November Carrots

Now that we have had a couple of frosty nights I decided a take a peek at the carrots and pick a few to taste. The boys were super excited to pick them and I could barely get them to hold still for pics, thus the blurry ones! We were thrilled with what we did pick and if we didn’t already have a bunch of carrots from the market to eat we would have picked them all – the boys really wanted to!
IMG_4703 IMG_4704Of course we can’t supply food for ourselves without filling up the feeders with the last of the homemade suet. I figure they can’t eat frozen suet in the winter so I may as well leave it all out now. The hairy woodpecker and black-capped chickadees love this feeder. Our other two feeders have black sunflower seeds and a mix for the other visiting birds.

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Purple carrots!

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Just look at how cool that is when you cut it open! I boiled the carrots a bit for the boys (easier to eat with a mouth full of loose teeth!) and the water turned purple!IMG_4709 IMG_4712The boys are eating the carrots  now and loving them. Love that they love their veggies.

I do wish we had a bigger area in our yard for gardening but it’s certainly better than nothing and we love watching the food grow through the season. It’s been a good year for our beans, peas and carrots. Yep, that’s all we can get with our little bit of sunshine in the summer but we still feel blessed by the earth nonetheless. :)

 

Make your own iPhone speaker

snap-circuitsI love it when the boys bring out X’s Snap Circuits. They both love playing with it and it gets their minds working in such creative ways. It’s been one of our best purchases so far and it generally leads to other ideas such as this one:

Making your own speaker.

Snap Circuits can be put together to create a radio and speaker set with volume control which reminded L of a craft he read in a mag… The boys each have a subscription to Owl/Chickadee Magazine and they get so excited when it arrives in the mail. Suddenly, the house is very quiet as they sit themselves down to read. Then it gets a little busy here with neat experiments and crafts. Making a speaker for your iPhone (they each have our older iPhones for games) or whatever device you may have kicking around is one of them.

So L made a speaker out of a Tim’s cup – good recycling! Then he realized he could use it as a spotlight with the flashlight app. Cool! X found some a piece of red gel from a science kit and placed this in front of the light and voila! red light!

If you have an old take-out cup at home and some scissors, this will keep them entertained for a while. So fun!

Oh, and the speaker works surprisingly well!

The boys can’t wait until night-time to really try out the spotlight in their room.

Happy creating!

 

close-up cutspotlight

 

 

Rainy day cleanup leads to science fun!

It’s been a looooong time since I have posted to our blog – too long! Things have been busy here as they are in so many households but I am not going to try to backtrack (at least not yet) of what’s been happening here. I’ll just try to post more often because we do love to keep track of our experiences here online.

This morning’s circle time was cut short by rambunctious children. It was one of those times when you admit that it’s not working and it’s time to get outside and shake off the crazies! It was a tad rainy out but that was okay. We were all more than ready to go outside. The boys played some baseball in the yard while I did some clean-up of the dead hosta (so, so many!) and a lot Japanese lantern plants.

seed-podLanterns

The lanterns got the boys wondering what would happen if they were to plant some of the seed pods indoors. We grabbed some pots and the boys filled them with soil and the pods. When they went to water the pods they started talking about a Mythbusters episode where the hosts microwave water and feed it to the plants to see the effects of microwaves on ‘food’. The results were surprising and so we shall see what happens at home. We heated the water and the microwave and added a thermometre to the mug to watch the temperature go down to room temp – fun for the boys!

plant-potshot-water

First, I think we need to do a bit of research on those seed pods because I’m thinking they need to overwinter first if they are going to grow for us! ;)

Cameras, gardening and automata fun

Just a few days ago, Xman made me a camera because he knew I am without at the moment. It sits on my art desk with pride. Love it. :)

Xs CameraXman has been super excited to do some ‘tinkering’ since I got some tinkering books from the library. You may want to check this and this out (literally) if tinkering is a fun project in your home.

We’ve been wanting to make an automaton for a long, long time, like since at least last summer. There was this project in the one book that Xman wanted to do and when he suggested using Lego L was all for it!

Automaton pic

On another creative note, the garden is doing well now that I figured out what little will successfully grow in a yard that gets mostly shade. The peas and beans have been very good to us this season. The boys were in the midst of cleaning out their playroom and brought out a big bin to clean veggies for me. So helpful! (and so fun!)

Bean Cleaning Pean Cleaning

A great day so far! Now off to visit some friends before Momma goes to work (eck). ;)

 

 

Cleveland Beach

We had a great time yesterday at Cleveland Beach with Dawn and the kids. We had been interested in visiting since reading her post on Mud Puddles.

We haven’t gone hermit crab searching in years and it was super fun. Plus, F found eighteen starfish!

beach F snorkeling Xman

One of the starfish got flipped over which allowed me to take a short video of its underside.

Starfish flip!

crab Green crabThe boys are adding sand for the green crab to borrow under.

kiddsIt’s cool to watch the starfish move! The tinkling sounds are the hermit crabs moving round – Dawn said that no matter what way you turn the container they will always go to the side facing the water. Creatures are amazing! The end of this video shows the green crab burrowing into the sand.

