As summer winds to a close and I get ready to go back to school (work) I will miss the life I lead when I am at Lake Winnipesaukee. It always seems like the sunsets the last few nights are the best of the season, making it even more difficult to leave.
Last night Bob and I stopped at the Lyndon Johnson Memorial Grove. I had been there once before to watch fourth of July fireworks launched from the grounds of the Washington Monument but that was around 1978. Ever since then I thought I had been to Lady Byrd Johnson Park but I was wrong. The two parks adjoin each other on the opposite side of the Potomac River between the Pentagon and the West Potomac Park which butts up against the Tidal Basin. From LBJ Memorial Grove Park you have nice views of the monuments in DC as well as Arlington Cemetery and the Pentagon. I can see why the Johnsons stopped there to look out on the city whenever they returned from Texas to Washington. I am sure when they were living in Washington all the tall buildings beyond the Jefferson and the Lincoln memorials were not there and the view was better than it is today. While not tall enough to totally obstruct views they certainly give it a cluttered feeling.
We parked in the lot overlooking the Pentagon and used the walking bridge across Boundary Channel to access the park. So, in effect we parked in Virginia and walked into DC.
6 lovely ladies spent the afternoon yesterday learning how to use PhotoShop Elements to turn their own photographs into thermofax ready images.
Thanks to Artistic Artifacts for hosting this class. Our next class, on April 13, 2013, is a screening class where students will learn to print with a thermofax screen and how to tape their own screen. Sign up is on the Artistic Artifacts website. http://www.artisticartifacts.com/category/wk.html
Every single day in our new STEM lab is all about sharing exciting moments with kids and staff members. Two weeks ago we had two Monarch caterpillars which made chrysalis’. That was exciting in and of itself but today when I went in to work I was delighted to see this in the net cage.
Her wings were so soft and pristine looking, she really was a beautiful sight. And yes, I got some good photos for making thermofax screens. And to think of all that time I spent chasing butterflies at the garden center this summer…
Part of me was just thrilled that the butterfly was alive. Last weekend I had taken the cage home in case they emerged from the pupa over the weekend. This past Friday I had forgotten and it was a three-day weekend! When I remembered on Sunday I felt awful, especially since my family will tell you I don’t have the best of track records with taking care of animals although I maintain that some of the loses were truly tragic accidents over which I had little control. But I digress.
Because we had nothing to feed the butterfly I figured it was best to let her go soon in the day. After the morning mass of kids who stop by the STEM lab had all had a turn at seeing the butterfly we had a third grade class come for a lesson at 9:30. They had studied butterflies last spring and I know their second grade teachers would have been thrilled to hear all the things they remembered. A second grade class sneaked by to all take a look and what a great prompt that will be for them next spring when they study butterflies and can remember back to seeing the cycle from caterpillar to butterfly this fall in the STEM lab.
It was a cold and overcast morning but I figured mother nature knew what she was doing when I found those caterpillars in my yard three weeks ago! So, outside we went with the cage to let the butterfly go. It was reluctant at first to leave the cage and I had to put my hand in and let it climb on and then it still would not fly away. I finally went to a nearby bush to place it on the leaf where it was happy to suck in some morning dew.
I know it was an experience I won’t forget and I hope the kids enjoyed it too. Happy flight to Mexico little butterfly.
This summer I spent some time taking photos at a local garden center in New Hampshire hoping to get a good shot of a Monarch that I could turn into a thermofax screen. I could never seem to get them when the wings were open. This is the best shot I managed.
One day after a frustrating photo shoot at the garden center when the weather was hot and sticky, I drove back home by the lake (where it is much cooler) only to get out of the car and take this shot in my mother’s own garden!
and also this one
A few days later we visited the Kirkwood Garden at the Squam Lake Science Center where hundreds of butterflies were enjoying some Joe Pye Weed.
By September I am back in Virginia and noticed some monarch caterpillars on milkweed plants which Bob and I purposely left in our garden, even though they are not attractive plants, because milkweed is the only food of the Monarch caterpillar and on the butterfly’s migratory path it has become more scarce.
Last week I found some caterpillars on the plants and decided to take them in to school so the kids could see them. They generated lots of excitement and many kids 🙂 happily already knew what they were looking at. On Friday I brought them home for the weekend so I could be sure they had a fresh supply of milkweed leaves and lo and behold if one of them didn’t turn into a chrysalis. I am so excited so I know the kids will be too.
The week after mom and I discovered the weekly animal shows at the Libby Museum, my son and husband were visiting and so we made a point of going to the presentation by the science center. This week they had three animals, all birds, a different Sharp Shined Hawk, a Saw Whet owl and a Falcon. The owl was very tiny and very cute! When my son was a young boy he aspired to be a falconer and seeing the falcon reminded him of that goal again.
All the animals at the Squam Lake Science Center are there because they have been orphaned or injured and could not be returned to the wild. The falcon was brought in with a broken wing and you can see that his wing droops a bit lower than the other wing. He either was hit by a car or ran into a power line, they aren’t sure which.
The animal handler had a great visual of the owl’s eyes. If we humans were to have eyesight as good as that of this little owl our eyes would have to be this big!
Sometimes it is fun to look at items that were around when you were younger and it seems they turn up odd times. Friday I had a meeting at what once was an elementary school over by Route One in Fairfax County, not too far from where I grew up.
Walking into the building I saw an old water fountain. I can remember lining up after recess to get a drink from a fountain like this one. I also remember these fountains being spaced around the National Mall in DC. Next I saw a rusted box on a door for the heating oil delivery man to leave his delivery bills. Inside the building I saw a two-person drinking fountain in what was once the cafeteria. It can be fun to go down memory lane..