homeschooling, homemaking, homesteading...home.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

In Which Things Don't Go Well

Whether you're a blogger, a homeschooling parent, or both, there's an ingrained tendency to never be far from a camera. Any activity--whether spontaneous or carefully planned--has potential as a good story or fodder for a portfolio. It's like your life is a constant documentary. Unfortunately, it's also a constant improv. Sometimes things go well and you end up with a terrific final product that you're proud to share with an audience, then with a sense of contentment and satisfaction, tuck away in your memory box.

Other times, it all just goes to hell. That's how I've ended up with a number of (entire, exhaustive series of!) photos for blog posts that never materialized, because the activity didn't turn out as planned/hoped/expected. For example:
Yarn "Easter baskets". Kids use a LOT of glue. These never really stiffened. Even when fully dry, they were limp and unsuitable even for display empty. Very disappointing.

Cool caterpillar we discovered, captured, and identified. (I've since forgotten its identity, alas.) We looked up its basic info, including appropriate food, and watched it every day to see it change into its adult form. It took us quite a while to realize that our chrysalis was desiccated and contained a dead critter. Sigh.

T's several weeks-long quest to reassemble a groundhog skeleton we'd discovered. We spent so much time sorting, identifying, classifying, and organizing bones...but we never got around to figuring out a method of connecting them and kind of gave up on the whole thing after a while.

I thought "egg in a hole" would be a lot more fun if we used shaped cookie cutters.
Too bad the volume of the egg surpassed the area of the shape. We ended up with blobs.

And our most recent...
Solar oven experiment. It totally didn't work.
In other words, there are plenty of activities that don't make the papers because they weren't "wins". I'm trying to take consolation from these words:
Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.
--Abraham Lincoln
Well, our enthusiasm is intact. As is our optimism. We'll be back to try more crazy adventures...and maybe from here on out I won't be so self-conscious as to not share them. After all, they are learning experiences too!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Welcome Sight for a Very Hungry Pooh?

Oh my.

Between some crazy weather (early snow!) and my tendency to be a slave to a certain very small person's napping and feeding whims, we don't get as much outdoor play these days as we're used to. It's starting to affect us; we're obviously a bit stir-crazy. T finally escaped to the woods over the weekend with Dad...a "just us two" moment. He came back excited, and demanded that C and I (heh...the pronoun "I", not another name-dodge) come see something that they'd discovered. J was asleep, so with Dad on baby-watch, I put on some shoes and followed T down into the woods, camera in hand.

Not far from our property is what we call "the Bee Tree". It's a huge (but far from record-breaking, as we found when we measured it and compared at http://www.pabigtrees.com/) white ash; largely hollow, with a constant stream of bees entering and exiting at the largest opening. We've often speculated at the probable size of the nest. Even so, what I saw came as quite a shock.


Seriously, what is that thing hanging from that branch? From a distance it looked like a deflated...something. Too big to be a balloon. Too high to be anything that made sense other than "something that fell from the sky". Then it registered.

The bees had produced so much this season that they outgrew their space and built an addition.

No Georgia O'Keefe comments, m'kay?
This thing is, I kid you not, a good square yard in size. We were...awed.

One for the "inexplicable" files

I found this recently.



Yes. It's exactly what it looks like. A 9-volt battery mounted on the wall with poster-tac.

No. I have no idea why.