Exploring Horseshoe Crabs and Pinecones

summer 2013 022 Some days entertaining the little ones is so easy that I find myself in a constant state of shock.  Today we visited a local park which has both a beach and a playground.  It is an outstanding combination and is summer 2013 012by far the most scenic place around.  The wind can be a deal-breaker in the winter and so we try to go there as often as possible throughout the fall.  This morning was chilly and delicious (decidedly fall-like) and so we found ourselves at the familiar playground doing underdogs and inhaling the briny Chesapeake Bay.

summer 2013 017When we got tired of that we headed out on a beach walk to see if anything interesting had washed up.  This is the time of year when all the seaweed seems to come ashore thus forming a 4 foot wide barrier to the water.  summer 2013 021We kept our distance because the seaweed is a big insect attractant and it smells to high heaven.  It was because we were not at the water’s edge that we discovered something I’ve never had the pleasure of coming across naturally- a horseshoe crab skeleton in excellent condition.

My daughter was enamored with it and decided to name him Herman.  Here she is showing him an oyster shell (bet he’d never seen one of those before…).summer 2013 027  Most of the time I stick to the following advice, “Take only pictures, leave only footprints,” however now I have kids and I am loathe to missing a teachable moment (or hour).  Teachable moments are a little more awkward with a second child strapped to your chest.  I wrestled with my desire to take the crab home where I could spend some time learning about it myself before passing the knowledge on to my daughter, or leaving it on the beach for the tide.  In the end I decided to borrow it for a time and then I will either turn it over to the local college and its biology department or take it back to the beach.  The undersides of horseshoe crabs remind me of cockroaches so I will have to complete my research with a firm sense of resolve in order to avoid getting the heebie-jeebies.summer 2013 024

We also collected some pine cones from the parking lot on our way out to use for bird feeder projects. We’ll be working on them as soon as we remember to buy more bird seed.

Both of my kids have colds and although the mother in me said to stay home today I couldn’t fathom another day stuck at home.  So glad we were able to have an adventure without being any worse for wear.

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