Another weed I have been going by on my walks is the prickly lettuce. Thanks to Barbara from this blog, now I know what this plant is. Apparently, we could even eat it and use it for medicinal purposes, but I will not try that any time soon. I am not that brave.
It’s just good to know names of plants I go by though. I took the kids on a short nature walk to show them this plant just past our neighbor’s house. They drew it and filled out the rest of their notebook page.
We split open the stem to see the milk inside, but it had dried up. I guess we got to it too late in the season. However, it was not too late to observe the seeds and the dandelion-like white puffed up flower.
Something happened inside my children’s psyche once I asked them to sketch the prickly lettuce. At first, my son complained that there was no chair or table to steady his clipboard. I showed him our neighbor’s fence and he was satisfied to use it as a table. My daughter simply sat down on the pavement and started drawing, although she complained she did not know how to draw it. Would I help her?
I am no artist, and I am not being modest here. But I started drawing the stem (a vertical line next to another vertical line) and then a curved line to the side, for the flower, and I continued with two vertical lines on either side of the curve and united both these vertical lines with another curved line at the bottom.
My daughter got what I was doing. She asked for the pencil back. I inspired her enough to start sketching on her own. Folks, if I can inspire my children to sketch a plant, anybody can.
Oh, the other notebooking page I had brought along was “Signs of Autumn,” from the same blog mentioned above, where we have a membership. They were supposed to draw four things they observed in nature, which clearly showed autumn had arrived. We discussed it for a bit, as they were not quite sure what to draw. We came up with falling leaves, leaves on the ground, corn fields, rain and apples.
We got back home, I filed their notebook pages in their nature journal and did not think I much about it. The following morning, my children went into our school room of their own free will, grabbed paper and pencils and started sketching everything they could think of. My son has this sketch book with cars and he made several pages with shading and perspective. My daughter likes Draw Write Now and she pulled out all the volumes until she found a groundhog. But she also sketched a few other things, just scenes she imagined.
Art amazes me again and again. The slightest exposure to a painting or to the artistic process awakens something inside of us – the creative gene that was put in us. As I was walking around the house the morning following our first sketching trip for the prickly lettuce, I was making a mental note of this time I needed to record as “arts and crafts” in their school journal.
My husband asked me, “How did you get the kids to be so quiet?” I replied, “I didn’t. They just went into the school room and started drawing of their own free will.”
The other by-product of this nature walk was a meeting with a caterpillar. My daughter stopped walking, put her clipboard on the floor, and let this caterpillar crawl onto her hand. She loves caterpillars. After playing with it for a bit, she let it crawl back into its natural habitat.