Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal ........... painting by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Outdoor Hour #30: Weeds: How to Study Poison Ivy Close-Up



I opened up the Handbook of Nature Study to begin our study of weeds, and the first weed listed was Poison Ivy. I was really pleased as I had been meaning to teach them what Poison Ivy looked like all summer, and as with many things, never got around to it. It is so much easier for my kids to sketch at a table, so I usually bring a sample of the plant inside to sketch, rub and press. This was obviously not going to work for Poison Ivy. Then I remembered the technique I did as a child for preserving colored leaves in the fall -pressing between two sheets of waxed paper. I collected the leaves with a hand gloved in a plastic storage bag, and laid it on a sheet of wax paper I had set up on my ironing board. (If you try this, don't forget to protect your ironing board with a cloth -a towel or something as some of the wax from the waxed paper may come off onto the fabric and really mess up an ironing board cover.) I then covered with with another sheet of waxed paper and a tea towel and pressed the whole thing with an iron. The heat of the iron melts the wax in the waxed paper and seals it together. The result is Poison Ivy leaves that you can touch and examine. I was even happily surprised to find out that you could get a rubbing from it, although it is a bit more faint and harder to get than actual leaves.

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