Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Worms, Sempervivum tectorum, and Baby whales

 Worm bin maintenance is fun for all. Especially the girl, she loves holding crawlies.
We have some really happy ones, with brand new digs to explore.

I believe this is a Sempervivum tectorum. I've had it for about 4 years, and it's just now starting to make babies. We'll be watching them to see how they grow. They are quite cute.

H&J are making sure their baby whales are happy. They've been tending them for a few days now. Today they needed to dump and refill the water, as there were some mosquito larvae in there. They have also discovered that black walnuts don't make good whales, since they sink to the bottom.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Up, up in the sky!

The local hot air balloon festival was held this past weekend. It was a perfect welcome home after our beach vacation. The weather wasn't cooperating for balloon flights, but it was perfect weather for kites! The kids got to watch a really talented kite flyer, and were quite amused by his tricks. He was able to have the kite lift off the ground super fast, and then plummet down, stopping inches from the ground. He was also making it wave to them, and dance quite impressively. It was so fun watching them scream with laughter.


While it was disappointing that the balloons couldn't fly, we did get a dramatic and fiery light show that prompted loads of questions from the littles.


Post-Vacation Harvest

Too shy for pictures;
1 1/2 dozen eggs
3 yellow summer squash
1 huge bag overflowing with basil


Monday, August 15, 2011

For the birds

Last Thursday we explored the Scioto Audubon Center. It was spectacular! The main building has a library with an amazing view of the wetlands and comfy seating, a climbing/exploring area with great bird and wildlife costumes and puppets, a small gift shop, and a few different areas that are set up as hands-on learning stations. My favorite feature of the Center is the skylight that has an X-shaped bar built into it, casting a shadow onto the floor. There are then brass X's inlaid in the floor that correspond with the solstices and equinoxes. The kids spent a good bit of time searching for all the X's, and seeing how much the position of the sun changes throughout the year. We also had a great discussion about permeable and non-permeable surfaces, and how they effect groundwater. It was fun to then go outside and see the materials used in the parking area and walkways. You can really see conservation in action, since the Center was built using green and recycled construction materials.
We then went down to the play area, which includes a huge rock climbing wall, a large playground, and a large shaded picnic area. The kids were really curious about the climbing wall, but were a bit daunted by it. I was surprised that they weren't more interested in trying it out, since they are such monkeys at home, but they were under the impression that it was for adults and "kids that are almost adults". They had a blast in the playground though, and we'll definitely be back for more exploration (and hopefully more pictures).
For more info on the Scioto Audubon Center and some of their events and programs:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


 Yesterday was full of activity, so today things were going to the opposite extreme. Everyone was starting to zone out and stare at screens. I suggested going outside to play, and the kids upped the ante. They wanted to play basketball, but we don't have a hoop. There is lots of cardboard though, so we decided to make our own. It's pretty tricked out, with a ball return, and jingle bells that ring whenever the box is hit or a basket is made. There is some pretty extensive tape and toilet paper roll action on the inside, but overall it's a success. I'm not sure it will last the rest of the week, but it's still going strong after an hour of heavy use, so it is well worth the cost of materials :D. They have come up with an interesting variation of basketball that involves jumping on the mini trampoline and throwing the ball from there. Bedtime should be fast and easy tonight.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Antheraea polyphemus

 We discovered this moth on our way in from the park today. It's really impressive, about 5 1/2 inches across. The girl wanted to pet it, but we decided that it would probably prefer to be left alone. I thought the daytime photo was washing out some of the details, so I just ran out and took the second pic. The Antheraea polyphemus doesn't eat after becoming a moth, and doesn't even have a mouth. Apparently she's going to be hanging out on our porch until a lucky male finds her there, then they'll mate.  
The caterpillar is pretty cute, and reminds me of a certain Very Hungry one that's pretty popular around here.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Today's tiny harvest

 Green beans, beats, a potato. It won't go far, but it will be tasty!
The potatoes don't seem to be doing very well. Probably due to the giant hornworms that tried to take them out. We'll have to try again next year with row covers.
I think we'll put in another round of beets in a few weeks for a second harvest before winter. There are still a bunch out there, and now that they have been thinned I hope they'll be doing some good growing.
H&J love to help harvest and clean our veggies. They do a really good job, too.