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Monday, April 28, 2008

Earth day and OSV, and other stuff.








So we went to the Earth day fair at Earth place on Saturday. The weather was actually pretty good. We saw this guy there who put on a show called, "Trash to Tunes". He basically made instruments from trash. 
And they worked and sounded great!
 We ran into an old friend there that we had lost touch with when they moved to CA.
 That was neat, and the kids picked up their friendship like they had not ever been apart. No big deal, just played like old times.
Kids rock.
 We have yet to see Nihm's Island. (sp?)
 Sunday, I finally bought M her digital voice recorder. You all know  (or now know) that she loves the paranormal sciences. She is and has ben intrigued with EVP's. So she has been doing some hard core asking for a recorder. So we went and got one, visited a few cemeteries and asked dead people questions, to see if we would capture a response.
 Of course we did not.
 But one day we hope too.
 I hope she doesn't get all sixth sensed.
lovely.
Anyway, back to the more normal outings we partake in. We went to OSV homeschool day again today!
 It was raining all day and it was chilly. At least not February bone chilling cold, but raw.
 It was another good day there. I really dig that place, and the kids enjoy the classes.
 Today, K took a farm class, he built a trellis and came home with a plant.
 M made fancy stationary.
Both M, and K took a printing class, and made newspapers, and marbled paper. 


Lastly, they took a home remedy class and made a cough elixir, potpourri, and something else.
 E spent his time running around like a nut
 doing odd jobs,
 and helping out
and interrupting Tinsmiths,
 and talking to cute girls.
The weird part is at the general store, where they sold penny candy, tin ware, books, and everything else that you would find in a 19th century village, they also sold venus fly traps. 
How bizarre?!
 So of course, we bought two.-K

Tadpoles and eggs update

Well, The toad eggs have hatched! I have hundreds of wee cute swimmers. The thing we noticed is that the gel encasing the egg dissolved and the black egg elongated. 
Next morning, toad city.
The Salamander eggs look the same ish. The sac is getting cloudier and the embryos are growing.
The tadpoles look the same. They have not sprouted limbs yet.
 So there you go. 
An update.-K

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fishing and stuff



Took the kids fishing yesterday with Julie and Ryan. Our bobber went down occasionally, but that was the extent of our excitement. The only boy who caught a thing, was K. He is quick with his net. He has mad skills when it comes to hunting things. He caught two minnows, and a hand full of snails. 
One really big one.
You'll have to take my word for it.
 I was sans camera.
I forgot all of the other things we have done.
Hmmm....
Oh! My soap making kit has come in. I need to watch the video and get all prepared, then M and I will dive in.
Not literally.
Because of the lye.
Blindness and scarring and all...
Today M, K and I went to the CPTV CT science expo.
They had homeschool afternoon. It was pretty good. The kids did a bunch of hands on stuff, went into an inflatable planetarium, talked to some interesting people.Learned more about composting, and waste treatment facilities. Learned what invasive species were, in this case aquatic plants.
 They really talked for a long time to some blind (Visually impaired to be PC) folk who brought their service dogs. That was great, they got their name written in braille, learned that blind people read with their digits. They really were curious and asked all sorts of innocent questions. Hugged the dog.
We saw a saw an experiment show. Mostly about Newton's laws.
It was interesting for a little while, but it just was too much in depth explanations and not enough action for my kids ages. 
We saw a man have a seizure there. Which led to emergency response, and compassion. That was REAL science right there. They saw the paramedic later, and had me inquire about the man and his wife. They were a bit concerned.
 That was sweet.
Next, we came across an archeology exhibit, and how they uncovered a prison cemetery. K was really into it. So was I,  M had to drag us off. It was fascinating.
 Then we found UCONNS display of carnivorous plants. 
Wicked cool.
 That campus is on our to do list this summer, as well as this nursery that breeds all sorts of Carnivorous plants in MA.
 We need/WANT some of those!
Anyway that was our day.
Oh, We found this huge spider today.
In our laundry. ( Gahh!)
We looked in insect books to no avail.
This is the site you need to be on when you come across an insect which needs immediate identifying. 
It rocked our world.
 The kids identified it as a wolf spider. They are learning to seek out answers pretty well. Knowledge and answers are always there, you just need the skills to find them. 
Resources, it's all about using resources. 
E went to the zoo with Grandma and Grandpa. I think he had fun as well.
 We are thinking of going to see Nimh's Island tonight. Not sure if K will stay awake though. He is wiped out. 
All that learning...
May just be a girls night out.
 M loves that.
Tomorrow is Earth day celebration at Earthplace, should be fun!-K

