Friday, April 30, 2010

rabbit and the corn bins

We managed to eek in one last Trickster Tale at the end of this week amongst all the chaos of me not being here much. This story did not involve our favorite spider, Ananse, but instead was about a sneaky friend of his, Rabbit. Rabbit manages to trick his friends into leaving him unattended with their corn bins, and of course he ate all the corn and filled the bins instead with gravel. Here's J's drawing of that in progress.

When all the animals return to find their bins empty, they decide to go to sleep and wait for the moon to arise, as surely she would shine first on the guilty party. So ol' Rabbit asked Squirrel to sleep next to him, and when the moon beam hit them, he rolled out of the way, leaving everyone to think that Squirrel did it. Not nice, Rabbit! Here's Zoo Boy's drawing of that scene.

And here's my drawing, of the animals discovering their gravel-filled corn bins.
That's it for Tricksters for us, at least for now. We may revisit a few of these sorts of stories before the end of our school year, simply because we all love them so much!

duckling update

The twelfth egg hatched! It's an even dozen! Here's a photo of 1/3 of them for you to enjoy (because who doesn't enjoy cute duckie pictures?!) as they moved from the incubator to the brooder:

more from The Man's turn at the helm

In addition to the Keva class (see the previous post), the Map Man also trucked the boys to baseball class, which was held indoors this week, due to the lovely (NOT!) New England Spring weather. (It was about 35 degrees and kept taking turns snowing, sleeting, and raining -- it was a delight to be outside in it for three days. Ahem. Not. So, SO not!)

Here's Zoo Boy playing tee ball in the gym while J looks on from above.
They used wiffle balls rather than the usual teeball baseballs due to the indoor venue.

He also trucked the kids across the state to get to J's nature center class on vernal pool. While J was in class, Zoo Boy enjoyed playing in the long house in the nature center with his friend B.

And look what we have had hatching out all week! Of the 13 fertile eggs in the incubator, 11 of them hatched. And we're holding out hope for one more, he's TRYING to get out of there -- I don't believe in helping them out, they need to have enough energy to make it through hatching naturally, otherwise you're just setting yourself up for problems down the road. One egg for sure does not have a live duckling in it, and we all keep threatening each other with breaking that egg (ew!). We're a fun family!

Anyway, hopefully it'll be an even dozen by the time all is said and done. And then we start with a new batch of duck eggs on Monday!

Ok, so technically this didn't happen on The Man's watch, but figured I'd toss it in here rather than giving it it's own post, since I'll be multi-posting today. So here's the kids' journals from this week. Hopefully if you click on J's you can get a larger version where you can actually read what he wrote and learn all about fairies!

Zoo Boy is back to writing about Pokemon. Oh well, at least he's enthusiastic about the journals!

vertical building, and ramps

The Map Man had kid patrol the first part of this week while I was running a herding clinic, and he took them to their Keva building class. The theme was vertical building (with the blocks the "tall" way) and building ramps (which they then ran ping pong balls down). Zoo Boy actually chose to participate this week (go figure). Enjoy the resulting photos!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Willimantic Orchestra

Last night we took the boys to see the Willimantic Orchestra's spring concert. It was WONDERFUL! I didn't even realize this community orchestra existed (I suppose partly because we don't live all that close to Willimantic....), but it's an absolute gem of a group, and they did a fabulous job of presenting Gluck's Overture to Iphigenie en Aulide, Saint-Saens' Cello Concerto in A, Op. 33 (featuring a solo by the winner of the Windham Regional Arts Council's 2009 Young Artist Competition), and Brahms' Symphony No. 1 in C, Op. 68. The Brahms Symphony in itself was a major undertaking, and they did a wonderful job.

Being a community orchestra there was an age range of about 60 years represented. There were kids about Jacob's age, and there were grandparents, and every age in between, all on the same stage performing together. Very, very cool.