Love snails and barnacles.

snail

We found what looked like a little tiny tower of sand with a hole in it under the water. Upon removing part of the tower we noticed that the structure didn’t fall apart in our hands but was relatively strong. The hole was the perfect size for a water worm, which Dawn found with a bit of digging. They look quite ancient to me, perhaps a species as old as the dinos!

Worm home wormWe had a great time at Cleveland Beach and will certainly be back again!

purple starfish

 

Rock Tumbling part 1

This is the tumbler kit we bought from Scotia Lapidary Supply at the Rocks and Gems show. The Lego Mixels are not included. ;)

tumbler box

rock tumbler kit kit steps

First step for us was to take each bag of rocks that came with this kit and give them a quick inspection while dry, for curiosity’s sake. Each of the boys will have their own bag of rocks and having a double tumbler means they can keep their rocks separate.

rocks before wetThen the boys sprayed their rocks to see how they would look when polished. Oooooh. Aaaaaaw. Very exciting!

Rocks wetClose up of Xman’s rocks. I see some tiger’s eye, rose quartz and either sodalite or lapis – he told me but I forget which this blue one is.

Xs sprayed rocks

L’s dry rocks.Xs dry rocksL wetting rocksJasper, sodalite, tiger’s eye and more!

Wet RocksRocks go into the rubber tumbler.

X filling tumblerrocks in tumblerThe next step is to add some grit. This first tumbling step will round out the sharp edges.

X adding gritrocks and gritNext the boys added water to almost cover the topmost rocks.

L adding waterxman pouringwater addedThere are a couple of steps for adding the lids to ensure a tight seal.

lid partsDon’t over tighten or the lid may warp!

placing lidtumbler with lidAnd a’tumbling they will go! This first step can take about a week for rocks that are 5.5or higher such as these. We will open the containers tomorrow to let some gases escape as per directions. Then we let them tumble for about a week before moving to step two! Can’t wait!

Tumbler spinning

 

In my search about rocks I came across a super fun kids rocks site! Haven’t shown this to Xman yet but I think we will add it to our studies for the year. It has information about rocks and minerals with projects to go along – plus you can collect rock patches – like that’s not super cool!

Thanks again to Scotian Lapidary Supply for their tips on Facebook as we begin our first rock tumble!

Rocks and Gems Show!

Last year we went to the annual Rocks and Gems show in Parrsboro, NS. We had such a great time that we decided to go again this year and it proved just as fun and…we got a rock tumbler!! We will leave those details for the next post because there are a lot of pics and explanations as I show the steps so far.

If I’d have been paying more attention to the outdoors and not my Book of Stones (amazing by the way), I would have noticed the eagle perched on the phone poll so close to the road. Stephen noticed it and we turned to get a picture but it flew up to the tree. Bummer as far as photos go but awesome as far as getting so close to a wild eagle goes (meaning not in captivity).

eagleAs soon as we got to the show L exclaimed, “They have rock tumblers!” This was very exciting for us because we were hoping to check out tumblers last year but sadly, there were none to be found. We were shown the tumblers by the owners of Scotian Lapidary Supply and given a wonderful run-down of the process, with rock samples on-hand. This couple was so friendly and helpful and the boys were thrilled to get some cut rocks – oh, and a tumbler to take home. ;)

rock cuttingThere was so much to see and experience at the show and each of the boys came home with a diamond to add to their collection (very cool!), pop-corn rocks that grow crystals, a bunch of native rocks to tumble, Xman with a super clear quartz cube, L with a cool dragon kite which hangs in his room, and myself with the coolest clear quartz crystal ball – I can see other worlds in it. :)

After the show we visited some cool creatures at the Fundy Geological Museum.

lizardredfooted tortoise pythonThere happened to be a geocache nearby and off we went in search. L spotted a cool web as we looked for the cache. Unfortunately, the spider scampered off before we got a good look at him. Once we found the cache (not saying where!) we got a quick bite and made our way home.

webOur usual pit-stop for any trip going to north-west Nova Scotia is Mastadon Ridge. We stopped to check out the multi-cache. The boys and Stephen have been caching for a couple of years now and I finally signed up as well so it’s all new to me. If it is to you too, here’s the link to the geocache site. It’s pretty cool stuff and great motivation to get outside.

MastadonMastadon Ridge is half-way between the Equator and the North Pole.

Mastodon ridge workdThe next morning the boys were excited to get working on their pop-rocks so I took a couple of pics. The rocks are limestone. You put them in a container and cover them with vinegar. The acid in the vinegar reacts with the calcium and as the vinegar evaporates (about a one to two week process) crystal deposits form. Pretty cool, huh?

Ls popcorn rock

Ls popcorn rock

 

After the pop-corn rock prep we went to our first DCAF event where we saw some familiar faces from Strange Adventures and some wicked cool local artists!

Next post will be about our rock tumbler which we started up today. There are lots of steps and pics so I figured this is enough pics for one post. I’ll do the next one tomorrow.

Happy sleeps all!