In early March, the kids and I decided to take a walk near our house to gather tree cuttings in order to force their buds indoors.
Daley quickly became our equipment manager. He packed a tool belt with garden clippers, a measuring tape, walkie-talkies, a multi-use knife, and a ballpoint pen.
He reminded me of Chico Bon Bon, the beloved character from the Monkey with a Tool Belt series by local children’s author, Chris Monroe.
The one tool we neglected to bring was a way to label the cuttings.
Moreover, it was much more difficult to identify the species without their leaves.
Thankfully oaks hold onto some of their leaves, dogwoods have smooth red bark, and aspen are everywhere.
Though when we got home and began labeling each vase, we kept asking, “What was this one?” Online identification guides helped, but we still had several “????” labels.
It’s been several weeks now since we’ve provided warmth for our branches. Each day the kids look for signs of new growth. The dogwood has been the speediest and the hazelnut has been the showiest with tiny pink flowers.
It’s been a good exercise in scientific research…and patience.
Like all good scientist, we are always honing our research skills. Next time, we’ll have the foresight to bring a labeling system to the field. Though we were lucky Daley had brought his measuring tape, as it came in handy for collecting data on how far down we sank in the soft spring snow.
P.S. You may also enjoy taking your kids on a “tree hike.”
Have you ever forced branches in the springtime? Got any advice? Share your thoughts in the comment box below. Thanks!