Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Own Blog Has Inspired Me!

My own blog inspired me this week....

One evening when 2 of my kids were at grandmas, my other 2 were fast asleep and Papabird was working late I happened to browse through the last few years of my blog posts. You know what I discovered? That I was doing some really neat stuff and my schooling as of late has gotten a bit dry and boring. Good thing my kids are off this week now I have time to re evaluate what I am doing.

Academically my kids are doing great but we really haven't done a lot of hands on fun unit studies in awhile.

Even though the kids were on break this week  I still managed to sneak in some education. Falcon went out to gather worms and bugs for the chicks Tuesday morning. It had just rained so I thought he would find worms a plenty but what he found was a HUGE grub! Seriously this thing was BIG and so gross it gave me  goose bumps.

Falcon picked it up  to place in the brooder and it bit him! EEK! He was a man about it though! The chicks pecked it for awhile then  one of the Barred Rock chicks ( they always get the bugs we put in there) grabbed it and started running through the cage with it while all the other birds are squawking and chasing her. Finally she  swallowed it whole. I seriously could not believe my eyes. My 13 day old chick who is barely the size of my hand ate this HUGE grub whole. So I threw in some extra chick grit in there, she will probably need it!

After the chick ate the grub we started watching videos on youtube about grubs and chickens eating grubs.

What we learned:
1.Chickens love grubs
2. People can eat them  and that they are high in protein.
               - you should cut the head off before you eat them so they don't bite you.
               - They are juicy but do not taste too bad for a bug
               - They taste better cooked!
No we did not try this ourselves but I did offer to let the children try a grub, no takers though! We learned this on our many youtube videos.
3. The grub we found was the larvae stage of a June bug.

Timon and Pumba say they are "Slimy, yet Satisfying!"

Of course we had to watch Lion King this week  after the grub thing. I seriously cry every time Simba's Dad dies. How awful that would be for a child to see, then believe it was his fault! I hate that part!

Our chicks are getting so big so fast. This is my favorite chicks I think she is so pretty but she is the least friendly of them all. The Barred rocks are the sweetest by far, they will fall asleep while you are holding them.

1980's flashback....
I have been watching Punky Brewster with my daughter all week. I Loved that show as a child. I even wrote a letter to the President to put in back on the air when it was cancelled. My mom later admitted that she never sent it.... Shesh!
The actress who played Punky wrote a book on parenting I am reading it now, it okay if I had not loved this actress as a child I would have stopped reading it by now. It's much more of a first time mom intro to parenting book, but there are some funny stories. I am enjoying reading about her childhood though.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Say NO to GMO.....or get Cancer!

After 2 weeks in Europe  Papabird and returned safely  back to our nest. He brought home the best gift eve, Heirloom seeds that have been passed down 4 generations from one of our software developers in Bulgaria  (a GMO free country). Unfortunately, it's too late in the season here to plant most of these plants from seeds without germinating them first. It just doesn't stay warm long enough here without starting  these particular seeds indoors 6 weeks ahead. I defiantly  do not  want to waste any seeds this year and try but fail, well maybe I could try just  a few  seeds.

Papabird was sure that he was going to get stopped going through customs with seeds but they never batted an eye. He didn't list that as an item he was leaving the country with though, he was supposed too!
Monsanto seems to have their hand in everything so it's no wonder he was worried about carrying non GMO seeds from a GMO free country into our country.

Speaking of GMO and Monsanto........
Our family went to a local March Against Monsanto rally.
I loved this costume of a Monsanto farmer, she was a nice lady.
Here I am with one baby bird on my back and  another next to me whining and wanting to leave. My other 2 were off holding signs and shouting at cars.
A group of other fellow protesters.

