Thursday, August 27, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} August 27





{Pretty}



The hummingbirds have loved the bee balm I planted this spring.






 {Happy}


We have had an abundance of green goodness from our garden.  Tomatillos, green beans, swiss chard, and kale were harvested this week.





We had guferati (Indian green beans) as a side this weekend using our homegrown green beans. Yum!






I've also been collecting a drying herbs (some I grew and some I foraged) to be used in teas, tinctures, salves, etc.   In this photo I have mint, yarrow, and lavender.








 {Funny}



It cracks me up to find photos like this on my iPhone.







{Real}



The valley was blanketed in fog and dew this morning and a definite chill was in the air.  Summer is coming to a close and fall is nipping at our heels.



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Thursday, August 20, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} August 20


{Pretty}


We grew a new variety of Cosmos in one of the flower beds this year.  I think Cosmos are my new favorite flower.






This is the variety we planted last year and it went to seed.  We have Cosmos coming out our ears and it is lovely!





{Happy}


Our sweet Angela turned 16 this week.  It was all about the food for her.  For breakfast she requested crepes with lemon curd filling.




For dinner it was ham and apple stromboli





and the cake was chocolate cherry with chocolate frosting and chocolate dipped cherries on top.















{Funny}


What is it about boys and sticks?  They seem to find them and collect them no matter where we go.







 {Real}


This is not a sunset.  This is the smoke from all the wild fires in neighboring states.  The air is thick with haze and smoke.  




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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Fresh Berry Shortbread Bars

I've enjoyed going to the local farmer's market this summer.  It's a great place to purchase produce which I do not grow myself, or has not yet ripened in my garden.  One of my favorite stands sells baskets of fresh raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.  I usually purchase a flat of blackberries and raspberries as blueberries are not generally a favorite in this house.  The following recipe (adapted from this recipe) is my favorite way of enjoying fresh berries.


Fresh Berry Shortbread Bars

Crust and Topping
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt

Melt butter in a large glass bowl. Whisk in sugars until combined.  Add the flour and salt and stir until combined.  Mixture will resemble sandy crumbles.  Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the crumbles and press the remaining mixture into a greased 9x12 baking dish. Set aside.

Filling

2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk
1 cup full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup flour

Whisk eggs, coconut milk, and sugar until sugar is nearly dissolved.  Add vanilla and stir to combine. Lightly whisk in the flour.  Pour over top of crust in the baking dish.

Berry Layer

3 pints fresh berries (any combination of blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, or boysenberry)
1/2 cup sugar
1 TBSP cornstarch

Toss berries, sugar, and cornstarch together gently and spoon over top of the filling in the baking dish.  Sprinkle the reserved crumble mixture over the berries.  Bake for 45-60 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.  The crust should appear golden, the filling should be bubbling but set and the crumble topping should just be turning a golden color.  Cool for at least an hour before cutting into squares.










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Monday, August 17, 2015

Kingdom Animalia--Lesson 7

Lesson 7--Mammals (Class Mammalia)

Read about and find examples of different kinds of mammals using a good resource of your choosing. Our favorite resource is Eyewitness Books: Mammal.

Characteristics of mammals:

1) Body hair

2) Nurse their young

3) Warm blooded (define this term and compare to cold blooded)

4) Four chambered heart (you might watch this short video about the heart)

5)  Relatively complex brains (discuss here what it means to have a complex brain)


Class Mammalia is divided into 15 major orders:

1) Monotremata (e.g. platypus)

2) Marsupial (e.g. kangaroos)

3) Chiroptera (e.g. bats)

4) Carnivora (e.g. dogs, lions, bears)

5) Sirenia (e.g. sea cows)

6) Cetacea (e.g. whales, dolphins)

7) Proboscidea (e.g. elephants)

8)  Perissodactyla (e.g. horses, zebra, rhinos)

9)  Artiodactyla (e.g. sheep, deer, pigs, cattle)

10) Rodentia (e.g. squirrels, rats, porcupine)

11) Lagomorpha (e.g. rabbits, pika)

12) Edentate (e.g. anteaters, armadillos, tree sloth)

13) Tubulidentata (e.g. African aardvark)

14) Insectivora (e.g. shrew, moles, hedgehogs)

15 Primates (e.g. monkeys, lemurs, apes, humans)

While discussing what makes a mammal a mammal be sure to compare and contrast to other animals studied thus far.  Use a dictionary to look up the root words for each of the 15 major orders and discover why certain animals might belong to that particular order.

Project:

Younger students-- Draw a picture of a particular species of mammal and use the biodiversity website to explore the animal's taxonomy.


