Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Great Pumpkin Blaze

This year we were lucky enough to score tickets for three nights. And what night could be more fun than Halloween itself. We go back at 9 pm, after the Trick or Treating is mostly over around here.

These are some photos from the first two nights:

There are just too many to include in one post, so look for part two...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Little Unintended Nature Study

Our nocturnal visitor has inspired us to read a bunch of raccoon books, including Raccoon Moon, Raccoons and Ripe Corn, and Raccoon Alone.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What We've Been Up to Lately--- Little Kid Art

Mikro has been really into making art lately. He's painting, and playing with markers and colored pencils.

In the beginning, there were blobs of a single color...

Then he progressed to using multiple colors.

Right now, he's very into seeing what happens when he mixes colors. And he really enjoys painting precut shapes, especially animal forms.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Nature Study -- Grasshoppers Gone Wild

Meet Romeo & Juliet...

Mikro has lots of nature books, is familiar with the term "mating", and knows that it takes a mommy and a daddy to make a baby, but our little green pals sure gave him a more concrete idea than the vagueness of children's science books... "Mommy, why is the father grasshopper on top of the mother?" "They're trying to make baby grasshoppers, son." Which is as detailed as I got. That, and that the mama grasshopper will lay eggs in the dirt. Well, at least it is in the context of insects, but I dread my little know-it-all loudly and descriptively sharing his knowledge with kids whose parents may not believe in even vaguely explaining this sort of thing to the very young...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

At the Car Show

Mikro got to see an old NASCAR Mercury that ran in the Daytona 500 in the late 1950s, as well as a tribute to Dale Earnhardt and the #3 car, and a bunch of other cool vehicles. He's been obsessed with racing since he was 6 months old.

That's me above, with the coffee, but the reason I uploaded this one full size was so any NASCAR or car buffs can click and read the history on the poster. Very cool.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Mikro's First Hayride -- Fall Festival at Teatown Lake Reservation

Teatown Lake Reservation is a huge nature preserve, which holds an annual fall festival. I couldn't get Mikro or Kevin interested in the many fun craft activities they had, but we did go on a tour of their bird of prey rehabilitation area, enjoyed the many reptiles and amphibians in the lodge, walked around the grounds, bought farm fresh apples, and bribed a reluctant Mikro into experiencing his first hay ride. (Heh, the bribe was a set of plastic figures illustrating the lifecycle of the ladybug, which is what he picked from the gift shop. Gotta love homeschooled science nerd kids!) I went too, since they require a parent for kids under six.

Of course, by the time the ride was over, he was having a meltdown because "I don't want to get off! I want to go again!" and, given the hundred or more people on line, that wasn't gonna happen...

We found a squooshed wooly bear caterpillar on the trails, and brought him home, hoping he'd recover, but sadly, poor Wooly Bully (which Mikro pronounces Pully Wully) did not make it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Hiking on the Old Croton Aqueduct

We live not too far from the Croton Resevoir, which feeds NYC's water supply, now through more modern pipelines, but originally via a system of brick tunnels called the Old Croton Aqueduct. They are buried under a hiking trail that parallels the Croton River and ends at the Croton Dam. It's a nice flat trail, and you can start as far south as you like, all the way down in the Bronx if the fancy strikes you. Our usual hiking buddy is Mikro's godmother. She's not so available these days, since she works crazy hours driving a commuter train. Between her schedule, and my pain levels, we don't often get the opportunity to go hiking. But luckily, we recently got to take a nice walk on a beautiful day.

The Dam is a great place to bird watch. One day, we watched a bald eagle steal a fish from an osprey in a tree, just 20 feet or so from where we were standing atop the Dam. It's really a beautiful place, and surprisingly blessed with wildlife for a spot only 40 miles or so north of NYC.

We're lucky to live here.

More aqueduct & dam links:

Aqueduct Trail map & info from NYC Parks & Rec
Wikipedia Aqueduct entry
Croton Dam via Croton Historical Society
Wiki entry on the Croton Dam