Monday, May 29, 2006

Garden update

A week ago, I went out back to my lovely little garden, to discover that a gopher had torn a portion of my garden to shreds! I later discovered they love bulbs, and I had planted some along the back side of the flowers, which is exactly where he tore through. UGGHHH! I really don't have the heart or stomach to hurt the little fella, but oh, what to do. I left it alone a few days, and eventually my husband picked up some traps. After fiddling with them a very short time, he said here honey, figure this out. Well, I didn't have my glasses on and tried to look at the diagram, and for the life of me couldn't figure it out (not that I really wanted to anyway, because they look kinda like mouse traps, and would surely cause some injury) So, while I was back in the house, my husband decided to flood them out. I hear him hollering, get a bucket! So, I bring out a bucket and he tosses the little guy in it. He is pretty water logged, but alive. He's an ugly little guy, with two big front teeth, just peering at us, like what the h--- just happened??? My husband went and released him in the field next to us. He'll either start over, over there, make it back to our place, or be hawk bait. Anyway, I have my garden back. (Was gonna take pictures of the damage, but husband fixed it for me before I got a chance, thanks hubby!) Since then, we've discovered several birds nests in the vicinity. One just over our screen door of the patio, a couple of sparrows, and two mockingbird nests in the bushes. The mockingbirds are very protective and swoop and squawk any time anyone or anything comes close. I got a peak at the nest while they were away. You can hear the babies sqwacking, hungry I suppose. Such fun to see all of this going on in our backyard. You should see those mocking birds go after the cats, the crows and the occasional hawk. They are such brave birds!

Wild Animal Park

This week we made it out to the San Diego Wild Animal Park. Nana bought us passes for the girl's bdays. So, hopefully, we'll be making many trips there this year. We saw the bird show for the first time. It was nice, since school isn't out yet, it was not crowded at all. The bird lady gave Violet a blue macaw feather after the show. She was so excited about it, and showed it to everyone. They also have a new water play area. It was pretty warm out, so the girls cooled off a little there. Then, we saw the lions. I could swear the female was eyeing Olivia.....yikes. But, they were pretty mellow. They were just resting under the shade of a tree. I think the girls had the most fun in the play area though, oh well....Vi made a friend, as usual and Liv just had a great time climbing, running, and pretending to be "superhero".

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Mourning Cloak metamorphosis

We looked up this caterpillar we found in our backyard, actually we found a lot of them, climbing up our walls a few weeks ago, they are Mourning cloak caterpillars. We were able to watch the complete metamorphosis, from caterpillar to moth over a couple of weeks. Kind of ironic, I had just spent 20 some dollars on some mail order ( Painted Lady Butterflies, and we had these caterpillars already roaming our backyard! Oh well, next year, we'll know what to expect. Violet wanted to keep them as pets, but you know, butterflies/moths don't really make good pets. Our sea monkeys are still around (since Jan) and don't get much attention anymore. I really can't see keeping a butterfly or moth in captivity when their life span is only about 2 weeks. We did get to enjoy looking at them in our screened patio, though. Several had made their cocoons in there, one was even found on the jumprope!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

A "chick, chick here and a chick, chick there....."

A week ago Wednesday, we went to a Chick Farm here in town, to see a new shipment of baby chicks that had just come in. There were roughly 10,000 chicks!!! Amazing. They were so cute. We picked up some eggs while we were there. The girls really enjoyed seeing them, and of course, want to raise their own now. We'll have to see if we can get Dan to build a chicken coop. It would be nice to have fresh eggs from free range chickens.


Friday we went to the last weekend of the Carlsbad Flower Fields before the close for the season to see the Ranunculus, Roses, Sweetpeas and other beautiful flowers. They had passport stations where the girls had their passport stamped for each area. There was a station about composting, the rose garden, the top of the ranunculus hill, sweet pea maze, panning for gemstones, to name a few. It was pretty nice, because due to the cool weather down there, it was not too crowded, and comfortable to walk around in. And we, of course, picked up some of their fresh, big strawberries, which we enjoyed at a picnic down on the beach. The girls played in the sand, and Violet actually went in the water, even though it was pretty cool out.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Flowers, butterflies, bananas......

We went on a fun field trip with our old hs group last Wednesday, to the Monarch habitat and the Quail Botannical Gardens in Encinitas. It was a clear, beautiful day down by the ocean. We enjoyed a picnic lunch and got to visit with our old hs friends. We started with the Monarch habitat and were given an informative presentation by the "Butterfly man". He was so great with the kids, kept it fun and instructional at the same time. They had just received a shipment of butterflies and chrysallis' and the kids were able to open and release the butterflies from the boxes. It was still cool out so the butterflies did not have a lot of movement. We got to watch a caterpillar race, and the children fed the Monarchs cantelope.

Caterpillar Race