Backyard Nature Journaling Series

This is Gage. I’m so excited to announce I am starting a new series, a Nature Journal series! I will be sharing about all the flowers, plants, trees, animals, and insects (nature) we find in our backyard… and teaching you how to do nature journaling.This will probably be the last year we spend here because we are getting our house ready to sell. So this series will be a way to help me remember where I grew up. 

backyard nature journaling

 

I have really loved living here. I enjoy being able to keep and care for farm animals.  We used to have a bunch of dairy cows, I really enjoyed them. We had many calves born here on the farm and have had many funny escapades with them. Here is Bullophagus — one of our frisky baby bulls, out investigating if the grass really is greener on the other side!

bynj cows 2

Now, we are down to just chickens and a horse, but mom sometimes feels like they are too much too! You can see why. When we took everything off our porch to paint, the chickens thought they had found new roosting places!

bynj chickens 2

I am 13, almost 14, and am the middle child of the family. I used to attend the La Grange Montessori School. In 2008 it closed due to lack of funds. And I have been homeschooled ever since. I love to go out and just listen to nature sometimes. I’m not going to call myself a nature guy, but I do enjoy spending time outdoors. 

Gage 2014

Let me tell you about my home. I have lived in La Grange, TN all my life. We live on 40 acres of land. During the summer, it is normally around 80-92 degrees and it doesn’t rain that often. Our house is on a hill so our backyard has a slight slope. The grass is normally cut but is not a manicured yard. Out the front door is a mostly flat yard that slightly slopes down towards our ditch then back up to the main road, there are many trees as it starts to slope down. Beside our driveway is the horse’s pasture and the driveway doesn’t stop at the house, it continues down to our barn. Behind the barn is the woods, and down from the barn through the pasture is the Pond (where we let our turtles loose.) The backyard is met with trees as you get closer to the barn.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Since this area is very rural we can find and study lots of interesting animals, birds, and plants around here. Just three days ago when I was walking with my mom picking Dandelions, we saw a snake. Have I mentioned mom hates snakes?

Another great thing about living in a rural area is the fact that we can keep certain animals we find. For example, in TN you can not buy red-eared sliders. But we found two in our pool after we had shocked it — we had those two for quite a while but they got too big and we let them live in our pond. 

Wurtle

One of the things I enjoy most is trying to find animals. I’m not sure why, I just really love finding them. Once we found a small snake, very small, about 4 inches long with an orange belly and grey/tan back, I just kept watching it while we kept it in a jar with air holes. Oh yeah, have I mentioned mom hates snakes? There was no keeping that find! So we released the tiny snake.

Snake

I also enjoy listening to the sound of nature around me. I usually bring my school work outside on nice days… especially the messy experiments! 

Forest

Next time I will be talking about Lyreleaf sage aka Cancer weed and in the future we will cover a plant everyone knows, the Dandelion!

I have linked up with other teen/tween writers at ClaraBlevins.com. If you are a Teen/Tween writer join the link up!

 

Teenlinkup

Until next time… 

 

 

 

 

11 Doctor Who Gift Ideas!

Hello! Today I am going to be talking about Doctor Who gift ideas. First I need to give an introduction about how I came to love Doctor Who. One of my friends from SKrafty (a safe Homeschool Minecraft server) loves Doctor Who. I was interested so I asked dad if we could watch the first episode. After that I was in love with the plot and theme. Now I have watched all of the series from 2005 on (excluding the 8th season). So, I have lots of favorite gift ideas but have narrowed it down to 11!

doctor who gift ideas

 

1: 11th-12th Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver, this device looks similar to an everyday screwdriver, but with many more handy features. It is the Doctor’s favorite tool. He uses it to unlock locks, scan for objects, hack computers and more! I have this one myself.

 

 

2: 9th-10th Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver, this is another version of the sonic device used by the 9th and 10th incarnations of the Doctor. However, unlike the 11th and 12th Doctor’s sonic screwdriver, it does not have prongs that spring out when it is extended.

