Squirrel Moving Babies Before The Storm

I wanted to share something really amazing that I saw this weekend. I was packing the van for a disc golf tournament and I saw a squirrel climbing down a tree with something in its mouth.  It looked too big to be a nut, so I got a closer look.   It was carrying its baby down the tree!  The pictures in the post are not great, but I did not want to disturb the process just to get a picture.

squirrel with baby

It ran across our driveway to a nearby tree, went up the new tree, and disappeared.  Then it went back and got another baby.  It repeated this at least 5 times.  I did not realize that squirrels had that many babies. (According to Clemson University, they usually have 2-4 babies, but can have up to 6.)

squirrel running to neww tree squirrel running up tree

 

 

 

 

 

The original nest was built in the branches of a tree, but the new one was in a hole in the trunk.  I thought that maybe the mother squirrel was moving the babies because of the storm that was coming.  After a little research, it seems like this might be the case, but it is actually normal for a squirrel to move her babies.  The babies might be moved if the nest it threatened or if the babies outgrow the nest.

squirrels in new nest

 

Take the time today to enjoy God’s wonderful creation, even if it is just in your own yard.

 

 




The Barn Nature Center

Recently, my children were invited to The Barn Nature Center in Doylestown, PA for a birthday party.  This place is a treasure in our county that I had never even heard of.  The kids got to touch, pet, and hold many animals as well as learn about them.  It’s not very often when a birthday party could be considered a field trip, but this one definitely could be.

The Barn Nature Center

The Barn Nature Center is actually a non-profit to work with youth, but they offer birthday parties and private guided tours.  The building also has a rock climbing wall in the upper level although we didn’t use that part when we were there.

I didn’t get pictures of everything my children did, but we did get a few.  The kids got to feed a tortoise and birds.  They petted a ferret, rabbit, guinea pig, and chinchilla.  They held snakes and lizards.  They also saw turtles, fish, and eel, a caiman, and many other amazing creatures that God made.  While this animal center is not a Christian place, the kids and I couldn’t help but marvel at God’s creation.

Nature center 2nature center 3I have a feeling we’ll go back there again some day.  (The Barn Nature Center does have interns there.  I asked, knowing how much some of my children love animals.)

 

 




Visiting Jamestown Settlement

We got a chance to visit Jamestown Settlement on our recent vacation to Colonial Williamsburg.  Before going, we had read that most people take 1 1/2 hours in the museum and 1 1/2 hours with the settlements and ships.  On the advice of my mom, we decided to bypass the museum to ensure we had enough time on everything else.  I’m glad we did.  It took us more than 3 hours just to get through the settlements and ships.  We were burned out at that point and spent no time in the museum.  I’m sure it is very interesting, but it will have to wait for a future trip.

Jamestown Settlement

We wanted to go to Jamestown Settlement prior to Williamsburg because it is much representing a much earlier time period than Williamsburg.

There was a homeschool discount available when we were there.  After showing our HSLDA card, we paid $6.50 per person (adults and kids).  It never hurts to ask for a homeschool discount.

At the Jamestown settlement, there is a Native American village, replicas of the ships that first sailed to Jamestown, and a reconstruction of the original Jamestown settlement.  I thouht I’d share some of the kids’ favorites.

What the kids liked:

In the Powhatan village:

  • people working that you could talk to
  • going inside the houses
  • the specifics to this geographic location near the ocean (we’re been to Native American villages at Meadowcroft and Natural Bridge)

Canoeing in the Powhatan Village

Ships:

  • going into the cabins and below deck
  • moving the rudder
  • lying down on the really small beds
  • that they actually sail the ships during the year

Jamestown Settlement:

  • April Fool’s Joke  (Ruthie loved that she came up with an April Fool’s joke for us to share on facebook.  We shared this photo of our “new” home.)

