Apple Trees :: Winter Nature Study

I’m always amazed at how easily I can integrate mini-lessons while hunting for hidden letterboxes. On a recent excursion to the valley, we did a little letterboxing and it was no surprise that we were presented with multiple opportunities to incorporate science, nature study, agriculture and geography into our outing.

We talked about the differences in climate comparing the high desert region where we live to the valley. We talked about how the differences in rainfall and temperature (the valley having a more temperate, wet climate) enable mushrooms and agriculture to flourish. We also observed a variety of trees that do not grow on the east side of the Cascade mountains.

The topic that most intrigued us were the apple trees we observed at Bauman Farms. Parallel to their entry drive were a number of apple tree species along with a a sign encouraging visitors to watch the trees over the seasons and observe the differences. We needed no encouragement… what a great display! I wish we lived closer so that we could make more regular observations – perhaps I’ll give them a call each season to see if they can’t take a few photographs for us ??

Unfortunately, I only had my camera phone, so these aren’t the greatest – but you can see some differences. We photographed the apples that we most enjoy eating. The picture above showsHoneycrisp (my absolute favorite) andArkansas Black (pictured by chance – don’t know that I’ve ever tasted an Arkansas Black).

Pictured here are Granny Smith and Fuji (another favorite).
Lastly, Red Gravenstein and Johnathan.

We have a Crab Apple in our front yard. It has always bloomed so dynamically in the spring. We trimmed it quite a bit in ’08 so it wasn’t quite as impressive in ’09, however. I am interested in seeing if will turn around this coming spring.

For more information about Letterboxing, see my post at Curriculum Choice entitled Creativity & Nature Study.