In the introduction post to this topic, I just said the kids were doing this activity. It is actually just the 10 and 8 year old.
On the first day they made mini planters out of cardboard juice boxes.
Inside there is a wet paper towel. The towel has circles with numbers in them. A seed is placed on each number.
I took these pictures on the second day, and they have already started to sprout.
On day two they made something to show different growing environments.
Basically, it is a cup with paper towels in it. The towels are inside of water in the cup. There were three seeds put directly in the water. Three seeds on a paper towel. Three seeds on a paper towel wrapped in plastic wrap. Lastly, there are three seeds on the cup’s lid with no water.
They also made planters to plant seeds in the dirt. Currently, there are seeds in the planters marked 2a and 2b.
They are pretty excited so far to see what is happening with their seeds. It has been a lot of setup to get all of this done. Now they are entering more of a monitoring stage.
As part of homeschooling this month, our kids are going to be completing the Tops Learning System Green Thumbs: Radishes activity book.
I think this book is a good choice because they will be able to see a seed turn into a plant. Radishes are fast growers, so even the younger children won’t get impatient wait to see the end.
I think much of people’s issues with growing plants is not understanding how they work. Hopefully the kids will be able to understand plants more through this, and use it during their lives.
I am going to attempt to show their activities and the radishes growth. They have daily activities so I will do my best to post them every day. Today is already day two. Later today I will be showing what they did for days one and two.
One our neighbors used to have a lot of chickens. I think they had well over 50, which is a huge number on a quarter acre suburban lot. Sometime around the beginning of December, they seem to have gotten rid of the chickens. Three of the chickens somehow ended up running loose. They lived in another neighbors yard, but came into ours to eat. Unfortunately, that means they ate some small plants I had in my garden.
Off and on my boys and I would try to catch the chickens. However, they were usually just a little bit to fast for us. Eventually, the three chickens became one, I don’t know what happened to the other two. She was friendly, but would jump our fence if she thought we were going to try and catch her. Finally, last week we were able to trap her in a spot between our shed and fence with a lemon tree over the top. I used a laundry basket to catch her.
Several months ago, a friend gave us a small chicken coop that they didn’t want. I had slowly been preparing the coop for chickens to live in. Mostly I had to level a spot in our yard for the coop while trying to keep decent drainage. Thankfully, I had the coop ready when we caught the chicken.
Our children have decided that we name our animals after foods. Since the chicken is dark, they named her Truffle.
From her markings I believe she is an Australorp. The hens are mostly black, but have purple and green iridescence when seen in the sun.
She has been a good egg layer in the week and a half we have had her. So far she has laid 7 eggs. At one point she laid 6 days in a row. Her eggs are a light brown color, they can almost seem pink at times.
She is a social bird. When we come near the coop she come to the edge, and will sometimes talk to us. I think our next step is to buy a couple more chickens to give her friends. Of course, more eggs wouldn’t be bad either.
So what happened to us? Quite a few things have turned our household upside-down since August.
Number One: I started homeschooling our kids in September 2017 for the current school year. I was using a different approach than our 2016-2017 school year, which basically means I had no idea what I was doing! I made the switch from a streaming video-based curriculum to a literature-based curriculum called Sonlight. Since the new curriculum meant sitting down with my kids and actually teaching, which is definitely not a bad thing, I had no time for my baking. This is why I haven’t posted any baking posts in 7 months.
Number Two: We had a baby! Gavin Joshua was born December 28, 2017. He’s made our lives a little bit crazier since he was born, but we can’t imagine our family without him. Being a family of 8 isn’t that much different from being a family of 7, but it did mean having to buy a larger vehicle. We went all out and bought a 12-passenger Ford Transit. It makes me feel like I’m driving a bus but there are definitely less arguments about personal space amongst our kids!
Having a new baby also means very little baking (or even cooking). I was able to bake scones this past weekend and three weeks before that, my last bake was a batch of brownies! Josh has actually been taking care of most of the cooking. I firmly believe that his being able to be home for the past six weeks is the main reason I haven’t gone totally mad yet.
Now that life isn’t quite as crazy as it has been, we want to get back into posting to The Geek Homestead. We can’t guarantee that we will post regularly, but we will do our best to write interesting posts. Thank you so much to those of you who take the time to read this! We also look forward to getting back to reading our community’s blogs.
One of the places we found on our Idaho solar eclipse vacation was the cabin built by Johnny Sack located at Big Springs. The cabin was located only a few miles from the house we were staying at in Island Park, ID. There is parking for the cabin at the Big Springs campground off of Highway 20. There are signs that will get you to the campground. There is an easy path to walk from the parking lot to the cabin.
Johnny Sack was an immigrant from Germany in the late 1800s. He and his brother ended up in Idaho because they wanted to work with cattle. Sack had been a cabinet maker and worked for Studebaker making wagons. The skills learned in those occupations would help him build his cabin.
In 1929, Sack leased land from the Forest Service for $4.15 a year. Three years later he would build start to build his cabin on this land. It took him about 3 year to build the cabin, because he built it entirely by hand. He even built the furniture that is in the cabin.
