Friday, April 22, 2011

We are officially on spring break here, to coincide with Jacob's. It just makes things easier. But, that doesn't mean that learning stops for either of them. On Wednesday, we went to the zoo. I often think of Nate as my little monkey. He has always been a climber. His hands are smaller that the orangutan, but well shaped for swinging and climbing.
This baby addax was born on Sunday, the 17th. According to the zookeeper's note, there are only 300 addaxes in the world. The are very endangered. Mama kept nnudging the baby to get up and walk around.

Nate gets a "giraffe's eye" view of things.

The giraffes are some of my favorite animals.

This is one of the coolest, and most intact, snake skins I have ever seen. If you look closely at one end you can see the head. It looks like the mouth is open.

This looks like the photo should be turned. But, this lizard was hanging on with his back legs and reaching out for the leaves. It was kind of funny to watch.

Something new we learned on this trip: the difference between a legless lizard and a snake.

Then we had lunch and fed the ducks.

We did not realize at first that this one was nesting. She let us know real quick to stay back. Being in such an open area I hope all goes well for her and her babies.

We finished our day with train ride. This train has been around since I was Nate's age and was always part our family outings to the zoo.

We had a great outing. It seemed a lot of animals were feeling sluggish this day. It is just starting to warm up. It was neat to see nesting ducks (and other birds in the aviary) and new babies. We also got a glimpse of anteaters mating. I did not explain this to Nate. We'll save that for another trip. But, I love spring!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It has been three and half weeks since we started out plant project. I had intended to plant these outside sooner. But we have had some crazy weather. And when the weather has been nice we have been crazy busy. We are officially on spring break now. But, today seemed like a good day to plant our plants before we lost them indoors, especially the ones not planted in soil. Here again is Nate's recap of our experience (in blue). There's four plants in there. They each have roots. I can see leaves on all four. These plants were growing up and out of the ziploc bags. It has been pretty cool to see.

The popcorn never did grow and we have about 50% success on the 20 other seeds we planted. There are five rows of different plants. Some have bigger leaves than the others. The pumpkin vine has big leaves. The watermelon has the smallest I can see. The cat ate the leaves off the bean plants. I hope they will recover.

Since dad was home today, I asked him to help with planting the plants outside. I dug holes and put the plants in them. I used some water to soften up the ground to dig a hole.

I ceremoniously helped dig the first hole, before heading out to run some errands. This is not my usual gardening attire. Me and Mom were digging a hole to plant some plants.

When I returned, I asked Nate about his plants. Dad let him choose where to plant them, so they are randomly placed in the yard. But, it's ok, our yard is a mess right now anyway. (Digging half of it up for plumbing issues, but that's on the other blog.) I planted a pumpkin there. I watered it. We have really dry ground here. We are going to really have to remember to water these every day.

I planted a pumpkin here too.

I am watering some plants.

This is also a soaker hose when you cap the end. So, we left it running for a while to saturate the ground and hopefully soften it up so that the roots can grow. We will keep posting as our plants (hopefully) grow. Summers here are brutal. Be here's hoping for a nice juicy watermelon!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Week 2: Sprouts We explored our plants on Tuesday, two weeks after planting, but did not have time to blog. Last time, I have Nate write about what he saw. This time I typed his words for each photo and we actually get to "hear" more of what he sees and thinks. Again, his words are in blue. It's a lima bean seed with a root. It has a leaf. The end of the vine looks brown. I see lots of roots. The roots are white. I can see a starting of the vine. It's a pumpkin vine. I see a leaf.
It's a pinto bean. It has roots. The roots are white. I can see some green.
I can only see one root. I can see the seed. I can see a tiny bit of green (pointing to tip opposite the root). I just can't believe that the tiny can become a vine with a few watermelons.
We compared the lima bean sprout and the pumpkin seed sprout. I asked him to tell me how they are different and why he thinks they are. I can see more roots on the pumpkin seed than the lima bean. Why do you think the roots are different? The seeds are different sizes. Different seeds have different roots and the different roots make different plants.

What does the root do for the plant? Transports nutrients. And? water? Does one need more water than the other? I think he's getting the idea.

As of last week, none of our "planted in soil" plants has sprouted. This week we have sprouts! We currently have one lima plant, two pinto bean plants and two watermelon plants.
Still no popcorn. I guess that's what Mom gets for not buying plain old popcorn to plant. Its supposed to rain the next couple of days. I think early next week we will plant all of our sprouts and see how it goes. Keep checking in. Hopefully, we will be able to enjoy our own home grown watermelons this summer and carve a home grown jack-o-lantern this Halloween.

Friday, April 1, 2011

This week, we started on a new project. We are going to learning about plants and growing things. My plan is to intigrate this project into all of the curriculum areas: science (obviously), reading/writing and math. You may recall that Nate DOES NOT like to write. Today, i asked him to share by illustrating the photos in the blog. His words will be in blue. I will then elaborate, if needed. Monday we opened seeds up, planted seeds. I saw a leaf in a seed. I traced each seed. We looked inside the seeds only 3 had a leaf. We explored 5 different beans/seeds, pinto, lima, pumpkin, watermelon and popcorn. I had Nate trace them. Then we opened them up to see what was inside. Some had little bitty leaves. Then Nate drew pictures on what he saw inside. I put them in a bag. We put wet paper towels and one of each type of seed in in three ziploc bags. We did not seal them. We put them in the window. The bags worked like a greenhouse for our seeds.
I put them in some soil. We used some of Papa's cafe. I found this cool planter at Target. It made of biodegradable material. After they sprout indoors we can separate the squares and plant the whole thing outside. We planted 5 of each of the 5 seeds. Papa was teasing Nate when we was watering them about pouring his coffee on them. So one row, we decided to "water" with coffee to see what happens. we'll keep you posted.
Today (Friday) we looked at the seeds in the plastic bags. (We have checked on them each day, but wanted to up date today). This is one of our lima beans. It has quite a sprout and some pretty good size leaves peeking out already.
This is one of our pumpkin seeds. we are hoping to grow our own pumpkins for Halloween this year. The sprout on this one has some neat "segmentation" (is that a word?). We are going to have to look that up.
Here is one of our pinto beans, just starting to sprout.
So far, the watermelon seeds and the popcorn have not sprouted. I'm not sure we will have any success with the popcorn. I snagged it from a microwave popcorn bag and I'm afraid it might have been smothered by whatever else was in there. But, we'll see. That's the fun of experimenting.

Check in often. I plan to update weekly on our plant project. We will be doing some other fun plant experiments along the way.