Saturday, August 1, 2009

A walk in the park

Friday is my non-work day. I don't have a sitter, and I'm left to fend for myself. Taking care of 3 little kids isn't so hard (as long as I'm not trying to get ANY work done). It has taken me a while to realize this - but now I actually enjoy Fridays because I don't have to work and I get a chance to enjoy my kids.

Yesterday we explored a local park and discovered an oak tree completely covered with these:

At the time, I had no idea what they were! At first I told my daughter that it was a caterpillar, but we poked at it and determined that it was very solid (although fuzzy and soft) and was most definitely NOT a caterpillar. So I googled around when we got home and learned that it is an oak tree gall produced by a small cynipid wasp (which is harmless to humans, by the way). It is actually created from the cells of the Oak tree leaf, mutated by an injection from the wasp. Then the wasp babies live inside it. Freaky. But cool. This type of gall is called a hedgehog gall (cute, right?).

The other highlight of the day was seeing two noisy swans on the lake. Most of our lunch conversation centered around what a swan sounded like. I can't say that I remember ever hearing a swan before (aren't they usually quite silent?), but their honk rivals Molly Lou Melon's. Each kid had their own way of making the sound, my 3yr-old's rendition sounded like a gutteral "dump, shump." My 5yr-old's sound involved a mixture of "honk" and "quack," and my baby just squealed like a pig (which was adorable, but sounded nothing like the swan to my ears). Luckily, we met no one on the trail, so our sound pollution likely didn't bother anyone (except perhaps the wildlife).

1 comment:

  1. CUTE photos! I don't guess I've ever seen an oak tree gall before, but I would have gone straight home and figured out what it was just like you did if I ever did come across one. I think it's so neat that there are baby wasps inside!

    You and your kids seem like a fun bunch. :-)


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