Sunday, April 10, 2011

Work, School, Play

Friday we all went to town to run some odd errands, which included buying red diesel fuel for off-road applications.  The red dye from the fuel had better not be found in your vehicle's fuel tank, because that means you aren't paying your road tax!  It's used for equipment.  And guess what, MW horse-traded AGAIN!

This time it was for a full-sized road grader!  The grader comes with a job already attached to it too, so he doesn't have to go out and bid jobs and then hope for the best!!!  It's a ready-made job!  Can you get any more lucky?  Not often, I tell ya!  There's a potential hitch.  A calculated risk.  We need to stow away as much income as possible, as fast as possible, so that in the inevitable event it needs repairs and maintenance, we aren't stuck with equipment that can't be fixed.  No money for repairs means no money at all, ever, end of story, dead in the water.  Job security requires saving for those times.  This is all helping us to make the shift from solar sales and installations to equipment that will hopefully get us off the ground with our grand plans in life.

What I was starting to say before I went off on this tangent (our lives are full of those aren't they?), was that part of the reason for going to town together yesterday was to get me out of the house!

We're still down to one vehicle since Miracle Worker's trade for the backhoe.  After those errands were complete, we headed home the long way.  Hahahaha!  Yes, going home is already a long trip of 60 miles on a good day!  But this time we took a detour which consisted of 110 miles from town to home.

MW had to go to a customer's house, before they arrived the next day from out of town, to finish up some water-tank plumbing.  So, while the oldest boy assisted his dad, the other two boys went with me for a walk.

We found this prickly character fixin' to bloom.  Oh how I wish I'd found him in bloom!

We happened upon this lone lupine in a wash.  We talked about how it's part of the legume family.

I LOVE this shot!  If you were a mouse, this is what you'd see!

The kids spied several of these desert marigolds.  They loved the bright yellow!

The boys found these white wildflowers and had to have their pictures taken with the newly discovered plant!  I have no idea what they're called.  Just confirms I need an excellent wildflower guide book of the southwest.

This walk has turned into a trek of discovery.  And they eagerly point out their finds to me.  I discuss with them that we are always to watch out for wildflowers, taking care not to step on them or pick them.  "Why?" they ask.  I respond by telling them they bloom for very short periods of time and they have a job to fulfill, such as feeding insects, bugs, rodents, rabbits, javelinas, and birds.  They are part of the growth cycle in nature.

We make our way up out of the little wash we were in, and I make a bee-line towards this Joshua Tree.

The kids, filled with the joy and excitement with our discoveries exclaim their awe at seeing one of these up close.  "What is it?" they ask.  I tell them the name, that it's not really a tree, and that it's one of the many yuccas we find here in the desert.  And, that it's the biggest and tallest of all the yuccas.  They understand now, they know yuccas, but didn't know it was the biggest kind of them all.

I am instructed to, "Take a picture!"

And on the other side!

Weston discovers this little wildflower!  I love these mouse's-eye-views!

The boys discovering Ocotillo...

...and rocks...

...and other exciting sights.

We discuss how dead Joshua Trees serve as 'hotels,' to centipedes, scorpions, beetles, termites, lizards, geckos, mice, and snakes; just like the Saguaros when they get old and fall.  They have a favorite book illustrating and teaching this concept with Saguaros, so they could easily relate it to the Joshua Tree too.

We return to the truck, do show and tell with Dad, showing him all our finds.  The kids couldn't resist taking home some of their favorite rocks!  Just like me when I was a kid!  Well, I STILL do actually!  Can't pass up an interesting rock!

As we make the drive home, I reflect on how natural this all was.  How easy it was to walk around, discover, talk, and share all we saw.  It was school at it's best!
It was science!  Oh how I love science!  And best of all, the kids can relate to it on a personal level!  One of the concepts of "unschooling!"

We drove up the mountain after dark and found several inches of snow at home.  We woke up Saturday morning to this!  Seriously?  Spring?  The apple blossoms are doomed.  No apples this year I'm afraid!
(But another opportunity to talk about why in our 'unschool!')

How was your weekend?  Peaceful?  Epic?  Cold?  Warm?

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. The best lessons children can learn are often found in nature is what I believe. Not only were they learning about nature/science but you were there as their mother to invest in them. Taking the time to be present and to communicate with them. We need more mothers like you!

    Looks like you all had a fabulous weekend as did we. No snow here this past weekend but I am afraid this coming week will be a different story.

    Have a great week.

  2. Loved this posting... it reminded me of when ours were young and the excitment of discovery was always around the next tide pool, woodland path, vernal pond, night time sky etc... so wonderful! natural learning is just the best!
    Great job! Homeschooling/unschooling mom!
    Take lots of pictures of them on your walk abouts and thanks for your note today at Dandelion House!