Thursday, April 06, 2006


Monday was a great, and FULL day for our family. We started off by attending our last week of the African Animals unit with our Science Club. We were able to have Ms. Ramona King come and share some of her amazing African Stories with us. She is a professional Storyteller who has even graced the White House with her talent. I was lucky enough to hear her at the zoo last summer and I knew that she would be the perfect ending to our unit on African Animals. We asked her to present some stories that would bring some of the folklore and magic that seems to embody African Animals and she definitely did. The first was the story of Unanina and the Elephant, or how the elephant became a vegetarian, the second was a great story about a monster (Venginu?) and how the lion, tree frog, anansi, and another who escapes my mind at the moment, used their individual strengths to try to overcome the monster. Wuite a tale!

After our morning with Ms. King we were off to our ten acre lot in the Bosque (riparian forest that surrounds the Rio Grande) to begin our ongoing project to help clean and protect the forest. Today we focussed on underbrush and the cut wood and twigs which line the forest floor. Fire is an ongoing threat here and especially during years like this when we havent had the rain we need and the underbrush becomes a large fire hazard.
We found a great place to work, directly under a tree with two porcupines watching over us from the branches above. They were so cute and would just glance over at us from time to time. What a treat!!! The kids were so robust and energized to help the forest. I was quite surprised by their enthusiasm, especially after having had such a full morning already. They helped load barrel after barrel of wood and carried off at least 8-10 trees that had been cut or fallen. They worked together, hiking up a huge sand hill to remove the wood from the forest area (quite a hike). We all got scratched up and needed breaks every now and again, but they all did a terrific job. They are already looking forward to going again. The hike we did afterwards didnt hurt. We were with Ms. Jodi, one of the Open Spaces Rangers who is helping us get started wit this large project. She took us out onto the sandbar area of the river.

The river moves from bank to bank and grows and shrinks depending on the rain, so there are always these large banks of sand that the river is not currently flowing over. The animals love them and we were able to find evidence of lots of cool things. The kids had a great time running and playing on the sand, and exploring the edge of the water. They found Heron Tracks, raccoon tracks, coyote tracks, bird tracks, dog tracks, and a few we werent too sure of. We also found an old abandoned beaver den. They build their dens in the bank of the river, so when the water
subsides you can see them. This was cool because you dont always get to see these things on a regular day. GM was really fascinated by the leaves and the prints they leave in the sand/dirt. He could have stayed out there for hours just exploring and playing. We will definitely be doing this again soon.

Tuesday was a much quieter day. We had our Science Class at the museum up the road. It was nice this week because another Mother and I have finally found a way to have even the little ones enjoy the hour. Usually ME has to go with me to GD's class, but she isnt old enough to participate so I have to try to juggle helping her to stay happy with helping GD focus onthe expeeriment or project we are doing. It is exhausting. The same with the other Mother ( a friend of ours). So we finally realized that instead of one of us in the K-2 room juggling little ones, and the
other in the 2-4 room; juggling little ones, we would allow the older boys to be alone in the 2-4 class. They do really well and love the class, so focus hasnt been an issue (so far). So she takes the little ones to the toddler area and they get to play and explore all the science stuff at their level. What a relief!!! ME loved it this week, and it really made my time in the K-2 room much easier.

After such a full couple of days, we decided to just chill out inthe afternoon. We basically just played in the yard, watched a movie and relaxed together. It was nice.

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