You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2007.

scoutvalley-010.jpgscoutvalley-004.jpgYesterday we had another chance to go hiking with the local Christian homeschool group.  This time we went on the Algonquin Trail at Scout Valley.  It is a beautiful trail that wanders through the woods, over various streams and up to a lookout point.  I think we would have enjoyed ourselves immensely on this hike had it not been for the weather.  Shortly into the trail it began to drizzle.  We didn’t feel it much because of the canopy of foliage overhead.  We decided to press on.  Not long after that decision, the windows of heaven opened and we found ourselves hiking through the woods in pouring rain.  The trail was steep at times and pretty hard to navigate at points since it turned to mud.  D in particular had a hard time.  He was starting a cold and the challenge of climbing an uphill path in the rain was not a welcome one.  We managed to cross all the fallen tree bridges safely even though they were pretty slick when wet.  The view from the lookout was great.  We managed to spot a water spout (a sort of needle like cloud formation) over Lake Simcoe.  That was cool.

The whole time we were hiking in the downpour, I was thinking of pilgrims, pioneers and Native peoples.  We were on a leisurely walk through the forest and could eagerly anticipate getting back to a heated van and hot showers at the house.  I can’t imagine trekking like that with nothing but more woods or a drafty teepee or log cabin as the final destination.  It made me grateful for the era I live in.  I’m not sure D and P were thinking along the same lines.  Some of the children broke out enthusiatically into song when the rain came down.  D and P did not join them.  They weren’t singing in the rain, just hiking disgruntedly in it 😦

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This morning we took a break from the books and met up with the local homeschool group to do some hiking at Bass Lake Provincial Park.  It was a perfect day to be outdoors appreciating the beauty of God’s creation.  The trail brought us by the lake, along a board walk and by some of the old Rowe farm buildings that showed what the land was used for it became a national park.  One of the more interesting things we saw were two varieties of touch-me-nots.  In late summer these plants develop seed pods that explode when they are touched.  We were there at just the right time.  We had fun touching the pods and seeing the seeds shoot out. (Apparently they can shoot out up to a metre away.)  I don’t think that we set any seed shooting records today but it was fun to watch a bunch of kids excitedly touching plants and seeing (and hearing) their reactions.

cleo-001.jpgCleo stopped chowing down and pooping like there was no tomorrow yesterday.  She then crawled to the top of her container, built a “web button” and since then she has been suspended upsidedown  in a “J” shape.  (By the way, I have no idea if Cleo is male or female.  I’m not sure how to tell on a caterpillar.  Since Little Joe ended up being male, I am hoping that Cleo is female and am writing about “her” as though “she” is.)

It’s really amazing to watch up close God’s creation.  It makes you stand in wonder of the Creator.  He’s so imaginative.  The processes that He has built into these humble, lowly caterpillars is astounding.  No one has to tell them how to become a butterfly or even that they will become one.  They just seem to know what they are to be and how to get there.   They just have to eat like crazy, suspend from their butts for a while and somehow turn into an amazingly beautiful green and gold chrysalis.  Then somehow their whole body changes and the next time we see them they are gorgeous monarch butterflies.  Too cool! 

naturewalk-008.jpgnaturewalk-007.jpgnaturewalk-006.jpgWe have been finding some neat stuff as we explore our new environment.  P found the tiny skull in the back yard.  It looks like it might have belonged to a mouse or possibly a rat at one time.  A friend scooped up the light blue “crab pincer” for the boys.  The pelvic bone is about the size of my hand.  We think that it may have been part of a fox skeleton.  We found part of the backbone to go with it as well.  I put the bones on the side of the house to dry out and the next day the backbone was gone.  I guess some critter felt there were still some pickings on it!

We went out for a walk today at a place the locals call High and Dry.  It’s wooded with lots of rocky outcroppings and bluffs.  I was hoping to find some more cool stuff to add to our collection.  P wanted me to take some photos of the bullet shells he found.  He thought they were definitely a cool find and plans to put them on display on his shelf in his room.  (They didn’t quite fit my criteria for cool finds.)  We did manage to see an amazing variety of mushrooms and earlier in the day I spotted a female downy woodpecker.  We got all excited when we thought that we had found an owl pellet in the wild.  On closer examination we discovered that there were about a thousand of them and our excitement disippated as we realized that what we were actually looking at was dried out dung from some larger animal.  Oh well.  I’m sure that as we keep looking we’ll find more things to photograph and add to our cool finds stuff.

photo_090107_002.jpgWhen last I wrote about Little Joe, he was inside a lovely green chrysalis.  That lovely green chrysalis travelled with us to our new home hanging from a lid inside a toilet paper roll.  It was a good move for him.  After just a few short days in the new house, Little Joe’s chrysalis became transparent and we could see that he had become a beautiful monarch.  We all wanted to be around when he came out but alas he chose to emerge when we were running errands.  We came home and there he was in all of his glory.  As you can probably guess from the gender specific pronouns I am using, we finally found out that Little Joe was male.  For those of you who don’t know, male monarchs have spots on their hind wings that females do not.

I was thinking about blogging about Little Joe on the walk I took today down a country road.  I was pleased that we watched the entire life cycle of the monarch butterfly but a little sad that we were so busy packing up and moving during the chrysalis and emerging stage.  Then a truly amazing thing happened, one of those things that just can’t be coincidence.  I looked down and saw a very chubby, healthy looking monarch caterpillar happily munching away on some milkweed.  That piece of milkweed along with the big caterpillar are now in a jar on my kitchen counter.  We’re doing “take 2” on the chrysalis and emerging stages of the lifecycle of the monarch caterpillar.  I’ve named this lovely specimen Cleo.  Yes…I am hoping for a girl this time around.

