Summer #6 – Nature Alliteration Adventure


Purchase Here – P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books


❤ ❤ ❤

An August treasure quest for you & your curious Capkin

is to search in nature for . . .

“Several Stacked Stones Soaking up the Sunshine “

Bonus Meadow Moment

How’s Your Summer Stacking Up?!?

❤ ❤ ❤

My curious Capkin & I found this treasure to match the description.

❤ ❤ ❤


What other natural treasures did you find in your P.L.A.Y. today? 🙂


Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!

Bird BOOK LOOK – Chapter 39 – White-breasted Nuthatch + Brown Creeper


Missed Chapter 1? Begin HERE



CHAPTER 39 – Peter Discovers Two Old Friends


Rough Brother North Wind and Jack Frost were not far behind Honker the Goose. In a night Peter Rabbit’s world was transformed. It had become a new world, a world of pure white. The last among Peter’s feathered friends who spend the winter in the far away South had hurried away. Still Peter was not lonely. DeeDee’s cheery voice greeted Peter the very first thing that morning after the storm. DeeDee seemed to be in just as good spirits as ever he had been in summer.

Now Peter rather likes the snow. He likes to run about in it, and so he followed DeeDee up to the Old Orchard. He felt sure that he would find company there besides DeeDee, and he was not disappointed. Downy and Hairy the Woodpeckers were getting their breakfast from a piece of suet Farmer Brown’s boy had thoughtfully fastened in one of the apple trees for them. Sammy Jay was there also, and his blue coat never had looked better than it did against the pure white of the snow.

These were the only ones Peter really had expected to find in the Old Orchard, and so you can guess how pleased he was as he hopped over the old stone wall to hear the voice of one whom he had almost forgotten. It was the voice of Yank-Yank the Nuthatch, and there was something in it of good cheer and contentment. At once Peter hurried in the direction from which it came.


Winter’s magic has arrived in the Old Orchard, Green Meadow, and Green Forest turning everything a silent white.


On the trunk of an apple tree he caught sight of a gray and black and white bird about the size of Downy the Woodpecker. The top of his head and upper part of his back were shining black. The rest of his back was bluish-gray. The sides of his head and his breast were white. The outer feathers of his tail were black with white patches near their tips.

Peter didn’t need to see how Yank-Yank was dressed in order to recognize him. Peter would have known him if he had been so far away that the colors of his coat did not show at all. You see, Yank-Yank was doing a most surprising thing, something no other bird can do. He was walking head first down the trunk of that tree, picking tiny eggs of insects from the bark and seemingly quite as much at home and quite as unconcerned in that odd position as if he were right side up.

As Peter approached, Yank-Yank lifted his head and called a greeting which sounded very much like the repetition of his own name. Then he turned around and began to climb the tree as easily as he had come down it.

“Welcome home, Yank-Yank!” cried Peter, hurrying up quite out of breath.

Yank-Yank turned around so that he was once more head down, and his eyes twinkled as he looked down at Peter. “You’re mistaken Peter,” he said. “This isn’t home. I’ve simply come down here for the winter. You know home is where you raise your children, and my home is in the Great Woods farther north. There is too much ice and snow up there, so I have come down here to spend the winter.”

“Well anyway, it’s a kind of home; it’s your winter home,” replied Peter, “and I certainly am glad to see you back. The Old Orchard wouldn’t be quite the same without you. Did you have a pleasant summer? And if you please, Yank-Yank, tell me where you built your home and what it was like.”

“Yes, Mr. Curiosity, I had a very pleasant summer,” replied Yank-Yank. “Mrs. Nuthatch and I raised a family of six. As to our nest, it was made of leaves and feathers and it was in a hole in a certain old stump that not a soul knows of except for Mrs. Nuthatch and myself. Now is there anything else you would like to know?”


White-breasted Nuthatch by Louis Agassiz Fuertes


“Yes,” added Peter promptly. “I want to know how it is that you can walk head first down the trunk of a tree without losing your balance and tumbling off?”

Yank-Yank chuckled happily. “I discovered a long time ago, Peter,” he said, “that the people who get on best in this world are those who make the most of what they have and waste no time wishing they could have what other people have. I suppose you have noticed that all the Woodpecker family have stiff tail feathers and use them to brace themselves when they are climbing a tree. They have become so dependent on them that they don’t dare move about on the trunk of a tree without using them. If they want to come down a tree they have to back down.”

