Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Center for Birds of Prey - Field Trip

W9 LOVES birds!  I'm not sure what started his fascination with them!  But anything bird related, and he is all over it!  Even his tea mug has birds on it and his ornaments he chooses each year is usually a bird.  He hopes to one day own a couple birds.  With this in mind, we decided to treat him to a field trip to the Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw.  The weather was absolutely perfect for a day out in the sun, exploring these glorious winged creatures created by God!  Most of the birds here are injured in some manner - most often by a car.  They will never be able to return to the wild :(

When we first went in, we started with the tour, and learned about some of their birds.  Be warned... this post is going to be picture heavy!

After the walking tour, it was time for the flight demonstration.   While we had been there before, this was the best flight demonstration we had seen there!  One of our boys even got to participate!

Next up was walking over to the owl section.  They brought out some of the babies, and oh my goodness they were so precious!!!

After we walked through there, we headed back over to another section that we hadn't visited yet, and saw more birds... along with a special "guest" that K13 spotted!  Then as we headed out, we got to see a few more, closeup.

Overall, W9 was in "bird heaven."  He absolutely loved the field trip that was especially geared towards him!  It is pretty costly for our family to visit there, but it is so worth it!  I encourage you, if you are in the area, to explore their facilities and donate towards the work they are doing!

Monday, January 23, 2017

FIAR - Owl Moon

Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen is a lovely story of a little girl and her father quietly going owling.  We enjoyed a week full of owl based activities!  We kept this week pretty low-key and fun, as we were all fighting some sinus issues.  We went on a lovely field trip to The Center of Birds of Prey during the week, primarily for W9, but it worked perfectly with our rowing!

We read a few extra books that went along with Owl Moon.  These included:
Our activities included:
  • Completing an owl coloring page

  • Painting baby owl pictures
  • Making an owl Christmas ornament
  • Making an Owl cut out picture
  • Making an owl bookmark
  • Completed an "Owls Are, Have, Can... Paper"
  • Making tubular owls
  •  We had hoped to dissect owl pellets, but honestly I didn't want to mess with it that week!  So instead we cheated and did it online
I think our favorite part, however, other than the field trip, was the food!  Per the FIAR cookbook, we had chili, corn muffins, and root beer floats.  In addition, however, we made an owl pizza (with gluten free pizza crust and goat mozzarella!  yum!) with an owl veggie tray!  Fun times!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Charleston Tea Plantation - Field Trip

Did you know there is only one tea plantation in North America?  It is located on Wadmalaw Island, SC.  It actually originated in Summerville, and was later moved there.  The Bigelow Family actually owns the plantation.  The rest of the tea plantations in the world are located in South America, Asia, and Africa.  Tea bushes need lots of humidity and warm temps to grow, making the Lowcountry of South Carolina perfect!

When we first get there, we always get a free cup of tea from inside the gift shop.  Then we head through the free factory tour.  While we have been there numerous times, the tour is always extremely informational.  We also enjoy watching the machinery at work!!!  The tea is sifted, removing various particles, as well as crushing the leaves and then drying them (it is so more complicated then that!!!)  The drying time is what creates your different teas, as far as green, oolong, and black.  Green tea is not oxidized very long, if at all, before it is dried.  Oolong is a little longer for oxidation than green tea, and black tea for the longest.

After the factory tour, we headed outside to wait for the trolley tour.  We always enjoy walking around the property, and then on the trolley tour, seeing the tea bushes and greenhouse up close! 

In order to harvest the tea, the "big green machine" was invented.  It cuts the tops off, with the wheels on either side of the bushes.   Only the tops of the tea bushes are used for tea, as the rest of them are too woody!  The tea that is cut off is then put into truck beds, which are then driven to the factories.

In the greenhouse, the new tea plants are propagated.  Once large enough, they are planted in their own field.

Our family will miss going to the Charleston Tea Plantation each year!  I guess I will be ordering my tea offline from their website!!!