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Noticings


The past few days I have really been paying attention to the kids. I mean they usually almost always have my attention, but my noticing things about them has been keener.
Is that clear?
I feel more awakened and in tune with their accomplishments of brain enlargement.
Or something.
Like yesterday, M was painting away, but she was not at ease. 
So, I asked what she working on. She said "you know when you just want to paint but not try hard to make it look like something?" I said yes, and we talked about abstract art and how it's about the shapes and colors that make a person have a feeling or think about something. What it means to be inspired by something, but not paint that thing in a like image.
 She got it. I said that maybe on a pure white canvas there could be three purplish blue balls and that could make one think of blueberries, and she said "Wow, Mom! Coincidently, I was thinking of blueberries this very second".
 Whoa
COINCIDENTLY
Whoa
I have noticed that she has a very good vocabulary, and is quite descriptive in her communication. We never do vocab or the like. I think we speak to her intelligently, and we read books that use rich words and descriptions, and I see that it's totally made a huge impact. I mean I could have made her sit down and write, or say these words and meanings to her, but, it's through engaging conversation and captivating literature that it sticks; and is just so natural. 
Un rote.
K has been an absolute knowledge seeking, exhausting sponge lately. His growth is mostly emotional, but he is pacing forward. He is very interested in various things and just seems to be constantly asking, asking, asking. He is totally engrossed with the frogs at the moment, and is thriving in an outdoor setting.
E has an insane energy about him. It's nice to see him focusing it on his great imagination. He is always just doing something, and learning things as a side effect. He is quite adept physically and thrives on burning energy and trying to do jobs. He has a quick think, and can easily solve many of the problems he encounters on his own. 
 All three are unique in their learning, and passions, but all three are growing in leaps and bounds and are moving forward rapidly. It is sobering to witness organic learning at it's best.-K

Monday, April 21, 2008

It gets even better





So we took this impromptu trip to a pond that has been on our list to check out, and lo and behold; tadpole city.
Luckily, we have our nets in the car and something to carry tad poles home in.
It's a good idea to keep random crap in your car.
Just so you know.
We walked at least two times around the smallish pond and we got two tadpoles. But K lost his footing and spilled them free.
So we had to catch more. In the meantime, M says she sees egg masses.
Oh great glory of froggy gods, we have American toad eggs!
WOOOOOHOOOOO!!
 I did a happy dance and sang a corny song.
 M said under her breath, I guess you like the eggs, mom....
 One tadpole looks like he has seen his better days, I hope it makes it.
We found two toads doing the deed. That was a lesson in itself. They did learn that in animal mating, the male is on the back(froggy style?). They all quickly noticed that the male was smaller than the female, and that usually males are bigger.
 Good eye!
But Wow, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to watch three different species metamorph in front of our eyes.
 I was thinking that perhaps others live in areas where catching these are out of the question or what not.
 So being the good  person that I try to be, I will update and share our observations and photos.
Right here.
For you.
Because this is Frog Creek y'all!-K
These are the spotted Salamander eggs:

