Sunday, July 16, 2017

ADK Club and Ausable Water Stewardship Trip

Today was the day! I rousted everyone out of bed early and we got on the road to drop Maddie off for the ADK Club and Ausable Aquatic Stewardship Program for the week. She will be learning about watersheds, taking water samples and learning about macroinvertebrates.

The ADK Loj where the kids met up with the instructors. They will be staying in lean tos for the week! 

It doesn't look it here but she truly is excited!! 

Brian and I were able to met Seth and Matt(? I think that was his name...poor guy!) when we dropped Maddie off and they were both great guys. The funny part is that Maddie has on her Camp Fowler shirt and Seth said "Hey! Wait a minute! I never heard of that place until last week! We shared a campsite with some teens on a trip from Camp Fowler. I had my own group of teens." so that was a very cool thing right off the bat. This is only the 3rd year they have offered this camping trip/class combination and Seth explained it had started in memory of a friend of his who worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a aquatic biologist. They want to get kids excited about that in her memory. Then Seth asked where we were from and when we gave him that answer he said "Hey! I know someone from there. She worked here for a while but now she is being a forester intern up North." so its a small world. 2 connections in less than 15 minutes. Shortly after that we took off to let Maddie have some breathing space but remembered part way down the driveway that she may want the portable chair we packed in the car. We turned back around and when I got out of the car to go in and ask she met me at the door with a HUGE grin on her face...much better than the one in the picture so I am glad we went back! And the answer was no, she didn't want the chair, only 2 other people had brought chairs and she had enough to carry already. She can flop down on the edge of the lean to or on an erratic..all good!

Then Brian and I headed off on our own excursion and took a nature walk at the Brewster Peninsula Nature Trails. 

So many mushrooms! It has been so wet lately...

Indian Pipes!

Huge mushroom...I wasn't kidding about the wet!!

Cool bridge and we did walk over it! Brian went to step out on it then turned back to me and said "STAY IN THE MIDDLE!" Hmmm.....

West Lake Placid

Looking off the other side of the bridge

My favorite guy!

Whiteface Mountain in the distance!

That was fun then we did the touristy thing and went into Lake Placid to check it out and have lunch. We decided during this trip that if we win the lottery our house will be on the other side of the Adirondacks away from the tourists!! The odds of this happening are so slim we might as well dream...I mean one actually needs a ticket to win.

We suspect this is trucked in from the ice rink.....

The high jumps from the Olympics! This is from the road.

And now we are home! Brian will be going back later in the week to pick up our camping scientist and see how her trip was! 

Monday, July 3, 2017

5 Rivers trip

Today we went down to 5 Rivers Environmental Center to visit a pond. This is the theme of the month in the Mud Puddles Nature Lab so we got right into it! It was an excellent trip! Maddie found 3 trees she doesn't have in her tree identification book: white willow, shagbark hickory and horse chestnut. 

New Visitor Center

Maddie talking with a barred owl. He liked her but did not like it when Brian and I came over too! 

white willow

We took off down the Old Field Trail but didn't see much beyond trees and bees until we reached the pond. I noticed a turtle sunbathing. Turned out to be a painted turtle then a Great Blue Heron came down and landed on a log which set off all the frogs! 

Its hard to see but the blue heron is over there on the log! I promise!
Then a green backed heron came and landed on this log right next to us. He is there I promise! I was trying to stay out of Little Owl's way!!

14 (not all in this picture!) Canada Geese then came parading by!
They looked like they had come to play! I think the parents were perhaps giving beginning flying lessons because they kept swimming about like they were going to take off when they were diving under!

After we watched them for a bit and the herons flew off we continued around to the other side of the pond. There we were able to get down closer to the pond and found frogs and frog eggs!

Can you find the frog?

The white floating things are eggs! 
Then we continued back to the car with no more eventful sightings and headed for home! It was a good day!!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Curriculum for Freshman Year!

So here we go with high school! Or, in a classical education, the Rhetoric Stage. Time to argue...oh joy!

Rhetoric is going to take a large part in Maddie's writing in the coming years. She will be asked to write papers to support her opinions and hypothesis. We will also, of course, continue to practice grammar and work on expanding her vocabulary as those skills will only help with writing! I think the politicians better watch out knocking on our door over the next few years. They thought I was bad...I don't think they've seen anything yet!

