How had I missed seeing it?? How many times had I put hay in the shed and walked right under it..and NOT seen it or at least the hornets?!

I thought back to some morning back in late spring when there would be several hornets on the porch of the cabin. They were attempting to build from the rafters of the cabin porch. I had resorted to using some spray on them, and then I repeatedly tore down the paper stub they had made to start their nest. This was a morning ritual for over a week until one day, they gave up.
In reading more about these insects, I found many interesting facts. They are not true "hornets" and they are in the wasp family and closely related to the yellow jacket.  They will attack if provoked, and they can sting multiple times.

I plan to leave the nest undisturbed until winter. These nests are rarely reused, and the queen will hide away in tree stumps and protected places until spring...and not in the nest.  I have recovered several nests over the years at The Cabin Path.  The paper nests are beautifully designed pieces of art, and we have used the paper in many projects (fairy wings, dragonfly wings, nature journal pages, etc)

I am not thrilled that these Bald - Faced Hornets have built so closely to the horses and the cabin, but they have not bothered anyone.  Now that I am aware of the nest, I will be careful not to disturb them, and I am willing to share the space.  They are interesting to watch, and they play an important part in our eco-system.

As I sit on the cabin porch with the cabin cats, I'll just watch them from a safe much can be seen from that old cabin porch!!