Thursday, March 31, 2011

More Field Trips

I don't feel like I have been that great at updating as often as I have wanted to.  Part of that is due to being pretty busy.  We have been doing a lot of field trips lately which is nice since we hadn't been able to do too many for the past 3 years.  We are making up for it now I guess.

A couple weeks ago we went to a small flower show near us.  While I am sure it wasn't anything like the one in the city it was still nice and the kids had fun doing a scavenger hunt and enjoying the flowers.  Plus it was free and you can't beat that.  
Our daffodils still have not bloomed yet here :( so we really needed to see some color.
The theme was Gulliver's Travels and you can see Gulliver painted on the wall, held down by all the Lilliputians.  Apparently it was also senior citizen day so we just fit right in.

Today we took another trip out to Kutztown to visit Crystal Cave, the field trip no Pennsylvania elementary school child should miss.
Since my Grandma lives near there, we of course needed to stop in for a visit.
They had fun playing Skip-Bo and Uno together while Asher and I looked through her photo albums at all the old family pictures.
And then they all wanted to give her a little piano recital.  Last time we were there she played all her instruments for us so this time we gave her a concert.

We all went out to lunch and then headed over to Crystal Cave.
Oops, Grandma wasn't looking.  I think I got a better picture on her camera though.
It was a great day to go because nobody was there!  Thankfully we had just missed a huge school trip.
It was very difficult taking pictures in there because using the flash made it too bright and the shutter speed was too slow without it which made the pictures blurry so this is the best we got.   The kids loved it as they are into rocks and stuff like this right now.

We have a lot more planned this coming month so it should be fun!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Daniel Boone Homestead

The second Sunday in March is celebrated in Pennsylvania as Charter Day which is technically March 4th.  It is the day in 1681 that King Charles II granted William Penn the land which became Pennsylvania.
On the second Sunday all the Pennsylvania Heritage Sites have free admission and usually have some sort historical type events going on.
We decided to go back to the Daniel Boone Homestead this past Sunday for their Charter Day festivities.
Boone's family only lived here until he was 16 but it may have been the place he lived the longest since he was always on the move after that.  It is a beautiful 579 acre preserve with lots of walking paths and historical buildings on the land.
It was a little chilly and I felt bad for this drummer who greeted us and had to stand on the top of the hill in the wind.
The ladies in the kitchen had it better with a nice warm fire.
Here they are preparing a "Make-Do Sunday Dinner".   This is a meal that consisted of whatever was left over in the root cellar from the previous year before anything had started growing in the gardens.
The girls were eyeing up those corn biscuits.  They looked so yummy frying on the pan over the fire.

We also enjoyed listening to this man (who Grace thought looked like Ben Franklin) play some old tunes on the fiddle and a couple other flute type instruments.

 One of the interesting things that we were able to see was an old water powered sawmill in operation.  I think they only run this one a couple times a year.
Here was the "sawyer" explaining the history and workings of the sawmill.
Letting the water through the wheel to power the saw.
Freshly cut boards.
The saw working away.
It looked pretty slow compared with the power tools of today but it was mighty fast back then compared with hand sawing.

There were a lot more stations then we expected and quite a number of volunteers. 
They did a good job looking authentic even on their breaks.

This guy was explaining all about the different types of guns and artillery.

A demonstration of a musket shoot.

A genuine Pennsylvania rifle.

When we asked the kids what their favorite station was we all agreed the it was the blacksmith shop.  Grace said that when she gets old she want to volunteer as a blacksmith.  I am not sure why but we did enjoy watching the fire be pumped with the huge bellows in the back and this man working on a tool.

And I must say that this guy was my favorite "character" of the day.  :)  He was the bellows pumper for the blacksmith.  Doesn't he look absolutely thrilled?!

If you live in the area and get a chance, check this place out.  They are having a children's day on May 1st which we plan on going to as well with sheep shearing and crafts.  It is a beautiful property and should be gorgeous in the spring.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Random happenings

"March is the month of expectation"  ~Emily Dickinson

Spring is so close we can smell it and we are so eagerly anticipating pulling a weed, planting a seed, warm sun, browned skin.  It's coming......
Last week the children all jumped to the window when Grace yelled out that she spotted the first Robin in our backyard.
They sat there curiously watching him hop busily around, tilting his head to the ground to listen for worms and then dive in to retrieve one.  It is fascinating that they can actually hear the worms crawling in the soil and know exactly where to dig in to pull one out.
 In farm news, the chickens have spring fever as well and had found a way to escape their enclosure to make their way to the garden.  I didn't mind because they were offering free gardening services by loosening up the soil, eating bugs and grubs and fertilizing for us.
Look at that proud rooster guarding his ladies.
I didn't mind that is until about a week later when they got bored with the garden and ventured over to my flower beds where my daffodils were innocently pushing their way up out of the ground.  Chickens scratching around my flower beds do not make me happy whether it is nearly spring or no so they quickly and ferociously got chased back to their pen and thoroughly locked up.  At least for now.

In other farm news, meet Phil.
He's a little scraggly looking since he is shedding his winter coat and he does have an odd goat name but we are glad to have him since we now don't have to transport our does anymore at breeding season to another farm with a buck.  He is a Fainting goat and not an Oberhasli so the kids will be mutts but that's o.k.  we need to get our milk somehow.  Besides, he is awfully nice for a buck and he gets along well with the ladies so it seems to be a good fit.  We have yet to see him faint so I guess he must have a rare courageous streak.
Last week Grace turned 10.
She wanted an "old-fashioned" dinner.  That was her term for it anyway.  She asked for steak, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls and salad.  We like to joke that because we were vegetarian for the first 5 or so years of her life she is making up for all those years of no meat now.  She loves red meat!  Lucky for her we had just purchased 1/4 of a cow so we had plenty.  She also requested a Carmel Frosted Hummingbird Cake that she picked out of a cookbook.  A first for me but quite delicious!
And because she was just the cutest chubby little 2 year old, I just had to throw this picture in.
Happy 10th birthday Grace!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Monday morning we received that eagerly anticipated call from our post office bright and early at 6:30am (thankfully they waited later then the 4:30am call we got last time) informing us that our birds had arrived.  I heard our little babies cheeping loudly in the background so Christian set out to pick them up as quickly as he could.

We had gotten the notice from McMurray that they had shipped the night before so they were only in-transit 12-24 hours but it can still stress them and they are VERY loud when you first get them.  The chirps are ear piercingly loud and so when Christian brought the box in the house the kids heard them upstairs and quickly came down to check them out.
Amazingly 27 little chicks fit in this one box.
Last year we hadn't ordered from McMurray and had just ordered the standard egg machine breed from the local place as bigger birds, almost ready to lay.  They are fine but we really wanted to try some different breeds for fun this year.  It is also a great experience to raise them from chicks.
We ordered 12 different breeds and the kids are having fun trying to identify the different chicks.  Is it  a Light Brahma, a Barred Rock or a Buff Orpington?  The were all very sad when "Puffy Head" died.  We always seem to have a casualty for one reason or another but losing our White Crested Black Polish was sad since he was our only one.
The kids are crazy about the chicks, wanting to hold them every minute of the day.
The chicks have a nice little box in the family room by the fire for now with a heat lamp.  Once they were set up under the heat lamp and had eaten and drunk they quieted down considerably and today they are so much quieter, pleasantly chirping in the background making it feel like spring.
The kids set up a little rocking chair next to the box so they can watch them and rock them if they want to.
They also like to have a little fun with them. 
Hoping these are going to be our friendliest chickens yet.  :)
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