Sunday, March 28, 2010

Farewell, Turkeys!

We had a really fun three weeks with Rose & Thistle Farms' loaner turkey poults. Our friends loaned us three of their hatchling Bronze Turkeys to brood until they were ready for release on the farm. I had no idea these birds would be so social!

When they first arrived (the same day as the book), they looked like this --->

But they grew incredibly quickly on their diet of poultry scratch, parakeet grit, ground flax seed and whatever they could muster in our backyard. The girls enjoyed observing them, particularly our youngest who is ALL about animals. (She wants to raise some mealy worms - anything for a pet!)

From day one, if we weren't in the poults' presence, they had a special call for us. They were particularly vociferous when they were out of our sight and in the open backyard. Initially, we kept them in the "turkey tractor," a movable, bottomless cage, but they outgrew it in a little over a week, so we let them wander the fenced yard freely under our supervision thereafter.

They were fantastic gardening companions, scratching while I dug, particularly fond of the pill bugs and tiny critters they found when I moved piles of old organic material (like the rotted straw pile). Want to nap in the yard with turkeys as your companions? Think again. They don't let you sleep for long before coming to investigate anything shiny on your person: buttons, shoe lace tips, glasses, even hair. PECK!

We were sad to see them go, but they quickly assimilated back with their brethren on the farm and roamed as if they'd never left the place.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Stepping Back in Time - Lompoc Renaissance Festival

This weekend, we enjoyed a family day out at the Lompoc Renaissance Festival. In past, we've enjoyed visiting the AMAZING Colorado Renaissance Festival (complete with its own permanent home with stick-built structures) and the Central Coast Ren Fest (nice, complete with joust, but always so incredibly hot, dusty and crowded). It was time to try out the local fĂȘte, now in its second year.

This festival was super low key. I really liked how accessible the players were. (E was asked to join in the dancing within minutes of our arrival. And we later enjoyed a walk with royalty to the archery field.) And the spring weather made for a marvelous day enjoying the non-stop entertainment on the schedule stage as well as by musicians and players throughout the grounds. Period instrumentalists, vocalists and not-so-period players all presented with purpose here - good, relatively clean (beware the bawdy) fun.

Note to anyone considering attending one of these festivals for the first time: bring cash. We tried to go it cheap, but still managed to spend 80 bucks - that was with the canned food donations to keep our admission fee down and a shared meal between us, one shared treat, one game for each girl and no trinkets to take home (except the gift of a dragon tear for E from one of the Queen's ladies in waiting).

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Friday, March 26, 2010

When Kids Guide Themselves

Last night as we discussed today's proposed activities, E announced that she planned to make a wallet today. OK. Sounds good to me.

Sure enough, after breakfast, morning chores, some work on math, spelling, cursive and creative writing, E turned to her sewing table where she worked for most of the rest of the morning on this project.

I've talked to her about measuring for any given project, but sometimes you just have to learn through your own mistakes. While I gardened and played with V, E worked away, cutting, sewing, ripping and sewing some more. No pattern; just what came to her. I was very surprised at the level of detail she included. This is by far the most detailed utilitarian product she's created so far.

Alas, the pockets were too small for a typical gift card or library card. Rather than allow her to tally it up as a total loss, I explained the concept of prototypes to her. I hope she does return to the project again, sooner rather than later. I AM learning that with things like this, it's best if she does it of her own accord.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Back to the Ball Game

Within the next couple of weeks, both girls will have returned to the soccer field of their own accord. V wanted to go with this recreational class that focuses entirely on skills and skill-related games rather than the head-to-head, official-rules, by-the-book league soccer she experienced last fall. Clearly, she's happy with this arrangement:

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Best Friends & Family Spring Thing

What a nice way to kick off spring - a beach party with friends, great weather and plenty of food. Thanks for joining us! Next one: Summer Solstice, June 21. Plan ahead.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Photo Glitches Repaired - UPDATE

Well, I'm QUITE behind on sharing photos, which means I also haven't done a great job keeping you posted on our fun activities here at Best Family Academy. Over the past 10 weeks since the external hard drive and my computer stopped talking, here's a brief, pictorial rundown of what we've done.

Camped at Lopez Lake with friends. (Gotta love California winters.)

Hung out in the Oaks (of the Elfin variety).

Worked on the trailer - V helped me re-screen all the windows (so easy a 7 year old can do it!), plus I replaced the window latches so they'll open AND close again, and I filled the void on floor of every cabinet with a bit of foam

Enjoyed the wonderful peace and quiet only a 9-hour power outage on a stormy day can provide:

Took a walk on Old Port San Luis pier after the storm:

Built a dog house:

Enjoyed the fire on rainy days:

Visited the beach on sunny days:

Enjoyed the company of friends:

And family:

Published a book:

Studied and followed the Iditarod:

Exercised our creativity:

Hike with friends to Nojoqui Falls:

Hit the slopes:

Hiked Montana de Oro:

Celebrated special deliveries:

And found the season's first wildflowers:

That about sums it up. Oh yeah. There was garden work and plenty of other stuff going on. But what about you? What have you been up to?

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