Our new home (April Fool's joke by Ruthie)

  • the demonstration of the musket being fired
  • wearing the armor (that we saw on Drive Thru History)

Wearing the armor

Jamestown Settlement was a great way to start our Williamsburg area vacation.  (It also was apparently where I took more pictures than all of Colonial Williamsburg.)

the ocean view at Jamestown

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Visiting Colonial Williamsburg

We recently went on an awesome vacation to Colonial Williamsburg.  (If you are unfamiliar with Colonial Williamsburg, it is a reconstruction of the city of Williamsburg at the time of the American Revolution.)  Our family had three fun-filled days in Williamsburg including lots of re-enactments, marching in the colonial army, and completing the spy mission, RevQuest.

Visiting Colonial Williamsburg

If you are a homeschool family visiting Williamsburg, remember to bring some sort of homeschool ID (we have cards from HSLDA) so that you can get the educator discount.  We were able to get our adult tickets for half price since we are home educators.  We heard about this ahead of time but did call to verify before we went as well.  We also really found that buying their refillable cups was a huge money saver.

Our children all were able to enjoy Williamsburg at ages 5, 7, 8, and 9.  I think our kids would enjoy Williamsburg even when they are older as well.  It seemed quite stroller friendly but would have been much more tiring with littler ones.

In the three days, we didn’t do probably half of what was offered.  We really loved the buildings of Colonial Williamsburg and seeing how things worked back then.  Part of the reason we did not get to visit every building in Williamsburg is that our kids asked great questions.  There were many stops where other families came and went while our family was still listening eagerly.

The more time you take at each stop, the more you will learn.  For example, at the cabinet maker, we listened as some kids from a school group went through and asked about simple machines.  They filled out a worksheet they had and were out the door.  The 4 little Hogans listened to all of this and more questions from other people.  Then they fired away with their own questions.  Because of this, we found out about secret compartments in a desk, how they make harpsichords, and much more that the man in the shop was not sharing with other families.

I noticed at many of the stops, once the people working there saw that you were not just a casual passerby, they go into much more detail or bring up topics that you didn’t even know to ask.

So if you take the trip, and I hope you do, don’t rush from one place to the next, take the time to really learn in each location.  It is always nice to leave while you are still wanting more.  Plus a few days before our visit, they restructured the ticket policy.  We were going to buy a 3 day pass.  Now that same pass, for the same price, is called “multi-day” and is good for the rest of the calendar year!  We hope to go back and see some of what we missed.

I feel like we could write a blog post on every location in Williamsburg, but I want you to make the trip.  I could not do a good enough job of describing everything anyway.

Below is a list of the places we visited and one thing that we learned.  The kids filled in most of these:

Governor’s Palace:  Govenor Dunmore (Whose real name was not Dunmore) left the Palace with all of the stuff still inside, so the colonists got many weapons and a lot of wealth.

 Kitchen – An old cow has yellow fat and a young cow has white fat.

Gunsmith and Foundry – They made the whole gun there.  I was amused when he said, quite literally, “We make the whole gun: lock, stock, and barrel.”

Brickmaker’s Yard – They made the mortar from oyster shells.

Cabinet Maker – They had desks with secret compartments.  The desk that the man was working on was modeled after one of the antiques that was in a local museum.  It had a secret compartment within a secret compartment.

Randolph House – The family had a lot of slaves, but most of them were not in the house.  Instead they were out on plantations that the family owned.

Cooper – Coopers don’t just make barrels, they also make buckets, butter churns, and anything else made with staves.

Magazine – Seargents and captains carried pikes and pole-arms so that they could be identified easily.

Great Hopes Plantation – When they build new building, they constructed it somewhere else, disassembled it, and then reassembled it in the final location.  They were using an open area at the plantation to build the new market building and it would be moved to the town when it was finished.  This is the way they would have done it in colonial times also.

Blacksmith and Armory – People in colonial times would specialize.  Some blacksmiths would make lots of kinds of things, but others would just be a nailer, or some other specialty.  A regular balcksmith could make 300-500 nails in a day, but a nailer could make 3,000 nails in one day.

Public Gaol (Jail) – If the jailer did not like you, he would make you clean the septic tank (it was the only building with indoor plumbing).

