Wacky Wednesday-Landsford Canal State Park

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Over the years, I have made a list of the places that I would like to visit near by.  We live in a very unique area.  We are between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean.  We have a lot of really amazing opportunities nearby.  Landsford Canal State Park has been on my list for a while.

The park is known for its rocky shoals spider lilies.  I have heard that they are beautiful when they are in bloom.  So back in August, we put a plan in place to visit the lilies in May-little did we know that we would be contributing to our Wacky Wednesday list!

This trip required some preparation.  We had eight people kayaking so we had to rent a U Haul trailer in order to get the kayak down to the drop in point.  The park is on the Catawba River which has a fairly slow current typically.  We put our kayaks in one by one.  The kids immediately went off exploring.  Unfortunately, on our way to catch up with them, my friend hit a rock and capsized her kayak.  We spent an hour trying to get the water out of the kayak with out getting taken by the current.  Once we got back underway and found the kids, they were playing on some rocks and a fallen tree trunk.

The downside was that their kayaks got hit by one of our paddlers.  Paddles, life jackets and kayaks went floating down the river.  Another rescue effort-I retrieved all of the items and got them to the kids.  We were off again.

We found out quickly why the area is called rocky!  The adults got stuck on rocks almost every 30 feet or so.  The kids flew right down the river.  Luckily, most of the river was shallow enough that we could get out, dump out the water and get back in.  It sounds much easier that it was!  The current was far from slow as we had anticipated.

By the time that we made it to lilies, we were exhausted and ready to get off of the water.

Of course we always learn things from our trip and here is our list from this trip!

  1. Not only check the weather but also the water depth/current.
  2. Take a pump (using a McDonald’s cup takes a really long time to get water out of a kayak)
  3. Have your plan in place before people get in the water (uhm, where did the kids go? Oh-they are WAY OVER THERE!).
  4. Rope is always useful when paddling-why didn’t we bring any?
  5. There is a reason that there are different types of kayaks.  Lake kayaks are not meant for any type of white water, or rocks, or current.
  6. Laughter works much better than freaking out when stuck in a bad situation (we spent a lot of time laughing because it is all we could do in our minds.  We helped a lady who also hit a rock and began freaking out.  She could not calm down.  We all realized from her example how important it is to remain calm in order to problem solve.)

I am positive that we learned a lot more from the trip, but this is all that I can come up with right now.  We decided that next week, we will stick with something closer to home!

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We made it back all in one piece!

Monarch Butterflies-Follow-Up

The monarchs are here!

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In November 2015, we worked on a monarch butterfly garden at our local nature center.  The kids worked extremely hard on the garden-ripping out poke weed, prepping the soil, planting a ton of plants in the milkweed family, watering the garden and trying to figure out how to keep people off of the area.  You can read about the garden building in this post.

Last spring, the garden did not come up!  We were shocked.  All of the hard work and nothing came up.  Obviously, we did not have any monarchs visiting the garden.  Imagine our surprise when after our hike this week, we checked on our garden.  It is flourishing!  The plants came up so well that we may transplant some of them to another area in the nature center.  Now plants are exciting, but monarchs are even better!  We observed a monarch laying eggs on the leaves.  Next we will collect the eggs and help them hatch in a safe place.  Unfortunately, monarch eggs rarely make it due to other parasites and insects.  We are hoping to tag some of them too so that we can watch their migration!

Picture Post of the Week.

We had a fun week enjoying the sunshine!  Monday Sims and I went for a hike while the younger two went to ecology class.  Tuesday, Nick surprised us and took the day off (it was his birthday).  We headed to Crowders Mountain State Park and went for a hike.  Wednesday, Sims headed to our local high school to see what school is like (he concluded that he still likes homeschooling and would like to continue).  Thursday, we hit the barn to ride in the fields.  I hope everyone is beginning to see some signs of spring too!

Wacky Wednesday-Kayaking LKN

Before the cold weather sets in, we decided to get in a kayak.  We paddled over to a blue heron sanctuary to explore and look for bones.  It is one of our favorite spots to explore.

Wacky Wednesdays

I am replacing Friday Hikes with Wacky Wednesdays.  The kids are taking classes on Fridays so we are not hiking at the end of the week as much this year.  My friend and I made all types of plans for our Wacky Wednesday, but so far we have only been partially successful!  Our first two Wednesdays, we spent enjoying the last bits on summer on the lake.

Our third Wednesday, we headed to Wilson’s Creek to hike and play in the water.  Unfortunately, I ended up having a health problem and taking a trip to the emergency room via ambulance.  It was educational and wacky for sure(I am fine now too)!  LOL.  The next two Wednesdays were spent at doctor appointments for me and more lake time for the kids.  (We did make it back up to Wilson’s Creek but on a Sunday).

October seems to be working a little better for our Wacky Wednesdays.  We headed up to the Virginia Creeper Trail.  We spent the day cruising down the trail and stopping off to look at the amazing scenery and to play in the water.

 

Picture Post-Signs of Summer in the Garden

Our Produce is starting to come it!  So far we have only gotten zucchini but the others are growing well!

Pops of color all around!

Even the animals are enjoying the summer weather!

Building Self-Confidence

Don’t you love watching those little moments of self-confidence growing in your kids?

I had one of those moments today.  For the past six weeks, the kids participated in a sailing class.  Sims loves sailing, and he makes it look easy and fun.  So much so that Sawyer and Parks asked if they could take the class this spring with him.

sail 1Being new to sailing and younger than Sims, they learned to sail on smaller boats than Sims.  The smaller boats required them to sail independently.  Neither of the kids enjoyed sailing on these boats.  In fact, I wasn’t sure that they were going to complete the class.  Luckily on Tuesday, they took a make-up class that changed their opinions of sailing completely around.

The best part came tonight.  The class was small so the instructor decided to take out the bigger boats which required two people to each boat.  Sawyer started out the class very nervous and unsure of herself.  She was excited to have another person on the boat with her.  What she didn’t know was that her partner was just as new to sailing as she was or more so!  Tonight I watched as she skippered the boat, performed problem-solving, and instructed her crew.  She found out how much she really did know about sailing.

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To many people, Sawyer appears to be very self-confident.  We know her at home to doubt herself at times.  As she gets older and is on her own more, I want her to know how to trust her instincts and to be confident in who she is and what she does.  I see her confidence growing at the barn each week, but that is an area that she feels comfortable.  I enjoyed watching her rise to moment tonight in a situation that she did not feel comfortable in and with people who she does not know well.

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