Category Archives: Field Trips

Serpentarium 12+ Trip

*Blog for Feb 12-16

This week I went on a super fun trip with kids ages 12 and up. I’m part of a group where we take turns planning trips with/for the older kids and our latest trip was to a serpentarium in Wilmington, NC. Zack (@zelda) did a great job planning it. We stayed at his grandparents’ condo for two nights and went to the Cape Fear Serpentarium, the beach, the Fort Fisher Aquarium, Fort Fisher, and a couple of little shops near the condo.

Left to right: Kate, Liberty, Elisha, Caleb, Andrew, Ireland, Jordan, Zack, Me, Will, and Ralphie.

The Serpentarium

A serpentarium is like a museum/zoo that shows snakes, lizards, and other reptiles. We went to the Cape Fear Serpentarium which, according to the website, has the largest and most rare venomous snake collection in the country.

It was so amazing! I saw so many different types of snakes, including a black mamba (pictured) that either liked me or wanted to eat me. It was really cool to see a black mamba because when I was younger I was super interested in them and re watched a documentary about them probably five times. I felt proud of myself for knowing what kind of snake it was before looking at the sign. Black mambas are extremely venomous (5/5 on the venom scale) and their bites are known as the kiss of death.

Black mamba and me.

 

There were also lizards and turtles, as well as alligators and crocodiles. I was really impressed with the variety and sheer number and size of the collection. We learned that all of the animals are taken care of by one person. That’s a huge job! Jess got their contact information and I’m hoping we might be able to help them out some time. Here are some more pictures:

Not a snake.
Blood Boas
Friendly snake
This snake is so cool because it looks like leaves.
cute snek

Aquarium

Liberty and me at the aquarium.

We also went to the Fort Fisher Aquarium. That was a lot of fun. We saw a dive show where two scuba divers went into a huge tank with fish, sharks, turtles, and an eel and answered questions through an underwater walkie talkie system that we could hear outside the tank. We learned that green moray eels (pictured below) aren’t actually green. They’re blue, but the slime they secrete everywhere is yellow  making them appear green! I thought that was super cool.

Green moray eel

Something the Fort Fisher Aquarium is famous for is Luna; their albino alligator. Albino alligators can’t survive in the wild. A big reason is that because they’re albino, they can get sunburns super easily. An alligator’s instinct is to bask in the sun. If an albino alligator basked in the sun and did what they wanted for just a couple of weeks, they would probably die from sun poisoning.

 

Fort Fisher

Unfortunately, we had to go through Fort Fisher really fast. We didn’t have time to read the signs and I don’t really remember anything from the quick movie we watched beforehand. I will say that it was a nice walk around outside and the mounds around the fort were cool, though.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip. The reason this is so late is because I’m on spring break (Universal Studios!!) and just now had a free few minutes to finish this up.

Bye!

*Not at the Serpentarium, This is at Repticon the Sunday after the trip.

The Way Of Adventure Library Selfie

A few people from Wings (@tomis, @michaelgadhia, @libby, and I) are participating in Blake Boles’ “Way Of Adventure” Course. Our first challenge out in the community was to go to our local library, ask a librarian to help us find a book, and then take a selfie with them.

I decided that I would ask for/get a book about German grammar, because that’s one of the most (if not the most) difficult things about learning German (or any other language, for that matter).

I actually found a great book with German sentences to use in any situation including

  • Shopping, home improvement, restaurants.
  • Greetings, goodbyes, introductions, and telephone calls.
  • The weather.
  • Train station, hotel, post office, airport, auto shop, and the doctor’s office.

There are so many more, but I won’t bore you any longer.

Needless to say, this should be a very helpful book to look over! I also got a book called Ein Hund fürs Leben. The translation is (I think) A Dog for Leben. I’m hoping I’ll be able to understand it!

Now, the selfie with the librarian was very awkward. I think that Liberty documented the experience beautifully in her own blog about the challenge, therefore I’ll quote her a bit on this one. Green = Liberty’s words.

