Meet our Turtle Wurtle!

Hello, this post is part of our creative writing linkup for teens and tweens. It is dedicated to my turtle, named Wurtle.

Middle and High School Linkup for Students and Moms!


His name was originally Kristal when we thought it was a girl, then we thought it was a boy and renamed it Kris. We still are not sure what its gender is, so its nick-name, Wurtle has sort of become its permanent nickname / real name.  Wurtle is a red-eared slider that we found in our pool. My dad was getting the pool ready after the winter and was putting Shock in the pool. After he had poured the Shock in, he found the turtle. He brought it in the house in a container and showed it to us. We were in the classroom doing history at the time and were studying Kristallnacht (Also known as The Night of Breaking Glass). When he told us he had just used Shock in the pool we were scared we might have blinded the poor turtle so we decided to keep it.



When we first got Wurtle, he was about the size of a quarter, now he has grown to about the size of my hand. He is a huge eater… eating close to a can of turtle food in a month. My brother, Chase, trained our turtle to bite your fingers. We used to hand feed Wurtle and when he bit you when he was little, it did not hurt. Recently, when I was hand feeding Wurtle, he bit my hand and just wouldn’t let go! I could have dragged him around the tank with him still attached to my finger. That was unusual, most of the time he let go after a few seconds. I have been working on getting it out of the biting stage and now, it won’t even eat out of my hand anymore! So now I put the food in the water and on a fake log for it to eat.


Our turtle is in our classroom, and it just so happens that it is right beside my brother Gage and close to me. The reason why I like this is because it is very calming to watch and hear. Turtle swims around the tank a lot and dives off the rocks. The sound of water is nice and our filter has a waterfall, so it’s pretty to look at too! Since the turtle is in our classroom, it became part of our school work too. Mom wrote a post about some of the works we used to study about turtles.

When we first got Wurtle, we had to do lots of research to learn all about red-eared sliders. We needed to know how to take care of it so we researched things like:

  • What it likes to eat
  • what its tank needed to have
  • how big it would grow
  • how warm to keep the water
  • what kind of heat lamp to use, and
  • many other things about how to care for Wurtle.

These are the books we used to research turtles:

We quickly learned that keeping a turtle healthy and happy is a little bit of work. Not so much that we didn’t want to keep it, but more than we expected. One thing that we found out the first week… turtle tanks get dirty and FAST! That was the worst part of taking care of the turtle in the beginning. We had to clean the entire tank every week to keep the water clean. Until mom bought a Viquarium. That was the best thing we found to help keep the turtle tank clean. Here is a video from the company that makes it.  We highly recommend it!!

Do you have a turtle or other reptile?  Tell us about it!

Meet the Chicken Snatcher


Hello and good afternoon!

See, I told you I would be writing on Tuesdays… here I am!  I thought I would update you on Les and let you know he has been moved out to the big chicken pen and is fitting in quite well.  There are a few ladies hogging the food from him, but we are making progress. Do you remember back in August, when I told you something was getting our chickens?  This post will give you all the details and you will get to Meet the Chicken Snatcher!!!!! (cue: dramatic horror movie music here).

Meet the Chicken Snatcher

It all started back when we allowed our chickens to free range.  Regularly, we started finding piles of feathers and another chicken had vanished. One day mom walked outside and came face-to-face with a coyote (it was only about 10 feet away). So, we assumed the coyote was our culprit.  In order to protect my babies, I decided to put them back in the pens. The attacks stopped … but only for a short while.  


About a month ago, it started all over again but for some reason the snatcher was only going after my big chickens (Rhode Island Reds) not my round little basketballs (Bantams).  I got really serious about catching this chicken snatcher.  Dad borrowed a live trap, and we put it by the chicken’s door with cat food in it.  For several days… nothing.  No food gone.  No trap triggered.  Nothing.  Then, one evening as I was putting up my babies, I happened to catch a glimpse of a large bird flying away. The next afternoon, I decided to bait the snatcher!  I was going to leave the coop door open for the snatcher to get in… but with a twist.  