“Now Old Mother Nature didn’t give me stiff tail feathers, she gave me a very good pair of feet with three toes in front and one behind and when I was a very little fellow I learned to make the most of those feet. Each toe has a sharp claw. When I go up a tree the three front claws on each foot hook into the bark. When I come down a tree I simply twist one foot around so that I can use the claws of this foot to keep me from falling. It is just as easy for me to go down a tree as it is to go up, and I can go right around the trunk just as easily and comfortably.” Suiting action to the word, Yank-Yank ran around the trunk of the apple tree just above Peter’s head. When he reappeared Peter had another question ready.

“Do you live altogether on grubs and worms and insects and their eggs?” he asked.

“I should say not!” exclaimed Yank-Yank. “I like acorns and beechnuts and certain kinds of seeds.”

“I don’t see how such a little fellow as you can eat such hard things as acorns and beechnuts,” answered Peter a little doubtfully .


Who made these prints in the snow?


Yank-Yank laughed right out. “Sometime when I see you over in the Green Forest I’ll show you,” he said. “When I find a fat beechnut I take it to a little crack in a tree that will just hold it; then with this stout bill of mine I crack the shell. It really is quite easy when you know how. Cracking a nut open that way is sometimes called hatching, and that is how I come by the name of Nuthatch. Hello! There’s Seep-Seep. I haven’t seen him since we were together up North. His home was not far from mine.”

As Yank-Yank spoke, a little brown bird alighted at the very foot of the next tree. He was just a trifle bigger than Jenny Wren and yet not at all like Jenny, for while Jenny’s tail usually is cocked up in the sauciest way, Seep-Seep’s tail is never cocked up at all. In fact, it bends down, for Seep-Seep uses his tail just as the members of the Woodpecker family use theirs. He was dressed in grayish-brown above and grayish-white beneath. Across each wing was a little band of buffy-white, and his bill was curved just a little.

Seep-Seep didn’t stop an instant, rather he started up the trunk of that tree, going round and round it as he climbed, and picking out things to eat from under the bark. His way of climbing that tree was very like creeping, and Peter thought to himself that Seep-Seep was well named the Brown Creeper. He knew it was quite useless to try to get Seep-Seep to talk. He knew that Seep-Seep wouldn’t use his time that way as he had work to do.

Round and round up the trunk of the tree he went, and when he reached the top at once flew down to the bottom of the next tree and without a pause started up that. He wasted no time exploring the branches, and stuck to the trunk. Once in a while he would cry in a thin little voice, “Seep! Seep!”
without pausing to rest or look around. If he had felt that on him alone depended the job of getting all the insect eggs and grubs on those trees he could not have been more industrious.


Bird prints in the snow – feet and wings!


“Does he build his nest in a hole in a tree?” asked Peter of Yank-Yank. “No,” he replied. “He hunts for a tree or stub with a piece of loose bark hanging to it. In behind this he tucks his nest made of twigs, strips of bark and moss. He’s a funny little fellow and I don’t know of any one in all the great world who more strictly attends to his own business than does Seep-Seep the Brown Creeper. By the way, Peter, have you seen anything of Dotty the Tree Sparrow?”

“Not yet,” replied Peter, “I do think he must be here though. I’m glad you reminded me of him. I’ll go look for him.”


P.L.A.Y. in Place Projects


Try these activities to extend your bird story adventures:

  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS –  White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS –  Brown Creeper
  • Nature journal coloring pages at Cornell Common Feeder Birds FREE (page W47 White-breasted Nuthatch + W48 Brown Creeper).
  • Q/A –Questions with answers to keep this conversation going are available for White-breasted Nuthatch (p. 65-68) in the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock offered FREE online HERE.
  • Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book by Lisa Bonforte offers pages for both the White-breasted Nuthatch AND Brown Creeper (7). Colored pencil use recommended.

*This coloring book is inexpensive, easy to find, and an excellent companion to this bird story series.


Source: Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess

P.L.A.Y. has provided a new online version of all 45 chapters of this updated and annotated 100+ year old public domain classic to:

  • be suitable for the 21st century family by having the Thornton Burgess woodland characters evolve to model mindfulness and loving kindness
  • highlight and bring awareness to the New England nature settings and offer an opportunity to learn more about birds and other woodland animals through this story adventure
  • create story extension moments through P.L.A.Y. suggested activities and investigations for making new nature connections generated by the reader’s own curiosity
  • encourage families to keep their own nature notebooks for drawing, writing, painting, and recording their own local daily outdoor P.L.A.Y. adventures.

Feathered Friend BONUS!


