Why the Tree of Life?


Ecology Action

We took a tour of Ecology Action, a non-profit recycling sorting facility, downtown with some fellow homeschoolers this morning.  We saw how all the recycling is hand-sorted into appropriate bins, and we even got to see them crush a huge bin of paper into a bale that weighs as much as a car!  Fyi, Austinites, they're starting up composting in 2011, and we will be able to take tours of that facilty next year.


Pets Need Pets

Dunagan has four gold fish.  Their names are Speedy, GoldWhite, Goldie 1 and Goldie 2.  They now have pets of their own: 4 gold snails.  Dunagan is perplexed as to how to name them since he can't tell them apart, but they must have names!  For the moment, he is allowing the fish the privilege of naming them themselves (since he figures they can tell them apart better than he can.)


The Donkey and the Load of Salt

Donkey figured out that if she stumbled crossing the creek, she could lighten her load by half as the spilt salt melted away.  The farmer compensated by doubling her load each time until he figured out she was doing it on purpose.  So, next instead of salt, he loaded her with sponges.  When she "stumbled" this time, the sponges soaked up so much water she could barely carry it all home.


Ayla's Train

Ayla is getting close to turning three, and that fact is really starting to show in her play.  She can play by herself, and keeps up a constant monologue with her imaginary friends.  This morning, she pulled out the train while the boys were playing star wars, and she built a long track all by herself.

It is fun for me to see her feeding her babies, playing house, or having a tea party.  Girl play is so different from boy play.  There is such a different feel to it, even if the toys and props are neutral.  We can argue nature vs. nurture, but I have yet to see Ayla tackle one of the boys just because he is passing by, whereas with the boys, it's  hard for them to pass by without some sort of full contact greeting.  It's kind of like asking a mountain climber why he climbs--- because it's there.  That's the energy that is present in the boys' play and absent in Ayla's.  She's much quieter.

Sick Lion

We started a new block today.  We will be reading about St. Francis in the coming weeks, and doing medieval Italian cultural activities.  Our first trickster tale this morning was about an old, sick lion who can't hunt any more.  He sends a messengar out to invite all the animals to his bedside where he can impart his secrets and wisdom to them--- but he gobbles them up instead.  Only fox is clever enough to foil his plan.  When he sees all the tracks going into the cave, but none coming back out, he politely declines lion's invitation until his cave is less crowded.


Brazos River

We decided to blaze a trail to the Brazos this morning.  The ranch cave is .27 miles from the river, and it took us about one and a half hours to blaze a trail along the creek and through the briars.  It was a little sketchy at points, but this was high adventure.  We're having a snack and exploring a little, and then will head back to the trailer in a little bit, and then home to Austin.


Second Casts

The boys caught these fish on their second casts!  Ayla caught the rare pink small mouth bass.


Dunagan and Friend

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Snow! Shelley, you can skip reading this post. I know how you feel about snow. :)

But, we still get to be amazed and delighted.

And it was real snow. We usually call sleet snow, but this was jin-u-wine snow. Snow balls. Sledding. Sledding!

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I caught my first fish. Everybody else has caught fish before, but not me, ever in my entire life. Evan make me hold it after he took it off the hook. I was never so scared of microscopic teeth in my life.
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Fry Bread

We're nearing the end of our Apache block, but we made Fry Bread a couple of weeks ago. We used 5 cups of lard to fry those babies. But, oh, we're they worth it. Our whole house smelled like a donut shop for days.

A little powdered sugar, a little honey... think sopapilla, except solid.

Hmm... I think Kirven must have dusted that one. Here's the recipe I used (watch out, it uses way too much water!): Apache Fry Bread
The recipe makes a lot---more than any one gut can take! Be prepared to send the kids out to all the neighbors to pawn them off.
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Ranch Cave

So, apparently, there is a cave at the ranch. The ranch I have always known did not include a cool cave. Or a picturesque waterfall.

In Evan's defense, there has never been an easy way to get down to the cave, and a staircase has recently been built to give access.

On our last visit a couple weeks ago, we ventured down there to check it out. The dust under the over hang was the most interesting part. I wish I had gotten a picture of the kids. The dust was so fine and so white and so thick that after they had been walking and sinking and rolling around in it, and I do mean rolling, they looked like they had been in a flour fight. Here's to hoping that that dust was a million years worth of pulverized limestone and not a million years of pulverized bat guano.

But the double cool thing was that you could see all sorts of animal tracks in the dust---whole trails of them. We saw what we guessed were mice, raccoon, possum, and heron and some-sort-of-animal. We saw a lot of some-sort-of-animal.

We're headed back this weekend, and the weather is supposed to be beautiful.

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