That night, when I put my babies up for the night, I put the live trap inside the coop right at the chicken door! So, when the snatcher walked into the coop, it actually would walk right into my trap.  We returned to the house to help mom get dinner ready.  It wasn’t too long before we heard Molly, our Australian Shepherd, barking up a storm and the chickens raising a fuss. We go out to investigate and my little brother, Blake yells “Oh No! We caught Nipper”.   But, as it turns out, it was not Nipper… it was a much larger bird.  

Nipper the Rooster

Chase and I grabbed a hoe and fished the trap out of the coop … but it was so dark, we really still couldn’t see what we had caught.  We yanked out our flashlights and shined them on the cage.  There it was … the Chicken Snatcher and it had the most beautiful eyes staring back at us.  This bird was huge. It was a Great Horned Owl.  

We raced back to the house to tell mom and to do some research to confirm that it was indeed a Great Horned Owl.   Once we determined that it was, we quickly realized it is on the endangered species list! So we were very careful not to hurt it… we would never want to hurt an owl anyway!  However, we had to do something to keep it from killing our chickens. So dad relocated it about 4 miles down the road from our house.  No birds were harmed this evening… not my chickens nor the owl!  

Beautiful Eyes Staring Back at us


One of the harder parts of being a chicken keeper is dealing with the loss of chickens precious to you.  These chickens are my pets. Being on a farm, you do get half-way used to it, but it still hurts.  

Thanks y’all  for reading all my posts!!!  See ya soon!


We love linking up with blog hops.  Be sure to visit them and see the other posts:

Manic Mother

Fowl pox in the Pen


Good Afternoon! Sorry I have not posted in a while.  But I am going to be catching up and starting to write every Tuesday, so be watching for my posts.  Five weeks ago when I fed my chickens I noticed one of my frizzled red roosters standing out in the middle of the walkway not going after the food. This was strange since when I feed them they normally go straight for it.  As I approached him to see why his behavior was not normal, he turned his head to look at me, and I noticed a bunch of odd lesions on his comb and wattle.  Oh no, it looks like we have Fowl pox in the pen again.

Fowl Pox in the Pen

I immediately went to create a “sick pen” for him in the garage.  I reformed the small pen out of book cases and feed sacks that we made months ago.  I filled the floor of my makeshift pen with the normal pine shavings then I added a small roost, food and water feeders and a door. Then I worked with my brothers to catch him. I gingerly put him In the temporary pen and put the wire covers on top.

Chicken Sick Pen

I had been researching this virus and it is transmitted through mosquitoes which have the disease, the only other way it is transmitted is by getting in contact with another bird with the disease. Although it is not transmittable to anything but other birds it is still reasonable to to wear safety gloves when touching or treating the bird. At first my research brought up “If you leave it alone in about 1-2 weeks it will go away” after two and a half weeks I knew that my big boy had caught a severe case of it. By then it had covered both of his eyes and he could not see to drink or eat.  We regularly set him on a plastic bowl similar to what he regularly ate out of so he just knew what was in the bowl so he pecked down and ate food. But after it had come to three and a half weeks he mostly slept.

But then I discovered something scary… if his eyes stayed closed for too long, he could go blind.  The only treatment for the pox was to put drops of Saline solution on the pox via q-tips (being very careful not to get it in or around his eye) and Triple Antibiotic ointment for his eye.  I also started spoon feeding him yogurt. After about a week his pox started shrinking!  

