Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Botany, Eggs, & A Snakeskin

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Our Spring has gotten off to a late start. We've been dry here in central Oklahoma. Actually, most of the state has been experiencing drought.
Wonderfully, the past couple of days have brought rain. And it's amazing how quickly the flowers play catch-up!

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I had purposely planned a Botany unit for the kids this Spring as we could take advantage of so much of the plantworld beginning the cycle of life.

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When in grade school, I personally enjoyed drawing diagrams of the subjects we were studying...labeling them and coloring them with great care. My kids enjoy doing so, also.

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It's interesting to watch them...and the learning process is made so much easier when it's a hands-on lesson.
I had gone out to the garden and found several different bean seeds and sprouts in different stages of developement. The children were able to put them in order of growth, label the part of the seed, tell me whether or not the bean plant is a dicotyledon or monocotyledon and then explain as well as show me how they knew that.

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We're using Apologia's Botany for our core of study, but I've supplemented from other sources also and will omit the material from Apologia we've already learned. I'm excited about this unit and have lots of plans regarding instruction, experiments, and field trips.

Along with the flowers blooming in the pasture, veggies growing in the garden, and the trees leafing out, other signs of Spring abound.
Interestingly, we have a Wyandotte female chicken that has gone broody (she's ready to lay a clutch of eggs and hatch them out).
From what I've read chickens go broody more so in the Spring. She left her clutch of eggs for a short time to eat and another chicken hopped in the Wyandotte's nest to lay her daily egg. This confused the Wyandotte and she took up nesting in the nest nextdoor to the one she had been in.
Needless to say, the clutch of eggs that she had been on for nearly five days was abandoned after the interloper had laid her egg and went on her merry way.
So this morning I brought the eggs into the house so the kids and I could check to see if they were fertilized and how far along in developement they were.
There is a wonderful website here that shows pictures for every day of developement. We used this website to identify that yes, our eggs were fertilized and they ranged from three to four days developed. I didn't take any pictures but we're now excited about trying to hatch eggs out in an incubator we've borrowed from our local extension office. I'll definitely keep you posted on how that goes.

Speaking of eggs, I gathered eggs from the coop and from the nests that my free range chickens make in the yard just the other day. I cracked open three, one yolk ran, but the other two yolks stayed intact.
By looking at the two intact yolks in the picture below, can you tell which is the cooped chicken's egg and which is the free range chicken's egg? If you said the more orange one is the free range chicken's egg...you're right! The free range chickens get a more varied diet and their eggs are much more nutritous. 


 
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And speaking of the varied diet of a free range chicken, did you know they will eat baby snakes? I've seen for myself three baby snakes killed and eaten by two of my hens.
I'll transition there to the subject of these last two photos.
Last week my little guy came to me with a long snakeskin he had found in the backyard. When I told him I wanted to measure it, he said that the tail had torn off when he was picking it up off the ground. We went ahead and measured the majority of the skin.


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After measuring the snakeskin, my little guy insisted on going and finding the "tail" so that we could get a full and more accurate measurement of the snake. He came running back with it just moments later and we were able to measure the tail and then add that to our measurement of the larger part of the skin to get a total of four feet ten inches long! There's a seriously long snake out there somewhere. I'm just hopin' he's of the nonvenomous type!

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I really didn't want to leave you with visions of the monster snake "slithering around" in your head, so I posted another photo of the Irises that are beside the driveway to the house. I took these in the morning when the sunlight was just peering over the horizon of the property to the east of us. It had rained in the night and left behind some welcomed moisture on the blooms.

Seeing His blessings in the small things, Julie

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2 comments:

Timothy Snider said...

Nice post, sweetums. Great photography. Thanks for picking up the calf. TS

Jenn4him said...

Lots of great learning going on at your house! We've been getting rain without end in sight. I can't get to the garden if I wanted to. I love Apologia science. Botany is on my list.