Pomegranate Harvest

Today while I was feeding the chickens, I noticed that we had a pomegranate split while on the tree. That is usually how I know they are ripe enough to pick.

I had a lot going on today, but I was able to quickly run out and pick them all.

We ended up with 56 pomegranates this year. I believe we had around 20 last year.

Many of them are quite large. I had my nine year old hold a couple near his head to see the size of them.

We have already juiced some of them to use in baking. We are going to make white cupcakes with pomegranate Buttercream frosting and chocolate Bundt cake with pomegranate juice in it.

Pomegranates are very messy when being juiced, and now parts of our kitchen looks like someone has been bleeding there.

We will try to get some cupcake pictures posted later.

-Joshua

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Learning About Science By Growing Radish Seeds: Day 5

I have fallen behind, and this is from Friday’s work.

On this day they used two of the small pots they made earlier. One of the little pots had 12 of the sprouted seeds put in it. This is to show the effects of overcrowding plants.

Another mini pot had 2 sprouted seeds put into it.

So far this has been an interesting experiment. I think it goes over many of the things that people do wrong when planting seeds. Ranging from overcrowding to water issues.

-Joshua

Learning About Science By Growing Radishes: Day 3. Light and no Light.

This is the third post about two of my children’s school science activity. They are growing radish seeds in a variety of conditions to see what happens. This is from Tops Learning Systems.

On day 3 they started an experiment to see how seeds grow with and without light. They put a seeds on a damp paper towel in a clear covered cup. One of the cups has been completely wrapped in foil.

The seeds will be in these cups untouched for 17 days. After which, the boys will see how these conditions affect the growth of the seeds.

-Joshua

Learning About Science By Growing Radishes: Day 1/2

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.

-Joshua

Learning About Science Through Growing Radishes

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.

-Joshua

We Acquired a Chicken

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.

Chicken coop

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.

Chicken egg

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.

-Joshua

Johnny Sack Cabin

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.

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The cabin is located next to Big Springs.  Johnny built a water mill at the spring that he used for electrical power.

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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.

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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.

-Joshua