Then we started the wait to see if his eyes would open.  In three days one of his eyes opened and he could see out of it!  Then the lesion fell off his other eye, but the eye had remained closed. Today when I went out to check on him, his closed eye is cracked (as in cracked open, barely)!!  Hallelujah!  So he might not go blind after all! He only has a few more lesions but it is still there so he will stay in his temporary pen a bit longer. Please pray for my rooster to get better 🙂

Update:  ~~A week later~~ Les is now free of fowl pox! Another small issue arose when we put him back in the pen.  All the other chickens wanted to pick fights with him. After being around him for a few hours, everything seemed to calm down, and was able to be around them without being picked on. Then 2 days ago, I went out to find him with a bloody comb and acting very shy toward the other chickens. He was all by himself standing in the chicken house door instead of out with them. I dropped what I was doing, grabbed my baby and ran back to the garage (where his makeshift brooder pen was) I gave him clean water and more food immediately. Then, when all was taken care of, I had to sit down and think of what to do, he could not stay in the sick pen in the garage, nor could he stay in the big chicken pen because Rocky our rooster didn’t want him in there. Nor could he stay in the little chicken pen with the newly nicknamed “rooster attack force”.  Then yesterday my answer came as our oldest rooster who was in the big chicken pen passed away.  He was over 6 years old!  Now my big boy Les can move in and take his spot as “the boss”. Thank you all for praying for my big boy!!!

I decided to name him Les because of a man named Les Stroud who is best known for his television series Survivorman.

Survivor Man / Rooster named Les


See ya soon!

They are Laying!!

Hello! Sorry I have not posted in a while I have been busy with ALL kinds of stuff from chicken accidents to school to a friend’s birthday party!  So I have not been keeping you updated on my babies.  

I have a surprise… They are laying!! Our baby chicks and teenage chicks are laying eggs!  YAY!!!  If you remember, a friend of ours, Mrs. Pamela, gave us the teenage chicks. They are Red Sex Links and White Leghorns and there are four of them. We bought the bantams from Welp Hatchery.  There are probably 15 hen bantams laying eggs. With another 15 or so roosters… anybody want some roosters?


Hens are a' laying


Here is a picture of the variety of eggs we are gathering daily. The eggs vary in shape, size, color, and weight. The biggest ones are from our Rhode Island Reds that we have had for several years. The next brown one and the two white ones are from the teenage chicks. The cute little bitty ones are from my baby bantams… but they are not babies anymore!  I have not found any itsy bitsy eggs from our Dutch, Blue Bantam chicks yet… but am expecting to find one of them soon! Can you imagine how little they will be? The smallest eggs so far are about 1.5″ x 1.25″ to the big eggs that are 3″x 2.5″. The color ranges from a white/cream color, to a reddish-brown and then just plain tan. And the shape of the eggs can range from a normal ovular shape to a pointy bullet-shaped egg. I now have to check all the boxes every day, not every 2-4 days on the bantam side, since they were not laying yet.  

My mom loves the little eggs, she was so surprised at how small they are. Speaking of small eggs… my brother, Chase, loves omelets. My dad has been joking around with Chase saying his next omelet will be a three egg omelet using the littlest eggs. We have not cooked with any yet, but we are having breakfast for dinner tonight… I’m sure my mom will have me comparing eggs and photographing our dinner.  I’ll post those pictures soon!  I am sorry I left you all waiting for another post, while all these things at my house were going on. From now on I will try to post more often. 

One final note, we have a possum or raccoon attacking our chickens, and we have lost 3 chickens including two of my favorites… Cuddles and Sunny and another barred rock, Checker, who I have not talked about before. We just borrowed a live trap to try to trap the animal. Please pray we catch whatever it is getting my babies! I’ll update you on that soon too!  

See ya soon!

POE Columbus Lesson 2 Our Sailboat Adventure


For Lesson 2 of the Columbus Unit of our Paths Of Exploration study, we are learning about explorers and their ships. Mom assigned me the project of writing about our sailboat adventure a couple of years ago. This is my report on our sailboat trip.  

Our NC Sailboat Adventure

In 2010, we were visiting our granddaddy in North Carolina and rented a beach house on the beach in Emerald Isle. Close to the end of our trip, we rented a sailboat called the Good Fortune for the day. It was docked in Beaufort NC. We left Emerald Isle and traveled to the dock. There we met Captain Ron and his dog Rudder. It was his boat we were going on. We talked a little and then he had to get the ship ready. While he was doing that we explored the waterfront. Once the boat was ready, we left the dock.  Good Fortune

On the way to Cape Lookout, we saw many sea creatures like jellyfish and dolphins and red algae. We tried to get pictures of the dolphin, but we never got a good one. Captain Ron told us that this dolphin was released from Disney World and was tagged. The ride was gentle and calming I actually fell fast asleep with his dog, Rudder. When i woke up it was only a few minutes till we got to the island.

