Sunday, May 5, 2013

Rocks, nest watching, chickens, french horns and sheep

I have no theme for this post, so this is just going to be a photo dump, as my sister likes to say.  :)

A couple weeks ago we went to Ringing Rocks in Bucks County with our Classical Conversations group.  The kids had fun banging on the rocks with their hammers and listening to the mysterious ringing sounds that emitted from them.  They make a sound like the hitting of a coffee mug handle with a knife, and no one is completely sure why they make that sound.  My best guess was that they contain some metal, but apparently it isn't true.  Some geologists believe that it has something to do with the rocks being elastic and vibrating when struck, which creates the ringing sound.  Also something about glaciers and the way the rocks were laid down.  It is all quite complicated, so correct me if I am wrong you geologists out there.  But it was fun no matter what the reason for the ringing.

On the home front we have been diligently keeping watch over 3 nests in our backyard.  The first is a robin's nest in a hemlock tree.
This guy hatched just this evening.  He is so cute, isn't he?  :)

The second is a blue jay in our maple tree.  This bluejay is funny and will sit here even when the kids climb up the ladder to look in the nest.
Nothing has hatched yet here, but soon!

The last nest is a mockingbird nest in a rose bush by the gazebo.  We never would have found this one hidden away if Grace hadn't noticed a mocking bird flying in and out numerous times while she sat out there reading and decided to search out the nest.

The domesticated birds have finally moved to the big chicken coop, but these pictures are from a few days ago.  The little chicks are in this spot now and Claire loves to go out and watch the chickens.  Notice that bucket hanging there?  That is our new chicken watering system.  You attach these nipples to a 5-gallon bucket and the chickens peck at them to get a drink.  Before their water would always be dirty and gross, and I love that this way it stays clean!

And just because she is cute.

Aiden started french horn lessons last week.  Why french horn you ask?  Because for a horn, the french horn has such a nice mellow sound, so listening to beginners practice is not so torturous.  Aiden seemed to have a knack for playing the horn, so we though it would be a good instrument for him.  It can be a tricky instrument to play, but his teacher raved about how well he did on his first lesson and he absolutely loves it.  We will have no trouble getting him to practice.

A few weeks ago Christian took Grace, Asher and Naomi to a sheep shearing day at the Peter Wentz Farmstead.  Aiden wasn't feeling well, so we stayed home.  Grace had signed up to be in their apprentice program this year and this was her first event.  The day turned out to be a disappointment for her because the woman who was supposed to help with her demonstration scherenschnitte (aka fancy paper cutting) was not able to make it and she was left without much instruction in an out of the way room where not many people came.  We are hoping future events will be more fun for her. 

The day itself was fun for the rest of them though.  They saw some sheep shearing of course.
The girls also enjoyed watching the ladies do some rug hooking.  A woman from our church, who is a master rug hooker, happened to be there, so that was fun for them to talk with her about her craft.

There have been more events, but no pictures.  We went to Morris Arboretum last week on what seemed like the most lovely day of the year.  The magnolias, cherry trees and daffodils were all blooming and the kids thought it was like heaven there.  It was breathtakingly lovely.

Grace and Aiden also accomplished the great feat of testing for memory masters with our Classical Conversations group.  It is a lot of work and I wanted to give up at several points, but we are so glad we persevered and stuck with it.  This year they memorized:
-161 events and people in a chronological timeline
-44 U.S. presidents
-24 history sentences from world history
-120 geographic locations and features from around the world
-24 science facts relating to biology and geology
-5 Latin noun endings and their singular and plural declensions
-24 English grammar facts such as prepositions, helping verbs and linking verbs.
-Math multiplication tables up to 15x15, common squares and cubes, basic geometry formulas and unit conversions

It doesn't seem to look like a lot, but it takes about an hour to recite all the memorized facts at normal speed (30 minutes when going at warp speed).   We celebrated by driving to our favorite (but far away) ice cream place where they each ordered anything they wanted off the menu.  I really meant to take pictures of this momentous event, but I was feeling lazy and didn't bother, so you will just have to imagine the looks on their faces after eating too much ice cream and thinking that maybe one scoop would have sufficed.  :)


  1. Wow, that was quite the post with a lot of stuff in it! That's an interesting idea for the chicken watering system, I'll have to inspect it when I'm there and get Ricky to make me one. I hate the dirty water too, that looks a lot easier to refill too!
    Looks like lots of fun and good times, can't wait to see you all today, the kids are super excited:)

  2. I always look forward to your posts. I check numerous times to see what you are doing or have been doing. Congratulations to the children on their memorization. They are very good, and I am sore the ice cream was well deserved. Also I like the watering system for the chickens. When we had chickens the watering can was always a chore.

  3. I really like the new picture of the children.

    1. Thanks Aunt Becky. I figured it was time I had one that included Claire! Since we were at the arboretum the other day I thought this was the perfect spot, being that we love trees so in this house. :)


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