October 30, 2005
October 27, 2005
Snow? We're still looking for foliage
Friday morning Wildcat Mountain in New Hampshire - near Mount Washington - opened for this year's ski season.
Wow. October. I'm still trying to enjoy the foliage....
There was some debate in our house about maybe trying to find time to break out the snow boards for a quick trip to to the mountain this weekend. The novelty of boarding in October was appealing. But even with the extra hour for daylight savings, there wasn't time in the schedule to get away.
Instead, we went hiking at Bald Pate Mountain in South Bridgton. We found a nice view of the snow-capped Mount Washington from the summit of Bald Pate.
The foliage from the summit was pretty too...
October 22, 2005
Where in the world is Flat Blossom?
It continues to be all about Flat Stanley at our house this fall. We just received an email with some photos of Flat Blossom (our Flat Stanley's "sister") from her host family in Texas. Turns out she went to Tuesday night's World Series game in Houston. The host family was disappointed their home team didn't end up winning the game (or the series), but it sounded as if it was quite a game. Flat Blossom stayed until the very end, all 5 hours and 41 record-breaking minutes of it apparently.
This Flat Stanley project the kids are involved with reminds me a little of Carmen Sandiego ... sans the TV show.
Actually, the photos and letters my kids receive from their hosts about their flat's adventures are amazing - much better than anything on TV.
October 21, 2005
We have two new geocaching Travel Bugs to track now, Hiking Doggie and Annika the Hiker.
Some friends in New Zealand recently started geocaching and agreed to "release" our Travel Bugs on the island nation.
They put Hiking Doggie into the Falstaf cache in Auckland.
How far is he from our home coordinates?
October 17, 2005
Look at that river!
On Wednesday the kids and I were driving through West Buxton near the dam on the Saco River. We were all awed by the force of the water there.
When we got home I wondered what the typical water discharge at this dam was for this time of year. The USG updates daily information on the flow, height, water and air temperatures.
Turns out the median daily stream flow based on 88 years on record is around 1,000 cubic feet per second (red triangles). The day we took these pictures it was almost 15,000 cfs (blue line).
And of course, L. never misses a photo op with her Flat Stanleys.
October 14, 2005
What's a duck to do?
Yesterday the kids wanted to make a stop at Deering Oaks Park to take a photo of the Flat Stanley they are currently hosting (this one is from Oregon). But to my 7-year-old's horror, the duck house in the pond was missing!
October 16, 2005 photo
August 2005 photo
"Where are the ducks going to sleep?" G. asked.
L. was really bummed out, "The poor ducks! They don't have a home!"
It looked to me as if the Public Works Department might have brought the duck house in for some routine maintenance since the pond was partially drained. But that didn't make the kids any happier.
"I hope the ducks fly south soon. They are going to be cold without their house."
October 10, 2005
Something to ponder on a rainy day
Yesterday the kids woke up and complained about another cloudy day.
"When is it gonna be sunny?" G. asked me.
Unfortunately, not anytime soon.
So the kids started singing the age-old nursery rhyme to lament the lousy weather:
The old man is snoring
He got into bed
And bumped his head
And couldn't get up in the morning
"How did he bump his head mommy?" L., my 7-year-old asked.
"You know, I never thought about that. I don't know."
"Maybe he had a bunk bed and bumped his head on that just like we do."
Something to ponder on yet another dreary day in Maine....
October 07, 2005
A rushing river surprise..
The kids' 4-H group had planned to look for a geocache on Sunday afternoon near the Saco River in Limington. I know there was a lot of weekend rain but I had no idea how flooded the river area would be. It was pretty low when I drove by it on Thursday. The leaves were just starting to change so I actually stopped and took a photo that day.
This is the river on Sunday afternoon. I couldn't even get to the rocks I stood on a couple of days before (where the kayaker is standing) so had to settle for a shot about 50 yards away on the main shore.
I guess this is what 7 inches of rain looks like. And we're still counting.... I guess the only ones happy about that are those crazy kayakers.
Our flat lived through Katrina
We sent Flat Blossom (one of our flat stanleys - we have a couple of different flats that travel) to a family in New Orleans about a week before Katrina hit. We had emailed the family a few times after the hurricane to see how they were but never heard back from them. There wasn't any other way to contact the family since we didn't know much about them. We hoped they were OK and assumed Flat Blossom wouldn't be making it back home to Maine. Obviously there were much more important things for that family to deal with.
But today, to my complete surprise, we received an email from Flat Blossom's host family:
Flat Blossom is all on the way home. She is tired of hotel life and is looking forward to being reunited with her family. She was very patient and well behaved. Please let me know when she arrives home.
Karen now in Memphis, TN
I'll post Flat Blossom's story about her trip to New Orleans and Memphis when she arrives home.
October 06, 2005
Learning about trees
I am no naturalist and can't identify any kinds of plants or trees on the hiking trail except for poison ivy. So in an attempt to broaden our horizons, this fall my family decided to join the Maine Tree Club organized by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the Maine Forest Service and the Pine Tree Arboretum.
But for those not interested in the 2-year program, there's an upcoming tree class being taught by the City of Portland Parks and Recreation Department, the Maine Forest Service and UMaine Extension Master Gardeners.
The class, geared for children ages 4 through 11 and their families, is "The Wonder of Trees." The two-session course will be held 10 a.m. to noon on Oct. 15 and Oct. 22 in Portland. Participants will learn how to identify trees, learn about tree parts and functions, and discover the value and importance of trees.
My husband is trying to re-work his schedule to take the class with the kids because even with the tree fact worksheets, identifying trees is a lot more challenging than it first appears to be.
Our first tree "lesson" at home (which we're doing on our own until our Tree Club notebooks arrive) focused on trees with needles, also called coniferous or evergreen trees. There are four major trees in Maine with needles and are fairly easy (even for me) to tell apart - White Pine, Red Spruce, Eastern Hemlock and Balsam Fir.
The kids went out and collected samples in our back yard and it turned out we had all four evergreens on hand.
The kids are starting to feel like experts with the "confer trees" or "those trees with the needles." They might be able to tell a Balsam Fir from an Eastern Hemlock now but we're still working on learning to pronounce the tree vocabulary.
Loved your cache trade Anne and Joe
We were checking out a geocache yesterday and found a great trade from Anne and Joe of Durham. Definitely the most clever we've seen in our 8 months of geocaching so far.
The card says "Wandering - losing our marbles along the way."
Thanks "TwoMaineiacs" for giving us a new idea for trades. All geocachers should be so clever....