 

3: Vortex Manipulator, used by Jack Harkness, River Song, The Eleventh Doctor, And The Time Agency, the makers of the device. It is used to jump from one point in time to another using a Time Vortex. Easier to carry than a TARDIS, but it has to recharge!

Disclosure

4: Doctor Who Monopoly, is a Monopoly board game with the Doctor Who theme.  I have only played it once and loved it! We even got it for a good friend’s birthday!

5: Doctor Who Chess, I have not played this game yet but I really enjoy playing chess, so I am sure I would love this game!  Aren’t the pieces interesting? Hint, hint mom! 

6: LEGO Daleks, these are not officially LEGO, but they are still compatible with the normal bricks! To add a fun Doctor Who spin to your LEGO building projects!

7: K9, was the mechanical dog companion of the 4th Doctor, this is an RC version of him! 

8: Weeping Angel Mask, one of my favorite Doctor Who villains is the Weeping Angel.  My mom thinks it is totally creepy.

 

9: Cybermat, is a small mouse-like robot that is used to seek out information by the Cybermen! This is a version that will move around on its own!

 

 

10: Dalek Desk Defender. The Daleks are the most feared race in the galaxy and you can have one guard your desk! This Dalek responds to sound or motion with several sound effects!

11: Dalek Plush, this is a cute little Dalek plush that talks when squeezed! My friend has one and it is very cute!

 

What Doctor Who gift items would you add? I have a birthday coming up and really need some more ideas! Thanks!

 

C is for Crimson – The Stalker Chicken!

Hello! This is my C post for  our alphabet blogging series where we blog through the alphabet. I have to tell you about something funny that happened to me a few days ago. I was holding one of my roosters when he reached up and bit me on my neck! The rooster that did this is the subject of my post. Crimson – The Stalker Chicken!

c

Now I have to explain to you the story on how we got Crimson, our tiny little rooster. (In this picture he is full-grown.) We ordered some blue Cochin Bantams from Welp Hatchery. A few weeks after we received them we could tell that this breed is a very small breed or Welp had gotten our order wrong. A month or so later, when they were full-grown, we knew our order had to be wrong.

Crimson

It was hilarious how small they were and instead of crowing, the roosters sound like a squeaky toy! Well, pretty soon Crimson started stalking me while I fed the hens and other roosters. One time, when I was leaning over to place one of the food bowls in the correct position, I felt something pounce on me, pulling my hair and scratching my back. Not knowing what it was, I shot up straight sending what was on me soaring to the ground. I was surprised to see Crimson standing there giving me this “look”.  Now known as “his look”.  It is where he keeps one eye glaring at you and the other eye overlooking his flock. 

From then on, Crimson darts after me when I am in their vicinity. When I run, he loves to race after me and flog my ankles and lower legs. How can this tiny little rooster match my running speed? I don’t know, but he does! When I have finished my chores and have returned to the house, he takes it as a huge victory that he has not only protected his ladies but has “run off the intruder”. His victory is confirmed by a long, high-pitched squeaky crow, followed by him strutting over to his ladies. By now, I guess you have figured out, he is the head of the flock. The hens love him even if he’s the smallest rooster we have. and he is my favorite rooster. I love how he protects his ladies. One of his ladies hatched out a couple of babies and now, he has a son!  His son is already taller than Crimson!

 

Crimson2

 

I hope you have all enjoyed me posting about my little rooster! See ya soon!

Minecraft Gift ideas for Teens by a Teen

It seems like one of the more popular gifts these days are Minecraft products. Since I happen to love playing Minecraft I thought I would share some Minecraft gift ideas from a teen perspective.  

minecraft collage 2 cropped

 

 These are not in any order. I am just sharing a list of my favorite Minecraft products. 

minecraft first night

1: Lego Minecraft! We love Legos! Anything Lego makes we love. But we especially love Lego Minecraft! There are Lego sets that have tiny little characters and pieces that look like a block. But there are also some new sets that are the normal sized characters and pieces, like the one above (The First Night). 