All the books to help with writing and rhetoric. 
History and reading are now linked together as "History and Great Books". We are back to the ancients again this year. Maddie will read through the main history spine, The History of the Ancient World keeping track of important people, dates and events. We will also be doing geography to go along with it. Then she will read books from the ancients too! We are starting with The Epic of Gilgamesh. Before we read each book we need to do research on the person who wrote the book and the time period it was written. Then we read the book while taking notes. After we have read the book Maddie will write a summary of it. The Well Trained Mind has a list (long!) of suggested books and said to do at least 8 books, 10 would be better and 12 would be outstanding! I looked at the list of books for this year and told Maddie we would aim for 8 and be happy with 6 if we can manage it. These are books I hadn't even heard about and I am quite sure many adults haven't read! So Maddie picked 10 and we will see how we do. Here are the ones she chose: The Epic of Gilgamesh, Iliad and Odyssey, Oedipus the King, Agamemnon, The Histories by Herodotus, Medea, The History of the Peloponnesian War, On the Nature of Things, The Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, and On the Incarnation.

Science this year will be biology. We are going to work through the main spine..the big book that says Biology adding in labs as we go. Maddie is also going to use the Biology Coloring Book to help reinforce what she is working on. It sounds like fun and I think it will be fun but the book is serious. Specific colors for specific things so Maddie can start to see how things relate as she goes along! Then during the second and third quarter she is going to work on a long research project so we have the STEM book to help us out with that. She has already started banging around topics...hmmm...maybe I could do trees? an animal? evolution? Hmmmm.... She is also supposed to read some books in her field of study this year so she picked (from the list in the Well Trained Mind) Darwin's Origin of Species and Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.

We are changing up the math programs this year to Math U See which has a DVD for lessons, worksheets to complete about different concepts and manipulative to help the student "see" the concept. Brian and I will be doing the lessons right along with Maddie so we will all be learning (or re-learning!) algebra together! We will also use Life of Fred again because he puts the concepts into real life situations. Probably a Barron's review book for the NYS regents will come into play as well.
All the materials!

Maddie working out the Pythagorium theorem with the manipulatives 
Maddie will continue with both Latin and Spanish. Latin will be The Big Book of Latin volume 2 which is on a disc and we print out the pages as we go. She will be doing Spanish on a website called Duolingo. The best part of that one is that, for the moment, its free!

Art Appreciation is another short course for this year. We will be using The Annotated Mona Lisa for that. And she will continue with guitar.

We also got a 4H book called STEPS to a healthy teen to help cover the health requirement. This looks like fun though and we think she will enjoy it...or at least find it bearable! 

So that is Freshman year so far! I think its more than enough to be getting along with on our end! School is starting August 7 for us if you call after that date and we don't answer our nose is probably in a book.......

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Look Out Cornell...Here Comes Maddie!

Maddie is off for Career Explorations this morning at Cornell! She was disappointed about needing to do University U again but happy to be going any way!

Daddy likes to photobomb....

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Forestry at Landis

Yesterday we drove over to Landis Arboretum to practice some of Maddie's forestry skills. She has offered to take the kids in a younger 4H group on a walk/hike around the property a bit to introduce them to tree identification and we needed a good route. We found one! The route we found has Ironwood right in the middle (the trunk of this tree feels like someone is flexing their muscle) and ends with a black or sweet birch(this one smells like wintergreen or root beer depending on the person smelling it!). So there will be 2 really fun trees right at good spots to keep their attention.

There were sculptures scattered about this time. I don't recall those from previous visits but the T-Rex is brand new so maybe my attention was just not drawn to them like it was this time!

Brian and Maddie tried to identify trees at the very beginning but it turned out most of them were native to China so there wasn't a whole lot they could identify! However they did generally get at least in the ballpark--its a birch, its a fruit tree etc.

I was trying to take a picture of the quilt on the barn.....

These were cones on the contorted blue spruce (this I would never have known if Landis didn't have it on their facebook page). The cones were magenta! They were really neat!!

Then we went off into the woods to see what we could find without labels on things. One of the first things we heard when we entered the wooded area was a barred owl! We stayed very quiet for a bit but he only called onec. Maddie did really well she kept saying "Oh! This is a ______, Here is how I know!" I was having her practice explaining to us how to identify the tree so she has it in mind when she has a gaggle of 7-9 year olds in tow.

Then we got to a stand of evergreens and hardwoods mixed together and we got out the Biltmore stick. Brian ordered a diameter tape so we can be sure that we are using the stick right! First Maddie measured with the Biltmore stick then double checked herself with the tape. Now we just have to figure out the darn height--board feet--measuring and we will be all set with that!

Trying height measurement
Then we came out by the really old oak trees and headed back down the hill to the car. It is so pretty there!

There is a bluebird on the left side of this sculpture. Maddie snuck up taking photos!

When we got back to the parking lot 2 ladies were all set up painting. We stopped to talk to them for a minute and one asked Maddie if she could see her bluebird photo. It was too hard to see on the small screen in the sun though. We enjoyed their paintings!!

We will be going back here again and again this summer I think! Maddie wants to keep practicing and its a good spot for that.