Needless to say, we all had a fantastic time, especially our musically obsessed J. At times like these I'd love to be able to crawl inside his head and hear what he hears -- I'm quite certain it's a different experience from the one I have.

The Willimantic Orchestra performs 3 times a year, and the concerts are always free. The conductor told us to go out and tell everyone -- and now I have!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

wool festival

I'm sorry about the glut of posts again, but you can take your time reading through them, other than one more post for tomorrow, I'll be post-free for a few days!

Today we took the boys to the local wool festival, which we always enjoy! Here they are watching the sheepdog trials. The weather was PERFECT for the festival -- bright and sunny and not too hot or too cold. Just an absolutely gorgeous spring day.

The boys and the Map Man check out some of the sheep. You'd think they'd get enough of looking at sheep here at home, wouldn't you? But apparently there's something intrinsically exciting about someone else's sheep. As for me, I was happy to shop while they stared at sheep. I got some supplies for my classes, a great little frame-type loom, and a supply of goat's milk soap -- score!!

The boys play a game at the "kids corner" booth.

The boys' favorite part of the festival -- ox cart rides!

Checking out a 4-H club's display, which included live angora goats and angora rabbits. J thought the rabbits were really cute. Zoo Boy (who very verbally wants his own rabbit, but made it quite clear that it needed to have short hair, not a bunch of wool to have to brush and take care of) was more partial to the goats, which has always been the case with him. The only surprising thing was him not asking me if we could get one. Of course, it helped that these goats were all owned and adored by 4-H kids.

(Psst, don't tell him, but we'll be setting up an enclosure specifically for goats this summer, so goats really ARE in his future. We let him raise a couple of them several years ago, when he was much younger, and he really did enjoy it. But I don't want him knowing about our plans until I'M ready for goats again!)

ananse's path

In this story, Ananse steals Squirrel's corn field, justifying it by saying that there is no path to the field(and who has ever heard of such nonsense!). So he has his family make their own path from his house to the field, then sets them all to harvesting the corn. Here's J's picture, of Ananse taking it easy and resting while his family does all the work.

Of course, Squirrel is hopping mad, and he takes Ananse to court. Unfortunately for Squirrel, the judge rules in Ananse's favor, for who ever heard of such nonsense as having a field with no path to it? Clearly it's Ananse's field, because the path leads to his house. Zoo Boy drew the court scene, that's the judge (with a gavel and everything) on the left.

So Ananse and family harvested the rest of the corn. But before they could get it home, it started raining and they abandoned it on the path and fled for home. When Ananse returned later, he found Crow sheltering the corn with his wings and thanks him for saving it -- until Crow flies off with the corn. Because who ever heard of such nonsense as leaving corn lying on a path unattended? (My picture -- note Squirrel hiding behind the tree laughing -- that's J's favorite part of the story!)

One more trickster tale to go -- we'll do at the end of this coming week, we're ''off" on a mini school vacation for the first half of the week. I hope our sage story for this unit is as well received as the trickster tales have been!

lots of rot

Lately on our morning walks, the boys have really been into finding fungi and other detritus-forming things (evidence of insects, woodpecker holes, etc) that help dead trees rot. They comment on how the mushrooms, lichens, and other processes are 'eating' the decaying tree and turning it back into fertile earth. I find their fascination with this interesting, given that our focus in our nature stories has been on cycles (water cycle, seasonal cycle, etc), yet we've not actually read a nature story about this particular cycle (although there is an Enki nature story about mushrooms which we'll read again in the coming week, just because it jives so well with what they are seeing in the woods right now). I will probably write a story for them about the decay cycle, I'm sure it would be quite well-received!

In any case, enjoy some photos of all the good rot that we found around the pond on our walk yesterday morning! (And feel thankful that I chose NOT to take a photo of the dead turtle Kiri found and insisted on carrying with her for half the walk...that's a whole different kind of rot we really didn't need documented here....)

ananse and donkey

In this story, Ananse tricks his friend Donkey into acting like his slave to win the love of a girl that Donkey wants to marry. Here's Zoo Boy's depiction of that scene.