White-breasted Nuthatch

“When it comes to acrobatic performances in the trees the little bluish gray nuthatches have no rival. Indeed, any circus might be glad to secure their expert services. Hanging fearlessly from the topmost branches of the tallest pine, running along the under side of horizontal limbs as comfortably as along the top of them, or descending the trunk head foremost, these wonderful little gymnasts keep their nerves as cool as the thermometer in January. From the way they travel over any part of the tree they wish, from top and tip to the bottom of it, no wonder they are sometimes called Tree Mice. Only the fly that walks across the ceiling, however, can compete with them in clinging to the under side of boughs.

Why don’t they fall off? If you ever have a chance, examine their claws. These, you will see, are very much curved and have sharp little hooks that catch in any crack or rough place in the bark and easily support the bird’s weight. As a general rule the nuthatches can climb to more inaccessible places than other birds. With the help of the hooks on their toes it does not matter to them whether they run upward, downward, or sideways; and they can stretch their bodies away from their feet at some very odd angles. Their long bills penetrate into deep holes in the thick bark of the tree trunks and older limbs and bring forth from their hiding places insects that would escape almost every other bird except the brown creeper and the woodpecker.” ~Birds Every Child Should Know by Neltje Blanchan Copyright 1907


P.L.A.Y. + Pass it on!

Family Gardening #13: Foraging and Full on Harvesting!


P.L.A.Y. in Place Projects


Beautiful and plentiful blackberries foraged by the quart daily by my son out in the meadows and the warm summer sun.

Bonus berry pie, made by my son and me, with both blackberries and strawberries and a dollop of coconut cream. Yummy!


Yay for continued berry-licious abundance!



Yay for green thumbs!


The harvest is coming in and we have quite a variety: summer squash, zucchini, sweet peppers, hot peppers, cabbages, tomatoes, eggplant, green beans, fresh flowers, and oodles of CUCUMBERS!

What do you do with oodles of cucumbers?

  1. Daily Fresh Juicing
  2. Refrigerator Pickles
  3. Canning Pickles
  4. Freeze Slices for future juicing
  5. Eat them fresh by the fist full
  6. Experiment: Dehydrate after tossing in vinegar and salt for a fun “chip” treat.
  7. SHARE with your friends, neighbors, and community

How about YOU? How’s it growing?


Butterfly garden bonus blooms!


Hope your garden spaces are staying green and rainbow colors AND your family continues to stay engaged with harvesting the garden veggie goodies!


Notes:

  • This series will continue to follow the seasons and growing patterns according to living here in a Zone 5 northern New England climate and you’ll need to adjust accordingly.
  • The specific gardening needs you have can simply be answered using your favorite search engine online seeking DIY instructions as well as library eBooks and audiobooks (especially as we are all asked to continue to P.L.A.Y. in Place at the time of this posting).
  • P.L.A.Y. is here to encourage you and your family on your gardening journey simply by posting some of our experiences as inspiration and basic prompts to growing food and flowers.

More P.L.A.Y. in Place with a Plan Family Gardening HERE


This P.L.A.Y. series is for everyone! Pass it on!

  • If you are new to gardening this series is designed to encourage you and your family to take small steps towards growing foods and flowers of any kind and any amount.
  • If you’ve tinkered with gardening in the past and things didn’t always work out this series is here to encourage you to try again AND do it as a family focusing on each individuals strengths to help it all come together.
  • This series will offer up suggestions for basic leaping off points where you and your family can begin and choose to deep dive or keep it simple in the world of gardening.
  • Most of all this series will be a source of encouragement and hopefully an inspiration to simply get in the dirt (aka garden) and P.L.A.Y. and the rest will “bee what it will bee”.

Simply BEE!

Summer #1 – Nature Alliteration Adventure


Purchase Here – P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books


❤ ❤ ❤

An August treasure quest for you & your curious Capkin

is to search for  . . .

“Crash + Smash + Sideways Split”

Bonus Tree Tumble

❤ ❤ ❤

My curious Capkin & I found this treasure to match the description.

❤ ❤ ❤


What other natural treasures did you find in your P.L.A.Y. today? 🙂


Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!

Toad BOOK LOOK #10: “Look with your eyes not your hands” + The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (annotated)

After reading The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (annotated)  and other toad books you may subscribe to the idea “look with your eyes not your hands” whenever you come upon a toad in the woods or garden.

By picking them up you could be harming them in two ways:

  • Toads absorb things through their skin including the water they “drink”. If you haven’t washed your hands you could be passing along oils and bacteria that are not harmful to you however it likely is for the toad.
  • If you pick up a toad from the middle or by the legs you could injure them and they likely will not heal and therefore die.