 

Creeper

2: Minecraft Plush There are some really cool Minecraft Plush toys that I would just love to get my hands on! This creeper is over a foot tall.  

 

creeper hoodie

3: Minecraft Creeper Hoodie  Can you tell I really like creepers yet?  I would seriously love to have this hoodie!

 

minecraft logo

4: Minecraft The Game! Minecraft for those who don’t know Is a massive 3D game about surviving! There are hostile creatures that spawn in the dark and at night that will try to eat you, so your goal is to mine, build, and survive! And to use the resources you find to keep on surviving!

 

skrafty header

5: Skrafty! Skrafty is a multi-player Minecraft Server. It has parent moderators and chat filters to help keep it safe for us to play. We play on the free homeschool server most of the time but we also take some fun SKrafty Classes also. Our favorite has been the Government Class!  They also have a great Facebook group which adults can join to quickly get a response from admins and moderators. 

Minecraft books

6: Minecraft Books This series of books is high on my list! Includes the Essential Handbook, Redstone Handbook, Combat Handbook, and Construction Handbook.  I love building with Redstone, so I am really interested in reading this set!

 

minecraft calendar

7: Minecraft Calendar.  I love to see what others build and these creations look like art! They inspire me! 

 

minecraft cookies

8: Minecraft Cookie Cutters.  These cookies would be fun to make and decorate. I’m not sure I could make them look this good, but I would enjoy trying! I cook with mom regularly so this is something we will probably try.  

 

I hope this has helped you find some great gifts for the teenagers on your list!

B is for Building Minecraft

Hello! How are you? Today I will be talking about me and my family building in a new game we got that is fairly well known called Minecraft. First off I want to say how we got it. We used to play on a similar game called ROBLOX that is a multiplayer game, but recently they added free chat and there has been a whole lot of inappropriate content on there. So we decided to switch to Minecraft.

b is for building

 

At first it was just kinda roam around in single player survival mode (survival mode is where you have to collect your materials to survive) and look at all the things I could do, but then I started building! I realized how many blocks were in the game and that the games has an infinite amount of things I could build! I started walking around the mountains that I spawned on, and just admiring how very beautiful this place was. As I was walking down the edge of one of the mountains, looking at the sea, I heard some sounds.

It sounded like something crawling at first. Then I heard screeches and other sounds. After looking around I realized the sounds were coming from underground.  I had to investigate so I started digging! I dug in the dirt first, then through a bit of rock till I hit an opening. I saw red eyes staring back at me, it was a huge spider, and not just one but 5! The spiders were coming from a block that looked like this:   

Monster Spawner

Other than the angry spiders leaping toward the hole I was looking out of (it was much too small for them to fit in), the place was quite nice. I found a couple chests and after destroying the spawner and driving the spiders away, I decided it would make a good home! I will provide a few pictures of what my house cave looks like now.

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Later mom introduced us to Skrafty! A multiplayer server that is way better than ROBLOX servers that is exclusively for homeschoolers! We have met some really nice players there: survivalboy18, survivalgirl18, and trotnic.  

Literally, right when we entered the server Survivalboy18 walked up to my brother Blake and asked: Do you want some free stuff? then he showed a place to build near his farm. We have enjoyed helping each other since! If you want to join Skrafty you have to get white listed (basically get  approved). Let me know if you are already on Skrafty, I love to meet other homeschoolers.

I hope you have enjoyed my post! See ya’ soon!

 

 

 

A is an Acoustic Tongue Drum

Hello! Today, and for quite a few up coming weeks, my writing will be a bit different than normal.  I will be writing an alphabet post like my brothers.  It looks fun!  So after going through many “a” options I decided my first alphabet article would be A is Acoustic and it is about my new tongue drum.

A is an Acoustic Tongue Drum  

 

First, I’d like to share the google definition of acoustic. It means:

a·cous·tic
adjective
  • relating to sound or the sense of hearing
  • (of music or musical instruments) not having electrical amplification.

