When sap flows through hickory trees in May, it’s time to whittle some whistles. Here’s how.
Find a hickory tree. Hickory trees grow throughout Missouri and are easy to spot if you look for two clues:
Saw off a branch that’s a 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick and 8 to 12 inches long. Examine the branch closely before you cut. If it has lots of knots or scars, choose another.
Cut a notch. Trim one end of the stick so it’s flat. One inch from the trimmed end, use a pocketknife to cut straight down into the stick about 1/3 of the way through. Move half an inch farther down and shave a sloping cut that meets the straight-down cut you just made.
An inch down from the notch, completely cut a ring around the stick. Cut through the bark but not all the way through the stick.
Use another stick to gently pound the bark between the ring cut and the flat end of the stick. Keep pounding until sap leaks out of the cuts. Twist and pull the loosened bark off the wood. You want the bark to slide off in a single, unbroken tube. This is the mouthpiece. Set it aside.
Cut a plug. Use your saw to cut off a short section of the stick from the end to the notch. Turn this section on its end. Use your knife to cut down, going with the grain of the wood, to take off a thin sliver from the entire section. Keep your fingers out of the way! This is the plug. Set it aside.
Put your whistle together. Slide the plug into the mouthpiece. Make sure the flat part of the plug faces upward toward the notch on the mouthpiece. Slide the mouthpiece onto the endpiece.
Trim up the endpiece. Whittle the exposed wood that’s left on the stick so that it tapers gently.
Blow on the end of the mouthpiece. If you did everything right, a clear whistle should sing out of the notch. To keep your whistle working, keep it in a glass of water or zip-top bag.
All animals change a little
as they grow. Butterflies and moths change a lot! These colorful insects begin
life as a tiny egg. Out of the egg hatches a wiggly larva, aka a caterpillar.
The caterpillar eats and eats and gets bigger and bigger. Eventually, it forms
a cocoon or chrysalis and becomes a pupa (pyoo-puh).
The pupa appears to be dead, but inside, an amazing change is taking place.
When the insect leaves the cocoon or chrysalis, it will have turned into a fluttery
adult moth or butterfly. Biologists call this series of changes metamorphosis
This leggy little killdeer
hatched with its eyes open and ready to follow mom. In spite of its name, it
does not kill deer (imagine!). Kill-deer! is the sound these shorebirds make. Come close to mom’s eggs (easy to do since they’re laid right on the ground), and she will perform a
broken-wing act. You can see and hear killdeer almost anywhere in Missouri all
Angie Daly Morfeld
Nichole LeClair Terrill