Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Frogs and Insects

We are using Home Science Adventures Science Learning Kits from a publisher in Seattle.  (Just talking about what we like- no money or advertising involved, ever!)  We have just started our unit on Insects.  We are quick to hop on our topic before the insects go for the Winter.  So far we love this add-on to our science program. We just finished studying honeybees.  Here is a bumblebee perched on a Mountain Aster bloom.

You can see the bumblebee sipping flower nectar.  We have also been studying our only local frog, the Wood Frog.  It is interesting because it has a unique sugar in its' blood that allows it to overwinter under forest debris.  The frog goes through cryogenics and its' blood is rather like antifreeze.  They have found some mutations in the Wood Frog here near the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge adjacent to us.  The University of Alaska has an interesting factual page on Wood Frogs that can be printed out.  Here is Little N with a Wood Frog.
Happy learning!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

End of Summer, Hawks, Bears, Owls and the Chickens

     It is almost time for our home school to start.  The boys and I are both attending a teaching (for me) and activity time (for them) workshop put on by I.D.E.A.  We are all excited to start our year.  J will be in Kindergarten and N will be in second grade.
     We are close to the end of Summer.  It doesn't seem to be a very good wild berry year here and the bears are hungry.  One tipped over our entire chicken coop yesterday!  I was very thankful to find all seven of my chicken girls.  One had hidden herself in the bushes.  One was hiding in the nesting box in the back of the upside down coop and the rest were huddling under their day shelter in the fenced chicken yard.  Thank goodness for the chain link fencing, the bear couldn't get in to the yard.  We righted the coop and tied it into posts sunk into the ground.  The bear tried again last night, but gave up. :)
     The poor chickens are quite nervous.  Beside the bear, a red-tailed hawk watches them in the day.  (The yard is topped by fencing after last year's hawk incident.)  I let the hawk out.  I did not let it eat the chicken that it killed.  It was an angry bird.

In the evening time the chickens are assaulted by bears and our new friends, a family of great horned owls.  There is a mother, a father and a baby.  The parents will spend up to five months teaching their offspring to hunt.  J loves owls so he is very happy.  At night the baby perches on our roof to hunt.  Baby Owl makes lots of little screechy sounds.  We are surprised that it can catch something with all of that racket!  There is an over population of snowshoe hares here as well as some domestic rabbits that have been let free.  The owls seem to be eating quite a lot of rabbits judging from the remains we find up near the garden, rather grisly.
This is the baby owl.
Here are pictures of a black bear and a grizzly bear.  We have both here.  The pictures are from our July trip to the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, Alaska.
Black Bear
Grizzly Bear
I hope the bears go on their merry way.  The poor chickens will probably lay better when not surrounded by predators.  Here is Mama Owl.  Daddy Owl is just a little smaller in size and camera shy.
It's not easy being a chicken!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

One Graduated, Four to Go!

My oldest son graduated from homeschool this last Wednesday!  I'm so proud.  He went through some of his years in public school and some in homeschool.  My favorite year was his 2nd Grade Homeschooling year!  I'm excited to see what he does next.  Congratulations, Son!  Love you now and always, xxoo Mom.

Friday, May 6, 2011

New Pet Rabbit

Here is Yoshi the rabbit.  He's the newest pet.  He really likes apples and is nice and calm.
We are waiting for the leaves to come out.  Little N says May 8th and I say May 10th.  The winner gets to pick a dessert.  We are going through the family pictures and picking out some of our favorites for a living room display.  Everyone here is still getting over the flu.  We just got finished reading about the Root Children.  The timing is just right.  There are only small patches of snow.  There are a very few patches of grass sprouting up.  The edges of the lake melt in the day but it is still frozen.  I'm busy looking over last year's garden plan and thinking about what I'll plant where this year. :)  The pair of Great Horned Owls are back.  We usually hear them in the Spring and Fall.  Now we know that Spring is here.  Happy Spring!

And in April...

Spring is coming.  We've still far more snow than ground.  Here is a pretty winter sunset.  The chickens are happily catching flies.  The little boys are stomping in the water puddles.  I chipped a giant iceberg out of the trampoline (gingerly).  The boys said that I was the best mother ever!  I've been putting the woodstove ashes on my snowcapped garden beds.  I can hardly wait two more weeks or so to see what has wintered over nicely.  We've two cockatiels, Mario and Luigi.  They were a gift from someone who could no longer care for them.  They can whistle tunes and Mario lets little N pet his head. 
Mario is the grey and Luigi, the yellow. :)

 Following directions from the book, Footsteps In Time, The Romans, the boys (with a little Mama help) made these fabulous Roman sandals from cardboard and yarn.  They held up for two whole days!

 We had so much fun with that book that we are hoping to use Footsteps in Time, the Vikings next year.  Here are the boys at our IDEA homeschool office.  They are on an antique dogsled.  We raced to read as many pages as there are miles in the Iditarod.  Both boys made it to the finish line.

 Grandma is such a talented seamstress.  She sewed this waldorf style doll for little J. and this sock monkey for Little N.  She has a shop on etsy called "A*Dollshop*of*My*Own"  please go and check out her dolls.
 Here is the winter sunset picture that I promised.  I did not use a filter or color this one bit!  You know what they say.  Red sky at night, sailor's delight.  Everything may be white with snow but sometimes the sky is brilliant.  My favorite color of all is the bright, light green of the first new Spring leaves.  It's coming.  Happy Spring and Love to All.

Back in February

Today was a fantastic day.  My first grader, LittleN and preschooler, LittleJ, both made books today.  We have them set aside for Daddy to read when he gets home.  I am trying to make the boys little booklets of watercoloring paper and with cardstock covers.  We are going to do some Waldorf, some Charlotte Mason and some Classical Education for this next year.  I am working on being calm and counting my blessings.  I can hear N reading to J. :)  Homeschooling is a blessing!  I like to cook, craft, learn and garden and love my family.  I love and thank God for this life.  How great is His love for us.  Life is like a choo choo train with ups and downs and if you just keep chugging along it all works out.  Smile!  (This picture is from this last summer.)