Wednesday, November 28, 2018

All You Need for Christmas

Everyone knows it...  My kids all hate it.  Here is the awful truth.  
I hated Christmas
Growing up in an immigrant family and working in the family business sucked the Christmas excitement right out of me.  My parents and siblings and I worked hard and long.  By the time Christmas arrived, we were all too tired to celebrate much.  It was exhausting.  

But that was then and now I am slowly coming out of the Christmas funk.  Its taken a while but now I can truly celebrate Christ's birth with the rest of the world. Here on the farm we have transitioned from just selling milk and eggs to many other products.  Its been fun creating all these things and getting to share them with our happy customers. 
We have lots of items here in the lab to help you find gifts for your loved ones.  
These soft, felted soaps are made with our finest goat milk then felted with our hand dyed alpaca/sheep fiber.  It's like a wash cloth on a bar of soap.  When the soap is finally used up, the exfoliating washcloth is still quite usable.$6 
pure alpaca yarn, hand dyed $20
These are loofah sponges that are embedded in handmade goat soap.  Great exfoliating properties.$6
T-shirts are always useful.  These are my own design. 
goat milk, coconut oil, shea butter, sweet almond oil, avacado oil, apricto oil, non-nano zinc oxide, vitamin A and C, stearic acid, refrigerate
Drum roll please... The finest lavender organic goat milk lotion you could ever find ANYWHERE!  Its so pure you could eat it.   Our granddaughter Ella Bella is our most fervent customer.   4 oz. $10 If you plan to travel to a warm climate over the holidays, you don't want to leave home without this amazing goat milk lotion sunscreen.  Completely safe, organic, SPF 25 $20/8oz.
 Imported "brain cup" $40

The South Carolina Geological Survey has created a rock box that comes with 20 rocks and a booklet describing the rocks and where to find them.  $25
The items below are for those who want to keep themselves free of electromagnetic frequencies.  
$5 cell phone protection

wall outlet EMF protection $89
bracelet $79
bracelet $79

Please contact me at if any of these items interest you.  
And if you are a grandparent wanting to give your grandchild a truly memorable gift, click here and register them for a science lab.  
 Merry Christmas!!
Happy for a Honk and a Wave
My dear friend Janet, wrote this insightful book about autism. It is a fun way to convey an important message of acceptance and understanding of those who seem to be different or misunderstood.  

Click Here to register for classes. 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

My Ant Dream Come True

I have dreamed about constructing an ant lab for years and years.  For one reason or another it just never happened.  This school year is the last year that I will be creating new labs.  From here on I will blow the dust off the labs I've taught before every three years or so.  So I had to do it now or never.

Did you know ants share food from their social stomach by kissing other ants?  Most ants have a chemical called formic acid in their gasters. They can squirt the acid out of their bodies when provoked.  Wood ants can even drive off large animals like cows from their colonies. They all group together and spray formic acid into the air.  Most ants are female worker ants.  The queen ant can live for up to 30 years and will lay eggs continually after mating only one time.

(we call her Ella Bella Petronella)
And wouldn't you know it, our granddaughter Ella will be presenting an ant collection in the Northern Illinois Regional Science Fair.  Ella and I plan to have lots of conversations about ants when we see each other at Thanksgiving.

Here is a soda bottle formicarium that I made about a week ago. It took four days for the ants to work their way up through the bottle connector to the top.

This formicarium is evolving daily.  I keep finding new plastic containers in the dumpsters that make awesome extensions to this priceless piece of ant real estate.

This amazing three room mini-mansion has a kitchen, a cemetery, a restroom, and lots and lots of tunnels.  I keep a jar of petroleum jelly handy to smear up at the top of the container.  This keeps the ants where they belong.  They don't want to get stuck in petroleum jelly and I don't want them all over my classroom.     

notice the mandibles extending from the head
This Red Harvester ant is quite hairy.  
This ant has two petioles.
Stinger protruding from the gaster.
We had a great time looking at ants under the microscope.  Ants have six legs, two claws on each leg, a head, mandibles, compound eyes, three ocelli, two antenna. one or two petioles, a gaster and stinger, two stomachs, and much, much more.

I walked out to our pasture and carefully dug up a fire ant colony.  It was cold outside so they were kind of groggy but still moving slowly.  Ants like all insects, are cold blooded. They don't get out much in the cold weather. We found some pupae and larvae in the jar of fire ants.  How exciting!

I can't wait for this summer when the queens and male ants take to the air for their yearly nuptial flight.  You might see me outside with a net trying to catch a queen.  I hope all my students have been stung by the ant bug and are ready to build all kinds of interesting formicariums on their own.

I know I've got the ant bug!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Mom I'm Bored...

My heart goes out to kids these days.  When I was one, 
(just a couple of weeks ago) I had lots of time to roam 
and run free.  My friends and I would make rafts and float 
on the pond behind our house.  We collected clams and 
made clam beds.  We created forts in the woods and rode 
our bikes for hours.  

So why does my heart go out to kids?  Because "the boogie man" 
has stolen their freedom to explore and to create.  This has 
been a heartache of mine for a long time.  You can read about it here.

My dear husband 
rolled up his sleeves and decided to help me put my dream together 
by creating a small area where kids can be kids and get down and dirty 
with their four and two footed friends. 
Do you see the black rabbit running in the background?  That's Ruby and she got out.  
Not to worry I have a plan and will get her back soon.  Believe me, I am an expert now 
at catching escaped rabbits...

Meet Maxine.  
She's the pretty girl in this place.

Here is Ruth, aka escape artist.  
If anybody is going to dig their way out, it's Ruth.  She is very tame.  
A dear friend of mine named Ruth used to hold her in her arms for hours
every time we met at our house for a gathering.  Ruth is so gentle and sweet, 
(both of them). 

is my oldest rabbit.  She birthed Ruth and several others who I sold.  
My grandson Gabe, has one of her offspring, named Josephine, 
formerly Jo until we discovered he was a she.  

Oh My...

Antonio Valentino the only male. 
He was born on Valentine's Day thus the name...  And true to his name 
he got out of his pen and now all the girls are expecting.  They are all 
getting quite hefty and digging holes in preparation for the new brood.  
I am about to be overrun with rabbits! Image result for overrun with rabbits 

Register for a lab and see for yourself!!