This “grumpy” looking toad, although seemingly unharmed, might have put on a smile if this fellow had read The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad and known to have left the toad alone in the garden and just appreciated him by taking a photo or sketching him instead!


 ~ ~ ~ BOOK LOOK ~ ~ ~


The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated):

A P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity Story Book 

by Karen L. Willard

Join Peter Rabbit and friends on adventures discovering all about Old Mr. Toad and his days spent in and out of the water!

See sample story pages + purchase HERE

More Tadpoles + Toads in motion at PINTEREST HERE.

Skyscape Simplicity #47: A Meditative Moment


❤ ❤ ❤


Look skyward

< Breathe In >

< Breathe Out >

Take a moment to watch the clouds roll by . . .

and connect to the calm and beauty of nature that is always there for you.

❤ ❤ ❤

Wishing you much peace & prosperity throughout your P.L.A.Y. days.


❤ ❤ ❤


peace: inner calm

prosperity: good fortune & well-being

Summer #47 – Nature Alliteration Adventure


Purchase Here – P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books


❤ ❤ ❤

A July treasure quest for you & your curious Capkin

is to search in nature for . . .

Marked + Mottled + Mellow

Bonus Yellow/Orange + Size of a Tangerine

❤ ❤ ❤

My curious Capkin & I found this treasure to match the description.

❤ ❤ ❤


What other natural treasures did you find in your P.L.A.Y. today? 🙂


Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!

Bird BOOK LOOK – Chapter 38 – Canada Goose + Common Loon


Missed Chapter 1? Begin HERE



 CHAPTER 38 – Honker and Dippy Arrive


The leaves of the trees turned yellow and red and brown and then began to drop, a few at first, then more and more every day until all except the spruce , pine, hemlock, fir, and cedar trees were bare. By this time most of Peter’s feathered friends of the summer had departed, and there were days when Peter had such a lonely feeling. The fur of his coat was growing thicker. The grass of the Green Meadows had turned brown. All these things were signs which Peter knew well. He knew that rough Brother North Wind and Jack Frost were on their way down from the Far North.

Peter had few friends to visit now. Johnny Chuck had gone to sleep for the winter way down in his little bedroom under ground. Grandfather Frog had also gone to sleep. So had Old Mr. Toad. Peter spent a great deal of time in the dear Old Briar-patch just sitting still and listening. What he was listening for he didn’t know. It just seemed to him that there was something he ought to hear at this time of year, and so he sat listening and wondering what he was listening for. Then, late one afternoon, there came floating down to him from high up in the sky, faintly at first then growing louder, a sound unlike any Peter had heard all the long summer through. The sound was a voice. Rather it was many voices mingled “Honk, honk, honk, honk, honk!” Peter gave a little jump.

“That’s what I’ve been listening for!” he cried. “Honker the Goose and his friends are coming. I do hope they will stop where I can pay them a call.”

He hopped out to the edge of the dear Old Briar-patch that he might see better, and looked up in the sky. High up, flying in the shape of a letter V, he saw a flock of great birds flying steadily from the direction of the Far North. By the sound of their voices he knew that they had flown far that day and were tired. One bird was in the lead and this he knew to be his old friend, Honker. Straight over his head they passed and as Peter listened to their voices he felt within him the very spirit of the Far North, that great, wild, lonely land which he had never seen and yet he had so often heard.


Autumn has arrived and leaves carpet the ground in many colors.


As Peter watched, Honker suddenly turned and headed in the direction of the Big River. Then he began to slant down, his flock following him. And presently they disappeared behind the trees along the bank of the Great River. Peter gave a happy little sigh. “They are going to spend the night there,” he thought. “When the moon comes up, I will run over there, for they will come ashore and I know just where. Now that they have arrived I know that winter is not far away. Honker’s voice is as sure a sign of the coming of winter as is Winsome Bluebird’s that spring will soon be here.”

Peter could hardly wait for the coming of the Dark Shadows, and just as soon as they had crept out over the Green Meadows he started for the Big River. He knew just where to go, because he knew that Honker and his friends would rest and spend the night in the same place they had stopped at the year before. He knew that they would remain out in the middle of the Big River until the Dark Shadows had made it quite safe for them to swim in. He reached the bank of the Big River just as sweet Mistress Moon was beginning to throw her silvery light over the Great World. There was a sandy bar in the Great River at this point, and Peter squatted on the bank just where this sandy bar began.