We were all acting really awkward when we asked for our selfie. The librarian came around the desk for the picture and waited for probably 20 seconds while Michael was trying to figure out how to take a selfie. Then Alona finally just grabbed the phone from him. The selfie was then taken, and we thanked the librarian and hurried out. 

I have a feeling this course is going to be a real challenge, but I think we are all very excited to see what other ridiculous things we need to do in this course.

Left to right: Me, Librarian, Michael, Liberty.

 

 

Writer’s Workshop Project

This week I did lots of things. One of the big things I did was go to Amelie’s! It was really cool this week because we found a circle of seating around a mosaic table! It actually had mosaic all over. I also found a delicious caramel torte that I can eat with braces.

But the best part of the trip? Writing. This is the main purpose of “Writers Workshop at Amelie’s”. I got a few hundred words done at my own pace. Unlike NaNoWriMo, which is writing as much as you can, as fast as you can. This I could relax with because I have no deadlines.

My newest book is about the world in 2988. It is the first book I have written that’s in diary form; it has diary entries and the dates they were written instead of being simple first person narrative. This allows me to more fully expand on the character. Right now she is ten years old and a bit random. I can show that by ending a serious entry with “Today I saw a rainbow.” If you were writing a book in a first person narrative style, that wouldn’t be acceptable. But because this is a private diary for a girl, it is ok. Ever feel writer’s block when writing a diary form book? Just say they saw a rainbow. Problem solved.

To say more about my plot. The year is 2988. Ten year old Ria Anise Osborne lives with her Daddy and Grammy (her mother’s grandmother). The ozone layer is rapidly disappearing because of a new chemical made in a science lab. When the chemical was accidentally let loose, it travelled upwards and started destroying our natural gaurd from the sun’s heat and radiation. It is announced that young people between the ages of 10 and 15 will be chosen to train and live in the deepest depths of the ocean. It being 2988, this is now highly possible. Everyone else will be left on the planet’s surface to suffer the consequences. There are 800 spots to live and Ria is in the age range.

Dun

DUN

DUNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Natalie’s Farm Trip!

This week @nancy , @libby , @animalfreak9 (Elisha), and I all went to Natalie’s farm. Natalie (well, really her mom Alex) has four horses. Tally, Spruce, Shakespear, and Almond. NOTE: When I say “we” I mean Nancy, Liberty, Elisha and I. Possibly Alex and Natalie as well. Just pay attention and you’ll understand just fine.

On Tuesday after Elisha and I had coding class, we all went to start our drive. The drive was about two hours. On the way we stopped at Chic-Fil-A for dinner. Elisha got herself and I SMALL icecreams. Chic-Fil-A’s icecreams turn out to be really big. So we all shared two icecreams (besides Nancy). Then we drove and drove until we got to the farm! Nancy and Liberty slept outside in a tent, The rest of us (including Natalie) slept on the floor in the living room. We were going to sleep in Natalie’s bedroom but it was super hot up there. Her room is essentially the attic of an old house (it’s CONNECTED to the barn. Natalie’s window is a view to the barn. I assume that’s old). It doesn’t have any air conditioning and with three bodies inside it would of possibly roasted us during the night. Therefore we opted to sleep downstairs.

 

After deciding where we would sleep all of the kids went to say hi to the horses. All of Natalie’s horses are retired racehorses. Tally (Tallahassee Star was his racing name) is the biggest, and he is 22. He’s also top in pecking order (he’s the president). Next in pecking order is Spruce (vice president). He is 26 years old and his long name is pronounced Spruce-kip-aid. Third in pecking order is Shakespeare. He is maybe 16-21? I can’t remember right now. Then there’s Almond. She is the only girl, only 10 years old, and the lowest in pecking order. Basically she gets pushed around a bunch. They stayed out in a paddock overnight.

 

Before bed we all sat in the living room at talked. Some of us had a snack. I really liked petting one of their dogs; Jennifer. I can’t remember how old they said she was, but from ages 10-15. She’s medium sized so she was much older than a young dog that age. Their other dog is a 4 year old chihuahua; very different. His name is Felipe and he didn’t like any of us very much. After an hour or two we all started going to bed.