Older students--Fill out an animal report form (this one from CurrClick is free and will work for this activity), making sure to include the characteristics that make this animal a mammal.  Use the bio-diversity website to explore the animal's taxonomy.



Objectives:  Student will be able to identify mammals and give major characteristics.  Student will be able to define the term "warm blooded".  Student will be able to explain the implications of having a complex brain.



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Thursday, August 13, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} August 13




{Pretty}


Pretty yellow dahlia








Pretty red poppy





{Happy}



This was our first attempt to grow corn.  I am so excited.  We are starting to get ears!






We will also soon have string beans!




{Funny}




This is my little red hen.  She's a Welsummer and very friendly.  She likes to follow me about the chicken yard, but she hasn't yet braved following me out the gate.















{Real}


Found this photo on my iPhone.  Ben was taking photos of me taking photos of a praying mantis. Too funny.





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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hierarchy

Leo has developed an elaborate hierarchy of favoritism in the family.  The adjectives change from time to time, but for the most part his hierarchy looks a bit like this from top to bottom:

Super-Duper All Favorite
All Favorite
Tie Favorite
1/2 Favorite
Part Favorite
(w)Hole Favorite



Members of the family move up and down the hierarchy depending on his mood, whims, and ire.  The only family member who consistently stays in the same slot is Chris, who cannot seem to buy Mr. Leo's love and move from (w)hole favorite to any thing higher up the list.  

For the longest time, it seemed as I would never be booted from my top position on the list as Super-Duper All Favorite. That was until an unfortunate bath time incident in which I managed to get water in his eyes and then had the audacity to swat his behind when he screamed disrespectfully in my ear.  From that moment, I was completely banned from his list of favorites.  He insisted I would not recover my position until I had apologized for getting water in his eyes and swatting his behind.

I was truly sorry for getting water in his eyes, apologized and I regained a bottom position on the list, but I could not apologize for swatting him.  He definitely deserved and needed a little slap on the rear.  For days on end I remained fixed at (w)hole favorite.  One evening I asked if I would ever recover my top position.

"Not until you apologize for spanking my butt," he stated emphatically.

"I am sorry I had to spank your butt," I attempted.

"No! You have to be sorry FOR spanking my butt!"

"Well, I can't be sorry for that.  You deserved it."

"Then you can't be my super-duper all favorite."


Yes, this one gets the subtleties of the English language.  Why am I so surprised?


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Friday, August 7, 2015

Kingdom Animalia-- Lesson 6

Life has been extremely busy here and I apologize for the lapse in posting.

Continuing the weekly lesson plans for an elementary science unit focusing on Kingdom Animalia.


Lesson 6: Fish

Read about and find examples of different kinds of fish using a good resource of your choosing .  Our favorite resource is Eyewitness Books: Fish.

There are two main types of fish:

Cartilaginous Fish (Class Chondrichthyes)

1) Skeleton of cartilage

2) Rough leathery skin

3) Stiff fins

4) Many species bear their young

5) Powerful jaws with numerous teeth


Bony Fish (Class Osteichthyes)

1) Bony skeleton

2) Scaly skin

3) Flexible and often foldable fins

4) Lay eggs


Both cartilaginous fish and bony fish

1) Live in water

2) Take oxygen through gills

3) Have a swim bladder for buoyancy 

While discussing what makes a fish a fish, be sure to compare and contrast to other classes of animals they have already studied.  Be sure to help student understand and define words they may not have seen before, such as cartilage, flexible, buoyancy, etc.

Project: 

Younger students-- Draw a picture of a particular species of fish and use the biodiversity website to explore the animal's taxonomy.


Older students--Fill out an animal report form (this one from CurrClick is free and will work for this activity), making sure to include the characteristics that make this animal a fish.  Use the bio-diversity websitehttp://animaldiversity.org to explore the animal's taxonomy.

Objectives: Student will be able to list major characteristics of fish and give examples of both cartilaginous and bony fish.  Student will be able to define "cartilage", "swim bladder", and "buoyancy". 








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Thursday, August 6, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} August 6



{Pretty}



I planted sunflowers this year and they are beginning to bloom.  The plan is to dry them, once they have seeds, and feed the entire seed heads to the chickens as treats throughout the long winter.








{Happy}



One of our favorite recreations around here is tubing down the river.  The kids have an absolute blast.







{Funny}



So, did you hear about the blue moon?  Well, come to find out, a blue moon isn't really blue at all.  It is just the occurrence of a second full moon within a calendar month.  They don't happen super often and that is where we get the phrase, "once in a blue moon."  The moon was really just a yellowish color so I used my editing software to give it the blue cast seen here.




{Real}


The boys and I discovered this creepy albino praying mantis. Shudder.



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