D managed to snag the photo attached to this blog entry with his newly aquired, garage sale gadget – a hand held palm with a camera in it.  Unfortunately, Little Joe took off before we could get a picture of his lovely hind wing spots.  I think that time around my not so handy digital camera had dead batteries in it.  Good thing I have a tehno crazy son to photo document the beginning of a whole new stage of life for Little Joe!

outback-002.jpgoutback-009.jpgoutback-008.jpgOur property backs onto to a hydro easement.  The hydro company maintains a trail that runs across the back of our yard in case they ever need to service the lines.  Yesterday, it rained quite a bit here.  The trail was pretty muddy.  P and his newfound friends (one of which was a neighbour’s dog) decided to kick off their shoes and socks and go mucking about (quite literally!).  They came back sporting a lot of mud and grins from ear to ear.  I’d like to say that I got a great photo of them but they were way too busy to pose for silly old me and I wasn’t quick enough brandishing my not so handy camera.  Anyways, you’ll have to trust me when I say that as far as these boys were concerned, this was as good as it gets.

On one side of the trail there is something like a meadow where grasses and wildflowers grow in abundance.  On the other side of the path is forest that will never be developed.  (It’s landlocked with no road access.)  The woods are too dense to really go in and enjoy but we did manage to find an old abandoned tree fort.  Now we just have to find (or build) some kind of ladder to make it accessible for play.  It has potential for eager beavers.  It’s kind of cool to wonder who built it and what kind of fun those kids had in it. 

The trail is an amazing place to wander.  You go back there and apart from the hydro lines crackling overhead, you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere.  It’s peaceful and I can’t help but love just hearing the wind blow through the trees (as opposed to hearing traffic sounds and other city noises.)  Hopefully through the seasons we’ll make many happy discoveries back there.

For now I am happy to report that I saw my first northern flicker (the yellow-bellied type).  Flickers are very common around here and quite beautiful.  They have a bright red spot on the back of their heads, a blue-black bib under their chins and when they flap about they are a pretty yellow underneath.  It was a pleasure to see one grubbing for ants in our back yard.  Maybe if your a nature-loving mom, this is as good as it gets too.

house-041.jpgGetting settled into a new home is exciting and exhausting all at the same time.  I’m excited to be in this house and to be dreaming of all that each room can be.  The house was in pretty good shape when we arrived but it still needs some work to make it suitable for our purposes. 

All of this got me thinking about that little booklet called, “My Heart, Christ’s Home”.  It likens the human heart to a house.  When Christ comes into a heart He wants to fully inhabit it as His home.  He wants to go into every nook and cranny and make each “room” suitable for His purposes.  Some things have to change and He sets about to make that heart His project. 

I had a picture of Christ being as excited to move into a heart as I was to move into this home.  He dreams of all that life can be just as I am dreaming of all that each room in my new house can be.  He starts with the most glaringly awful “rooms” with the purpose of transforming those areas of our lives for His glory.  That thought came especially to mind as I immediately set about painting P’s bubble gum pink room to a very masculine grey to make it suitable for its new occupant.  Because I love this house I am willing to put time and money into to make it as lovely as I can.  Isn’t it amazing that God loves each one of us so much that He will work tirelessly with us to bring us to the glory He intends for us?

I’m so glad that I am busily unpacking boxes.  Isn’t it funny how God shows up and reveals to us His heart in the most mundane things of life? 

I’m back to blog to my heart’s content (finally!).  Yes.  It has taken all this time to get connected to the internet.  Most of the time was spent waiting for a disk to arrive in the mail so that I could get dial-up service.  When the disk failed to arrive after two weeks of waiting I called about it and found out that they no longer send out disks.  (Totally frustrating when that happens!!)  The company in question then tried to get me started manually.  That failed miserably as I kept getting error messages.  That resulted in reams of trouble shooting that didn’t actually fix the trouble I was experiencing.  The next step was to take the computer in for servicing as I was told that the problem was on my end not theirs.  Well, that piece of info sent us on our first trip to Barrie.  The computer is now cleaned up and I am able to access the internet at snail speed.  Yahoo!!  Better to get there slowly than to not be able to get there at all I always say!

Our move here went smoothly but August 24th was a very long, exhausting day.  We all love the new house and the idea of having a yard.  I have mowed a half acre yard by hand and I still like having it.  The yard is very sloped in the back yard so I can see myself becoming one of those muscular country chicks just from getting out there to push the lawn mower uphill.  The boys have been outdoors more and we have had some exciting finds in and around our property – an abandoned fort in the woods, the skeletal remains of what we think was once a fox, tree frogs, a praying mantis and a big, fat garter snake (that I am sad to say that P and his new-found friend killed 😦 .  Both P and D have made friends on our road (which is called a boulevard just to make it sound sophisticated I think!).

I have been busy as a beaver talking to internet tech guys and gals, painting P’s room (which was a lovely bubble gum pink when we moved in and is now a very masculine pale grey),  trying to figure out where to put all my tiny furniture in this enormous house, trying to find everything from the grocery store to the library, homeschooling two not so eager lads and connecting with people from our new church, neighbourhood and homeschool group.  You heard me – there is a Christian homeschool group out here.  We are still in the works of registering to become a part of it but if all goes well we shall soon be hiking with other families of like precious faith and vision.

Now that I am blogging again, I almost feel like I’m at home.  I am at home and hopefully soon it will start to feel like it.  It’s good to be back.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time.