It seemed to Peter that he had sat there half the night, when really it was only a short time, before he heard a low signal out in the Dark Shadows which covered the middle of the Big River. It was the voice of Honker. Then Peter saw little silvery lines moving on the water and presently a dozen great shapes appeared in the moonlight. Honker and his friends were swimming in. The long neck of each of those great birds was stretched to its full height, and Peter knew that each bird was listening for the slightest suspicious sound. Slowly they drew near, Honker in the lead. They were a picture of perfect caution. When they reached the sandy bar they remained quiet, looking and listening for some time. Then, sure that all was safe, Honker gave a low signal and at once a low gabbling began as the big birds relaxed their watchfulness and came out on the sandy bar, all save one. That one was the guard, and he remained with neck erect on watch. Some swam in among the rushes growing in the water very near to where Peter was sitting and began to feed. Others sat on the sandy bar and dressed their feathers. Honker himself came ashore close to where Peter was sitting.

“Oh Honker,” cried Peter, “I’m so glad you’re back here safe and sound.”


Fall landscape is a carpet of colors.


Honker gave a little start, and then instantly recognizing Peter he came over close to him. As he stood there in the moonlight he was truly handsome. His throat and a large patch on each side of his head were white. The rest of his head and long, slim neck were black. His short tail was also black. His back, wings, breast and sides were a soft grayish-brown. He was white around the base of his tail and he wore a white collar.

“Hello, Peter,” he said. “It is good to have an old friend greet me. I certainly am glad to be back safe and sound, for the hunters with guns have been at almost every one of our resting places, and it has been hard work to get enough to eat. It is a relief to find one place where there are no hunters.”

“Have you come far?” asked Peter.

“Yes, very far, Peter,” replied Honker. “And we still have very far to go. I shall be thankful when the journey is over, for on me depends the safety of all those with me, and it is a great responsibility.”

“Will winter soon be here?” asked Peter eagerly.

“Rough Brother North Wind and Jack Frost were right behind us,” replied Honker. “You know we stay in the Far North just as long as we can. Already the place where we nested is frozen and covered with snow. For the first part of the journey we kept only just ahead of the snow and ice, and as we drew near to where men make their homes we were forced to make longer journeys each day, for the places where it is safe to feed and rest are few and far between. Now we shall hurry on until we reach the place in the far away South where we will make our winter home.”

Just then Honker was interrupted by wild, strange sounds from the middle of the Great River. It sounded like crazy laughter. Peter jumped at the sound, although Honker merely chuckled. “It’s Dippy the Loon, he spent the summer in the Far North not far from us,” said Honker. “He started south just before we did.”

“I wish he would come in here so that I can get a good look at him and make his acquaintance,” said Peter.


Fall foliage sends a signal that winter is just around the corner.


“He may, although I doubt it,” replied Honker. “He and his mate are great ones to keep to themselves. Then, too, they don’t have to come ashore for food. You know Dippy feeds altogether on fish. He really has an easier time on the long journey than we do, because he can get his food without running so much risk of being shot by the hunters. He practically lives on the water. He’s the most awkward fellow on land of any one I know.”

“Why should he be any more awkward on land then you?” asked Peter, his curiosity aroused at once.

“Because,” replied Honker, “Old Mother Nature has given him very short legs and has placed them so far back on his body that he can’t keep his balance to walk, and has to use his wings and bill to help him over the ground. On shore he is about the most helpless thing you can imagine. On water he is another fellow altogether. He’s just as much at home under water as on top. My, how that fellow can dive! That’s where he has the advantage of us geese. You know we can’t dive. He could swim clear across this river under water if he wanted to, and he can go so fast under water that he can catch a fish. It is because his legs have been placed so far back that he can swim so fast. You know his feet are just simply big paddles. Another funny thing is that he can sink right down in the water when he wants to, with nothing other than his head out. I envy him that. It would be a lot easier for us geese to escape the hunters if we could sink down that way.”

“Has he a bill like yours?” asked Peter.

“No, his bill is stout, straight, and sharp pointed to hold onto slippery fish,” replied Honker. “He is pretty nearly as big as I am, and his back, wings, tail and neck are black with bluish or greenish appearance in the sun. His back and wings are spotted with white, and there are streaks of white on his throat and the sides of his neck. On his breast and below he is all white. You certainly ought to get acquainted with Dippy, Peter, for there isn’t anybody quite like him.”

“I’d like to,” replied Peter. “However, if he never comes to shore I guess I will have to be content to know him just by his voice. I certainly never will forget that. It’s about as crazy sounding as the voice of Old Man Coyote, and that is saying a great deal.”