Apologia Swimming Creatures and Rudder, the dogAs we were anchoring, we were surrounded by pelicans! Captain Ron said they were looking for an easy meal. We had to ride in a dinghy to get to the island, once there we saw tiny black ovals everywhere! When we got a closer look they were actually snails… TONS of them! Then we starting exploring the island and saw an under water lizard, some crabs and a conch shell with another mollusk. Mom even brought the Apologia Swimming Creatures book for us to look up creatures we found!  

We hiked to the other side of the island and found a huge tide pool. We investigated the tide pool and swam in it… and saw that there was a sand shark in it with us! Luckily sand sharks don’t bite people. Mom spent her time shell hunting up and down the beach. She found beautiful whole conchs and many unusual shells. Dad, my brothers and I investigated some large boulders along the shore. When Captain Ron told us it was time to leave, we all were sad. We were all having so much fun on this island. 

On the way back, I stayed awake the whole time and we got to see wild horses. We were going to go to the island where the wild horses were, but we stayed on the first island too long. Once we docked back at Beaufort, i was glad to be on land again.  

I found out I LOVED sailing and want to go back again!   

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Meet Nipper and Cuddles

Barred Rock Cochin Bantam

Good afternoon! Today I’d like you to meet Nipper and Cuddles. They are some of my Barred Rock Cochin Bantams. Nipper is one of the most friendly chickens I have, other than… well he IS the most friendly chicken we have! He is a Big cockerel (a young rooster) compared to the other cockerels in his pin, and he has almost mastered his crow! He is quite young to have a crow that is as good as his is.  Nipper is very high on my ladies’ list of their favorite cockerels, probably 2nd, but at least 3rd. He is very protective of the ladies too! When I went out to get some pictures of him, he ran up to the door to greet me and see what was going on. Sometimes he and Rocky have crowing contests to see who is Boss. Rocky is our Rhode Island Red Rooster in the neighboring pen. But you can never tell who wins because they never get tired. His favorite lady is Cuddles, the deep black Barred Rock Cochin Bantam. I can regularly see him and her resting under their favorite maple sapling clucking to each other softly.

Barred Rock Cochin Bantam

Nipper will sometimes play hide ‘n seek with the other chickens and me. He likes to act like the boss around the ladies and will walk around kinda’ like he is patrolling the area. Sometimes he will leave bread scraps for the others and just eat the normal food. Other times he will bring some scraps to the ladies. When it is time to put themselves up in the evening, he starts crowing saying BED TIME!!! And in the morning he does the opposite, MORNING TIME!!! Nipper is my second favorite cockerel we have, and my favorite is… well that is another post. 

See ya soon!

We are linking up with some great blog hops.  Be sure to check them out and say hey!  

The Chicken Chick

The Great Chicken Migration

The Great Chicken Migration

Good Morning! Sorry I have not posted in a while. I am finishing up my Apologia General Science class, and I’ve been getting a little lazy this summer :P. Anyway, I’m trying to get back to blogging. But I have been working with the chicks, I just haven’t been writing about it!  Last Thursday we decided that it was time for the Great Chicken Migration, to move all 30 “babies” to our second chicken pen where the teenage chicks have been.  

The first two chicks were chosen:  Nipper (a barred rock cochin bantam) and Foghorn (a white frizzle) were placed in the coop. Nipper just walked out through the chicken Foghorndoor (see picture above), but Foghorn just looked out the door and there is where the problems started.  As we (Mom and my brothers) continued placing the chicks in the coop, they just piled up in there at the chicken door. We got one more chick to go out, Cuddles, a deep black Barred Rock Cochin Bantam girl… but all the rest just hung around inside the coop and at the door. Cuddles just trotted around the pen and ate some food and drank water.  So we started taking them out of the coop, dipping their beaks in the new water source and showing them the food. We got about half out when we started noticing the second problem.  

