SFA Experimental Forest

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SFA Experimental Forest

January 3, 2011

We headed to Nacogdoches to have a look at the SFA “experimental” forest. The trail is approximately 3 miles, if you do walk both loops, which we did. The trailhead had restrooms that were fairly good, as far as restrooms on trails go, also a picnic area and water fountains. The first loop called the Jack Creek Loop was completely paved for easy access to handicap persons. The second trail called Management Loop has a natural path to walk on.Scrapbook 11_02 

We looked around for something to investigate. Naturally the kids find a fallen tree to walk on. Some nice little bridges were built across the low areas.

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We found plenty of briars and thorns along the path. Anna got pricked by a large thorn off of a Honey Locust tree that she was trying to pull of the branch. I didn’t even know she had made that face until I uploaded my pictures to the computer, I laughed so hard. We found a curious gall on a briar. Each side of the five sided briar stem had a lump of the gall on it. Austin pulled out his new plant field guide and identified the Devil’s Walking Stick (bottom of the three pictures). We have seen these on several walks sticking up out of the ground without leaves, looking quiet bare. We always wondered what they were called, good job identifying them Austin.

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Along our walk we some insects to identify, we found a Squash Bug on the restroom door. Three or four Cicadas shells was found hanging on pine various trees. A few large grasshoppers flitted by (the one pictured is a Two Striped Grasshopper). Very few colors other than browns was present this time of year, we only found an unidentifiable vine with pretty yellow berry like fruit and a bush with some deep red almost purple leaves, and one shelf mushroom with a bit of algae growing on it giving it a green hue. The East Texas winter season has definitely set in.

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We read the signs about how control burn fires rejuvenate the forest. These burns were evident in the forest. This one tree looked very sad about it.

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One bridge was blocked and marked closed. The small creek it bypassed was dry so I just walked across it. The kids walked the bridge and then saw that the support beams was decayed badly and parts of the bridge had caught on fire. The next bridge we came to Adam had to go under and check the structural safety of it.

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This hike was not very exciting so Adam entertained himself playing “Star Wars” using different sticks for his laser guns.

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We accidentally stepped on one small little mushroom and Anna had to dramatically drop down to “pray for the poor little thing.” Anna was a bit bored on this walk so she found a piece of stone and was trying to sharpen it with another rock. Adam liked the way this tree had feel and sat on a “Bench GOD made.”

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Austin constantly tells his brother and sister not to move bark and rocks so that they won’t mess up the bugs homes causing them to freeze. The next thing he does is pick up this branch, having to show me the perfect cluster of pine cones. “Son, what happened to not messing up natures homes for bugs?” “Oh, this one wasn’t a bugs home.” Sounds like a double standard to me.

Anna proudly announces “Mom, this is an American Holly!” I am very proud she is picking up on the names and is able to identify them now. The science class walks are paying off.

I thought that the multi—colored moss growing on this fallen tree stump was very pretty.

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Almost at the end of our hike one large lone vine hung down in the middle of the trail. Both of my “monkeys” had to swing on it. Next Anna stepped out onto two trees that leaned out over the small creek. I warn her to be careful they may not be very secure in the side of that bank.

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Austin read a sign about frogs, the quote at the bottom read:

“If we can discover the meaning in the trilling of a frog, perhaps we may understand why it is for us not merely noise but a song of poetry and emotion.”Adrian Forsyth

I wish more people could see the beauty of GODs creation.

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We notice a feather stuck in the bark of the tree. To me it looked like a hawk feather that someone left for others to see, so we also left it.

Then we noticed a large tree gall off in the distant on a tall tree. It is the biggest gall I had ever seen, and looked very odd.

As we left the trail we spotted four bat houses on high poles. We stop to investigate. Disappointed,  I did not see any bats, only wasps residing in the houses.

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Much to our regret we have decided to pause our hiking trips until Spring returns to us. The weather has turned cold and rainy, which is typical of East Texas, and nature is at rest. So when it awakens again, we will return to the woods to watch in awe, the wonders of GODs promise.

Gen 8:22  While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.



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About Becky Husband

Becky is a Hebraic Christian homeschool mom blogger that lives on a small farm in Deep East Texas. When she isn't homeschooling her kids, she is busy documenting her family's life on her blog. In her blog, she writes about her faith, family, homeschooling, and homesteading. She also shares the family's abundance of hobbies such as geocaching, hiking, biking, birding, nature photography, and most recently her art! She is always eager to answer any questions others may have so feel free to leave comments and inquiries!

Posted on January 9, 2011, in Hiking, Homeschool, Homesteading and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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