Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Brushy Mountain!

Thanks to Brooke Thomas, who led us up to the cellar holes on Brushy Mountain and gave us a tour of Leverett's natural history and it colonial history!  Brooke brought two friends, Anne and Rocky, and we had three parents along with us.
Listening to the ancestors

Crossing the stone bridge

Trekking up Brushy Mountain

We visited the Glazier homestead and explored the wells and foundations of some of Leverett's first settlers.  We passed by the old mill pond and an early gravestone.  Along the way we met a porcupine and a couple of frogs, one in a stream and the other camouflaged in the leaf litter.  What fun!

A leafy assortment

One hidden friend

And another...

A wolf tree

Dining in the cellar holes on Brushy Mt.
Stories shared out on a limb...
How deep is the well?

An American chestnut tree: so far no sign of blight!
An unmarked gravestone on Brushy Mt.


Caving along the Gutter

Blue lips on cold rock!

We walked about four miles altogether and ended our trip with an exploration of the Rattlesnake Gutter caves. We made our own snake as we ran down the gutter!
Brooke leads the way down the Gutter!
The Snake!

The next day Brooke returned to our class to teach us more local history. This time he brought a different friend: naturalist and Native American historian Julie Collier.  She also brought a friend:  Guess Who!
Hand-made beaded mocassins

Native American art and clothing from across the U.S.

Wise? Perhaps not, but very hard to spot in the woods!  Screech owls are very well camouflaged!

Prized beaver pelt

A bowl carved by the tooth of an antique shark: Carcharodon Megalodon!

Julie taught us a great deal about Native American history and handicrafts. She brought some amazing items to share with us!

Thanks, Julie and Brooke!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Morse Hill!

Thirty-five feet above the ground suspended by cables, the whole class straining to pull the giant slingshot tighter and tighter... and instead of a stone or a ball, this slingshot is designed to hurl children into space, down and out, through the canopy of leaves...
Our journey to Morse Hill began with an introduction to orienteering. We learned how to use a compass and orient ourselves with it. We kept "red in the shed," learned our paces, and used that knowledge to find buried treasure (a hidden coin) and lost loot from a wrecked pirate craft.  We used the loot to lash together two sea-worthy rafts, and in the time honored tradition of Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and Becky Thatcher, we set ourselves adrift on the mighty Mississippi.

Planning to build:  Raft design teams surveyed their materials...

Putting the rafts together...

The good ship Riptide...
Riptide: getting upright and ready to launch...
Strong enough to hold a fully grown teacher???
Snowflake embarking on its first voyage...

Riptide maneuvers in a counterclockwise spin.  Put yer backs into, it me hearties!
After building our rafts and taking them for a spin (literally!), it was time for a swim... ah, Autumn in New England! You never know what the weather will be. Today it was 75 and sunny, so we went for a swim!

The water was actually warm.

Then it was back to Morse Hill to haul each other up into the air and to sling shot one another to infinity and the trees beyond!

Flying high without a net

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Open House and Field Trip Updates

I look forward to seeing parents and families at Open House tomorrow evening!

Our field trip to Morse Hill is scheduled for the next day, Thursday, Oct. 3. Please remember to pack a lunch, a snack, and something to drink that day.  Dress in layers too. The mornings have been cold, and the afternoons have been quite warm lately.  We may get wet feet too, so if you can, wear shoes and clothes that can dry quickly or bring a change in your backpack.  Having two pairs of shoes, one sturdy and one that can get wet would be optimal, but a good pair of sneakers will be fine.

Similar instructions apply for the following Thursday, October 10.  We will hike Brushy Mountain that day. We'd still love to have a few more parents tag along. The more the merrier, and you may learn  some local history too.

Plus, you never know what you'll see in the woods!

Please remember to pack a lunch, a snack, and something to drink that day.  Dress in layers and wear sturdy shoes too.