The picture above is my Tongue Drum. Right about now you are probably asking “What is a tongue drum.”  Well, it is a dome-like saucer that has slits or indentions cut or hammered into it. Each drum sounds different and it depends on the size of the slits or indentions. There are also two types of pan drums I know of, depending on whether they have indentions or slits. The drum with indentions is commonly known as a handpan while a drum with slits is commonly known as a tongue drum.

I was first introduced to a Pan drum when my mom showed me a video of a guy named Daniel Waples playing a handpan, The way he played it was amazing and the music was even better! After I saw that first video I started looking around to see how much they were. We were shocked to discovery that the handpan he was using was $2,000 or more! We started looking for alternatives and found the Tongue Drum. They were $400+ dollars.  For my birthday my mom really wanted to surprise me with one! However, she was scared I would not like the one she picked out, so she asked me to look at it before my birthday to see if I really wanted that and only that for my birthday! The one she found was a beautiful nebula design and I loved its sound. Since it was on Ebay, she bid on it and we watched and waited. We ended up purchasing it for an extremely low price $220 dollars!!

I was surprised by how quickly I could play the instrument. I was literally playing it on the way home in the car. I am really enjoying this instrument and It has a wonderful sound. When I first started I was playing sequences of up to three notes, now I’m playing 3-4 notes at a time! Below is a video of me playing it!  

I hope you have enjoyed my article, and my music!

See ya’ soon

Scaredy Cats Stink

Hello, how are you doing? Today I am going to be blogging about a strange subject. This post is part of my creative writing class in our homeschool. I will be linking it to our June creative writing linkup for tweens and teens. Well let me first start by asking you this! Did you know (Drumroll) that scaredy cats stink!?! No, really they do stink if they get very badly scared. And we found this out the hard way! Let me explain how we discovered this.

Photo credit: By Peretz Partensky from San Francisco, USA (This was a timely capture  Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: By Peretz Partensky from San Francisco, USA (This was a timely capture Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

For a while now we have been trying to move six of our eight cats outside… Pumpkin, Precious, Tiger, T.J. (Tiger Junior), Salsa and Fuzzy have been going outside to play during the day. Two cats are staying inside, Gracie and Midnight. During this transition period, we have been keeping the doors open for the cats to be able to wander in and out to get them used to being outdoors. A few days ago, when our front door was open for the cats, Gracie was laying in front of it looking out. Molly, our Australian Shepherd dog, was laying on the porch. When Molly saw Gracie she decided she wanted to play and charged our glass door, scaring poor Gracie half to death!

Gracie ran into one of our classrooms and tried to climb the tallest cabinets to get away from Molly. She settled on a large bookshelf and after a few minutes, we started to smell a horrid odor in the classroom around Gracie! After some research we discovered that Gracie had skunked (as my brothers called it)! It turns out that kitty’s have anal glands in their hind quarters that secrete a horrid smell when they are scared as a defense mechanism, just like a skunk! Maybe I should get a book like this to learn about cat anatomy! But after about 2-5 days the smell is barely noticeable. We couldn’t believe it. Even mom, who has had cats her whole life, had never heard of this before. She told me I should write about this topic, so I did!

Now if your cat ever gets scared or frightened and starts to smell really bad, you will know why! I hope you all enjoyed my short but informative post on why some scaredy cats stink!

See ya’ soon!

The World has Changed in 20 Years

The world has changed in 20 years… This is our 6th Linkup and it is a really open topic about 20 years from now.

Middle and High School Linkup for Students and Moms!

One of the most exciting changes is we now have deep space exploration ships! And they have discovered seven new galaxies. One was inhabited, and that is where our trouble and discoveries began!

The galaxy had six planets and two were extremely close together. Both of those planets were inhabited. The creatures that were occupying these planets were intelligent and humanoid, but their appearances were quite different. Indigenous to one of the planets were reptilian scaled humanoids that were green, had tails, and strange crown-like formations where scales had grown long on their head. Indigenous to the other planet, were similar beings, except they were orange and instead of crown-like formations, they had fan-like formations made of enlarged scales on each side of their head that they could flare when threatened or angered. Both planets were civilized and populated by Green and Orange species and had the same type of technology as us.

aliens 3

They had a strange rule on these two planets, non-scaled animals were to be kept as pets or eaten… but they had never actually seen a non-scaled intelligent being. So when our exploration ship landed, they were quite surprised to see our people without scales! We discovered that the Green and Orange reptilian people were allies. Soon Earth had people from each of our allies on each other’s planets, humans would take vacations on the other planets, Reptilians would have vacations on our planet, etc.

