We got to be citizen scientists today!
Simone had been busy all summer making Shrinky Dink Jewelry – necklaces and earrings…
… and today was the big day- where she sold her creations at a craft fair!
The necklaces varied from flowers, to ice cream to super hero logos!
The boys wanted to get in on the money-making… so they did magic tricks for tips!
And now I am exhausted… and the kids have money burning a hole in their pockets LOL!!
We went to the World Bird Sanctuary this morning for a bird banding demonstration.
We saw a cardinal and a mourning dove get caught.
The net doesn’t hurt the bird… here’s the cardinal in the net…
Then the bird is checked out and certain info is recorded. Wing measurement, sex identified (or not), age (hatchling or older), molting or not, and weight.
The bird is banded with a number… its an aluminum band- except for the cardinals who can crimp the soft metal… they get steel!
We watched as the birds were examined! They gave the young cardinal a coffee stirrer to bite on because otherwise he was looking for fingers to chew on!
The real highlight was being able to hold and release the birds!!!
Simone releasing a Chickadee…
Edison releasing a Tufted Titmouse…
Andre and Eli releasing a Tufted Titmouse…
Me… releasing a cardinal…
This was such a great hands-on experience to watch scientists studying nature!
The kids LOVED it… and so did I!
Smudge stick (according to Wikipedia):
A smudge stick is a bundle of dried herbs, often bound with string and usually rather small. The herbs are later burned as part of a ceremony or ritual.
(I plan on burning mine while meditating and praying, studying for my ASL classes and cleaning the house. I would like to light candles to set the mood and to give off good scents but I don’t trust what’s in candles… I think using organic plants is a much better option!)
I’ve been wanting to make smudge sticks all summer but I was intimidated.
What if I did it wrong and wasted a bunch of herbs?
I was also overwhelmed with the choices.
Which plant should I use? How many? Should I combine them? What if it smells bad together? What if it smells great together but I did it wrong and wasted the plants?
You get the picture… I was overthinking the process and procrastinating!
Since Josh was off yesterday, I asked him to help me… so he Googled it and walked me through the process 😍 it was quite romantic 😘
My first smudge stick ever made… mint! (Because we have an over abundance and it smells amazing!!)
Making smudge sticks is so easy!! I need to say I haven’t burned one yet so… that will be another experience!
I’ll show you how to make one (or more) but we have to wait about 7 days for them to dry out. So in a week I’ll post about burning a smudge stick because I’m quite curious how it’ll work.
Now go cut some herbs!
- Some common garden varieties… Mint, Sage, Basil, lemon grass, Rosemary, Oregano, Catmint, Lavender…
I’m going to demonstrate making a smudge stick with Rosemary and catmint.
I’m choosing Rosemary because it improves memory! I plan to burn this while I’m practicing my ASL!
I’m choosing to pair it with catmint because I have lots of it, it smells sweet, and it has calming qualities!
1. Cut some stems off your plant.
(Tiger 🐱 discovered the catmint immediately!)
4. Wrap the twine up and down the bundle… ending with another knot.
5. Let it dry for 7 days before lighting it!
…post to be continued next week when we light it!! 🔥
I was gifted some kombucha tea that had been brewed waaaay too long and it had turned into kombucha vinegar.
And boy did it stink to high heaven!
I didn’t want to just throw out the vinegar, so I decided to try to use it as a cleaner…
I strained the vinegar –
– And put it into a spray bottle! I also added some germ-fighter (aka thieves) essential oil into it for two reasons… to make it antibacterial and to smell better! 😆
I tried it as a window cleaner… fail.
I couldn’t bring myself to use it in the kitchen because the STRONG vinegar smell is quite unpleasant!
So I thought, “what’s worse then a vinegar smell… oh I know, the only working toilet in the house! (Remember our other bathroom is being worked on!)
I’ll spare you the pictures of our tiny downstairs bathroom 🚽 but let’s just say- the kombucha vinegar cleaned it very well and cut through the stinky bathroom smell!
I found a natural solution that actually leaves the bathroom smelling… well not like a bathroom! 😊
Brewing my own Kombucha Tea
I’ve made kombucha tea in the past- but wasn’t currently brewing any. I was super excited to get a healthy scoby to make my own tea!
- First I brewed black tea and green tea- 5 bags of each with 1 cup of sugar. (You could brew the teas together, I jut didn’t have another large jar to do it it)
- I combined the teas into a glass jar, and after it cooled I dropped in the scoby along with some “mother”.
- “Mother” is original tea/vinegar
- I ended up pouring some tea into a smaller bottle with a piece of the scoby so I can ferment it longer to make more vinegar!