 

I fell asleep by 11:30 because I was soo tired and I ignored Elisha and Natalie talking. Apparently a bright light was shone in my eyes to see if I was asleep. I don’t understand what was going through their minds when that happened.

 

We all woke up from 6:30-6:45, me being the latest to wake up at 6:45. Right away, in my pajamas we all got a horse on our own (the adults stayed back and made breakfast because they’re awesome like that). I got Spruce, Natalie got Tally, Elisha got Shakespeare, and Liberty got Almond. We led them all with halters and leads to their stalls. At 8:00am the farrier came. (And here is where the bunches of pictures start).

horse1

The horse’s hooves are made of the same material that your nails are made of, and they grow just like ours. The farrier takes off the horseshoe and puts it to the side. Then he goes and clips the hooves! The result? a giant version of a toenail clipping. From each hoove. Then he files the hooves down a bit. He didn’t talk to us at all during it, so I don’t really know why. But he did. If he needed to then he cleaned the hoove before seeing if he had to reshape the shoe. If he did then he hit it with a hammer and used something that made sparks fly everywhere. Once the hoove was ready the farrier held the shoe up to the hoove. He tooks nails and a hammer and hammered the shoe on. This doesn’t hurt, though, because the hooves are just giant nails that don’t have feeling in them. After that the farrier files the hoove one more time. He farrier-ed 16 hooves that morning!

horse2

Everyone got bored and Elisha and Natalie went and played inside. Nancy, Liberty and I all went on an exploration. Natalie’s property consists of some wooded land around a creek. We took some pictures and had an awesome time! Though for quite a bit of it we weren’t even in Breedan territory.

horse3 horse4 horse5

As you can see I almost fell into water more than once on more than one occasion in more than one kinds of water.

When we returned the farrier was STILL working on the horses!

After the farrier came and left, we led the horses back to the paddocks. I took Spruce back. Nancy didn’t get a picture of me leading Spruce, but she did get these.

horse6 horse7

After that we just hung out. I got into my day clothes and changed out of my pajamas. We all changed, brushed teeth, stuff like that. We also put together a puzzle, Nancy gave LIberty henna, and I colored a fox in Natalie’s coloring book.

 

At 11:00 the dentist came! This was awesome and by far the best part of the trip (hence it being the whole point we came there). The dentist was SO nice. He had 11 year old and 12 year old girls and was super friendly.

horse9

What horse dentists do is file down the teeth.

I know that sounds absoloutely and totally disgusting and painful, but trust me, it’s for the good of the horse. Since horses chew in a circular motion instead of an up and down motion, they wear their teeth sort of pointy. This makes it much harder more painful for them for them to chew food. Filing the tooth allows for the horse to eat much easier.

To put his hand in the horse’s mouth, he gives them a shot. He injects sedative into a blood vessel in the horse’s neck. This way they’ll be calmer and won’t get all riled up. Next the dentist put a special halter that holds the horse’s mouth open enough for the hand and arm to go in. The horse’s mouth goes all of the way to where the eyes are! The tounge is a spiral shape too. It aids in getting the food to the back of the mouth.

We also learned the following:

  • Female horses have 36 teeth, and males have 40. This is because in the wild the males are the protectors of the herd and they have sharp two pairs of canine teeth that can bite flesh.
    • Horses can only open their mouths 2-3 inches on their own, at least for an extended amount of time. That’s why they feel sore on their face after dentist appointments; they aren’t used to having their mouths so far open.
    • Horse teeth stink. Badly. SUPER. DUPER. HORRIFICALLY BADLY.
    • Just kidding they aren’t that bad. But sometimes they can be deadly stinky.
    • A lot of people ask why their horses need dentist appointments if they don’t have them in the wild? The dentist said that yes, horses in the wild don’t have dentist appoinments. But they also die much sooner than horses with care from humans.

