Milkweed Pods

This spring as the earthed warmed from it's winter's sleep I was enthralled (like I always am) by new growth. As little seeds opened themselves up to the wonder of living things, I watched with fascination at the workings of nature. In the spring plants began as young shoots and by fall have transformed into something very different. One plant that caught my attention was milkweed.

In early spring when it just begins it's rise towards the sky and is less than 15cm tall, it is edible. I've never tried one but it is said to be as delicious as asparagus, cooked greens or vegetables. There are poisonous look alike so be wary. When I get to know the plant and am positive in identifying it, I will become familiar with it's taste. Until then I am observing and learning.

As it gets energy from the sun, minerals from the earth and water from above it grows and flourishes into a plant as high as 5 ft tall. In late summer flowers bloom and become a haven for monarch butterflies, honey bees, humming birds and other insects.

Soon comes fall and flowers turn into pods where silky white milkweed fluff is stored. I recently found a patch of these tear dropped pods and collected them for the children in my life. I knew that these treasures would bring excitement and awe to their great, creative minds.

The pods were opened and small fingers took out the soft fluff. Each pod holds many seeds and each seed a new plant. We watched as the breeze gently carried the seeds away, drifting, floating like a dream. Without a word or a formal lesson children understood the importance of wind in the cycle of life. Stories are like that sometimes told without a word, without a sound and felt in a space that is deep within.

Here is an empty pod that we will keep for a future craft. With our imaginations we will find a creative use for it, a boat perhaps, a flower petal maybe, time will tell. I love how mother nature provides us with craft supplies that are free and biodegradable. Thank you mother Earth for providing us with such abundance. :)

Before I leave you, here is a little verse to do with your friends:

In a milkweed cradle all close and warm,
(place cupped hands together)

Little seeds are hiding safe from harm.
(keep hands closed)

Open wide the cradle now. Hold it high.
(open cupped hands, raise them above your head)

Come along wind, help them fly.
(Sway open hands in the air).

Taken from Earthways by Carol Petrash which is a great book if
you are looking for activities that are simple and earth friendly.
Ciao for now!

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