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This blog chronicles the adventures I share with my husband, daughter and son. It is also a place to share what I am learning as a homemaker, gardener, book lover and homeschooling mother. Welcome.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

april in pictures


strawberry blossoms

reading/writing/drawing american ladies

crabapple blossoms



nerf night with the church youth group

apple tree blossoms

first lady florence harding

easter sunday

robin's nest just outside the kitchen window

olympus mons experiment 

peony blooms - these usually don't appear until mother's day weekend!

The month of April juxtaposes beginnings and endings.

All the greens with accompanying blooms signify, that yes!, Spring is here.The plants survived and the sun and warmth are our regular days now. An unseasonably warm Spring means the blooms are early this year,and I'll take the grace because seeing the beauty and the life right outside my windows is a great gift.

The end of the month of  April signifies the completion of our school book work. According to Missouri state law I can keep tracking hours through the month of June, but our workbooks will be put away and our days will be more "free." Teacher and students are equally welcoming the time.

We finished the year with math (always), dictation (usually hymns), scripture memorization,studying astronomy (Roone) and studying prominent American women (Ella). The frequent question for us is whether or not we will home school through high school. The answer to that question could be a very long post, but the short answer is, what we are doing is working so why change? 

April has also brought the first, albeit small, harvests from the garden, but I'll save those for a garden specific post.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

10 of 40: pa-huska nature trail

sun-dappled selfie

April sped by without any hiking until this past weekend. We are diligently finishing school work, preparing the vegetable garden, beginning new events for the children and prepping a home project. Hiking hasn't been on the forefront of our minds. It was with this in mind that we took the long hikes in March. They really tided me over knowing we wouldn't be out in the woods as much in April. The warm weather (and ticks) come out soon, so Summer will have less hikes too.

The hike this past Saturday was sweet, though. It was simple, mostly a stroll, rather than a rocky hike and at 2.2 miles was short enough that it didn't take a half day because we didn't have that much time to give it. The Pa-Huska Nature Trail is at Lake Jacomo. It seems there are three trail heads and we actually began on one not marked (this is characteristic of us!). The marked trail head is at Sailboat Cove, which we did see on the hike and even saw sailboats since it was lovely weather.

The woods are turning bright green and it is wonderful! Such beauty. And the blooms! They really were the feature presentation of the day. My favorite was the may apple. I have seen the plant before, but not the bloom. We saw blankets of blooms on this hike, and to me that was very special. The plants grow low to the ground and the bloom is under the "umbrella" so you have to squat to actually see (and photograph) the beauty. 

It seems that each trail we hike has something memorable for me about it and the may apples take the cake on this one. The refreshment, as always, was a gift and the time with Jesse and the children, as always, so fun. I did see a couple of white-tailed deer (I think because I was at the back of group and the kids scared them), but mostly I think we are too loud (laughing and chatting) to see much wildlife although Jesse is on a mission, I think, to minimize our volume. 

I should mention this trail is a loop and doesn't seem connected to other trails so the odds of getting lost are minimal, but it is currently not marked the most clearly and has a broken bridge unable to be crossed. I would love to be able to label the above blooms, but am in need of further education on the topic and have Missouri Wildflowers on my list.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

9 of 40: horsethief canyon trail

Another day trip we took soon after our Ha Ha Tonka State Park adventure was to Kanopolis State Park. Having another day to spare, but not wanting to spend a night away from home we found this park just south of Salina, KS about four hours away from the Kansas City area. We rarely cross the state line into Kansas for hiking, it really is mostly flat land, but there are some amazingly pretty scenic spots and we found one. I always like to be impressed with a hike, and this one did just that.

After a south west drive through the farmlands we came to the state park. The canyons pictured below can't be seen unless you are in them, so beginning the hike I was skeptical! Just a few feet on the Horsethief Canyon Trail and the beautiful sandstone formations were to be seen. It took us about four hours to hike 4.8 miles. The trail took us up through the formations, into prairie and near the river. 

The recent hike at Ha Ha Tonka was heavily populated on a warm day. The Horsethief Canyon trail was remote, although we did see about 15 people over the course of our time there, and the weather cool and overcast. The contrast from our time at Ha Ha Tonka was nice. The sun on these open trails would have been a bit bright and hot.

There are many miles of trails at this state park and it would be a good place to revisit and camp overnight.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

8 of 40: ha ha tonka state park trails

 Devil's Kitchen Trail 

Devil's Kitchen Trail (Devil's Promenade)

Devil's Kitchen Trail (Devil's Promenade)

Devil's Kitchen Trail 

Last weekend we took a day trip to the Lake of the Ozarks to hike at Ha Ha Tonka State Park. Many years ago Jesse had hiked there and camped overnight on the trail. This park has been on our list for some time, and our trip was with the intent to hike 4 trials, all connected, and were hopeful for some great views. We were not disappointed!

We drove down in the morning and started on the hike around 11am. Having all day we were not in a hurry and wanted to enjoy ourselves. The Devil's Kitchen Trail, Island Trail and Colosseum Trail provided rough, rocky hiking and amazing views of dolomite. It was fun for the kids, especially Roone, to climb this. The Spring Trail was perfect for a naturalist, which is more Ella's area of interest. We took time to eat lunch with a view of the lake from this trail and after our hike on the Island Trail as we continued on the Spring Trial, we had time to stop and observe a number of wood ducks, a Kingfisher, a bat (there are a couple of caves nearby) and about 50 turtles sunbathing. 

This state park is popular for having castle ruins on site that you can walk through, but it wasn't actually our priority to make it there so we just had a view from across the lake. The park is close to the lake community so it was heavy populated on the day we were there. The trails are very accessible, so there were a lot of casual walkers. The accessibility is great, however there is a lot of damage to the trails (many signs were posted) because visitors don't stay on the trial (which we, unfortunately, observed).

Our mileage at 3.3 miles in 4 hours is deceiving! As I said it was a rough, rocky hiking, but we really enjoy that as it adds so much interest to a trail. The 300+ stairs on the Spring Trail we could have without, but of course they serve their purpose. It was also a warm day getting into the lower 70's with sunshine, so we were hot by the end of our hike, which we don't prefer, of course! All in all, though, our time at Ha Ha Tonka was most enjoyable and highly recommend these trails.  

 Spring Trail 

 Spring Trail 

 Spring Trail 

 Spring Trail (with a view of the island)

 Spring Trail (castle ruins)

(we actually ascended the 316 steps since we came from the other side of the trial)

Spring Trail 

 Island Trail 

Island Trail

Island Trail 

Island Trail

  Colosseum Trail

Colosseum Trail

Colosseum Trail (natural bridge)