Falcom had to miss sparring class to go to this but given the choice he wanted to do this instead. He was very vocal and passionate about what he was doing out there, he really got the crowd going. I may have a little tree hugging activist on my hands!
I had actually watched  this movie the day before we marched, great histocial fiction.( Nothing to do with seeds or Monsanto though!)
Here is a paper Falcon just wrote about GMO's
GMOs: The Perfect Poison
     Genetically Modified Organisms (or GMOs for short) are, as you may have figured organisms that are modified genetically. A GMO can be anything that has been genetically altered by human hands. Today almost all the conventional meat, fruits, vegetables, and even farm-raised fish are GMOs. GMOs are in almost everything you eat. But the question is, are GMOs good for us?
            Genetically modified crops and livestock were initially introduced to US grocery stores around 1973, and even after 39+years still going strong. The reason GMOs are so widespread is because of convenience. The world today is all about speed, for instance fifty years ago you didn’t have TV dinners or fast food places. Fifty years ago you would be cooking at home following recipes passed down from generation, to generation. Not throwing your cheap pre-packaged dinner in the microwave like a lot of us do today.
              With GMOs farmers can make plants easier to harvest by inserting genes for faster plant growth. This way they have made animal and plant products cheaper and easier to manage. With genetic engineering (genetic engineering is the same thing as genetically modifying) conventional farmers have created pest resistant plants that kill the bugs that eat them. Conventional farmers have also modified crops to take up less space and to be easier to harvest.
            Most GMO products have only a fraction of the nutrition that non GMO products have. Not to mention the devastating effects that seemingly innocent GMOs cause to the environment. Even though GMO corn is already pumped with chemicals to keep the bugs away, a lot of times farmers will just spray even more of the chemicals onto the ground just to be sure that the pests don’t come back. On top of that, when farmers spray to much chemical onto their crops they create “super-bugs”. In the animal kingdom, only the strongest survive, but in this case it is the most chemical-resistant bug that survives the farmers incessant chemical spraying. These “super-bugs” more often than not drive conventional farmers to spray even more toxic pesticides on their crops. GMO pollen is also now becoming more and more of an issue, because the GMO pollen that has been modified is fertilizing other plants in nearby fields or meadows. making new species randomly. Gene pollution can not be cleaned up.
            GMO corn is now so toxic for you it is now called by some people “Round Up ready corn.” (For those of you that don’t know Round Up is a highly toxic weed killer).Round Up ready corn is a GMO that is immune to the harsh chemicals used in Round Up. In most cases farmers quite literally spray Round Up on their corn. Dr. Don Huber did a study on GMOs that revealed that .97 ppm formaldehyde is toxic if ingested by animals,  states “GMO corn contains 200 times more formaldehyde than this safety threshold.” Formaldehyde is the chemical that is inserted into loved ones when they die so they don’t start to decompose right away. Guess what the number one side-effect of GMO foods is? CANCER. Over 37 people have died and over 1000 people handicapped from GMO-like side-effects.

            Every meal you and others purchase are votes, and you get to vote three meals a day on how you want food in the future to be like. If you eat McDonald’s  or TV dinners all the time then you are casting you vote for GMOs, and processed junk. If you eat fresh, healthy, organic produce all the time, then you are casting your vote against GMOs and for organic wholesome food. Now the question is, what will you eat?

Not a final draft yet, but wanted to include it in this post anyhow.

Speaking of seeds....
We live in the city with a HUGE oak  in a back yard the size of a postage stamp. okay so  I am exaggerating a bit here. It is a small city back yard though. I would grow  fruits and veggies back there but my oak tree and 2 large dogs will not permit either of those things from happening. So my Grandfather- in -law has offered up some space in his yard for us to farm on. This is a great opportunity for us because he has been growing his own small farm ( enough to sustain his family) for over 30 years. We  are excited to learn from all he knows while spending a lot of time out there working on our garden and helping with his.They have a complete canning kitchen in their garage that I am free to use as well. Now If I can just convince him to grow organic and heirloom varieties.
Falcon planting some melons. So far in the ground we have:
4 varieties of watermelon
Cherry tomatoes
Plum tomatoes
Purple Tomitillos ( I don't even know what they are, the description sounded good)
Leaf lettuce
Mammoth sunflowers

We have a ton more to plant but ran out of room. We will need to create more space.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Urban Chickens and SAT's

We are now officially URBAN FARMERS  ( still without a coop built though!)

