Since Sickie was feeling slightly better, we decided to go exploring a little before heading home from Missouri.
We hiked down into Greer Spring.Â The woods we walked through were beautiful.Â Then we drove a little way and tried hiking to a few different springs along the same trail.Â We stopped at Blue Spring and tried to walk further, but decided that the ticks won this time and we returned to the car. Even though we checked and double checked everyone before leaving, we still discovered a few on our way home.
The trip home was uneventful.Â We stopped at a few places to stretch and the kids slept or read most of the trip home. We finished reading all but two chapters of Tom Saywer.
Once we got home, we started the fun job of cleaning everything!Â We put our waterlogged camera in a bowl of rice.Â Within a week, it had dried out enough to start working properly again!
A few years ago, Allan found an article about a canoe trip down the Eleven Point River in Missouri.Â He cut it out, thinking it sounded like a great idea.Â When we starting talking about what to do for vacation this year, he remembered the article and we started researching it more.
The kids thought canoing sounded like fun.Â Allan and I knew it would also be challenging.Â Â Five days on canoes with everything we needed in backpacks.Â Â We would need to filter all our water.Â Bathrooms would be scarce. We would sleep in tents no matter the weather.Â There would be bugs and “scary” animals.
We planned for months.Â We dehydrated meals.Â We made gorp and biltong.Â We got the kids ready the best we could.
The day arrived, it was time to go.Â Allan got off work early and we left as soon as we could.Â The next day we got up and drove some more.
Finally we arrived!Â We spent the night at our chosen outfitters.Â We double checked our supplies and repacked our bags.Â We asked more questions.
After a good night sleep, we loaded all of our needs into a van.Â We were driven to our chosen starting point and then dropped off.Â It was time to officially start our canoing trip!
We saw our first hummingbird! We quickly made some sugar water and put our feeders up. Now to relax and watch them enjoy their free meal.
For the last few years, we have been raising butterflies.Â We started out with some Painted Ladies that we had ordered. They were fun, but the caterpillar’s food was premade and they were supposed to stay in the little container they came in until they formed chrysalises.
We learned how to raise monarchs and have raised them from eggs for years. Some years we have raised over a hundred while last year we only raised a few because we could not find eggs or caterpillars.
Audrey decided it was time to do more.Â Last year she collected any caterpillar she could find and learned what she could about it.Â She discovered the Eastern Black Swallowtail.
We learned more than expected.Â Ichneumon Wasps will lay their eggs in the caterpillar.Â They are parasites and will feed on the caterpillar.Â You will not discover the problem until you have a wasp emerge instead of a butterfly from the chrysalis.
A much more fun lesson is that these butterflies overwinter. If put in a safe place during the winter, they will emerge in early spring.Â Audrey put some in the garage this winter. After bringing them inside in April, they are starting to emerge!
This is one of my favorite trees.
We have been on the lookout for spring flowers.Â We find most of them in the woods, but we found a few in our yard and a neighbor’s yard. Our goal was to discover and name as many different types of flowers that we could.
I did not take photographs of all the flowers we found. We have also discovered tulips, Narcissuss, assorted colored violets plus others we did not know the names of.
How many of these have you discovered this spring?
It is officially spring around here.Â Mark and Adrian were outside cleaning up the yard while the girls worked inside. Mark let us know that they found the first snake of the year in our back yard. Everyone went outside to see it, and then the boys tried to catch it.Â It was a very aggressive garter snake, so they decided to leave it alone.
Â I love foggy mornings. The neighborhood looks so different, almost as if I am somewhere else.
We spent the afternoon at the park.Â The sun was out and it was cold, but it was a good afternoon to be outside. While listening to the kids playing on the swings, I walked down to the water.Â I was surprised how much ice there still was.
Hearing some cracking, I thought some animal was walking in the cattails.Â It took awhile before I realized that I was hearing the ice cracking and breaking up! It sounded similar, but different, to when you walk on ice.
Calling the kids to meet me, I asked them what was making the noise.Â Mark was the first to understand what he was hearing.
We played around awhile, experimenting with throwing rocks, testing how thick the ice was and trying to break it without getting wet.Â We laughed at ducks as they swam through the open spots and then broke the ice trying to climb out.Â We explored the different heights of where ice was and admired the patterns they made.
All to soon, someone got cold, and we walked back to the car. We walked slowly, enjoying the cooler weather and breaking as much ice as we could find on the road. It was a wonderful afternoon!