Monday, August 17, 2015

"Kingdom Plantae" Quest

We worked on this in conjunction with several others (still trying to catch up).  These quests are certainly providing lots of fun for us this summer!

Watch one of two documentaries:
King Corn. Directed by Aaron Woolf.
What Plants Talk About from PBS. Directed by Erna Buffie.

not done yet

For this objective you'll be writing free verse poetry inspired by a plant of your choice. Chicago's Poetry Foundation describes free verse poetry as "nonrhyming lines that closely follow the rhythms of speech." Check out some examples of free verse poems to get a feel for what we're looking for.
Unlike our Micro Quests, you should commit about an hour to get this one right. Feel free to go through several revisions before posting your final draft.
If you're not familiar with free verse poetry, check out this 5 step guide from Power Poetry. You can also find examples of free verse poems from The Poetry Foundation.
Find your plant. Go for a walk (or look out a window) to find your subject. Choosing a specific plant to write about will make your narrative stronger.  Then write a free verse poem about, or inspired by, your plant. Make sure to take the time to do your best work. Feel free to come back to it over a few days to make sure you've got it just right. Post your poem and a photo of your plant.

not done yet

The book for this quest was "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver.

Martini Man: I generally liked the book, although I found it a little preachy at times. I did learn a lot about how gardening is done and how the rotation of the seasons dictates what you eat. I would like to make more of an effort to hit the farmer's market and I am interested in looking into canning.

And despite the tone, I can't deny my own suspicions about big business and its intentions to play fair. I still think about Milton Friedman and his seminal works about externalities. If we properly placed a value on the things we consume, the behaviors we see would drastically change. But we don't ..........

Wisconsin Hiker: Just finished the book and I enjoyed it. I liked how the main story by BK was supplemented with articles by her husband and older daughter. It was interesting to read about the whole year-long cycle of their experiment and how much they were able to get locally. It is making me consider what we could do in our own area to get more local products and to rethink an emphasis on "deals" vs quality. We gave up on growing vegetables when we moved to this house 24 years ago - too many local critters devoured what we planted, regardless of fences. However we do have several nearby farmer's markets that sell not only produce, but some meats. I will now be doing a bit more thinking when I purchase food. (P.S. I found the turkey story informative and hilarious!)

Objective: Instead of going directly to the source of our food, lets meet it half-way.  Visit a farmer's market and purchase at least one fruit or vegetable from the market. If you're feeling adventurous, consider something you've never eaten before. Take a photo of your raw ingredients, then cook a meal that incorporates what you bought from the market. Post a photo of the finished product.

Wisconsin Hiker:

Martini Man: Earlier this month we visited a farmer's market in our hometown so I could purchase some fresh vegetables and make a meal out of it in support of one of the badge requirements for Kingdom Plantae. We bought fresh Brussel Sprouts and a nice sized squash to roast up and combine with quinoa and Parmesan cheese. it turned out quite well.

Objective: Visit a public garden or arboretum.

Martini Man: Spent quite a bit of time at the Robert O. Cook Arboretum in Janesville, WI. Very rustic and much more about trees than anything else. Nevertheless we learned a few useful facts about these tallest of flora while we hiked around on the trails. Nice time.....

Wisconsin Hiker: We made a return visit to an arboretum in Janesville, WI. It is used as an educational area for school children and the emphasis is on the many varieties of trees in the area. And it just so happens that there are a few letterboxes also .... (including one that we planted a few years ago). We read the info signs which gave descriptions of the tree's bark, flowers, leaves and uses.

For this research objective we'll be using plant identification guides. You can find guides in paper form and online, and either are great resources. Make sure to keep geography in mind when choosing your guide.

1) Find a plant which you cannot identify from memory.
2) Photograph the plant.
3) Use a plant identification guide to identify the plant.
4) Post the photo of your plant along with its name to Twitter or Instagram.

not done

Pressed flowers are a form of delayed gratification, but they're worth the wait. They can also be used to embellish a variety of objects and look great framed.

1) Build a flower press. You can choose to build any style of press, but construction is required to fulfill this objective. Completing this objective requires you to measure, cut, drill and/or glue your way to the finish line.

Flower Press Building Guides:
7x8" Flower Press from Lee's Wood Projects
Pocket sized flower press from Instructables
7x7" Press from Lowes

2) Share a photo of your completed press on Twitter or Instagram with the tag #QuestScouts.
3) Gather your flowers. Remember that flowers with bulkier centers will be more difficult to press.
4) Sandwich your flowers between layers of printer paper and place them in your press.
5) Tighten your press! You're done. (Collect your points.)
6) (Optional) Wait a month (some say more, some say less) and open your press. Your flowers should be flat and dry.
7) (Optional) Share a photo of your pressed flowers on Twitter or Instagram.

not done yet

For this component, we had to choose a tree that we find visually appealing and then take a high quality photo of it.  We were also asked to comment on any tree photo posted by another Quest Scout. 

