Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Mikro and I took a walk on the beach and watched the last sunset of 2011.

May 2012 be filled with peace, love, good health and prosperity for us all!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Sea Star Dissection

Mikro continues to be interested in zoology and invertebrate anatomy. To further that curiosity, we ordered a sea star dissection kit from Carolina Biological Supply. If you are not grossed out by such things, you can follow along as we examine the gross anatomy and internal structures of this echinoderm in this post.

Nature Nearby

Since we are basically broke, we aren't doing as much traveling as we normally do. I can't afford to keep paying the train fare. So we have had to find other, more affordable learning and entertainment opportunities. What could be better than the great outdoors? It's free! So we've been taking full advantage of the scenic beauty of our area, and the wonderful local parks. We are a stone's throw from the Croton and Hudson Rivers, which we visit often. I'm sure the weather will soon put a crimp in our style, but we are making hay while the sun shines.

We're also enjoying our own yard and the feeder birds. Mikro has made fast friends with Pumpkin, one of the neighborhood cats. Pumpkin found herself a home on Halloween, and her new people have put a bell on her collar, which makes life safer for the birds. But there are other perils. We now have a sharp shinned hawk staking out our feeders, and hunting here. It makes me a bit sad, but as Mikro is quick to assure me, "that is nature's way."

Holiday Heritage Crafts at Van Cortlandt Manor

Mikro and I enjoyed learning all about old time crafts at Van Cortlandt Manor. There was:

Soapmaking: They poured water over fire place ash and strained it through straw to make the lye they combined with cooked down animal fat to make soap with.

Candle making:

Broom making:


Open Hearth Cooking:


And Food Preservation.

Mikro had a great time, and would be more than happy to bury all our carrots out in the backyard.

We also enjoyed the Croton River.

World's Largest Dinosaurs: Sauropods on Exhibit at AMNH

We made a second trip to the AMNH's new dinosaur exhibit. That was partly because Paleo Boy begged, and also because the opening scene of my mystery story is set at this exhibit, and I wanted to check that I got the details right...

Mikro had a blast with all of the hands on displays, and the faux dino dig.

Hall of African Peoples at AMNH

I can't begin to do justice to the AMNH's fantastic Hall of African Peoples in this post. There is just too much to see. Here are some photos, but if you are in NYC, please treat yourself to an exploration of these galleries. Fascinating stuff!