Tally did pretty well in his appointment. He wasn’t the best of the four but Alex said that it was the best he had ever done. Spruce was also pretty calm from what I remember (the details are starting to fade; it’s been a week and a half). But Spruce had something special! He got a tooth pulled! Horses naturally lose teeth as they get older. Spruce, being 26, was at high time to lose a tooth.

horse10

Shakespeare was the best (at least in the beginning). He was so good that the dentist let us put our hands in his mouth! He had been eating and so there was a bunch of chewed up food in his mouth which was pretty gross. We felt the tounge moving too! After we all put our hands in the mouth Shakespeare reared up in his stall. Probably because he was extra sore from us all putting out hands in and it taking longer than usual.

horse14 horse13 horse12 horse11

 

Lastly was Almond. She was just fine.

At the end of all of the appointments the dentist squirted water into the horses’ mouths. This got all extra tooth-dust (tooth equivalent of saw dust) and any blood. All of the horses had blood but it looked like a lot more than it was because it was mixed with water. They were all normal.

Then the dentist left. We had to eat quickly and say goodbye to the horses. Then we packed up and left!

P.S

I forgot to post my reflection paper from two-three weeks ago so here is what I said

 

I took care of my:

physical needs

mental needs

was happy with what I did

was happy with everything

everything 5/5

Then I said that I liked writing

That I didn’t like being sick

and that I looked forward to writing (which I have done none of since then)

 

Goodbye.

Urban Ministry

This week at school almost everybody went to a place called Urban Ministry. Urban Ministry is really close to school, inside of an old trainstation. The train goes RIGHT next to it still, just doesn’t stop. I suppose you’re wondering what on earth I’m talking about.

Urban ministry is a place for the homeless population of Charlotte, NC. Every single day they serve lunch to anybody who comes. They don’t question you if you are in a difficult situation or not. Sometimes construction workers go there for break because there is construction happening really close. The lunch that they serve are sandwhiches and soup; but two days out of the week there is a hot meal which can be grilled chicken or meatloaf and potatoes. They don’t have soup or sandwhiches those days. They rely on people’s donations to give food out to the people who come. At school we made 73 meat and cheese sandwhiches, which probably fed around 37 people that day. (That’s a palindrome!! 73 37)

Another thing that Urban Ministry does is they have little free apartments for people to live in while they get back on their feet. To be eligible you have to be chronically homeless. That means that you have to of been homeless multiple times in the last four years OR have been homeless for more than a year; showing that you really need help starting over. I think she said that you also have to have a disability; wether it’s a physical disability or a mental one.

My favorite part of the trip was seeing the wall of art. There is a concrete retaining wall that’s pretty high up, and they have paint set up beside it. Anyone can come and create art on it who want to. There were some really amazing and talented artists that painted a lot. The woman who gave us the tour said that there was a man who found a home from painting. He remembered how he painted with his grandmother and found contact with her. He moved in with her while he found a job.

They also had a free phone service. Anyone can go and make a call for free.

There are counseling services provided, also for free (If you haven’t noticed, everything is for free). Some people go for job counseling, they work on their resumes and the counselors help them get a job. There’s also drug and alcohol addiction therapy in the upper floor of the counseling area, but that was off limits and we didn’t get to see it.

There is an art room which doubles as a meeting room. When we went there we had to be quiet and we had to go fast because there was a meeting happening. But there was so much artwork on the walls! A lot of these people are really talented and their art was beautiful. My favorite was a lion, it was really detailed. I think she said that every year they have an art show where they sell the art and raise money.

They also provide laundry and showers, but only for people above 18. They said that kids couldn’t shower because of privacy reasons, but I think that they should have maybe a private shower for people under 18. If I was homeless and my mom and dad could shower, I wouldn’t want to be dirty all of the time. I would want to be able to shower too, and I usually don’t mind being all dirty at all.

The last, and certainly not least, was the garden. They garden was full of food that anyone can pick and eat, as long as it’s ripe. A lady there told us something about someone taking vegetables home and canning them, then bringing it back. I’m not sure. The lady who showed us everything said that the soups usually have food from the garden in them.

Everything is run by volunteers and donations. If nobody bothered to help and if nobody gave their time then this could never happen. Urban Ministry predicts that they can end chronic homelessness by December of next year.

And that, my friends, is my in depth blog post for this week.