Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cheesie's fieldtrip

On Thursday Cheesie and I went on a fieldtrip with her class. She was very excited because it was the first time I was able to go with her.  After a couple hours on a bus (with a camera to entertain ourselves, as well as our knitting), Cheesie was ready for fun.

We boarded a boat with a touch tank, and LOTS of seats for all of the children, and took the 30 minute ride over to Capers Island, a barrier island off of SC. After the boat landed Cheesie learned about barrier islands, and some of the wildlife, and was able to search for shells. Children were taught about how important the shells were to the beach, and limited their search to their 3 favorite.

We hiked up the beach to the boneyard area (I REALLY love these places). Just like Hunting Island, and Bulls Island, the top of this island is being eroded by the long shore current and what used to be a maritime forest is now an interesting display of trees turning gray.

Here is Cheesie with the big whelk that she found. She kept this one and brought it home. She also found two scallop type shells that a boring sponge got to and left a hole in the top for a necklace.

A beautiful little marsh on the island.... we watched the fiddler crabs, and saw an egret.

On the way back we stopped and picked up a crab trap that had male and female blue crabs, as well as a whelk with it's animal still inside.

Above is the female blue crab. The bottom looks like the dome on the capitol building, a male would have a "washington monument" on the bottom. Below, we are looking at the whelk with the animal in it and learning how it uses its shell to eat clams and filter saltwater.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable trip (even with the VERY strong winds) and I highly recommend it. Cheesie and her classmates learned a lot and will always remember this one.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Last weekend Brian and my mom took T-Rex and Blondie to a Civil War reenactment at Historic Brattonsville. Generally students from around the state head there for fieldtrips, but we thought it would be a great way for Blondie to "see" history and help her later this year, and it qualified as a cultural event for T-Rex. AND.... let's be real, it gave mom and Brian an excuse to take a whole lot of pictures.

T-Rex thought this guy was a hoot. He let her dress up as one of the soldiers, and handed her his gun. Then he figured she needed a cigar to complete the picture.
While Blondie thought the guns and cannons were pretty cool. She even decided to buy a rebel hat (I'll have to reflect on that one).

Blondie did find it rather hysterical that when the men were "shot" on the battlefield, many of them continued to drink their water and smoke their cigars. She told me that she figured they could act better than the pic below demonstrates and lie still. I had to remind her how hot it probably was for them out in that field with all those wool coats on.

By the end of the day Blondie was pooped, but came home quite happy, and ready to tell me all about it.

Camping at Hunting Island

I took the older girls and friends camping to Hunting Island (well, we camped nearby). We left Saturday (Oct. 15th) and returned the next day. The girls should have planned it more, but because we were having difficulties all being in the same place on the same day, it mostly fell to me and my friend Angela. We decided to go check out Hunting Island State Park, and spent most of the day there. We went down to the boneyard area (because HONTESTLY, it is the most beautiful place in the world) and the girls had a ball climbing around the "fallen warrior" trees.
Here, they all crossed a fallen tree to climb up and see the ocean.
Group picture
Then we headed over to the main beach. I talked to them about the erosion and efforts to slow it on this barrier island, caught a ghost crab, moved upwind from a dead horseshoe crab, and looked for shells and shark teeth.
After the beach we crossed the street (and drove about a mile) to the marsh access. We ate a quick, tailgating lunch, and walked the boardwalk out to the hammock. As always, the fiddler crabs were delightful (although not as many were out due to the tide).If you're able to watch the video, you can hear the sound they make scurrying along.
video to come
As always, the best way to view fiddler crabs is on your stomach.
We raced back to the campgound, paid, and then immediately left to meet up with Angela's sister Kristen. She and her husband offered to take the girls crabbing and shrimping. We drove out to a tidal creek in their neighborhood, and were soon catching crabs. It was essentially a giant safety pin on a string, with a chunk of chicken on the end. When you felt the crabs tugging you carefully pulled them up and scooped them up in the net.
I think everyone ended up catching at least one, because as a group, we caught around 21.
After crab fishing for a bit, the girls learned to throw a shrimp net. We would only catch one or two at a time because we weren't really in the right place, but the girls had a great time trying. I think they had the best time daring each other to pop off the heads and tails...... then wipe their hands on each other.
After catching crabs, you have to cook them (they were champs at dropping the blue crab into boiling water), and peel them. We were very thankful to have Tab show them which parts to eat and which to toss. They all jumped in, and quickly realized how much work it is for just a little bit of crabmeat.
Then back to the campground, set up your own tents, make fettucini to go with the crab and shrimp, and then jump into tents to chat for a bit (after smores and banana boats of course)
BUT beware the dreaded green caterpillar that stings two folks for sitting on them (note to self.... those anti-sting wipes made a world of difference between the welts of the two victims - one who used the wipe, and one who waited). Someday the caterpillar will be a beautiful IO moth, but on that night it was NOT well received.

Oct. 16- State Fair

While I was in Hunting Island with the big girls, Brian took the younger girls to the State Fair.

Just by looking at the photos.....


Pig Racing

I think I missed a really great day, but I'm thrilled he got to spend it with them.