Saturday, July 19, 2014

Nature walk

      We started out our day pretty early on Friday.  I needed to get some routine blood work done and had yet more errands to run so I offered to buy the boys a small snack that we could eat while walking the river trail in a nearby town.  I'm so glad we did too!  We saw so much to marvel over.  Just steps from our car we saw a muskrat (or perhaps it was an otter-- it was hard to tell) running along the shore across the river.  We watched it skitter along and hide between rocks and under brush.  We watched a heron in the water, as we approached it took flight-- this happened every time we got next to it and the boys were so happy to see one so close.  We saw tons of ducks and geese too and even met a lady who was feeding them and offered to share her loaf of bread with the boys.  We watched birds fly down and pick bread out of the rocks and then fly away.  We saw red- winged black birds, robins, and sparrows.  We watched the "rapids," as the boys called them and stopped near the falls.  The boys commented on how loud the falls were too.  We saw an interesting rock that the boys all thought looked like a turtle.  We noticed hidden groves inside clumps of trees, marveled at the Whomping Willow (as my middle son now refers to all weeping willow trees-- can you tell he's a Harry Potter fan?), and noticed all sorts of berries and fruits growing in the trees.
The heron

The same heron flew into a tree

This tree had most of it's roots showing; the dirt was washed away

"turtle rock"

We assumed this was some sort of nature sculpture
We observed the crumbling brick tower on an old mill

One side of the falls

Willow tree

A hidden space in the grove of trees

climbing on rocks

white ducks-- Alec insisted he's never seen white ones before

The ducks walked right up to us

Throwing bread to the ducks

can you see the little birds getting bread?

A sculpture that the boys all thought meant family, friends and love

    We listened to Percy Jackson in the car and put in the second to last CD today.  After our errands and our walk we stopped at the library to drop off a bunch of books and then headed home for lunch. Ian was showing me his completed two decker RV and explaining where everything was located.  Once we were all sitting down, I read a chapter in Harry Potter and then we all got back in the car and went to drop my oldest son off at work.  He worked from 1- 5 helping out around his grandfather's shop doing odd jobs and earning money. 

    The younger boys and myself came home and headed outside.  Evan went swimming and Alec tried his hand at a new type of art.  I had ordered him a bunch of supplies after his art class ended last week and I found an engraving art set with a peacock.  He practiced for a while on the practice sheet but found the actual peacock a bit harder to engrave.  He tried to start just scraping all the black off thinking that the picture was underneath but once I explained to him that there is just a thin coating of black paint over a rainbow background he took his time and engraved very slowly watching his peacock picture emerge.  He made a rainbow over the peacocks head and was amazed at how long it took to scrape the picture out with such precision. 

    Evan worked on his handstands in the water.  He tried staying under water longer, doing handstands out deeper in the water, keeping his feet together and his legs straighter.  He also brought a hollow blue plastic pipe into the water and tried to stand on it while balancing.  He experimented with moving the pipe deeper into the water too and seeing if it was easier to balance when he was shallow or out deep.   

showing me the tube

Standing on the tube and balancing himself

    The boys played on the swing set for a bit before we had to get ready for karate.  Evan had his last class with projectile weapons for the week and was disappointed that he had forgotten to wear socks and closed toed shoes since all the kids who did have close toed shoes got to try their hand with throwing stars outside.  He had to content himself with using the blow darts again today.  He was able to hit the board today so that practicing must have paid off! 
    After karate, we had a quick dinner and then Ian went with his dad to work at his great aunt's house.  The younger two boys sat at the table and Alec worked some more on his peacock.  Evan thought it looked really neat and wanted to try one too so I gave him a penguin page and a brief lesson in how to do it.  I warned him that the box says for ages 8 and up so it might be a bit to hard for him but he was willing to give it a try.  I could see him concentrating really hard but he got frustrated after trying for a while.  It's not as easy as it looks to get all the black paint flecked off and a few times he went right through the silver backing to the white paper too. 

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