A Note To Parents: We make every effort for Roxanne's blog to be a SAFE site for children. Whenever possible, activities are in pdf format or link to safe sites for children. Please feel free to use the information in these posts for homeschool studies! All rights reserved by author and nature photographer, Virginia Parker Staat.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Catwalk -- Whitewater Trail #207

Today we hiked the Catwalk near Glenwood, New Mexico. This spectacular hike begins at the mouth of a canyon. Chains of catwalks, bridges, and stairways teeter above Whitewater Creek. As you walk across the catwalks, you can see the rocks and river far below.

Most of the canyon stayed in shadow during our hike. Green and gold leaves littered the trail. The white bark of Arizona sycamore trees looked like skeletons against the canyon wall. Huge cottonwood trees grew from toeholds in the rock by the river. I took several swims in the chilly water.

This canyon formed over millions of years. The flowing water carved through the volcanic rock. The canyon walls will continue to deepen as long as the river flows.

Mom says that I am the bravest dog that she knows. Very few dogs will walk across a catwalk that towers thirty feet over a raging river. I admit that it was scary in some places. I dropped my hind end and spread my toes to slink over the grating above the river. But I am brave! I even walked across the swinging bridge!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Amazing Antlers

We went hiking today and saw a herd of deer. This is a photo of three of the bucks.

Male deer grow and shed their antlers every year. The antlers are living bone. They normally fall off in January to April. They start to grow again in the fall. Antlers are different than horns (like cow horns). Horns don’t fall off.

Antlers grow from the two hard nubs on a deer’s head called pediciles. When the antlers begin to grow, they are covered with a furry skin called velvet. The velvet feeds the antlers the vitamins and minerals needed to build up the bone.

The antlers grow very fast, sometimes up to two inches a day! They continue to grow for two to four months. When they stop growing, a ring forms at the bottom of the antler shaft. It cuts the blood supply to the velvet. The velvet then dries and falls off.

Bucks use their antlers to attract females and fight other bucks. They also use their antlers to help find food in the snow. As soon as the weather begins to warm, the antlers begin to loosen and fall off.

I like to chew on deer antlers. Amazingly, they are harder than most bones.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


My family has come to the Silver City area of New Mexico for several years. Mom writes children's books. She is researching a story about the Mimbres.

The Mimbres lived in this area about 1000 to 1250 AD. The women made beautiful black and white pottery. They painted the inside of the bowls with wonderful pictures of animals or people or geometric designs.

Archaeologists found the pottery in burial plots. When a Mimbres person died, their family would bury them in the floor of their home. Before they covered the dead with dirt, they placed one of the bowls over their head. Isn't that a perfect story for Halloween?

For some unknown reason, the Mimbres women suddenly stopped making their pottery. My mom thinks that she knows why, and she is writing a book about it.

If you want to learn more about the Mimbres, check out this book from your library: A Day With a Mimbres by J.J. Brody.

Snow Day

We're on vacation in New Mexico. It's snowing outside! I love cold weather. Here's a picture of me sprinkled in snowflakes.