Showing posts with label Drumlin Farm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Drumlin Farm. Show all posts

Learning about Climate Change on Groundhog Day with Fun Facts about Groundhogs & Craft Round-Up


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Did you see the Groundhog Day video I shared on Facebook? It is the annual Groundhog Day video of Ms. G, the official groundhog of Massachusetts. I like watching this video more than Punxsutawney Phil. One Ms. G is closer to me and has weather more like mine. Two, she isn't surrounded by all the news cameras with the extra lights to make shadows. Plus I love how they share a bit about groundhogs, animals and more. She lives at Mass Audubon's Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary. We loved visiting Drumlin Farm when Hazel was young. In the video they say Groundhog Day is also Climate Action Day. So today I'm going to share some fun facts about groundhogs with a small craft round-up and share with you a new book about climate change. We all need to be aware of climate change and take action to help stop/slow it. 

School Vacation Week--Welcome Spring!

So on top of Monday's horrible tragedy, it is school vacation week here and spring has definitely sprung. We have not had many crafts to post since our focus has been on getting outside and at night I have been processing all that has happened (and working on her knitted farm playmat which is almost finished!!). I thought I would share a few pictures from our activities this week. (I know I still haven't done my Cinderella post this week, but am working on it!)

On Monday our day was spent going to the doctor's office--yes Hazel still has a cold and getting Hazel's dance class photo taken. A busy tiring day, but not much to show for it.

On Tuesday Hazel took a class at Drumlin Farm with her best friend from school. Now her friend's mom and I started with them, but parents were not suppose to be there. I didn't get many pictures since I explained to Hazel that moms were not allowed and she was all right with it, her friend however did not feel the same so his mom got a few pictures for me. I went off to the gift shop and then checked out the animals so I would know if we wanted to see them all later and then found a quiet place to sit and knit. The class was on cold-blooded animals so they were ponding a bit.
After their class ended we had a picnic lunch and then went to check out all the animals including the 12-day-old piglets. Hazel and her friend found a door open to an empty chicken coop, so they hopped in and his mom took a picture of them caged.
Then we did Hazel's favorite thing--the hay ride.
Then we bought farm fresh eggs and went to the gift shop. I promised Hazel she could get two gifts since she had been so good at the class without me. This class was meant to be a test run for both of them to see how they would do with each other and not us. Hazel passed and her friend did not (but he did not have a good night the night before so that might be why). While in the gift shop I bought more bird seed as well so his mom went to get the car instead of us carrying the huge bags the distance to the parking lot. (Drumlin Farm is a Mass Audubon location.)
Near the gift shop was one of the few places you can eat due to the working farm and health violations, so the kids enjoyed their M&M's from lunch while we waited.

Today was one of those wonderful spring days that got close to 70 without quite reaching it. We had to take the cats to the groomers and run a few errands, but we spent the afternoon outside. First we went to check on the flowers (see collage near top) and vegetables we planted. We watered some and noticed the English daisy looked dug up so we replanted it and gave it lots of water. Then Hazel watered her pansies. Then we headed to her garden to check on the lettuce--looks like the rabbit found it and snap peas and pansies. The basil was planted a bit too early, so we will have to get more. Oh, and Hazel watered the tomato plants that are in the garage still since it is over a month too early to plant them outside here. Then it was time to play!
Hazel took a little rest on her bench at the swingset and then went on the swings. A neighbor across the street brought her three-year-old granddaughter over since her granddaughter wanted to meet Hazel and they played for a bit. Overall it was a fun day!

For those looking to help with the horrific tragedy in Boston, CNN has a good list of ways anyone can help.