After his death in 1957, the cabin passed to his sisters. In 1963, his sisters sold the cabin to the Kipp family who used it as a summer home for some years. There were originally other cabins located near by that people used for summer homes, though Johnny lived in his cabin year round. The forest service decided they had made a mistake in allowing those cabins to be built since the ground underneath is volcanic. Apparently, there is no way to create proper drainage in this area. Thankfully, the Kipp family was able to get the cabin turned into an historical site. This is truly a beautiful building and it would be a shame if it had been torn down.
Johnny in particular did beautiful work using the bark of the trees as decoration. In the pictures below, you will be able to see how that bark is used.
The cabin is located next to Big Springs. Johnny built a water mill at the spring that he used for electrical power.
The spring is constantly streaming water, in fact, it pumps out 120 million gallons of water a day. What a perfect place to put a water mill.
The spring itself is also incredibly beautiful. There are many animals that make it their home. We saw trout, muskrat, and ducks on our trip.
This is a great location to spend a few hours if you are in the area. We went here in the morning, and then drove up Sawtell Peak later in the day, so it is possible to do this will visiting other locations in the area. I would highly recommend checking this spot out if you are in the area.
About 2 years ago, Lynn started to talk about the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. If we had the opportunity, she wanted to go to an area with 100% totality. Last year in August, we started to get serious about going to the eclipse. Even then it was difficult to find a place to rent to stay in the area we wanted to go because of cost and availability. With our large family, a hotel would be much too expensive, renting an RV was not an option, so a vacation rental through VRBO was the way to go for us. We were able to find a house to rent in Island Park, Idaho. It was about 30 minutes away from the 100% totality area, and about 40 minutes away from the area with over 2 minutes of complete totality. We figured we would rent the house, and then find a decent place to drive to observe the eclipse.
We left Friday the 18th of August around 7pm from our home in San Diego County. We drove through the night and met my parents in Beaver, Utah. They had left earlier Friday morning so they wouldn’t have to drive through the night. We arrived in Island Park about 5pm Saturday. The distance we traveled was about 1050 miles, but we did make some fairly long stops.
On Sunday, we drove around Rexburg, Idaho and Ashton, Idaho, both towns being in the 100% totality area, including going to church. There were farmers who had harvested their crops in fields along the Highway 20 and were allowing visitors to camp in those fields for a fee. There were also farmers who had fields with KEEP OUT on hay bales. If I had a field that had not been harvested yet, I definitely would not want anyone trampling my crops!
On August 21st or Eclipse Day, there were also people who parked along the pullouts off of the freeway who may have come up just for the few hours it would take to view the eclipse.
We did not have a definite plan for Eclipse Day because we weren’t quite sure where exactly we would be able to go to watch. We knew that there were going to be many, many people in the area that day and were unsure where parking would be available. Josh preferred to be where there would be less people.
We told the pastor of the church we were visiting about the reason for our visit to the area (Total solar eclipse, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons) and he and his wife were extremely generous and invited us to their home for Eclipse Day, which was located in the zone of on totality with a duration of 2 minutes!
On Eclipse Day morning, we probably should have left earlier because of traffic, but we left a little later and arrived at the pastor’s house at 10:15 AM, right at the beginning of the partial eclipse.
Josh, my father-in-law, and I all had cameras set up to photograph the eclipse through partial phase and totality. None of us are expert photographers, but we tried to photograph it anyway.
I do have to say that none of the pictures you see online of a total solar eclipse can compare to seeing one in person. There is also a huge difference between a partial solar eclipse and a total solar eclipse. At our vacation rental, coverage was 99.4% but even that was not enough to experience totality.
Experiencing totality was not even close to what I was expecting. I knew it would get cold, I knew about the darkness, I knew that I might go a bit crazy trying to do too many things in two minutes. But for me, the highlight was looking up at the sun during totality and seeing the black hole where the sun should be and the delicate ribbons and streamers of the sun’s corona. It was beautiful and alien at the same time, and most likely is something that I will never see again.
The horizon around us took on the light of sunset/sunrise. The air turned cold, shadows became sharper, like sitting in the lights of a football stadium at night. You can see, but everything looks slightly faded, like looking at a sepia photo. We could hear cheering from fellow eclipse watchers in the neighborhood.
Then, totality ended and the sun and normality returned.
One thing that struck me about the eclipse: it is silent. There is no fanfare when totality begins and there is no taps when it ends. There is nothing you can do but watch and experience and admire. You are only an onlooker in this dance between the sun and the moon.
After the eclipse, life went on. We ate lunch with the pastor and his family, left around 3:30 PM for our vacation rental, took a detour to see a waterfall called Mesa Falls, and didn’t get back to the house until about 6:45 PM. A 50 mile trip took us close to 3 hours because of traffic.
In spite of the traffic, it was worth it to experience this once in a lifetime event. Though, if we have a mind to, I suppose we could try to make it to the next total solar eclipse in the US, which will be on April 8, 2024, in seven years!
P.S. We took many more pictures and videos during the eclipse. Hopefully, we will get a post up soon with all of those. They need to be processed, edited, or reduced to be posted. Thank you so much for reading!