The teenage chicks were bullying the “babies”.  That was not going to work, so we moved the teenagers into the grown chickens’ pen where they are enjoying their new jungle. That night we had to corral half of the chicks back in the coop.  Why only half?  Because half of the chicks never even left the coop to begin with that day.  The chicks had no experience being put up at night, so we had to help them all learn to go in at night and come out during the day.  We had to pull two out of the little dog house we have in their pen.  I guess they were using it for shade or because it was not as crowded at the door to get in!  When we went out in the morning to let the chicks out, we found we had left one out all night long.  But thank God it was okay!!!!

SupermoonNow the chicks know the routine, they know where the food and water live, when to come out in the morning, when to put themselves up at night and how to get in the rafters!  They have not experienced any weather other than normal sunny days and moonlit nights so it will be a new experience when it rains!  And tonight may be the night… the forecast shows rain and a storm.  They did get to see the International Space Station fly over and they got to see the Super Moon too!!!

Well… I will keep you updated and I will keep posting pictures!!!  See Ya Soon!

Happy for Honey

Nex, the new teenage chick


Good Afternoon!  I know I haven’t posted in a while, I’ve been catching up and finishing up our school year.  So, my update will be a little old, actually about a month old.  Almost a month ago, my mom called me to come look at her computer for something. It was a message from Ms. Pamela asking if I would want another chicken. I was thrilled and of course, I want another “Surprise Baby Chick”!! But, now it’s more like a “Surprise Teenage Chick.”  I had been wondering if Miss Pamela would want to give away her third chick because she told us she only wanted two chickens. But I was concerned about how our teenage chicks would treat the new one!  I had also wondered how Honey, our only Red Sex Link, felt.  Does she feel different or like the odd ball? Well, when mom and dad agreed that we could have the other Red Sex Link, I was so happy for Honey.

When Sunday evening came, the day we agreed to get the chick, I grabbed the cat carrier and me and dad were off to see Ms. Pamela!  Upon arriving I had the same question come back, will the other Teenage chicks treat him or her well?  Will they accept him or her into the group?  When I saw her three chicks I thought… Wow they have grown! They were triple the size they were when we got our first surprise chicks.  I had not realized how much our teenage chicks had grown.  We thanked Ms. Pamela for another friend and brought him home (I think it is a rooster)!

When we got home I carefully carried the cat carrier with our new teenage chick in it and put it up against the teenage chicks’ playpen. My teenage chicks seemed to like the new chick.  I sat and watched them together and I decided on his name, Nex.  I opened the playpen and put Nex in and they had a great family reunion! Now all the teenage chicks are out in our large spare chicken pen and they are LOVING it!!! They love to stretch their wings, run, fly and play. When they get old enough, they will be able to stay in the big coop at night but for now they are brought back into our garage every night.

Nex and Honey

I’ll post more soon!  

Help with Identification and Treatment of Bumblefoot

Good Afternoon! The other day I was outside playing and my brother, Blake, came out and said “we have a problem with Rocky!”  Rocky, our Rhode Island Red Rooster, was limping.  Rocky is about 3 years old.  He was limping so much that I could catch up with him and sit him in my lap (which I have never been able to do before).  I inspected his feet to see if I could see a problem and it appears he has an infection called Bumblefoot.  Bumblefoot is an infection chickens and chicks can get from walking on hard surfaces which can cause cuts to the chicken/chick feet where bacteria can enter and cause an infection.  What I’ve read doing research says when a chicken has Bumblefoot there will be an iconic scab.  I think this is what Rocky has on his foot.  Here are some pictures of Rocky’s foot:




Bumblefoot Identification Top View

I am not sure how to treat the infection.  I have seen and heard many ways to clean out the infection and stop the pain.   I have been researching what to do and I found this list on the Chicken Chick‘s site where she describes one way to treat Bumblefoot.  I’ve copied it below:

  • peel off the scab after soaking the foot in Betadine mixed with water
  • then squeeze the infection out
  • if it is stuck, cut a little bit with a sanitized knife until you get the infection out of the foot
  • then apply Vetericyn
  • after applying Vetericyn wrap foot (or pinkie toe in our case) with vet tape or gauze.