Our Tuesday: Cooking, Nature and Play

This morning Hazel announced she wanted pancakes for breakfast. In other words, she wanted to cook. So we made some. We had some very ripe bananas that I wanted to do something with so I gave three of them to Hazel to mash. Then I gave her an egg to beat. We mixed with the egg, the bananas, a pureed carrot, 1 cup of skim milk, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Next we mixed the dry ingredients in a separate bowl: 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/3 cup ground almond meal, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 cup oatmeal. Then we poured the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and threw in a cup of blueberries. Mixed it well and then cooked the pancakes.
Hazel even helped scoop a couple into the pan, though she is very afraid of the hot stove. She really enjoys cooking with me.
Then we headed to Drumlin Farm for our last class this spring. Today we focused on all the senses for the end. This included popping popcorn since all five senses are used: hear it pop, smell it, touch it, see it and taste it. The kids enjoyed eating it. Then the class visitor was brought out. It was an opossum! The opossum is the only marsupial in North America and fifty years ago you would not find them this far north, but they have migrated with their food.
Our instructor, Alex, told us all about opossums. They only have babies inside of them for two weeks and then they are born the size of a bean. The babies then go into a pouch on the mother's stomach and live there until they are big enough. Their nipples are located inside the pouch (this is also true of kangaroos).
They also cannot hang by their tail. Their tails are not that strong. They do use them for balance and help, but they climb and hang by their claws. You can see in the picture below how big their claws are.
This opossum was in some sort of a fight and has a flattened and injured nose, which is why she lives at the Mass Audubon. They also had an opossum skin to pass around for the kids (and moms) to feel how soft they were. We also think she could smell the popcorn we popped. She kept trying to climb the plexiglass and sniff.
Instead of a craft today we got to go on the hay ride. Hazel enjoys this even if she won't smile for a picture. She also wanted to wear her binoculars we made earlier in the class. She came out with them on and said she was wearing them so she could see things better today. After this we took a walk to the top of the drumlin. We had never been there before and had a good time. On our way back we saw the model long house they made during the summer camp last year. The kids loved it.
It reminded me of the fort we want to make for Hazel. Of course this is much bigger than what we are planning. For those who do not know, the long house was the housing of the Iroquois and many of the tribes in New England. (One tribe in Massachusetts is the Wampanoag.) It would be covered with bark or wood and 20-30 people would live in it. They have a really neat complete long house at Plimouth Plantation.
Then we walked by a pond to look for crayfish. We did not see any, but saw a bouncing bug and a neat silver maple growing in the pond.
The kids had fun sitting by the water. They found bugs and just liked watching the water.

Then it was time to say goodbye. A few of us exchanged contact information so we can try to get together this summer. It was really a nice group of kids and moms. We will miss our weekly trips to Drumlin Farm, but will go back again.

After lunch we ran a few errands and then got one of our high school babysitters to play with Hazel so I could have a break and I am using it to write this, but at least this is relaxing.

May Day at Drumlin Farm

Happy May Day!! Last year I made a miniature May pole for Hazel's seasonal table. Not sure where it is now. I will have to look for it later. This morning we made this May Day Basket. I used a printable from Fantasy Jr. Hazel practiced cutting so some of the flowers ended up square and we added some flower stickers we had.
For May Day we went to Drumlin Farm. Here in Massachusetts it was a cold, rainy day. Hazel was excited to see the puddles! We really need the rain so it was good to see it, but not a lot of fun with the cold temperatures.
Puddle Jumping!!
In our class today the focus was on hearing. We got there a bit late due to the horrible traffic in the rain. The visitor was just coming out of her cage when we got there. The visitor today was an American Kestrel, because she makes lots of noise.
Things I learned today: birds have hollow bones which is why they can fly. This bird weighs about the same as the glove our instructor had on to hold her; her ears are located at the top of the thick black stripes behind her eyes. Once again she had kestrel wings for the kids and moms to feel as well as an owl wing. The owls wings are very soft on the edges to help with the silent flight. After our visitor we made a fun craft which is perfect for this week and Cinco de Mayo!! A shaker noise toy out of a toilet paper roll and rice. Staple one end of a toilet paper roll shut. Decorate the outside how you want. Put some rice (amount up to you) and then staple the other end in the other direction to make neat shape.

Then we headed to the chicken house. We timed it well because there was still a hen out for another program so we got to pet it.

Then we got to go into the Staff Only section where the chicks are. We missed the hen house last year so we didn't get to see the chicks last year. They had three chick cages with different ages in each one.

Then we went to see the newest babies on the farm.

Can you imagine having 11 babies? Oh, my!!
My piglet is piglet weight!
Then class was over so we walked over to see Midnight, the pony. Then wanted to check on the seeds we planted last week so we walked through the sheep and goat barn. All the goats and sheep were inside!