Not long after that, we started having problems, some of our reptilian allies became enemies, and small groups of them started going back to their traditional ways, thinking we were inferior to them. But when a reptilian citizen over heard one of these gangs conversations they reported to us about this we and quickly developed a new elite version of police, the Galactic Guard. The Galactic Guard have advanced laser firing guns called blasters and they wear deep dark blue armor with a black visor at eyeGalactic Guard edited level. They were taught new strategies to take down these rebellions if they attacked, and they did. The first strikes were almost pitiful, stealing small air bikes called speeders. Then they started driving through cities firing blasters into buildings, not much damage was caused by these actions. But not long they started firing modified blasters at people which would cause severe pain and knock them unconscious, this is when Galactic Guard stepped in and started business.

Right when this started and the rebels saw that we had a new version of police and how easily the they could be caught and imprisoned, they started slowing down their raids till finally they completely stopped. A message was found in a senator’s office saying that there was no more need to fight, and it was time to start new and forget the past. Soon things were back to normal and everything calmed down. The normal police could take care of the everyday crimes now and seeing how someone could break into the senator’s building, the Galactic Guard was changed from a police like squad to a Senate Guard like squad, escorting high rank, government officials and other things. And soon life went on, like nothing ever happened. 

Have you ever thought of what it might Really be like in 20 years? I think there may be amazing technological, scientific, and other things that are improved. There might even be everyone’s dream flying car, or a house that can talk to you. There are almost limitless possibilities of what could happen in 20 years.  I am looking forward to my 32nd birthday!

See you soon!

It is Dark in Here

“It’s dark in here, wait where is here?” I ask myself as I awake from my sleep. And “Who am I, What am I?” I wonder. “Wait, I think I’m in an egg, I need… I feel like I need to get out!” I start ripping away at my egg, which is buried in the ground. After an hour or two I open my egg, “Dig!” I hear in my head. “What was that? Oh well, I guess I better dig.” After a few hours of digging, I am blinded by the light shining in my eyes. Then, when my eyes adjust, I see a magnificent wall of green.

Its dark in here

I enter the forest of grass and start wandering around, I hear my stomach growl, and think to myself “I guess I’ve been in that egg a while, time to find food to eat. “EEEEEK!!!” screams a two-legged, giant creature as it heads towards a colored, slanted-top box. “These aphids are tearing my strawberries apart!!”. The word aphid got my attention, “Aphids… yum, Time for lunch! I steadily make my way to the strawberry patch. Then I follow the trail of one of my tiny snacks, “Gotcha” I think as I see a tiny green bug eating away at one of the leaves.

I slowly sneak up on the quick, green, and hungry aphid. I ponder how I am going to get this quick little thing, it’s too fast for me. My thoughts were cut short “Paralyze it” said the voice. So when I got right behind the little aphid, I quickly lunge out and land over the surprised aphid. I realized I had paralyzed the aphid. “Wow, I wonder how I did that, oh well time to eat.” Soon after I finished my tasty meal it began getting dark, ” What happened to the light?” I wondered. A few minutes later as I crawl across the ground, “I feel something… something, exciting! It’s like a, sensation!” Then I notice I have some green stuff around my legs, “Oh, did I crush a small insect?” But I know I didn’t step on anything… I was making the green glow, “Oh my I’ve hurt myself! But, that’s not blood… Wait, I’m not bleeding I’m glowing!

