I saw an ad in the paper a couple of weeks ago for a “Mother Earth Day” event and decided that I would like to go check it out as a mother’s day gift to myself.  The event didn’t cost very much and all the proceeds went to the Couchiching Conservancy.  D, P and I had a great time participating in the various things there were to do at the event.  Amongst other things we:

1. Played with husky dogs.  D got to brush one and we learned how husky fur is mixed with sheep’s wool, carded, spun into yarn and then made into various things.  We saw one woman using the yarn on a loom.  It was all very interesting for me.  D and P just wanted to play with the huskies.  I don’t think that the dogs minded the attention.

2.  Got to see and touch some animals from the Muskoka Wildlife Centre.  D petted a skunk who had been poisoned when young.  She was the only one of her litter to survive and to this day she is very small for an adult skunk.  She wouldn’t be able to survive in the wild so she is cared for at the Centre and used as a teaching aid.  Another injured animal on display was a great horned owl.  I missed the story on what happened to her but did catch the ending that her eye was irreparably damaged.  Since we are reading the Guardian of Ga’hoole series (books about owls), I asked for the man holding the owl to show us the different types of feathers.  We got to see primary, secondary, tertiary and covert feathers.  We also learned that this owl, named Dr. Who, is famous.  She’s been on the T.V. show “Zaboomafu”.   She too is used for teaching kids about local wildlife.  The final kiosk from the Centre showed various local reptiles.  D and P were totally unafraid to hold a corn snake and were amazed how tightly it held on to them.  There was also a very large rat snake to be held but there were a lot of younger kids clamboring to see that one.  Stretched out it was about 6 feet long.  D and P didn’t get to have it draped over their shoulders but they did touch it and find it fascinating.

3.  Got to try out making bannock.  Bannock is a type of bread that was invented by Native peoples.  The demonstrator had small balls of dough for the boys to roll out and then wrap around a stick.  They then roasted the dough very much like you would roast a marshmallow.  We all tried some and really liked it.  I got the recipe and we intend to bring along some prepared dough the next time we go camping.

4.  Went for a walk in the woods.  We went on a short trail that showed us how various plant species were used by Native peoples as medicines.  The weather was perfect for being outdoors and the woods were absolutely stunning.  I could have spent a long time wandering down other trails but D and P had rumbling tummies.

5.  Ate hamburgers, hotdogs, cake and pop.  This event was a fundraiser for the Conservancy and what fundraiser doesn’t sell food?  Of course, the food was less than healthful – white bread, store donated cake with lots of icing and only pop for drinks.  It’s just the kind of food D and P love!

6.  Got to go on a bus.  We parked our car at the free parking place and took the shuttle bus to Grant’s Woods where everything was happening.  It was a free ride on a school bus.  Since D and P don’t normally ride a bus, they were very enthusiastic passengers.  They happily made their way to the back seats and enjoyed the bumpiness of riding in a school bus.  I suppose it would be old hat for a lot of school aged children but my homeschooled guys found it fun. 

Now that I know where Grant’s Woods is, I think we will make our way back there to try out some of the other trails.  Apparently the Conservancy owns land in Washago as well and there are trails there too.  I got lots of pamphlets and memorabilia today.  Surely there’s a map in there somewhere showing the location of these other trails.  We’re also making plans to visit the Muskoka Wildlife Centre which opens up in a few weeks.  I really couldn’t have had a better mother’s day gift than hanging around with my two boys exploring the wonders of creation.  Happy Mother’s Day to me.