We thought this one was in the best spot in the whole farm! Eating and warm!
We checked our swiss chard, but it hadn't sprouted yet. Oh, well. It has been too cold here lately. Then we went to the gift shop to buy some bird seed and headed home.

Farms and Zoos

Broad Tailed Hawk at Drumlin Farm
We are trying, but struggling to get back into our weekly rhythm. With my parents here Monday morning still it seems to have thrown us off a bit. Plus Hazel was up quite a bit Sunday night--I think the excitement of the weekend got to her and now I'm sick as a result. Oh, well.

A Morning at Drumlin Farm

Today Hazel and I started a class at Drumlin Farm. Drumlin Farm is a full operating farm run by the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Our class is called Spring Sense-Sations. It is about using your senses around the farm and seeing what senses the animals use. Last year Hazel and I took a course that was for two-year-olds to introduce them to spring at the farm. Hazel was completely afraid of the animals if we got too close. We will see what happens this year.
He greeted us all when we came to the Turkey House
Our class started in the Turkey House. I don't know why it is called the Turkey House, but it is a building with a classroom. And we did see turkeys right outside. Our first adventure was finding the Turkey House since we had not been there before. When we arrived there was a table set up with all sorts of natural things--pine needles, leaves, coyote teeth, nettles, apple slices, etc. for the kids to use their senses with. Then the instructor talked about what our five senses are and then she introduced us to our guests for the day--three mice. We observed them in a somewhat naturally set-up habitat. She pointed out the size of their feet to their ears versus ours. At this point we had to make a bathroom run where we saw all the turkeys since we didn't notice them coming in since our main concern was finding the Turkey House.
The females turkeys the male was trying to impress
While on the bathroom run we saw our teachers from last year so Hazel was excited about that. She had been asking if we would see them. She did not want to stay inside too much and wanted to get out to see the animals. Next our teacher showed the kids how to make newspaper explorer hats--well ok, all the moms made the hats for the kids. Hazel didn't want one, but I made one anyway. Then we headed out to see the animals.
We saw the goats and the kids. Then we saw some chickens. Hazel was terrified of the chickens last year but couldn't wait to see them this year.
Then we looked at the lambs and sheep and headed to the pig barn. (Sorry I didn't get a picture of Hattie, the pig.)
Then we headed to the red barn to see Midnight, the pony, but he wasn't there. We saw the cows instead.
Then we walked on the Discovery Trail and saw the cows up close. On the Discovery Field they also had cement type makers with labeled foot prints--rabbit, fox, raccoon, etc. Then we headed over to see if we could spy the rabbit. We did! At least if we picked the kids up we all did. She is a good hider.
At this point the class was over. So Hazel and I went to check out the fox and then back to see all the animals and take pictures for you.
The fox was rather quick and I didn't get a great picture of him. Then we went back to the goats. There are kids laying where their food is suppose to go.
We went into the goat/sheep shed.

On the sheep side there was a ram and we saw a sheep eating.
Outside we found more sheep and lambs.
Then we headed to the chicken house. It took Hazel the entire class (7 weeks or so) last year to be willing to enter the chicken house. This year she couldn't wait to get in there.
Then we said hi to the pig, but I didn't get a great picture since she moved outside and there wasn't a good angle of her. And we headed back to the red barn and this time Midnight was there as well as another sheep that apparently did not get shaven over the weekend during their big wool shearing festival.
They also have a room set up to explore about horses. We discovered based on Hazel's height she is a pony---10 hands tall.

And she tried to ride a horse as well as groom one.

They also had a table of the sheared sheep's wool out for the kids to feel. It had not been treated or anything.

Then we headed up to bird hill to check out the birds--mostly the owls and hawks. They keep some of the "wild" animals--birds, rabbits, foxes, etc. that were injured or born into captivity and got too use to being cared for to be released safely.
Great Horned Owl

Sorry the hawks came out way too blurry to post and by this time Hazel was tired and getting cranky so we headed home, but not without stopping to buy the last dozen eggs from the farm.

Talk about colored eggs. Check out all the different ones in here.

Of course the view I got most while walking through the farm with Hazel was this:
her back! She was so excited to be back there!