Milliner – A corset or a stay (from the 1700s) was not uncomfortable.  It actually supported the woman’s body and helped her keep good posture.  The idea that it was uncomfortable and injured women is a myth.

Silversmith – Most of the things people bought were made out of their own silver.  A customer would bring in silver or a silver item that they did not like anymore.  The silversmith would weigh it, make something new, and weigh it again.  He would keep some of the silver for himself as payment.

 Capitol – Virginia wrote a state constitution when they declared independence.  Many of the ideas from their state constitution were used in the U.S. Constitution (like the separation and balance of powers).

Geddy House – Woman did not play instruments other than the harpsichord or small guitar because they “should not lift their arms or contort their face”.

Military Camp – Open your mouth when there is going to be a loud noise because it helps equallize the pressure in your ears.

In our 3 days, we did not get to:

Playbooth, Wheelwright, Basket Maker, Bruton Parish Church, Weaver, Colonial Gardens, Shoemaker, Courthouse, Printing Office, Bindery, and Post Office, Wigmaker, Joiner, Apothecary, Wythe house, Hospital, Museums, Many Taverns and places to eat, and maybe some other places that I am forgetting.

 

There is a lot of talk of slavery on the tours and talks because 52% of the town’s population were slaves.  It is presented well, and I think it is a good reminder, but you should prepare your kids so they are not caught off guard.

 

In addition to the buildings we visited, remember that our kids also got to learn to march in formation, see skits in the streets, be a part of the army for a reenactment, and complete a spy mission called RevQuest.  This was an amazing part of our trip, but I wouldn’t have done it if we only had one day in Williamsburg.

 

Oh and there are lots of shops where you can buy Revolutionary style games, toys, clothes, and more.  At the Prentis shop, you can buy items that they actually make during the demos.  The prices there seem very high until you remember the hours of labor that it took to make the items.  Then they seem almost reasonable.

Visiting Colonial Williamsburg was yet another favorite family vacation.  We are looking forward to going back again!




Maple Syrup, Animals, Instruments, and Rita’s

Recently, we’ve had lots of fun activities that I want to share.  These are the kinds of events that about making memories as well as learning.

 

We had an opportunity to learn how maple syrup is made.  Using the educational offerings at local parks is a great way to have field trips.  A local homeschool group organized this one for us.

(Years ago, we were going to go on this field trip when a child got injured on the way out the door.  Instead of the field trip that time, we had a trip to the doctor’s.  Our first attempt this year was snowed out, but we still managed to make the trip the next week.)

Ruth and Elijah both got to experience what it must have been like for children carrying sap through the woods.

carrying sap

Isaiah and Ruthie also got to try their hand at tapping a tree by drilling into it.

tapping a tree

Our public library had someone from the Philadelphia Zoo sharing live animals with us.  Since I have an animal-loving boy, we try to make any of these kinds of talks we can find.  Isaiah even got to flap a condor feather and heard the noise it makes.  I loved the armadillo.  They also had a skink from South America, an owl, and a snake.  The kids got to touch tiger fur and snake skin at the end as well.

animals at the library

 

Our town’s local museum (which has some great history in it) often has “guest” displays.  One time, there was a big Star Wars collection.  This last month, there was an entire room of instruments that you were allowed to play.  The instruments using your mouth were just for viewing, but there were tons of drums, cymbals, bells, and unusual instruments to try.  We loved the hammer dulcimer and the accordion.

Instruments at the museum

My children LOVE the tradition of going to Rita’s for free Italian ice on the first day of spring.  This year, we actually had quite a snowstorm for the first day of spring.  I don’t think we’ll forget this trip to Rita’s.  We loved getting to meet up with two other families for our crazy time.  Schools actually let out early because of the snow, so there was a line for Rita’s in the snow.

ritas

 

In the midst of the busyness of getting ready for Memory Masters, finishing the last Essentials project, and lots of other schooling, I’m thankful that we had time to make a few memories as well.

What fun activities have you done lately?