Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fall on the Farm

Fall is upon us and the beautiful Autumn leaves are so pretty to look at but it also reminds me that winter is not far away. It seems as Denver is getting snow today and weather forecasters are saying a winter storm. I do not look forward to those days and I do not look forward to cold, snowy days except for the opportunity to build a fire in the new wood stove that we purchased last week to replace the one that we had.

The stove that we had done a wonderful job of heating the front of the home and it was such a blessing last winter in helping to keep the heat bills under control. However, it was not big enough to heat the entire home and we knew that it would be nicer to have a larger one that would heat the entire house. The new one will do just that.

We live in a wooded area and so we do not have to buy wood, which is an added blessing for us. I am thankful that God gives us the natural resources to heat our home without having to pay the outrageous prices that the electric and gas companies charge in the winter. My husband does need a new chainsaw and I would like to buy him one for Christmas but I am not sure that I will be able too. I am hoping that my writing at Triond and Associated Content will help pay for it, but I certainly need more views before that will happen.

Fall brings many jobs to the farm and in preparing the animals and homestead for winter we are reminded just how thankful we are for where we are in life. My husband will leave next week for two weeks for work out of state and the income from that will be enough to allow us to have a nice Christmas and not add a lot of added stress to us. He will also be able to leave again in January to aid us in making ends meet during the worst of the winter season. Isn't God Great?

The weather is perfect for riding and I am sure that we will do some more next week as it is supposed to be up in the high 60's most of the week. A trail ride with the leaves in full color will be just the perfect photo opportunity and the perfect way to enjoy the rest of this season as we quickly approach the one season of the year that I dislike the most- winter!

I hope that all of the home schoolers out there have a chance to enjoy the fall weather and colors and possibly enjoy a field trip to take advantage of the weather we will soon be wishing for.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Exotic Animals Loose In Ohio

About 50 exotic animals were apparently turned loose last night in rural Eastern Ohio by their owner who subsequently shot himself. Owner, Terry Thompson, was found dead in his home and the animal cages were opened and fences around the property left open for these animals to roam free.

Unfortunately, officials are saying that about 30-35 of these animals have been killed due to their danger to the public. It seems so unfair to these animals after being held in cages by this gentleman that they are suffering for doing nothing wrong except roaming as their natural instinct guides them to do.

Yes, I realize that lions, tigers, grizzly bears, and black bears are a risk to the public, but I also think that there could be ways to subdue these animals other than killing them and relocating them to zoos or other nature preserves to be cared for. I am not sure of how long these animals have been in the possession of this gentleman, but they are scared and unsure of what is happening.

Residents and travelers are being advised to stay in their homes and cars and not to approach these animals if they happen to see them. These are adults animals and are dangerous! Anyone who sees one of these should call 9-1-1 immediately!

Zoo officials have joined the search for these animals and hopefully, some of these can be tranquilized and saved. Officials need to also consider looking at the laws that are in place across the United States for individuals who want to own these types of animals. I am not against someone having these kinds of animals, but there needs to be some kind of monoriting of the conditions and care that the animals are in and are receiving.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Farm Report- Home schooling options

Living here on the funny farm, you just never know what the day will bring. As a home school family, I believe that every day can be a learning experience and kids do not just learn by studying a book. I believe that every day experiences can teach them more than most books can. If they are seeing it in person, then they know it is factual because they are living it. I also believe that learning things as a family can be more rewarding than just two of us sitting in a classroom type setting and studying it.

Friday was one of those days that we took our learning outside for a little while and although we were sidetracked from our book work, we learned something together. We have been losing chickens and ducks and thought that coyotes were the culprits. However, my husband thought that he would set some smaller animal non kill traps that might allow us to find out if the issue was something else. After catching three cats and one of the puppies and a chicken, he finally caught a culprit. On Thursday morning, he had caught an opossum. Anyone who lives on a farm knows that these can kill the small animals so we called a friend of ours who keeps these near his home and he took it. On Friday morning, he had caught a large raccoon.

Seriously, this raccoon probably weighed close to 40 pounds and was one of the largest raccoons that I have ever seen. I am adding a photo of it in the cage, but I am not sure that the size really shows. Anyway, since our daughter has seen photos of raccoons, but never really seen one up close, I was interested in seeing how it would react to us being near him. Well, at first, he was very aggressive and she got the opportunity to hear him growl and bite at anything that went near the cage. Finally, after my husband took a stick and began to rub it against him in a petting motion, he began to calm down a little. He was still not happy about being in the cage and not happy about us watching him. We got to watch him move sticks with his front paws, eat, and sleep as well as just to watch his reactions to different sounds. This could very well have been what has been eating our flock, so we knew he could not be set free here, but we knew that the park might like him and my husband talked to someone to take him and turn him out. The biggest lesson is that this is a wild animal and no matter how cute he may be, he will be aggressive when he needs to be because it is his nature.

This report is actually covering two weeks as I never finished this last week and got it onto the site. This week we had an impromptu picnic and field trip to a McCormick’s Creek State Park to do a nature study and do some hiking. We were thrilled to have found a small waterfall that had an informative sign and recording that told of how the falls came to be since the land was formed during the Ice Age. It was interesting to see and hear about the history of the falls. We also got to see some good examples of the asexual reproduction of fungus that we have talked about in science the past couple of weeks.

We also watched how a caterpillar was getting around on the ground which led to a discussion about how different animals can develop and move. The nature center is very elaborate and gave us many hands- on exhibits to learn more about the nature within the park and the history of the park. Several exhibits explaining the Ice Age was there as well and led to some discussion as to what animals lived then versus now.

As you can see home schooling gives us great opportunities to learn both in and out of the classroom. It is a nice break to take an unplanned trip to learn a little more about what we have studied in a book. Reading and math as well as science can be found in many things that are parts of our every day life.
Farm life can be an interesting lifestyle if you want it to be and can be a great learning experience. Sometimes I feel that my daughter learns more by doing than by just reading and discussing it. There are so many ways that a child can learn and it is nice to be able to have the opportunity to explore those ways of learning.

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