Saturday, June 21, 2014

Make a Solstice Sundial!

Happy Summer Solstice from Little Acorn Learning!  Here is a very fun and easy activity you can do with your children to celebrate this beautiful, light-filled festival from our June 5 Day Program.

Solstice Sundial
In times past, the sundial was a useful tool and a staple in every mother's garden.  Spend time this week making one with your child and journaling about what you find.

Supplies Needed:
Shallow Bowl, Wood Disc or Plate (wood is best)
Wooden Dowel
Hot Glue

Hot Glue the dowel in a standing position in the center of your bowl or plate.  Mark the hour spaces with a light line with a marker or paint.  Wait to write the numbers in until you test it outdoors each hour on the hour.  Bring your sundial to a sunny location outside.  Keep the dial in the exact same location.  Go out on each hour that you wish to mark the time.  You can outline the shadow of the dowel on your dial as a record or make a sketch in your Nature Notebook.  Enjoy!!!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Garden in Bloom and More

I can finally share some garden photos.  The ground really wasn't even ready for planting until early June this year so I feel like things are moving slow for us.  We expanded the garden by three more square foot boxes and planted all different types of vegetables this year including:  romaine lettuce, eggplant, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, peppers, melon, watermelon, pumpkin, kale, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, leeks, potatoes, radishes, onions, celery, asparagus, peas, green beans, snap peas, grapes, raspberries, blueberries, oregano, rosemary, sage, spearmint, peppermint, thyme and basil. 

Whew that was a mouthful!
I've already been dealing with my share of pests.  Flea beetles, cabbage worms (were SUCH a nightmare last year and I'm having anxiety that they are coming back), beetles and more.  So far, I've managed ok just picking them off but it's tedious.  I'm committed to keeping everything organic but it sure isn't easy.  In addition to veggies, we have a few beautiful flowers coming up too. 
In other news, I was unsuccessful in convincing my husband to allow me to get chickens but he did agree to rabbits.  We named our first bunny Jellybean and fell in love with her right away.  We didn't want her to be lonely so I educated myself about how to identify the sex of bunnies and found another beautiful female bunny for her.  Things were going wonderfully at first and they were truly bonded.  Then, one day, I went to pick them up out of the cage and they were snuggling but I noticed blood.  Then I noticed the new bunny's ear was bitten off!  I'm not kidding you.  Bitten off!  I was prepared to spay them as I know females can get territorial but they were still very young.  Look no further if you are squeamish... 
Needless to say, they now are in separate hutches.  Something leads me to believe that chickens would have been a lot easier but what do I know!
Moving forward... many cool things are taking place around our yard.  My daughter Maia was surprised to see that her Softball Helmet was occupied by a Mama Wren who wanted a safe nest for her babies!  How cool is this?  
Can you see her?  We now have five baby eggs on our front porch that we can wait and watch until they hatch!  
Dee is not coming home this summer.  It's hard because I miss her so much.  But she has been provided with a wonderful opportunity working with her Dean on an amazing internship.  We've set her up in a summer dorm.  She did come up for a long weekend last week and the girls (and me!) were so happy to have her here.  You are never really ready for them to fly the nest and then after they do there are all of these other "letting go" moments you didn't expect.  I'm not sure I'll ever get used to it.  
School is out and we celebrated by going to the beach with friends.  The last few days we've done hardly anything... just hanging around reading, doing puzzles, swimming and relaxing.  It feels good but the girls do get bored easily.  Luckily, I know that boredom breeds creativity so I'm hanging tough.  I look forward to a really great, old fashioned type of summer with the girls.
And finally, I wanted to host this little spider as my next Identification Contest but I CAN'T FIGURE OUT what type he is!!!! Does anyone know?  I've found some photos that are close but just not it.