Building a Bluebird Nestbox

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I was a little concerned about the distance when I registered my kids for this activity, but it seemed like such a great place, the activity seemed like a lot of fun and it was FREE! I was not disappointed. The kids showed immediate interest from the moment we stepped onto the walkway heading up to the main building of Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary in Wales, MA.

My oldest daughter (middle child) Abigail was the first to notice the walkway was imprinted with the footprints of different animals and we explored our way up talking about what animals they could be from. 11 year old Caleb decided, for some reason only known to him, that it was necessary to also use his sense of smell to explore and got 2 year old Emily down on the ground so they could smell their way to the door.
It felt good to not have to wander around lost. We were greeted by a nice woman as soon as we walked in the door who asked if we were there for the birdhouse class. She then told us to enjoy exploring the wonderful displays while we waited for the others to arrive.  

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Caleb checking out the display of birds
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Abigail loves to discover the weather from day to day.
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We even discovered what some of those prints in the concrete were!
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Abigail loves space and the sky. She was quickly drawn in my this poster.
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Ok, there’s nothing this child doesn’t love to learn about. Here she is looking at the turtle shells.

Right on time the group was lead down to a room where all the tools and materials were set up. Before we got started though they had everybody sit down in chairs (set up away from the distraction of the tools) for a quick discussion about how everything was going to happen. Then they got to go to work. They set everything up in stages and had at least 1 helper from the sanctuary to help at each table. A blessing to those of us with more than 1 child or, as in my case, a rambunctious 2 year old. I was able to easily help Abigail when she needed it. Caleb, at 11, didn’t really need any help but I did hold his birdhouse once so he could hammer in a nail. I’m proud to say I still have all my fingers. Neither one of them hit my fingers once, though Abigail and I might have had a close call or 2!

 

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Caleb and Abigail liked the night time display.
Emma wants to play too!
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Caleb hard at work
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It was easier for some of the shorter kids to hammer their project on the floor
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Mama was too nervous about the 2 year old with the hammer so someone gave us a puzzle to do. She did get a chance to hammer a nail towards the end. Another mom with a younger child let Emma try. She only hit herself in the head once!
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Putting on the door to keep the bluebirds safe from predators and other birds who might try to steal their nests.

A quote from Abigail: “My favorite part was building the birdhouses. I learned that bluebirds need lots of help because of predators like raccoons and other birds like Starlings that like to steal the bluebird nests and build their own on top, it can sometimes kill the bluebird babies already in the nest”.

A quote from Caleb: “My favorite part was building the bird box and I learned that most types of blue birds are endangered”.
What mom learned: “I learned to give my kids space, they are far more capable than I give them credit for and I am so proud of how their bird boxes came out. About the bluebirds, I learned that thet are a member of the thrush family and related to the robin. Starlings are a natural enemy of bluebirds because they often take over bluebird nests and kill the baby bluebirds inside. This can be prevented by making sure the entrance hole in the box is no more than 1-1/4″D so that a bluebird but not a Starling will be able to get through. I also learned that raccoons can be prevented from climbing the poles that house the boxes by applying machine grease to the base of the pole and adding an additional square of wood around the opening to the box (Our boxes do not have these). Many farmers use bluebird boxes around their fences to help bluebirds nest and to keep unwanted insects from infesting their crops”.

Meet the Dad

Hello out there, I am Dad, I work in the Heating an Air Conditioning Trade, I enjoy working with my hands on all kinds of projects, My wife is good at keeping me busy on her projects as well, her list is as long as mine…. Most of all I enjoy the family time I get with my kids, my two oldest enjoy dancing an i love watching them practice an perform on stage brings great joy to me, And Emma, cant get enough of her she will surprise you every day with something new she has learned. Can’t wait till she get to start dance. I think the home school concept we are going to explore is a great way to teach children in real life experiences that they wont get at a public school, an get to spend more time with the family, which in my opinion life is about family an your experiences on this journey not just studying for a test.Always remember to look back over your shoulder an see where you have been cause  life is a great adventure soak it up as much as you can, Smile an laugh every day!!

Meet The Mom

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I thought it would be a good exercise to give everybody a chance to introduce themselves to you all. The kids are excited to share with you!   

As you can see, there are not many photos that exist of only me. I love to explore new things. Until my oldest, Caleb, was born I worked as an EMT in Massachusetts. Later on I pursued a degree in Deaf Studies from Quinsigamond Community College. I don’t get much opportunity to use my ASL skills and as a consequence my skills are very rusty. I have a certificate in Photography from Boston University Center for Digital Imaging Arts and also spend some time at the New England Institute of Art. In the last few years I have also learned how to can food safely, sew, crochet and knit (but I dropped knitting as soon as I got the hang of crochet) and beading. I also make many of our household cleaners and shower products.

I love being a stay-at-home mom and exploring the world with my family. We’ve been through a lot in the last few years learning how to deal with food allergies, lead poisoning, Lyme Disease, mold toxicity and the physical, mental and emotional effects all of these things, especially when occurring in such a short amount of time, have on people.

I’m also love animals and nature. We currently have a cat and a dog as well as 3 bunnies (at 1 point we had 35!) and chickens.