We picked up our day old chicks this week from the post office. As soon as we opened the doors you could hear those little peepers cheeping away.  They had them sitting on the front counter waiting for us.
                              Getting them  out of the box and dipping  their tiny beaks in the water.
 The kids are loving watching them, but a little mad they can't hold them all day.

This one is my favorite, she looked a little sick when we first took her out of the box but she seems fine now.

We now have 8 chickens!
3 Buff Orpingtons
3 Barred Rocks
and 2 Easter Eggers.

Whats cooking?
Chicken! It's funny because the day we got our chicks I had already planned chicken for dinner. It felt kind of weird to be eating and enjoying my succulent bird while just below us in the basement  we have the cutest little baby chicks ever! It didn't seems to phase the kids though ( just me) they said it was the best chicken ever! Ha!, I have wanted to make cookies all week but just to lazy to do it ( I guess it's a good thing!)

This kids all know that in 2 years  when egg production slows we will be eating our chickens and getting a new set!

Oh ya that, Falcon took his assessment to complete 8th grade so we will be starting  9th grade this summer. I got all sorts of SAT and PSAT stuff to start  next week.
 I LOVE this book, I have been reading through it and learning new words. The funny cartoons really  help you remember what they mean. Everyone needs one of these.
I also came across Kaplan  score  raising novels, those are great too!

Question I have....
So those that have homeschooled through the high school years how do you do transcripts for college entry?

A photo to share..
My house smells of lovely lilacs!

Well this is the short version of what whet on this week, blogger is giving me a hard time tonight and I am just  too tuckered out from a week  long of being a single mom.   Papabird is off in Europe, for the next 2 weeks and I feel a sore throat coming on, so I hear the couch calling my name as I type.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Turkey Vultures and Eastern Screech Owl's in the City!

Warm spring afternoons with the sun on my face, the birds chirping, Dogwood trees blooming, bees a buzzing and the kids playing outside that's how blissfully wonderful. my week was.

We live in a middle-class urban city  so it was shocking and exciting to see both of these animals. I can only imagine that the reason we are seeing these animals is due to the increase in the rat population. They have just ripped up the sewer system  and a major highway near our house which has sent millions of rats loose in our area seeking shelter in our yards. We actually had them living in our crawl space last year and just had to have the exterminator out again to help kill them off. Is the city doing anything about it? NO they are not!

I did NOT SWEAT IN MY PANTS!.... So if you read my blog two weeks you should remember my comment about my husband thinking I peed my  pants on my bike ride. I never worked out is skinny jeans before so I thought my butt was sweating.  Flash forward to this week I went on leisurely bike ride with Robin (no sweating) and when I came back my husband says "Seriously what's going on with your butt? Go change your pants and look in the mirror." Again it looked like a wet my pants, I knew I didn't even sweat this time I only went around the block with her. After changing my pants I went out to check my bike and discovered  the  gel seat cover was leaking, mystery solved!! I have since rode my bike many times this week since throwing out  my gel seat and my pants no longer look wet when I am done. I did  NOT SWEAT or WET my pants!!  I wish I would have thought to take a picture, it was quite funny!

Falcon is finishing up his 8th grade stuff. Now I need to get together something  to get transcripts together for high school which he will be starting in June (we school year round 6 weeks on 1 week off give or  take)

He won a drawing at the library and got this collection of brand new books. He is the luckiest kids ever, I really should have him pick out some lottery numbers.

Robin is working on reading Saige the new American girl books while we study New Mexico. She has also been working very hard at  drawing pictures to illustrate  the book she wrote that we will be submitting to the state fair this summer for Girl Scouts.

Duck  and Owl have been working on the usual ABC's and 123's

We sketched Orangatangs at the zoo

Robin was so excited to find this Lego set at the store, she does Taekwondo.

and Hammock tracks