Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Biologists

You just never know what you'll find around here. This evening, while playing in the yard and water, the kids found owl pellets. They were in T.S.'s "field"--the area around the tree stumps that will someday be a flower bed. The kids were way excited to find it.

We have an owl that lives in the old house next to ours. You can hear it screeching at night. We think the owl must have perched in a tree in our yard. They used the tongs to pick the pellets up and put it in the plastic bag. You really shouldn't touch owl pellets as they can be pretty nasty.

For those of you who don't know, owls eat their prey whole--feathers, bones, skin and all. The parts that are indigestible are later regurgitated in the form of a pellet. We identified a rat skull, jaw bone and leg bone just by glancing at ours. Biologists can study owl pellets to determine what small animals, birds and rodents are in an area. I used them when I taught 5-6th grade science to learn about the food chain. The pellets used in class are bought from biological supply companies and have been sterilized. We could sterilize ours (so we could tear it apart and see what all the owl ate) by baking it in the oven--but that would make the house stink.

Okay, so those of you who know me know I just couldn't leave it at that. Here is a WAY COOL site to go to. You can do a virtual dissection of an owl pellet and really see what I have tried to explain. Way cool site for science teachers because it has all kinds of information on birds--the different types of feathers, etc. It even has quizzes to take after you have read the info.
Class dismissed.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Slip Slidin' Away

Well, July is almost over which means the start of school is a little closer. We had to close our pool today because of maintenance issues--mainly algae buildup, bugs and a dead bird floating--typical things for a stock tank. Needless to say the kids were disappointed that the pool at the beach was out of commission for the remainder of the summer. For those of you wondering or appalled that we "swam" in a stock tank, we did clean it to start with and we did float chlorine tablets in it.
On a brighter note, the Slip-and-Slide has provided hours (literally) of entertainment the last few days.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Trip to the Mountains

The kids and I are back from our weekend in Ruidoso with some of our cousins, aunts and uncles. We had so much fun with Saxton and CW (as well as everyone else). The girls got to swim Thursday. We all enjoyed the horse races on Friday--T.S. always "bet" on green. The four cousins enjoyed fishing at the pond and feeding ducks. Thanks to help from the "expert" fishing guides (Jay and Raphe), Sadie caught two fish. Saturday was a very rainy day, but we made the best of it. All of the girls enjoyed the art show and shopping. (the boys tried to like shopping) The kids all picked out their very own bath salts--can't wait to try them. It rained all day Saturday--we woke up to major flooding today. It was unbelievable to see what water can do. We were all amazed by the power of water. We were very thankful to have been staying on higher, dry ground. I never thought I'd personally see a mobile home in a river or water actually running through/around decks, homes, etc. The race track was even flooded:
T.S.'s observations of the very swollen river we could see flowing from our deck--"It looks like chocolate milk." It was a pretty accurate description. He stood at the window for quite a while reporting whether or not vehicles passed through the water over the road or turned around. According to him you had to be "police, a cop, or have 4-wheel drive" to go over.

The best part of our get-away was spending time with our family. Thank you Johnsons and Shipmans for a fun weekend!! The only thing that would have made it better would have been Robby joining us...he stayed home to work and leave for Corpus for Ag. teacher's conference.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Weather Balloon

Yesterday when GeGe and Sadie moved to town to plow they found a neat surprise when they got out of the tractor. This is what is left of a weather balloon. It was launched from Amarillo on June 30. Sadie thought it was really cool. It has an antennae and the string was once connected to an actual balloon. We'll mail it back so it can be reused.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Artists

Today has been a fun day and it's not even noon yet!! After Sissy and Albert left, the kids have been busy painting. Sadie finished up a series of insects (and a snail) on canvas that she had been working on. T.S. chose to paint a firetruck (that would be the red one) and a police car (the yellow one). After that, he painted with water colors and acrylics just on paper. He is quite a prolific artist.
Mom should get points for letting him paint his canvas however he wanted. I had big plans for how I'd paint the four vehicle pictures to go with the decor in his room. It was really hard to watch but he was very proud of his finished work and I am too.
On a side note, Tiger, our bottle calf, got himself in a bit of a jam sometime yesterday (we think). He somehow got caught between the water tank and the fence. To make a long story short, I got in the water tank to get him turned around. You just never know what might happen around here.

T.S. and Sadie picked more squash today--we are running out of ways to cook it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

New Acquisition

We are proud to announce the newest member of our "zoo" has arrived. (For those of you keeping count, that brings us to 5 chickens, 2 calves, 1 dog, 1 fish, 1 gerbil and 1 rat) Sadie brought home her cousins' rat, Ratatouille. The kids are glad to be back home. They are enjoying time with their grandparents and cousins this weekend. We've picked squash, dug potatoes, gathered eggs and played with the calves.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Wedding

We recently traveled to Abbott for my aunt's wedding. A highlight for the kids was the reception. Sadie loved dancing and T.S. was content to play with his tractors.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

4th of July

We enjoyed a fun Fourth of July Weekend which included a Tirey family reunion. The cousins had lots of fun. Our usual family festivities included our bicycle parade, hot dog cookout and fireworks. What a fun day despite the minor 4-wheeler accident. Then, we had a fun week with our cousins before traveling to Abbott for our aunt's wedding. The kids really enjoyed swimming and dancing. Sadie and T.S. are spending the week in Aledo with their grandparents while dad has state FFA convention and mom attempts to farm (ha).