Curious Capkins connect to the colors of the fallen fall foliage.


“There’s one thing I forgot to tell you,” said Honker. “Dippy can’t fly from the land; he must be on the water in order to get up in the air.”

“You can, can’t you?” asked Peter.

“Yes, I can,” replied Honker. “Why, we geese get a lot of our food on land. When it is safe to do so we visit the grain fields and pick up the grain that has been shaken out during harvest. We can rise from either land or water equally well. Now if you’ll excuse me, Peter, I’ll take a nap. My, I am tired! And I’ve got a long journey tomorrow.”

So Peter politely bade Honker and his relatives goodnight and left them in peace to rest on the sandy bar in the Big River.


P.L.A.Y. in Place Projects


Try these activities to extend your bird story adventures:

  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS –  Canada Goose
  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS –  Common Loon
  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – BIRD ACADEMY –  Loon Communication
  • Q/A –Questions with answers to keep this conversation going are available for Wild Geese (p. 130-136)  in the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock offered FREE online HERE.
  • Another option is to get a copy of Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book by Lisa Bonforte and some colored pencils to complete the drawing of a Canada Goose (p9).

FYI -This coloring book is an excellent companion for this bird story series with most of the 50 birds represented as characters throughout the chapters.


Source: Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess

P.L.A.Y. has provided a new online version of all 45 chapters of this updated and annotated 100+ year old public domain classic to:

  • be suitable for the 21st century family by having the Thornton Burgess woodland characters evolve to model mindfulness and loving kindness
  • highlight and bring awareness to the New England nature settings and offer an opportunity to learn more about birds and other woodland animals through this story adventure
  • create story extension moments through P.L.A.Y. suggested activities and investigations for making new nature connections generated by the reader’s own curiosity
  • encourage families to keep their own nature notebooks for drawing, writing, painting, and recording their own local daily outdoor P.L.A.Y. adventures.

P.L.A.Y. Time – Pass it on!

Summer #43 – Nature Alliteration Adventure


Purchase Here – P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books


❤ ❤ ❤

A July treasure quest for you & your curious Capkin

is to search in nature for . . .

” Damp + Donut-like + Dish-like “

Bonus Bit of a Bite Missing

❤ ❤ ❤

My curious Capkin & I found this treasure to match the description.

❤ ❤ ❤


What other natural treasures did you find in your P.L.A.Y. today? 🙂


Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!

Bird BOOK LOOK – Chapter 37 – Black-capped Chickadee


Missed Chapter 1? Begin HERE



 CHAPTER 37 – Farewells and Welcomes


All through the long summer Peter Rabbit watched his feathered friends and learned things in regard to their ways he never had suspected. As he saw them keeping the trees of the Old Orchard free of insect pests and working in Farmer Brown’s garden, and picking up the countless seeds of weeds everywhere, he began to understand something of the wonderful part these feathered folks have in keeping the Great World beautiful and in balance.

He had many a hearty laugh as he watched the bird babies learn to fly and to find their own food. All summer long they were going to school all about him, learning how to watch out for danger, to use their eyes and ears, and all the things a bird must know who would live to grow up.

As autumn drew near Peter discovered that his friends were gathering in flocks, roaming here and there. It was one of the first signs that summer was nearly over, and it gave him just a little feeling of sadness. He heard few songs now, for the singing season was over. Also he discovered that many of the most beautifully dressed of his feathered friends had changed their finery for traveling suits in preparation for the long journey to the far South where they would spend the winter. In fact he actually failed to recognize some of them at first.

September came, and as the days grew shorter, some of Peter’s friends bade him goodbye. They were starting on the long journey, planning to take it in easy stages for the most part. Each day saw some slip away. As Peter thought of the dangers of the long trip before them he wondered if he would ever see them again. Some who were there lingered even after Jack Frost’s first visit. Welcome and Mrs. Robin, Winsome and Mrs. Bluebird, Little Friend the Song Sparrow and his wife were among these. By and by even they were required to leave.

Sad indeed and lonely would these days have been for Peter had it not been that with the departure of the friends he had spent so many happy hours with came the arrival of certain other friends from the Far North where they had made their summer homes. Some of these stopped for a few days in passing. Others came to stay, and Peter was kept busy looking for and welcoming them.

There were a few old friends who would stay the year through. Sammy Jay, Downy and Hairy the Woodpeckers were a few amongst others. And there was one whom Peter loved dearly. It was DeeDee the Chickadee.


