Friday, May 31, 2013

A Rustic Sandbox

The boys wanted to build ZB a sandbox for her 2nd birthday, but time got away from us.  Then I found the pinterest website and became completely inspired to make an unconventional sandbox.  We already had this huge hemlock log sitting in the yard - why not put it to use for a fun tree stump sandbox?  B chainsawed it up for me.  River sand cost $2 per 5-gallon bucket - much cheaper than the stuff at Home Depot and without the added chemicals.  I'd say we've got a happy girl!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Asheville Urban Trail

At the thrift store, I found a book called Artful Asheville.  It is a walking guide to the Urban Trail.  I doubt it is published any more, as this edition is about 10 years old and there are definitely outdated parts.  The Urban Trail is an art walk through downtown Asheville that is split into 5 different walks, with various themes (frontier, black history, etc).  All the stops are at interesting architectural sights, statues, murals, etc.

We found some homeschool friends to do this with, and set off on the first walk.  The kids are here with the pigs that are set in a path of footprints, representing first the Cherokee, then the drovers taking their animals to markets in TN and SC.  The metal edging is representing the street cars that used to go through downtown when it was first a bustling city.
The giant iron in front of the Flat Iron Building.  This building inspired others around the country, has marble floors and person-operated elevators.
We couldn't go inside the Basilicca since it was Sunday, that will have to wait until the next walk!  We also found out really neat things like the Grove Arcade was meant to be 20 stories tall, but is only 4 because the owner died.  That would have been huge in our downtown!  We also found out that there used to be a huge hill right in downtown, but it was flattened out and the dirt was used to make Coxe Ave (a main road in downtown now).  I love this kind of local history!

Back at home, Blossom is still just tickled that she's old enough to be allowed to hold the chickens.  I straw-baled off a section on the side of the house for them, so they can't wander too far.  We do have to put them back in their box in the afternoon when the big chickens are let out, or else the small ones get picked on.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Chickens & OM

I didn't think we'd be getting any new chicks this year.  Just a couple months ago, we had 11 hens and 2 ducks and lots of eggs!
Then our male duck would not stopping mating with a Rhode Island Red chicken - not only was this physically dangerous for the hen, but it was also just disturbing to watch and he wasn't mating with the duck hen at all!  So my idea of hatching out Spring ducklings was lost.  We found a new home for the ducks on Craigslist with a farm full of ducks (no chickens!) and even a pond.
Then, we had a rather traumatic chicken death last week - (if you get queasy easily, please don't read this paragraph).  The hen had laid an egg and apparently pushed too hard and it was a little bloody.  Unfortunately, chickens have a natural tendency to peck at red things, and this hen had a good bit of intestines pulled out by other hens.  When I discovered the poor hen, I tried my best to quickly dispatch of her, but I had never killed a chicken before.  It was harder than I thought, but a hatchet did the job.  The kids got to witness the circle of life right up close that day.
 Then Bobby helped out dispatching a chicken tonight, as it was just generally unhealthy and not a pleasant addition to our flock.  But this post is not all about chicken death and weird mating habits!  We got new babies today!!  2 Buff Orpingtons and 2 Easter-Eggers have joined our flock.  They are only 4 weeks old, so are in a seperate area from the big girls until they catch up in size.  ZB is SO glad she is old enough to hold them, and she really does a great job!

And on to OM news - now that all the problems have been presented at World Finals, I can post videos!

I think the most of exciting news of the day is - we just found out that Clay's team placed 12th in a tough competition of 60 other teams at World Finals!!!!  Congratulations to them!!

Here is Clay's team doing their performance in Michigan just yesterday.  In their problem, they had to construct 3 small vehicles, each with a different propulsion system.  The vehicles had to deliver parts of an animal to a certain spot.  The kids then had to assemble the animal and make it do a trick:

And here is Reed's team doing their own problem at the Regional Competition last February.  They had to show 2 different characters with behaviors that would be considered odd in one situation, but normal in another situation:

Friday, May 24, 2013

Have I Ignored the Blog for Long Enough?

It hasn't even been a month, but it feels like much longer since I've made a blog post!  Co-op is over, Reed's Thursday School is over, Clay is gone to Michigan for OM World Finals as I type (they actually just did their skit in front of 50 people today at 2:00 and I heard they did great!) - I finally feel like I have a break and can just stop and enjoy Spring before it's over.

Clay was excited to get his cast off before heading on the road trip.  He does have a brace on now and can't do anything really with the arm, but it's much nicer than that huge cast!

We've had several visitors from out of town, when it's always fun to get to be tourists in our own fun touristy town.

Of course, we're all excited to be eating more from the garden in this warm weather - kale, chard, asparagus and rhubarb all make frequent appearances at our table.  Strawberries, however, never seem to make it to the table.
I'm typing now as Blossom is napping.  She has started mostly sleeping in her own bed.  She has pretty mixed feelings about it.  Night time is more like musical beds.  Last night, for example, I put her down in her bed.  When she fell asleep, I went back to my own room.  Bobby awoke sometime in the night and when he came back to bed, Blossom had crawled into our bed (unbeknownst to my slumbering self).  When I woke up to her squirming near me, I retreated to her bed so we wouldn't all be squished.  Then she woke up in the morning, very confused why Dada was there, but not Mama, and eventually climbed back into her own bed, fell asleep a little longer, while I went back to snuggle with Dada for a little bit. phew.  Not very restful nights to say the least!
Today, she insisted that I leave the room before she fell asleep for nap.  I obliged, and after a few minutes of silence, I snuck back in to peek:
Aww... I think the blood might rush to her head while perched on the mountain of pillows she made, but it's awfully cute!

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