“That means I am a glow worm, the larvae of the…” Suddenly a bat swoops down and captures a moth on the ground near me. “Oh no, my glow gives away my position to insect-eating animals!” I quickly crawl under a leaf, where my glow cannot be seen from above. I soon fall asleep. For the next few weeks, I learn how to hunt and get my fill of aphids in this wonderful strawberry patch. Weeks later I have an overwhelming urge to… “Dig” again. But the mysterious voice tells me to dig down this time. So, I start digging away and making a pile of dirt. Then for the strangest reason I feel like I need to make a shell for me, out of mud. Soon after making my shell I… start… to feel… sleepy… and I fall into a hibernation like sleep.

I awake to this now familiar voice saying “Break out!” I immediately start trying to break out of my mud ball-like shell, and out into the night. After breaking out of my mud ball I sit on the ground, drying but I feel different. Soon after I dry in the warm night air, I notice I have a throbbing, like my heart but it’s not, I notice my glow is turning on and off. I realized that while I was in my mud ball I had changed into a firefly. After that I live out the rest of my life, flashing my dazzling light every night. Oh, and that voice guiding me, was something God gave me before I was born… it’s name is instinct!

And like the Bible says in Mathew:

Mathew 5:14 “You are light for the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Likewise, when people light a lamp, they don’t cover it with a bowl but put it on a lampstand, so that it shines for everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.”

Like a Firefly

 

I was a light. In a way, I am a Firefly today, spreading the light of our Father’s Word to others.

 

I’m linking up to the Middle / High School Creative Writing Linkup, come join us!

Middle and High School Linkup for Students and Moms!

I Have a Power

I have a power, a power that many people desire. A power that places me in danger. If I could see through walls!The power to see through walls. At first I thought it was just going to be something fun, being able to flick on and off the ability. Then, when the black unmarked car followed me through the city, I knew I was in danger. And it’s not a total secret. My secret, the fact that I can see through walls, has been leaked. And It appears someone or something wants me, and I believe they’ve found me. I need to find people who will help me, maybe there are people like me and maybe there being hunted too.

So I start my quest, looking for people that will help me, or people like me. But where should I start? There is a whole world to search. So I’ll just start by strolling the stre- a black car floors it around the corner and straight at me! I start running, I then turn on my ability, to look into the car as I run. Four men, in black suits, are in the car. I then use my ability to spot an almost-invisible ally and dart down it. It was too narrow for the car to follow.  So when I reach the end of the alley, I jump on and over the wall. I think I lost them, when I see the black car at a stop waiting for me.

Suddenly, a blue car stops right in front of me. Three people are in the car, two about my age, and one about 25 who is at the wheel. “Get in, there’s not much time” says the driver. “Who are you?” I ask. “People just like you” says one of the teens. “as in you can see through things?” I ask. “Yes, now quick get in before they see you!” says the driver. So I get in the car and we floor it back the way they had come. “We work for the government trying to stop those people who were chasing you.” says the driver. “Who are those guys?” I ask. “Those people want to use our abilities for evil, like seeing the combination to a gold safe or things like that”. “I have an idea, lets follow them since they did not see me get in your car and see where they go. We can then contact the police and they can arrest them.” I say.

So we followed the black car, until they stopped at an old abandoned store. The men got out of their car and we stopped across the street at a coffee shop and watched. One of the men revealed a secret panel with buttons that was hidden on the wall by the abandoned store’s door. “A code lock!” said Keith, who had introduced himself while we followed the car. “This should be easy” said Luke. After the man clicked four buttons the door opened. “The code is 2962” says Katherine the driver. “Let’s phone the police” I said. But Katherine already had her phone out and was talking to them. She hangs up and says “they will be here in five minutes shall we stay and watch?” “Yes!” we all screamed. Those five minutes seemed like the longest ever. But then the police silently pull up and surround the building. After making sure there were no secret exits all thirty-five charged in.Fifteen minutes later the police come out with twenty men who were all brought to jail. After the people were arrested who were trying to hunt us down, we all settled down together like normal citizens and resign from our government work. We made a promise we would not use our abilities again, unless it was an emergency. 

I hope you all enjoyed my story: If I could see through walls!

See ya soon!

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