Blue sky highlighting a birch tree home similar to DeeDee the Chickadees.


Now DeeDee had not gone north in the spring. In fact, he had made his home not very far from the Old Orchard. It just happened that Peter hadn’t found that home, and had caught only one or two glimpses of DeeDee. Now, with household cares ended and his good size family properly started in life, DeeDee was no longer interested in the snug little home he had built in a hollow birch stub, and he and Mrs. Chickadee spent their time flitting about hither, thither, and yon, spreading good cheer. Every time Peter visited the Old Orchard he found him there, and as DeeDee was always ready for a bit of merry chatting, Peter soon had a winter friend to fill in for Jenny Wren’s spring and summer conversations.

“Don’t you dread the winter, DeeDee?” asked Peter one day, as he watched DeeDee clinging head down to a twig as he picked some tiny insect eggs from the under side.

“Not a bit,” replied DeeDee. “I like winter. I like cold weather. It makes a fellow feel good from the tips of his claws to the tip of his bill. I’m thankful I don’t have to take that long journey most of the birds have to. I discovered a secret a long time ago, Peter; shall I tell it to you?”

“Please do,” responded Peter. “You know how I love secrets.”

“Well,” replied DeeDee, “this is it: If a fellow keeps his stomach filled he will keep his toes warm.”

Peter looked a little puzzled. “I don’t just see what your stomach has to do with your toes,” he said.

DeeDee chuckled. It was a lovely throaty little chuckle. “Dee, dee, dee!” he said. “What I mean is, if a fellow has plenty to eat he will keep the cold out, and I’ve found that if a fellow uses his eyes and isn’t afraid of a little work, he can find plenty to eat. At least I can. The only time I ever get really worried is when the trees are covered with ice. If it were not that Farmer Brown’s boy is thoughtful enough to hang a piece of suet in a tree for me, I should dread those ice storms more than I do. As I said before, plenty of food keeps a fellow warm.”

“I thought it was your coat of feathers that kept you warm,” said Peter.

“Oh, the feathers help,” replied DeeDee. “Food makes heat and a warm coat keeps the heat in the body. And so the heat has got to be there first, or the feathers will do no good. It’s just the same way with your own self, Peter. You know you are never really warm in winter unless you have plenty to eat.”

“That is so,” replied Peter thoughtfully. “I never happened to think of it before. Just the same, I don’t see how you find food enough on the trees when they are all bare in winter.”

“Dee, Dee, Dee, Chickadee! Leave that matter just to me,” chuckled DeeDee. “You know that a lot of different kinds of bugs lay eggs on the twigs and trunks of trees. Those eggs would stay there all winter and in the spring hatch out into lice and worms if it were not for me. Why, sometimes in a single day I find and eat almost five hundred eggs of those little green plant lice that do so much damage in the spring and summer. Then there are little worms that bore in just under the bark, and there are other creatures who sleep the winter away in little cracks in the bark. Oh, there is plenty for me to do in the winter. I am one of the policemen of the trees. Downy and Hairy the Woodpeckers, Seep-Seep the Brown Creeper and Yank-Yank the Nuthatch are others. If we didn’t stay right here on the job all winter, I don’t know what would become of the Old Orchard.”


Black-capped Chickadee by Louis Agassiz Fuertes


DeeDee hung his head downward from a twig while he picked some tiny insect eggs from the under side of it. It didn’t seem to make the least difference to DeeDee whether he was right side up or upside down. He was a little animated bunch of black and white feathers, not much bigger than Jenny Wren. The top of his head, back of his neck and coat were shining black. The sides of his head and neck were white. His back was ashy. His sides were a soft cream-buff, and his wing and tail feathers were edged with white. His tiny bill was black, and his little black eyes snapped and twinkled in a way good to see. Not one among all Peter’s friends is such a merry hearted little fellow as DeeDee the Chickadee. Merriment and happiness bubble out of him all the time, no matter what the weather is.

“I’ve noticed,” said Peter, “that birds who do not sing at any other time of year sing in the spring. Do you have a spring song, DeeDee?”

“Well, I don’t know as you would call it a song, Peter,” chuckled Tommy. “No, I hardly think you would call it a song. I do have a little love call which goes like this: Phoe-be! Phoe-be!”

It was the softest, sweetest little whistle, and DeeDee had rightly called it a love call. “Why, I’ve often heard that in the spring and didn’t know it was your voice at all,” cried Peter. “You say Phoebe plainer than does the bird who is named Phoebe, and it is ever so much softer and sweeter. I guess that is because you whistle it.”

