SnakeS!

Plural! As in TWO snakes caught in my garden net!

First off I planted a lovely garden which clearly the wildlife enjoyed too! Because one morning I came out to water a bunch of teensy green nubs of what used to be a lovely lush green garden!

After nursing what was left, and seeing some life come back into my garden, I decided I needed to net the garden to avoid the evil plotting of the local wild life on my garden!

The net worked well. After a couple of weeks, I decided to replant a few of the spots that were clearly not going reinvent their lives and make a come back.

As I walked out to my chicken coop to feed my flock, collect eggs and water my garden (doesn’t that sound so peaceful, can you hear the morning birds chirping?) I was startled by a flicking snake tail! Thank heavens it wasn’t a rattler!

Upon closer investigation I see that TWO gopher snakes…clearly on the hunt for a yummy gopher snack, were beyond tangled up in the left over netting from my netted garden.

See the tail –>image

 

And the head –>image

 

Side note: a lot of snakes die this way and so if you have spare netting lying around, please collect it and put it up high off the ground. Gopher snakes are good friends. They will scare the s h i t out of you, because they look and can act like a rattle snake, but they are a friend and will help with gopher over population!

 

(Rattle snakes are born with at least one button on their tail and will always have a rattle, gopher snakes do not have buttons or rattles)

Here is a link to tell the difference between gopher and rattle snakes.

http://www.pe.com/articles/hayes-762525-rattlesnakes-bites.html

Scroll down to rattle snake pictures and you will find it (last picture in the set)

 

Anyhow, back to the problem at hand…what is one to do here? My husband says kill the snakes. I say no…keep the good snakes alive so the bad snakes don’t take over!

(Another side note: King snakes will kill and eat rattle snakes)

Instead we cut them out and sent them off with our local animal rescue to the vet. The vet can take the tight netting off without cutting the snake and then give it a good exam and set it back into the wild.

 

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As the animal rescue woman was leaving our property another giant gopher snake was crossing our driveway…it’s amazing we still have any gophers!

And yet another side note: gopher snakes can climb trees! They will if required go looking for prey up in trees, we’ve had one flop out of a tree and land on the ground in front of my daughter…who is also an avid tree climber, so always keep a keen eye out when playing in nature, but remember gopher snakes are a friend.

alls well that ends well….two good snakes kept their lives for another day of gopher hunting.

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Update On Us

We homeschool year round, but I have the summer off to some degree. My kids have planned it all out and will be dictating their routines for the most part. A few things are mandatory they must stick in here and there, drum lessons, horse riding lessons, piano lessons, volunteer work, etc…and they have decided to have specific days. ie: Monday is math day, Tuesday is history day, and so on…they plan to make their tv shows, iPad apps, board games, outdoor play, kitchen experiments, etc revolve around the theme of the day. Example, today is spanish day, so they will switch the language to spanish on the DVDs they watch and instead of their go to Pig Latin kid talk, they will attempt to speak spanish when possible, etc…

I do feel like I need to give an update since it’s been a LONG while since I’ve shared what were up to.

A while back I decided to do an experiment and give the kids what we called a “FREE WEEK”…

…in a nutshell, the kids were responsible for their sleeping times, eating times, food choices, entertainment and education. In a very free willy nilly sort of way. I was here to help them when they asked but overall they were in charge of themselves. I deleted everything from the calendar for a week. (Including canceling lessons they did not want to attend)

The point for me was to get a good idea of what they were capable of, how they handled their choices, where they still needed me to guide them, where they were more self sufficent, etc…

I do think much longer then a week is needed for a true assessment. Because a week does feel in some way like a holiday rather then a time to put on your boots and get to work.

I discovered (and more importantly THEY discovered) there were still many areas mom was very needed! Which is a good thing IMHO!

They were very curious why no friends came over to play. I asked them if they arranged any play dates. Hmmm might be the reason. Planning is needed to make things happen. Good lesson for them to learn.

Why they don’t have any clean pants. I asked if they did their laundry? Hmmmm must wash clothes in order to have clean clothes. Another good lesson…but mostly they just realized mom does the laundry and didn’t this week, so they opted to wear alternative outfits over the favorites until mom washed again. (Which spurred mom to buy separate laundry baskets for each child and unknown to them, they are slowly learning to take over their own laundry washing, drying, folding and putting away! Darn sneaky mom!)

Aside from a few really good learning opportunities/discussions. And great examples of what could be handled better, it was a blissful week for ALL of us.

We all were doing exactly what we wanted all day long for an entire week! Yes I did not hear one single bicker from the kids. They were so happy doing their own thing. I accomplished a ton because they didn’t demand as much of my attention as they normally do.

HOWEVER the amount of Minecraft they played was insane for my liking. (I fondly refer to Minecraft as Mindcrap, even though I know there are lots of great learning opportunities around the game…it’s the intensity of time suck I don’t like)

Since it was free week, I figured eventually my son would have his fill, get a neck cramp, something and stop playing…nope, he played the entire week nearly all day every day! My daughter would stop mid day and go do something else, but come back to it in the evening.

They did build some amazing structures, learned a bunch from tutorials online, took on challenges and played well in each others worlds. But like I said the intensity of the Minecraft take over was not a long term OK thing with me, so we had a little Minecraft detox the following week. We are now back on a healthy level of video games from mama’s perspective.

Aside from free week, we’ve had horse riding adventures, rock climbing adventures, and a bunch if fun with friends. Spring time always sheds away the winter chill and gets us outside and active.

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I think repelling is what they love the most!

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And shortly after this adventure they wanted to practice bouldering (no harness, height they are comfortable with jumping down from)

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Recently, my daughter took some of her girl friends on a trail ride (some of her friends had never been on a horse, so you can see trail walkers near each horse for the riders safety) my son played Mindcrap with his friends (the brothers of the horse riders) it was a perfect day for all involved. Haha!

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While school kids are finishing up their last few weeks of school, I hear my public school mama friends tell me about their busy end of school year calendar chaos. It reminds me how very blessed we are to be homeschooling. We are enjoying all this warm weather having fun with friends and not in a busy chaotic frenzy.

The Adventures of Leaf Man!

I can’t take all the credit, a fellow homeschooling mama friend of mine gave me this great idea and my kids have had so much fun with it! We have created soooo many autumn decorations I’ve lost count! This is a fun adventure to help get the kids out into nature. (Even for those of you that might live in the cement jungle)

We first read a few fall books about seasons, changing leaves, etc…then ended with this fantastic book titled LEAF MAN.

Afterwards my kids and I went outside and searched for various leaves. Amazing how many shapes are out there in plain view that are passed by daily and never noticed! We collected a TON. The kids had so much fun they continued to collect more and more well after we had plenty! All sorts of colors and shapes and sizes!

We only had a short time frame to create, so the kids got busy quickly!

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Later in the evening after our busy day with friends, they went directly back to the table and started creating leaf creations again. We had leaf men, leaf fish, leaf birds, etc…

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First thing this morning they are once again at the table creating more leaf creations. They are loving this project! I highly recommend this activity! (Even for adults! I have to admit I’ve had fun with it too!)

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So get outside and start creating with nature! 🙂