Monday, March 11, 2013

Morsels: Elephants, Poop, and more

Morsels:  tiny bits of goodness from the past week or so....

This past weekend I participated in the MidCoast 1/2 Marathon in Hope, Maine--about 25 minutes from here.  The official race was cancelled due to low registration but a handful of hardy souls turned out for the fun run, with donations going to the Hope Elephants.  The race was Hard.  It should be called the "Hope I finish" 1/2 marathon because not more than a 1/4 mile of it was flat.  The hills were killer.  I'm still sore now, two days later.  

But, while the race was less than enchanting, the elephants were AMAZING.  I've always loved elephants (who doesn't?) and seeing these beauties, Rosie and Opal, and hearing Jim talk about how intelligent they are was fascinating.  His love for them is infectious. I suspect an elephant project may be in the wings for my kiddos.  We were all entranced.  

photo by Wylie

Last week had a tiny winter adventure (similar to last year's).  We used to get out and have these winter walks frequently, and now that Kale can navigate the snow more easily I think they'll become more of a routine.  We tracked some deer and turkey, and while never glimpsing the beasts themselves (no surprise) we found plenty of evidence that they'd recently visited.


 Kale asked to see the picture of the deer poop several times throughout the walk, and was thrilled each time we found more.  We also found this unidentified poop, in a small shelter that kids had built. It looks like porcupine to me, but we didn't see any other evidence.  We'll have to go back soon and look for more clues.    Its fun to think of a little creature settling into their fort to get out of the elements during a storm.  

We also found these strange marks on a small patch of alders--some kind of disease I assume, though we've yet to look it up.  Any thoughts?


Kale:  "Come see my Lego, its awesome, and its really cool, and its awesome."
photo by Rob

Every Monday we swim at the YMCA.  The kids love it, and it makes a huge difference in their swimming strength to be able to swim all winter.  I'm hoping this summer everyone will be out of the drowning stage.  Kale has always love to swim, but now he is truly doing it.  He can swim a good 5-6 feet underwater to or from the edge of the pool.  His only trouble is he doesn't know how to come up for a breath.  We're working on that.  For now he pushes off, swims until I think he probably needs a breath, I lift him gently while inhales calmly, then he's back under swimming again.  He went across the pool and back like this.  Its really amazing to see.  Juniper did a lot of early swimming, but most of it looked more like drowning until she came up smiling and proud.  But Kale is relaxed and clearing floating, kicking a bit and pulling with his arms--enjoying the sensation all around.  I get a lot of comments from other parents of toddlers/preschoolers in the pool and usually feel the need to clarify that it is just who he is (lest they pressure their own baby too soon).  I always add that my 9 yr. old is just swimming this year.  
These kids are who they are, and mostly I think we have very little to do with it.  But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't proud.  Plus its so damn cute.  

Inspired by a friend's recent Cub Scout derby Wylie came home and built his own racer.  It's a piece of strapping, with Lego wheels screwed on, and electrical tape for aerodynamics.  He says the popsicle sticks are for balance.  There's also a rock in there for weight.  He challenged me to a race, so I whipped up a snazzy Lego car (no photo) and it was pretty close.  Mine won for distance, but his was faster and way more official looking.  

With the recent warming (up to 50 today in the sun!) we were able to harvest these carrots that overwintered in the cold frame.  It was a tiny harvest, what you see here is pretty much it, but they were sweet little guys.  Quite a few of the others were rotting and had to be pitched to the chickens.  I was really lazy about garden chores last fall and didn't mulch these with anything, which I'm sure would have done the trick to prevent them from freezing.  With these out of the way we're hoping to get some early greens going.  I can't wait for fresh baby spinach! 


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