Today was a blustery warm (and sometimes rainy) day. After lunch we took the dog out for a walk, watching crows sweep by overhead in the wind, and the tree branches sway. The kids collected a lot of leaves, different kinds and colors, and when we got back to our yard I had them play a game. I picked out leaves and asked if they could find the same kind of tree in our yard. Sugar maple, willow oak, sweet gum, Chinese chestnut, dogwood, pecan.
We talked, too, about the differences between leaves. I pointed out that the difference between hydrangea and dogwood leaves were mostly on the edge: ‘serrated’ vs. smooth. Later I gave boy a tulip poplar leaf and asked him if he could find the right tree in the Sibley guide (putting him in the right section, though).
We had started the morning by sketching a family tree, and talked a little bit about some pictures of our long-ago relatives that my Great Uncle posted for us yesterday, and I read them what he’d told us about them. We talked a little about pioneers, and sod houses. After that we watched a short animated film about Sacagawea, and talked a little about how important she was, and how strong and smart and brave. We talked about how Lewis and Clark kept notebooks, but Sacagawea didn’t read or write, and that most Native languages at that time weren’t written, and so she kept everything she knew in her head.
Later that afternoon while I was making dinner Boy drew a chicken-operated chicken robot that could walk over land, float in water, and fly through the air. It has egg-storage capabilities and is armed with guns. Boy said it was so that chickens could escape and defend themselves against farmers. He asked me to write a note from chickens on the back.
Girl also drew such a robot, and asked me to write on her pages for her.
Apparently they were inspired by the plight of the chickens in the movie Chicken Run (made by the Wallace and Grommit people), which concerns the escape of chickens from a farm that is switching business models from eggs to chicken pot-pies. The escaped chickens make a new home for themselves in the wild.
This evening before bed I read the section in The New Way Things Work on internal combustion engines to Boy. After that he directed me back to the beginning, the part about ramps, and asked me to clarify something he’d read. We decided we would just start reading the book from the beginning.