Wisconsin Hiker: I took this photo of the catalpa tree in our yard. It is a very tall tree, but what I love most about it is its pretty flowers. It is unusual to have such a large tree that produces flowers and that's why we chose to plant it! 

Martini Man:  not done yet

This objective asked us to plant something you've never grown before. We didn't get around to doing this until almost the end of August, so I had to do some research to find something that we could start from seed this late in the season.  Luckily there were two that seemed like possibilities and amazingly there were still a few seed packets left at our local garden store for each of them!

We don't have great soil in our yard and we DO have lots of hungry critters, so we figured it would be best to just plant in pots on the patio.  That way they would be more protected and we would also be able to move them around to get the requisite sun (or to protect them from frost if necessary). 

Wisconsin Hiker planted Rocket Arugula which is a good fall plant and should be ready to pick in 35 days. Martini Man planted Cherry Belle radishes which should be ready to pick in 22 days. Here they are on the day we planted them (August 25): seeds in dirt, lightly watered.

One week later:



6 weeks after planting, the radishes seemed to be doing well but it looked like the arugula was popular with something that ate the leaves.



8 weeks later we were somewhat disappointed in our harvest.

One tiny radish

Yep, VERY tiny!

A few arugula leaves that sprouted after the pests left/died

I guess we should have planted something earlier in the summer, or perhaps just stuck with flowers rather than veggies.  OH WELL!

To satisfy this component, we had to find a letterbox in a public garden or arboretum.

Wisconsin Hiker: Today we found the "Slowpoke No More" letterbox in an arboretum (no spoiler names). Instead of a photo of myself, here's the lovely view we had near the box.

Martini Man: We had the privilege of finding a letterbox in a beautiful arboretum located in a town in the south of Wisconsin. Yeah, I'm being a bit obtuse here, but the box is a mystery box to some degree and we will respect that. Anyway, we walked away from the box location and stumbled across the remains of a dragonfly. This was cool to look over and you have to wonder how the body of this poor thing got this way. Fascinating....

Watch a short video about the cobra lily.

Wisconsin Hiker: Interesting video, good camera shots down the tube! The first plant DOES look like a cobra and second plant, the round-leaved sundew, is very pretty. Both plants know how to eat right to get their nutrients!

Martini Man: Pretty interesting. I was aware that there were carnivorous plants, but California? Neat! You also have to admire the symbiotic relationship that keep the cobra lily going. If you think about it, the cobra lily is really a composite creature, made up of not only the main structure of the lily but the mites and sludge worms living in the pitcher to help with digestion. The stuff of a good sci-fi tale......

For this micro quest we took a look at the work of Andy Goldsworthy in this photo heavy article from Melt. Then we had to imagine we were planning to devote an entire day to creating a piece of art inspired by Goldsworthy. What materials would you use? How would you alter/shape your materials into a natural sculpture? Where would you build it?

Wisconsin Hiker: Oh, I just love some of the ideas in the article from the Artful Parent! I also loved the snake-like leaf construction in the video. There are still some colorful autumn leaves available, so I would use them to create a piece of art. Maybe I will take some toothpicks along on my next hike. Or just spearing them on some sticks that are artfully arranged might work. I also like the idea of creating pictures from rocks. This would be a good project on a beach, but may be possible in any area where smaller rocks can be found. If I do manage to create something, I will post a photo on the QS Facebook page.

Martini Man: not done yet

MICRO QUEST 3 - Travel
 Sometimes we need to remind ourselves to slow down. This micro quest asked us to take a moment to stop and smell the roses... or tulips.... or cherry blossoms...

MICRO QUEST 4 - Research
Mission: Humankind reaches into almost every corner on the planet. Wherever we go, we mold the resources around us, changing the environment. While humans are almost everywhere, so are plants. They grow in the cracks of our parking lots, their roots shove our sidewalks out of place and they generally make homes wherever they see fit. For this micro quest, lets take a look at the ways plants reclaim man-made landscapes. Post a photo of what you find.

Wisconsin Hiker: We took a walk in Simmons Park this past week (Pewaukee, WI) and saw these wetland plants trying to reclaim the boardwalk. I wonder how long it will take...

Martini Man:  This particular picture is of small plants pushing their way up thru cracks in paving stones outside of a replica of a toll house at the Elmbrook Historical Society grounds. Kind of reminds me of my driveway.......

Without thinking about it ahead of time, we were asked to set a timer for 2 minutes and then write down as many types of flowers that we could think of.

Martini Man: I came up with 17, which is actually not bad for me as flowers are not my strong suit.

Wisconsin Hiker:  I got 23 and was starting to slow down when the timer dinged. Amazingly, Martini Man and I had only 7 flowers in common on our lists.

We needed to get at least 1,000 points to complete the quest and we both exceeded that to earn our fourth badge! This was a nice summer theme and helped us to appreciate the wonderful weather and the plant life surrounding us.
"Kingdom Plantae" badge

No comments:

Post a Comment