September’s Sprouts Nature Notes

With September came the fall. We didn’t notice the signs right away, but slowly over the month, the Sprouts started to notice that some of the leaves were starting to turn brown and some were starting to turn yellow. More and more fell to the ground and began collecting on the trails. The Sprouts have been joyfully playing with the leaves as loose parts in their games. Sometimes the leaves are luminous gems, sometimes they are ingredients for a special meal, sometimes they are a form of currency used to trade for nice sticks or shiny rocks. Since the Farmstead is a sanctuary we do not pick leaves off of the plants. This leaves the fallen leaves for us to play with which weren’t as plentiful over the summer. Now that fall has arrived we have started to find more and more loose leaves to play with all over the forest floor!

We have also noticed that even though it is fall, we are still finding lots of creatures like caterpillars, spiders, yellow jackets, and ladybugs! We did notice that there is a pattern to the number of insects we have seen: their numbers are decreasing as we get further into fall. We also noticed that we have had more cloudy days, but we have had fewer rainy days.

We noticed that the forest has changed a little this month. Our long-term plan for the Fortville forest is to turn it into a food forest. Right now there are a lot of black walnut trees in the forest which causes the soil to become less hospitable for other plants. As stewards of the forest, we sometimes must remove certain trees, and this month we roved one more black walnut tree. We used some of its branches to make steps going down to the chicken field, and smaller branches to create a berm to keep sediment from flowing into the field. Some of the Sprouts noticed that that area is much sunnier now that the tree is gone. We will continue to look for changes in the forest and
we are excited to see what new patterns we notice next month as autumn continues to fall around us!

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