I want to teach my kids by living life. I, myself, am a hands on learner. I learn by doing and experiencing. I want to teach them what they need to know to be successful adults in whatever dreams they want to pursue. Not only academically but with real life skills. I feel like there are too many adults and soon to be adults entering the world not having basic life skills necessary to function in day to day life. I feel like the decision to homeschool my children will make this possible and as a family we can achieve amazing things.

My dream is to spend a year or 2 (or more?) traveling the country (I’d love to say the world but flying terrifies me!) I’ll have to work on that one) and learning on the road. I want my kids to not just read about amazing places in books and see them on TV, I want them to experience these wonders and really appreciate them.

If When we are lucky enough to make this a reality there may come a time when we decide, you know what? We want to settle down. I feel like we’d have a better understand of the country and really know where a comfortable spot for us to live would be, because we’ll have been there.

We’d like to buy a nice plot of land ( I can see it in my mind) acres upon acres (maybe 20 acres?) With a view of the mountains and a pond where we can explore. We want to learn to live sustainably, grow our own food and raise animals (I’m having trouble with the meat thing, I love to eat meat, but I don’t know how I’d handle raising my dinner, I tend to get attached). We love the idea of off grid living in a small house and collecting memories, not things. I want to teach my kids that things are just that, things. People and experiences are more important than material possessions).

I dream of a rescue for livestock where they can be safe and happy. Living off the land, growing our own food (well, most of it anyway) and appreciating the little things in life.

Life is Ever Changing

If there is one thing I have learned, it is that life is ever changing. We learn new things, we discover new opportunities and sometimes they alter our dreams. In essence, we change our minds. We are human, it is what we do. I have been doing much research and exploring over the past year and every once in a while something catches my attention and I think, I just have to try this!

It all started as a way to get out of the toxic situation our home has placed us in. We ended up, against my will, throwing more money at our 1900 house that isn’t worth what we owe on it, to remove the lead. I have to say I have never felt healthier than when me and the kids were living out of state for the summer. Made me more convinced of what I had been thinking all along, maybe its something in the house making me sick…

After being diagnosed with Lyme Disease and Mycoplasma from a tick bite in September, I began treatment. Let me give you a pierce of advice right now, if you ever find yourself with Lyme Disease and your doctor says, “Here, take these antibiotics for 2 weeks and you’ll be magically all better”. don’t believe them. Luckily I had enough previous knowledge of Lyme Disease to know that what my Dr. was telling me didn’t sound right and I sought a second opinion.

Would you look at that EVIL NASTY thing?!?!? **Shudder**

We discovered that I have been it so hard by it in such a short time due to an underlying issue with mold toxicity. I know, fun right? All the pieces are finally starting to come together. We are no closer to being removed from the toxicity of the house, but now I’m beginning to understand all the unexplainable things that have happened to my family. My husband, previously even tempered, developing horrible mood swings and almost bi polar like behavior, often for no reason (no, he has never tried to physically hurt anybody but not knowing who is going to be from one minute to another takes its toll on an already stressed family). My kids with new allergies where just a few short years ago nobody in my family was allergic to anything, my youngest with developing asthma and other respiratory symptoms, none of these things run in my family and this, perhaps, is a cause. There are other things I can pick out as well, but I’ll stop there and is, perhaps, a topic for another post.

In the past month, though not for the first time, I have been considering homeschool for oldest, my 11 year old, 6th grade son, Caleb. He has been struggling in school since kindergarten and I have felt that maybe he was not in a setting that was best for him to really learn in. After beginning my research, my middle child, 8-1/2 year old Abigail, expressed a desire to also homeschool. A flurry of thoughts and emotions are now running through my mind. Oh my GOD! Can I really do this or am I going to totally screw my kids up? Is this the right thing for my family? and about a million other questions. Facebook is a fountain of information with pages and groups specifically dedicated to homeschool families and they are a fountain of information. They were kind and patient while I expressed my thoughts, desires and concerns.

SO…. As of June 2016 We will be a HOMESCHOOLING FAMILY!!!!!!

Oh MY God! I can’t believe I just said that!!!! I haven’t actually said that out loud before. I’ve said it in the privacy of homeschooling Facebook groups but this makes it REAL!

It is still our dream as a family to:

 #1 Get the heck out of here and some place safe and healthy.
#2 Live off the land on our own piece of land in a tiny house and raise our family and our animals but wait, there’s MORE…..
I’ve been doing a lot of research about how I want to teach my kids and give them the best experience of life. I want them to not just see it on TV or in a book, I want them to LIVE IT. SO….

#3 my goal to Road School. I want to make it possible for my family to live and travel the US (I’d say the world but I’d like to start realistically and I and PETRIFIED of flying). I want us, as a family to really experience life if only for a year or 2 before we really decide if/where we want to settle down. After all, how can you possibly know where the best place to live is if you really haven’t experienced it. I hope you’ll continue to join in our adventure because it’s about to get REALLY interesting!

I will also be updating my Photography blog more frequently so, please feel free to take a peek at that too by clicking! Shades of life

This is not our rig, don’t I WISH!!! But this is our goal!