“I guess you guess right,” replied DeeDee. “Now I can’t stop to talk any longer. These trees need my attention. I want Farmer Brown’s boy to feel that I have earned that suet I am sure he will put out for me as soon as the snow and ice come. I’m not the least bit afraid of Farmer Brown’s boy. I had just as soon take food from his hand as from anywhere else. He knows I like chopped nuts, and last winter I used to feed from his hand every day.”


Autumn has arrived and the woodland creatures know it is time to prepare for the cold winter ahead.


Peter’s eyes opened very wide with surprise. “Do you mean to say,” he said, “that you and Farmer Brown’s boy are such friends that you dare sit on his hand?”

DeeDee nodded his little black-capped head vigorously. “Certainly,” said DeeDee. “Why not? What’s the good of having friends if you can’t trust them? The more you trust them the better friends they’ll be.”

“Just the same, I don’t see how you dare to do it,” Peter replied. “I know Farmer Brown’s boy is the friend of all the little people, and I’m not much afraid of him myself, however just the same I wouldn’t dare go near enough for him to touch me.”

“Pooh!” retorted DeeDee. “That’s no way of showing true friendship. You’ve no idea, Peter, what a comfortable feeling it is to know that you can trust a friend, and I feel that Farmer Brown’s boy is one of the best friends I’ve got.”


P.L.A.Y. in Place Projects


Try these activities to extend your bird story adventures:

  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS –  Black-capped Chickadee
  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – PROJECT FEEDER WATCH –  Chickadee ID
  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – NEST WATCH – Build a Chickadee Birdhouse
  • Nature journal coloring pages at Cornell Common Feeder Birds FREE (page W41 Black-capped Chickadee).
  • Q/A –Questions with answers to keep this conversation going are available for Chickadee (p. 68-70) in the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock offered FREE online HERE.
  • Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book by Lisa Bonforte offers a page for the Black-capped Chickadee (3). Colored pencil use recommended.

*This is an inexpensive, easy to find, and excellent companion to this bird story series.


Source: Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess

P.L.A.Y. has provided a new online version of all 45 chapters of this updated and annotated 100+ year old public domain classic to:

  • be suitable for the 21st century family by having the Thornton Burgess woodland characters evolve to model mindfulness and loving kindness
  • highlight and bring awareness to the New England nature settings and offer an opportunity to learn more about birds and other woodland animals through this story adventure
  • create story extension moments through P.L.A.Y. suggested activities and investigations for making new nature connections generated by the reader’s own curiosity
  • encourage families to keep their own nature notebooks for drawing, writing, painting, and recording their own local daily outdoor P.L.A.Y. adventures.

Feathered Friend BONUS!


Black-capped Chickadee

“Bitterly cold and dreary though the day may be, that “little scrap of valour,” the Chickadee, keeps his spirits high until ours cannot but be cheered by the oft-repeated, clear, tinkling silvery notes that spell his name. Chicka-dee-dee: chicka-dee-dee: he introduces himself. How easy it would be for every child to know the birds if all would but sing out their names so clearly! Oh, don’t you wish they would?

None will respond more promptly to your whistle in imitation of his three very high, clear call notes, and come nearer and nearer to make quite sure you are only a harmless mimic than the Chickadee. He is very inquisitive. Although not a bird may be in sight when you first whistle his call, nine chances out of ten there will be a faint echo from some far distant throat before very long; and by repeating the notes at short intervals you will have, probably, not one but several echoes from as many different chickadees whose curiosity to see you soon gets the better of their appetites and brings them flying, by easy stages, to the tree above your head. Where there is one chickadee there are apt to be more in the neighborhood; for these sociable, active, cheerful little black-capped fellows in gray like to hunt for their living in loose scattered flocks throughout the fall and winter. When they come near enough, notice the pale rusty wash on the sides of their under parts which are more truly dirty white than gray.

Blessed with a thick coat of fat under his soft, fluffy gray feathers, a hardy constitution and a sunny disposition, what terrors has the winter for him? When the thermometer goes down, his spirits seem to go up the higher. Dangling like a circus acrobat on the cone of some tall pine tree; standing on an outstretched twig, then turning over and hanging with his black-capped head downward from the high trapeze; carefully inspecting the rough bark on the twigs for a fat grub or a nest of insect eggs, he is constantly hunting for food and singing grace between bites.” ~ Birds Every Child Should Know by Neltje Blanchan Copyright 1907


P.L.A.Y. + Pass it on!