spotted salies and frog guts




Well, we found a treasure on Sunday! I was determined to find frog eggs and set up a life cycle tank for the kids. Since my last pond outing brought me home with some kind of gelatinous goo, not eggs!, I was on some kind of fierce mission. The kids and I walked easily a 1/4 mile of creek. At the last stretch of our hunt, with only M left on the hunt. We hit this weird zone. 
To our pleasure, we discovered a big pond, that we did not know existed. We spied turtles, some weird pair of ducks that we need to identify, a nested Canada goose, egg sacks deeper in the water. We heard a wood frog and a toad calling. We were pleased, to say the least.
 I need to look on the property map to see who owns it. I would like permission to access the area, and take the kids fishing.
It is a hidden gold mine.
Here is where the weirdness comes in to play. 
We found dead toads everywhere in the area where the pond turns into our creek. Some had all their limbs ripped off, some had just their stomachs ripped open. It was easy to show M the difference between a male toad and female. The females were ripe for breeding and had huge egg filled ovaries. It was sad, but great to see the insides. 
We found this male toad with all his organs intact and conveniently opened up for us to see. I took it home to show everyone. K and M were fascinated. E said "GWOSH"(Gross) 
His teeny heart, lungs, liver, gall bladder, stomach were all there. He was minus intestine.
But what annihilated these toads?
We pondered. We saw tracks, that I believe were possum and raccoon. We decided to give google a try and came up with nothing but snakes being a true predator of the toad. The toad secretes a toxic substance through it's skin making it toxic and bitter to most predators. 
So we are stumped. It is a scenario begging for the deer cam.
Don't ya think?
Oh, by the way, I got pictures of a possum eating the cat food. Not very exciting, but something none the less.
Anyway, while poking around out there, I spotted the elusive gelatinous blob. I could see the embryos inside.
SCORE!
I thought they were pickerel frog eggs.
But I was wrong. I found this great resource to help identify eggs that you may find, Robyn's pond.
We are so amazed to say that we found spotted Salamander eggs!
Outstanding.
So, we set up our habitat tank with creek water.
We put an egg under the microscope, and checked it out under different magnifications. That wasn't nearly as amusing as the amoeba's we found spiraling and moving like bumper cars.
So much science.
 So many questions, seeking answers.
We'll be busy for a while...-

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Science fair 2008



So as you may or may not know, we participated in "The Road Less traveled" vitual science fair. We are anxious to see what the others did! 
We chose to make sucrose crystals, A.K.A. Rock candy. 
We opened the kit and followed the directions to the T. See this post for details and pictures of step one.
Next, we placed our container in our warmest closet and let it set. We observed crystals forming on day 3. This method is called the precipitation method. See this post.
 We let the container stay in the closet for 11 days, and then switched over to evaporation method to see if we could beef up the size of our crystals. We simply removed the top and set in the sun. See this post. 
This process did not enlarge our crystals. It did make the crystals form on the sides and a thick layer on the bottom.
Today, we poured off the remaining sugar water syrup.
And tried to get the crystals out of the glass container. This proved hard as many were adhered to the sides. 
We had to run the container under hot water to melt the crystals a little to help it release.
Finally, the moment we were all waiting for! 
We ate our candy! 
Experiment Successful!
See this video for directions to make your own!

See this link for crystals and candy and the science of cooking!
A huge Thanks, Dude! to Iain and Whimsy for organizing this! 
We had a lot of fun, and can't wait to see what the others were up to!-K and crew!

Friday, April 18, 2008

I have been MIA


Well this week has been so damn amazing, and gorgeous, and ours!
I mean "ours" because K had no class, M had no violin, we blew off pottery and gym classes and just did what we pleased. 

