Undocumented Moments

August 20, 2010 at 7:00 pm (Out in Nature, Play Time)

We’ve been keeping busy with summertime activities, but I haven’t always had my camera with me!  Sometimes I get tired of carrying it around, but mostly I’ve been leaving it at home (after a record-setting 798-picture July) because I just want to enjoy the time with the kids and not worry about getting pictures of everything.  Skipping the photo ops lets me be fully present with them.

Although, there have been a few things we’ve done when I wished I had the camera:

–picking blueberries.  We tried a new place the other day…we followed signs by the side of the road until we arrived at someone’s personal property.  The family had rows of blueberries in their 3/4-acre front yard which they opened up to the public  for picking (or anyone who decided to take a chance on a hand-painted “U-pick blueberries” sign and fastidiously follow the arrows all the way out into the country).  They hadn’t pruned last year, so the rows of bushes grew together and formed a canopy over our heads as we worked our way in between them.  The ceiling was dripping with blueberry chandeliers.

–playing in the dirt.  There is a huge dirt pile a few blocks from our house.  Also equidistant, there is also a nicely manicured and well-groomed playground park.  Where do you think my kids wanted to spend the afternoon?  You got it.  They dug, climbed, slid, built, carved, piled, and rolled while I laid in the grass.  I did not have one bit of reading material with me, so I laid down and looked at the sky and occasionally looked up to watch my kids dig chairs and beds and cup-holders into their dirt home for an hour.  To see every inch of their skin and hair covered with dust and dirt and evidence of their hard work…I wished I had my camera then.

–blackberry picking.  One afternoon (it might have been the same as the afternoon of the dirt pile) we stopped at a wild blackberry bush.  Picking blackberries is treacherous; all of the really good ones are at the top of the shrub, which is well-guarded by thorn-studded , convexly-growing brambles.  They are impossible to get.  They taunt us as we settle for the medium-sized berries around the periphery.  Not getting scratched while picking blackberries is not an option, so our conversation that afternoon as we filled our buckets with berries was of our various new owies.  Most are tolerable, but beware the Bleeding Owie.  Elia had a close call when she suddenly declared, “Whoa!  I nearly got a bleeding owie!”  Whoa.

I did manage to get some pictures of this guy who we rescued from a bucket of water on our front porch.

He was limp and bedraggled when we scooped him out but he began to perk up as he dried.

Time to wash the face.

Home again out in the field.

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A Weekend at the Beach

June 29, 2010 at 7:47 am (General, Just Photos, Out in Nature)

We just returned from a trip to Manzanita, Oregon.  We spent a long weekend there, playing, walking, exploring, eating, resting and enjoying each other’s company.  I have lots of pictures.

This is our beach where we stayed:

Panga LOVES the beach!

So does Elia.

I like this series of photos of JJ as he plays with a piece of charcoal on the beach:

Elia buries Panga in the sand.  It was so warm, she loved having it poured all over her.

Enjoying an ice cream cone:

This is another series that made me laugh.  Panga’s ears flapping in the breeze on a very windy afternoon!

The view from Oswald State Park:

Us in the park:

I took this on the beach at low tide.

We went walking and found lots of animals!  Panga had a lot of fun with the crabs.  This picture was taken right before she poked her nose down at this crab, at which point he turned and showed her his 2 big claws.  That only made her “laugh” harder, pounce, bark and dig at him. She loves the crabs.

A tide pool with lots of life in it!  There were many anemones, crabs, shrimp, fish, barnacles and seaweed.

Oh, and starfish! Most were impossible to peel of the rocks, but this one was just on sand:

John holds the world’s tiniest hermit crab:

Time to put back all our animal friends.  Dump!

JJ says, “Throw it waaaaaay out there, Dad!”

Buh-bye crab.

JJ runs from the waves:

Elia gives her starfish a hug and says good bye.

This was where we were:

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Amphibian Update

June 19, 2010 at 7:45 am (Education & Learning, Out in Nature)

We’ve had our aquarium set up for a while now, and as a follow-up to the “Growing Frogs” post several weeks ago,  thought I would post a few recent pictures of how our charges are doing:

This guy is a chronic escapee.  We just follow the slime trail to find him.

Here is one of the “grown-up” frogs.  It is hard to called them full-grown when they can sit on the vertical tip of JJ’s pinky!

JJ LOVES these little frogs!  He loves to pick them up, hold them, carry them and talk to them, and he is always so gentle.

Even the “sports” setting on my camera couldn’t capture this guy in motion…it’s like he moves via time travel.  First he’s in one place, then, quicker than the blink of an eye, he’s in another spot!

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Growing Frogs

May 25, 2010 at 2:50 pm (Education & Learning, Out in Nature)

This is our newest project; an amphibian habitat so we can catch, keep and raise a few tadpoles.  When I say “a few” I mean about 2 dozen.  At once.  The kids have been wanting to set up my old aquarium for a long time, and I just haven’t been ready to take on another animal-keeping responsibility.  We do already have a dog, a guinea pig, a fish, and some butterflies, and I just didn’t think I wanted to add any more.  But then I see how much fun the kids have catching things from the pond and bringing them home to observe, and I figured it wouldn’t be TOO much more trouble to set up and maintain the aquarium.  Especially if it can be fairly self-sustaining.

We spent the better part of yesterday setting everything up, and the kids scooped up a bunch of whatever they could find in the pond.

There are about 24 tadpoles of various sizes in there…some are just little black blobs, and others have already sprouted tiny back legs.

We like it when they smile at us with their cute black lips.

Added a couple of algae eaters…

…a bundle of green fuzz as a source of food and oxygen…

…and this guy. Just for good measure.

We’ll see what happens and how long this lasts!

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An Afternoon Out

April 27, 2010 at 8:03 pm (Out in Nature, Play Time)

Elia works hard to carry a piece of wood to the top of the rock pile…

Here she is showing me a tiny slug that was on a rock she overturned…

Her face will tell you what she thinks of that!

JJ enjoys the simple pleasures of kicking dirt balls…Oh, the joy!

Elia is studying a rock that is teeming with ants:

Hunting snakes…

Caught one!

Heading home…

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