Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Around here this week....

We finally got a weather warm up here in Wisconsin for a couple days, and we definitely took advantage! 

Wednesday it was 40 degrees! 40!!!!! Before moving here I never would have said 40 was warm, but it totally felt like a heat wave, it was even sunny out :) We busted out some puffy vests and decided spontaneously to go to the zoo. 

This baby thought pheasants were the funniest thing ever!

Camels....not so funny. He was totally unimpressed.

These kiddos were sooooo happy to get out and be able to stay outside for several hours! 

So was this mama! ( I have no idea why my hand looks so awkward in this photo, it kind of creeps me out).

I love that our zoo is right on the shore of a Great Lake!

On Thursday we hooked up with a local homeschool group and went on a Sugar Bush field trip at a nearby nature center. I knew we'd learn about maple syrup but I had no idea just how amazing our experience would be! Unfortunately I only got one photo because my phone was acting up ( I've decided I'm over the camera phone thing, I miss having a real camera).

Back to our field trip......

Our trip started around the campfire where our naturalist engaged the children ( who ranged from toddler to teenager) with Native American legends and history of maple sugaring. We tasted maple sugar, sumac berries, sap, and syrup. The children learned how to make a spile out of a piece of branch and used a ream to dig out the middle ( a spile is what you tap the tree with). 

We learned how to identify a maple tree by looking for opposite branching, holes from yellow bellied sapsuckers, and mustaches ( yes, maple trees have mustaches)! 

The children used yokes and buckets to gather sap from a tree, and also gathered firewood to bring to the sap house. The sap and firewood were measured and weighed and the data recorded. We learned all about hydrometers and the scientific process of how sap becomes syrup. 

It was a fantastic experience! The children were engaged and really had fun. My boys agreed that it was lots of hard work to make syrup but was fun and they want to try to make our own someday when we have a maple tree :)

Lugging buckets of sap using a yoke. Do you see the spile necklace he made? They've been wearing them all day today :)

Oh and we learned a new word too! Migwetch, which is the Ojibwe word for Thank You. 

Migwetch for reading about our fun filled week!

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