Then Ananse pretended to be sick, and convinced Donkey to stay and watch over his house while he went to seek medical help, and if he didn't return in a year, Donkey could have his house and marry the girl. Of course, by then, Ananse had already married the girl and taken her far away, so Donkey never saw either of them again. This is J's drawing of Ananse acting sick. J didn't like this story when i told it -- he cried at the end in sympathy for poor broken-hearted Donkey. I expected some angst during our recall the following day, but he surprised me by seeming OK with it, like he'd come to terms with Donkey's loss.

My drawing, same scene that Zoo Boy drew.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

happy Earth Day!

Despite gloom and doom in the weather forecast, we actually enjoyed a delightfully sunny day until the very end. Which gave us plenty of opportunity to spend the majority of the day outdoors. The kids really wanted to "do" something to celebrate Earth Day, so we grabbed some bags and headed up the state forest road to pick up whatever trash we could find.

J checks out a plastic piece of something. Kiri stands by, in case it's something he'll let her carry around, or better yet, something edible. It was at times challenging to grab the trash before she did!

Zoo Boy adds a strip of plastic flagging to his bag. We grabbed quite a haul, mostly bottles, cans and cigarette butts, but amongst the more unusual items were a winter glove, a hand towel, a metal grate, and a burner plate from a stove. Zoo Boy thought this was a pretty cool thing to do, and treated it like a scavenger hunt, complaining when I had more junk than he did in his bag. I told him that he was more than welcome to all of my garbage!

Our mission didn't stop us from observing a bit of wildlife, including this slug (what he was doing in the middle of the dry road, I have no idea), a dead garter snake (I guess it was run over), a variety of chipmunks and song birds, and our friend the otter, whom we've been seeing daily at the frog pond ever since he first appeared. He's gotten a lot more used to us and doesn't swim in for a closer look anymore, which is a bit of a bummer, but he's still fun to watch at a distance. Oh, and someone apparently has dumped a cat out there, we see her occasionally as well. She won't approach us, and I'm not sure if would if we didn't have a dog with us (because we always do), but I'll probably go out there this weekend in the early morning and see if I can catch her before a coyote or fisher does. She'd fair much better in our barnyard than in those woods.

We also kept an eye out for wildflowers, and were delighted to find this adorable little Violet growing right in the road! Bluets abounded as well on the roadside.

Of course, there was also still plenty of time for playing!

The kids asked if we could plant a tree. I considered it, I'd really like to put in a couple of apple trees, but I haven't quite decided where they should go. So we went to the local nursery and checked out all the trees and shrubs and flowers, and came home with this cute little plant with blue flowers instead of a tree. We planted it (and another plant we bought) this afternoon before it started raining.

Then we hung out around the yard until the rain started. (Well, J and I did, anyway. Zoo Boy stayed out for almost another hour after the rain began, silly kid.) Here J rides his bike in the driveway while dark clouds fill in behind him.

Zoo Boy takes a break from practicing on his new bike to pet Cosmo, one of our ancient barn cats, while the first drops begin to fall.

I hope everyone was able to get out and appreciate the world they live in today!

ananse catches python

In this story, villagers call upon Ananse to use his cleverness to capture a python that has been terrorizing them. Ananse pretends to befriend Python, eventually convincing him to stretch himself out on a log (and even allowing himself to be tied to it) to be measured. Here's J's depiction of Ananse tying Python to the log.

Zoo Boy's drawing of Ananse luring Python out of his burrow to eat mashed yams, eggs, and coconut oil.

My drawing, same scene as J's. I find it interesting that we all chose to draw Python laying in the same direction.

(By the way, we had a bit of a debate -- who knows which is correct, "lying" or "laying" -- my argument was that if you're "lying" you're not telling the truth, but if you're "laying" you are prone. Or, I suppose, producing an any case, is "lying' also correct? Help me out here, people!)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010