The weather has been stellar.
 What a week to own!
 It has been lazy days, and friends, and no itineraries.
 We had M's good friend Georgia for two whole days. She is a great kid, who totally fits in with us.
Seamlessly.
Now those were some jam packed two days.
Let me tell you.
Day one.
 M and Georgia had a hike from 9-2 to Judges cave at common ground. I picked them up and we headed to a local park to see if we could find some toads. It was a hot spot for lusty toads last year. I think we were off a week. The kids had fun romping in the mud.
We headed home and they played in the creek for a long time.  We played with goats. We put out the deer cam and some stinky cat food to see if we could attract this weasel like creature I saw and have been finding tracks of. We got no pictures that night. Forgot to set up the camera on night two and the food was gone. I re-baited and set up the cam, wish me luck.
 I get crazy over this.
Anyway, then we had dinner, and then vegged out to ghost hunters, and Destination truth.
We may or may not have scarred Georgia's psyche.
 I am sorry, Ushi.
 We crashed on the couch.
Day two.
We were up and at 'em at 7 a.m. After breakfast it was creek time. Then they did science experiments on the deck with vinegar and 30% of my spice rack and baking soda.  We ate lunch and then headed out to this localish trout pool where you can feed these monster fish.  We found two making out water snakes, and caught a frog.We left and headed to get some home made ice cream. The line was 20 min, but we stayed strong.We then headed to another park that has farm animals, and a playground, and a big pond. We spent 3 hours at the pond. We caught Eastern newts, tried unsuccessfully to catch a frog, saw caddis fly larvae, saw a baby red ear slider about the size of a silver dollar (cute!), brought home what I thought were newt eggs, but now I think are frog sperm.Or something.
 There are a lot of things in that water and we are going to get it under the scope.
We let the goats out again. They played outside until 7, and then watched a movie, ate dinner and wrapped it up around 9.( The kids, not the goat and her kids...)
Whew!
 We had Ryan and Sage over today. 
It has been great.
I think we are going to have an amazing summer! -K
Tomorrow is science fair!


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

closets


Yesterday was a fun busy day. So much fun that we had to blow off pottery class to extend the funness.
 We hooked up with friends that we spent every friday for four years playing with.
It was our Mom's group. It started when M was about 4 months old with 8 moms, and 8 kids. 
Now the group has the sameish 8 moms, maybe add 1 or 2 that we picked up along the way,
AND
 about 29 kids!
 Man, we got some uteruses, eh?
 Anyway, we have reunions now and then, and yesterday 3 moms made it. It's hard to get us all there with everybody's schedules being as crazy as they are. Plus, I dunno what kind of mayhem ~ 30 kids could create?!
 We had a great day catching up with each other and seeing the kids. The kids all got along and had fun with no incidents.
Well.
 E slapped two kids.
but that's just E, he has moments...
He was sorry. I could tell...
 We hung out for 7 hours!
It was so much fun.
 The kids played inside and out, but they really had the most fun in the closet.
The closet?
They had glowing light sabers, they found Pete's stash of Valentine's Candy. They freaked each other out in the dark.
The CLOSET!
Today, the boys and I are hanging out because M has a day long class at Common ground today, I believe it's on gardening, compost and worms.
 Tomorrow, one of her bestest girl buddies is going with her to another class, and then sleeping over and playing here all day Thursday.
So far, we are having a really fun catching up kind of a week!-K

science project update 3



Ok, so we have a fair amount of crystals and now we have removed our project from the closet.
We have taken  the top off and have officially switched to the evaporation method. We were supposed to do that a few days ago, but we forgot.
 We place our vessel out in the sun to help evaporation occur, and at night it is placed on top of the fridge, elevated from grubby, sweet seeking fingers.
So we have 4 days remaining until project completion, and sweet snack time!-K

Monday, April 14, 2008

star


M made a really pretty star.
 She sewed it herself.
With out any help. 
I did not even know that she was sewing away. The needle was already threaded and the first stitch put in, but she handled the rest on her own. She came for assistance because she did not know how to tie it off . She beaded both ends and it looks great. Because more beads is more better!
 It was a project from our good buddy Ryan's Birthday party that we never got to finish.
I was pretty blown away that she just sat down and sewed it. We never sew much, she knows the gist, but never has had much exposure. 
Never put anything above a child. If they have an interest or the desire. They will just sit down and try and just do it. 
just. like. that.
 She did a really nice job, crafty devil.
I think she may need an etsy site.
 Look out Ladies, you are up for some stiff competition!
In other news, I ordered a soap making kit. This one. That's all good but it's because I am going to have a lot of goat milk in the freezer. I just read the milk withholding time for the use of penicillin in Lei's mastitis is about a week after her last shot.
So my undrinkable milk in the freezer will eventually be turned into a lovely lathery concoction.
Mmmm, goat's milk soap.
I am intimidated by the lye though.
No blindness on the creek, please.
We'll see....K