The kids and I made our own homemade broom from a broom plant that I pruned. They've been having fun playing Harry Potter and taking turns flying around on the broom. They've also made some really cool spears for themselves after watching Troy. Achilles weilds a mean spear, that's for sure! The kids loved watching the mythological world of their Age of Mythology game come alive. We watched the bonus features disc, a National Geographic special on the Making of Troy, and read a couple of excerpts from The Iliad. As chance would have it, Emily had picked up a children's version of The Odyssey from the library, so we got a sense of what happened to Odysseus on his way home from the Trojan War.
This weekend, Jim set up an old CD player in the girls' bedroom, and they've been having a ball listening to all their CDs and feeling quite grown up. Julia put in a disc that had come with a ballerina book Em got ages ago, and she immediately recognized the music from Swan Lake. I was quite impressed. She then proceeded to tell Sam all about the story.
Friday and Saturday the kids and dh helped me get the vegetable garden turned over. There's still quite a bit of clay that each year we work hard to get rid of by taking as much out as possible and replacing it with good organic matter from our compost bins to mix in with the remaining soil. I turned the garden over, the kids helped pull out any rocks and clay while breaking apart the shoveled clumps and Jim hauled the compost. By the end of the day Saturday, it was looking pretty good, and the chickens were loving the compost top dressing, which we'll turn in with a friend's rototiller sometime this week, hopefully.
While we were working on Friday, we found a six-spotted green tiger beatle, which was really cool--an amazingly brilliant, iridescent emerald green. We were able to use the bug vacuum Sam bought at the toystore a few weeks ago to suck it into the magnifying canister and then identify it with our insect book. While I was inside getting the book, Sam let the beatle go, so at first we had to identify it from memory. We narrowed it down to two from the pictures, then used the description of the habitats to determine which it was. As we did, we found the beatle crawling on Sam's jacket, much to his chagrin, and were able to recapture it, and sure enough, those six spots were clear as could be under the magnifying glass.
Then later, as I was moving some rocks around for my rock walls, I found a black widow and was able to suck that up as well for safe viewing. It was beautiful, and it's not the first one I've found in my rock walls, unfortunately. We supposedly have brown recluses in the area too, though I've never found one, and we need to be careful of copperheads, as well. Basically, we're all pretty careful to wear our work gloves when ever we're handling fire wood or rocks. And we scout out our climbing area pretty carefully when we head over there, too.