Please, can someone confirm that this is Bumblefoot.  And please let me know if this is the right treatment!  Or if I need to do something else.  

Thank you!   See ya’ soon….

Homeschooling on the Beach Part 2


Homeschooling on the Beach Part Two



In Homeschooling on the Beach Part 1, we spent some time laying the foundation of geography and travel prior to taking your vacation.  In Part 2, I’m picking up once you are at the beach.  If you have not read part 1, you can find it here.

Blue Crab Exploring Nature

One creature you will most likely find on any beach any where, is the crab.  Crabs are crustaceans as are shrimp and  lobsters.  Crustaceans have exoskeletons… “Exo” refers to outside, so an exoskeleton is a skeleton on the outside of their body.  But did you know barnacles are crustaceans too?  Heck, I’m not sure I even knew they were alive until we did this study!  Montessori Materials has a free download of nomenclature cards for Crustaceans.  Science Teachers has some cards as well (not 3 part cards).  Exploring Nature has some great coloring pages and labeling pages for Crustaceans as well.  If you have never gone crabbing, now is the time!  You can either crab off a salt water dock or do what we like to do… get a net, a flash light and a bucket and catch them at night by catching them on the beach in the dark!  It is so much fun!  This is one of our pictures from years ago of two of our little ones examining the crabs after we have been crabbing.  I love those little faces!!!  


Beach 4 edited


Seashell Nomenclature by Desert CrafterI’m from the coast of North Carolina and I remember the first time I went to a beach on the Gulf of Mexico, I was shocked to not find any shells!  I am a sheller, big time!  I was completely lost that vacation not being able to shell hunt!  This is a great study, and for a sheller like me, a MUST do!  There are primarily two kinds of shells, Bi-valves and gastropods (sometimes called uni-valves).  Here is a Shell Sheet I saved when we took our trip a couple of years ago.  I’ve hunted online to find where I got it so I can give credit with no luck.  If you happen to know, send me an email so I can give credit!  I found these 3 part cards for sea shells and couldn’t wait to share them!  These were made by Desert Crafter who has a ton of other wonderful Shell works!   Montessori Print Shop has a beautiful free set as well!  


Be sure to pick up lots of shells to bring back with you (and maybe even a bucket of sand and a bottle of salt water)!  You can use the shells for various sorting works, for identification, for counting, and for matching to the 3 part cards above.  Here is a great site to help with the identification of shells.  


Seashell frame insructionsOr you can use them to make a frame to put your favorite vacation picture in!  Here is a lesson on doing that!  Confession:  I still have all the shells and picture frames to make our frames from three years ago and haven’t yet!!  Maybe if we can’t go to the beach this year, we can at least do that!  If I do, I’ll be sure to post the how to’s and the final pictures when we are through!  

Once you are at the beach, always look for the tide pools!  They are brimming with all kinds of life and other interesting items that got trapped from the ocean!  Look for living creatures first… and try to identify them.  


Have you ever wondered what the secret is to those fabulous sand castles you sometimes see on the beach?  Here is your answer!  

There are several videos in this series, so be sure to watch them all!  Now, after learning how to build these fabulous sand castles, it seems appropriate to study why the water and sand work together this way.  Here are a couple of interesting links on sandcastle physics and thermodynamics!

There may be one more post in this series.  I’ll try to get it posted before summer, LOL!!!!  Have a great trip to the beach with your little ones! Our goal is for school and life to blend into an indistinguishable blur of fun, challenge and education!  I hope you guys can find that balance!  

Until next time…

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