- Finally I tied a dishcloth over the top
Now I wait!
I will put them in the pantry and wait…
… about 2 weeks for the tea and a month for the vinegar!
The month of August has been BUSY and I haven’t blogged much- so I’m going to cram this post full of things we’ve done!
The anticipation was fun- watching the shadow cross the sun… and when we got totality- we were clapping and cheering LOL!! Spending the eclipse with my family was so special- definitely a homeschool perk!
I saw a blue heron while walking my puppy-dog!
Clover is HUGE and needed to be moved from Simone’s room to outside. Simone helped put together a bunny hutch with some power tools!
Simone learned some carpentry skills and got power tool experience through Girl Scouts! She helped build a compost for the church where the meetings are held.
We joined a new church – Simone stood on her tippy toes so she would be taller then me in our “new member” picture! 😆
The kids got haircuts!
I started my ASL classes… I was super nervous- but my fellow students and teachers are awesome!
The biggest thing happening around the house is we are getting a bathroom remodel! There was a leak that could only be fixed with a total pipe replacement which meant getting into the walls which meant tearing out the tile! 😳
Just a few more days and the bathroom will be finished!!!
Then I’ll show all the before and after pictures!! 😊😊😊😊
I’ll end this post with adorable cat pictures! We love our Tiger!
Journal entry #2
We walked out the front door – and saw a battle in the sky!
A hummingbird was flying after a Prairie Falcon right overhead! The Falcon flew into our neighbor’s tree where the hummingbird continued to harass the Falcon- dive bombing it a few times before squeaking at it and flying away!!
Seeing a tiny hummingbird chase, dive bomb, and yell at a much larger Falcon was AMAZING! I quickly got my binoculars and watched the Falcon in the tree before he flew away!
I got my nature journal bag out of the car and immediately sketched the experience!
Eli was surprised at my drawing and he sang sweet praise to me 😍 and then he drew his own picture!
Today was full of surprises!! This morning while the boys were out fishing, I saw something else unusual!
A moth flew into a spiderweb. I moved closer to watch… when a wasp flew at the spiderweb… snatched the moth and flew away! I had no idea wasps robbed spiderwebs!!
We went to another fishing class this evening and we had success!
Fishing is much more fun when you catch large fish!!
First of all- there is no picture of my hiking horror… I was in panic mode and the last thing I thought about was being calm and taking a picture!
With that said- I will tell my story!
The older kids and their friends took an archery class today at the conservation department. Another mom and I took Eli and two other children for a hike. I encouraged everyone to put on bug spray- but I didn’t use any because I don’t get bit by mosquitoes. (Yes, I’m lucky!)
Anyway- we were walking along a dirt path and I looked down… and there were at least 50 tiny ticks crawling up my both my legs!
I about lost my mind! 😩
I wanted to crawl out of skin! 😵
At the sight of my very polka-dotted legs I almost vowed never to walk in the wild again!
But I didn’t do any of the above things!
I pulled out my library card and scraped the little boogers off! And my friend came to the rescue and sprayed me with her bug spray! I was checking my arms and legs for the rest of the hike – I found a few stray ticks trying to hang on- but in the end- I got them all off (I think)!
The moral of the story is:
Wear bug repellent on hikes!!!!!
(Ugh – I know I’m going to have nightmare tonight!!) 😱
This isn’t our first time birding in the front yard, nor will it be our last!
We have an extensive bird feeding station that we keep full of tastey treats! And we are rewarded daily with a large variety of feathered friends! (But of course, none would pose for their pictures this morning!)
We were outside watching, listening, and drawing for an hour!
Simone’s House Wren is our favorite resident bird!
We have an apple birdhouse hanging from our magnolia tree where the mother House Wren is raising her second brood of babies! 😍
The House Wren sounds like a rattle snake! She was yelling at us all morning as she was feeding her babies!! We were able to watch her bring insects to her loud babies and then she would grab some of their poop from the nest and carry it away! Such a good housekeeper!
I’m reading a new book “H is for Hawk”.
I read the first chapter yesterday and was intrigued by this paragraph, “Have you ever seen a hawk catch a bird? I’ve not, but I know it’s happened. I’ve found evidence… “(p.4).
I read those sentences and was instantly jealous! I’ve seen plenty of hawks, but none in action! Of course I don’t want to see a dead bird- but we all know hawks eat other animals! It would be really cool to see evidence of a hawk hunting in my yard!
And what do I see this morning… evidence of a predator!
I am sorry for the bird’s loss of life- but I love seeing proof of wildlife in my own backyard!
And how neat that I experienced this obersavtion in relationship to reading the book! 📚😊💜