Fun and Foraging

Hubby and I have been really interested in learning about the different plants that grow around us so that we could teach Little Guy about them.  We've been researching wild edibles in our region, and couldn't wait to get out there to try and identify some.  We had no idea what luck we were going to have when we set off on a local hiking trail.

This fence lizard was pretty cool.  He let us get really close.
fence lizard
Then, Little Guy decided he needed to climb the tree like a lizard too!
We came across this cocoon on a piece of bark just hanging in a tree.  We took it down, observed it, then hung it back up.  Really neat!
After a small detour through the extreme mountain biking course (hubby was just dying to show me), we came to a meadow where we found some great creatures!
santos bike trail Ocala, FL
I think this caterpillar is a cousin of the wooly bear.  They usually have black on them, but this one was only orange. 
Little Guy loves ladybugs.
ladybug
Then we came across some blackberries!!  We were so excited.  I had to check 30 times to make sure, but they are wild blackberries!
wild blackberries

blackberries

Now, as far as these berries, I'm going with dewberries.  They might be another form of wild blackberries, but from what I've seen the petals on the flowers seem a bit slimmer like dewberries (even though the blackberry flower is almost identical).  Dewberries and blackberries are cousins.
As if that wasn't enough, Little Guy noticed some berries on the ground as we were walking the trail, and sure enough, they were mulberries!  Mulberries look similar to blackberries, but longer in length and grow in a large bush or tree.  Hubby shook the tree and some more rained down, so we gathered a few.  It was so fun!  Little Guy had a blast, and he was so proud because he was the one who discovered them!
mulberries
Check out this wheel bug.  Very strange looking, and can cause a painful bite.  You can read more about wheel bugs HERE
wheel bug
We took pictures and some berries home with us to make sure we are identifying them correctly.  Ready?  Here comes my DISCLAIMER:  NEVER EAT ANYTHING YOU FIND IN THE WOODS UNLESS YOU ARE POSITIVE YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS.  Seriously!!
Unschooling at it's finest!

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