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, March 21, 2014

We are Bee Keepers!

Missy at the BeeWeaver Apiary
Today we went to an apiary near Navasota, Texas.  An apiary is a bee farm.  We bought a hive of bees for Opa and Omi's farm.  We will take care of the bees together.  When it is harvest time, we will share the extra honey that the bees make.

We loaded the bee hive in the back of our pickup.  When we arrived at the farm, we placed the bees on the platform in their new home.

Opa and David move the bees to their new home.
The next morning, we looked at each frame inside the beehive.  We wanted to make sure that the bees were healthy.  To keep from getting stung by the bees, we wore special hats with veils.  We wore thick clothes and put rubber bands around our wrists and ankles to keep the bees from crawling inside our clothing. 

David lights the bee smoker.
David smokes the bees.
We also lit a smoker.  Then we smoked the bees.  Bees send out an attack alarm from their tentacles.  The smoke keeps the bees from communicating with each other.  

Opa and David check each bee frame.
What a bee frame looks like...
We are happy to report that nobody got stung!

Missy checks out our new bee hive.
In our next post, we will tell you more about our amazing bees!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Nature Detective

Missy, the Nature Detective
We wanted to help Missy learn more about Texas animals, so we decided to have an adventure.  We became nature detectives!

We began looking for animal signs.  We took a walk and looked closely at the path.  Near a muddy bank, we saw deer tracks and raccoon tracks.  

We looked high and saw a squirrel’s nest.  We passed a pond and saw turtles sunning themselves. We found a bird feather.  We heard buzzing and discovered bees in the cherry laurel flowers.  

Have you ever become a nature detective?  Missy thought it was great fun!  

If you want to read more about being a nature detective, see our post here:   Roxanne's Nature Detective post

You can also check this great book out from your library: 
  • Animal Tracks and Signs:  Track over 40 Animals from Big Cats to Backyard Birds by Jinny Johnson.

Monday, March 10, 2014

What's Next for NASA?

Atlantis Space Shuttle courtesy NASA
It was a sad day for America when the space shuttles retired.  They were magnificent flying machines.  They were the first flying machines that went into orbit and returned to earth.  We learned so much when the space shuttles flew.

Now our wonderful space shuttles are in museums.  After 30 years of service, in July 2011, the last shuttle flight flew to the International Space Station.  The Atlantis space shuttle astronauts gave a flag to the crew on the International Space Station.  It was an American flag that flew on the first space shuttle.  It will return home on America's next spacecraft.  (To read more about the flag, just click here:  Star Spangled Banner in Space.)

When and what will be America's next spacecraft?  NASA is working on many different ways for America to get back into space, including the Orion spacecraft.

Orion will combine the best of the space shuttle and the Apollo moon mission spacecraft.  It will be able to supply the International Space Station or travel to Mars.  Orion will take astronauts deep into space and bring them safely back to earth.

Orion spacecraft courtesy NASA
Orion's first test mission is scheduled for September 2014.  NASA plans a four-hour test flight from Cape Canaveral in Florida.  One day, Orion flights may fly from Houston's Ellington field near Space Center Houston.  It will be exciting to see America back in space!!!

For more information about Orion, just click here:  Orion vehicle

Here's an Orion activity page for you:  Orion Activity Sheet

Here's a paper model of the Orion spacecraft that you can build:  Orion paper model

Here's a coloring page for the Orion spacecraft:  Orion coloring page

If you would like to build a paper space shuttle, just click here:  Space Shuttle Glider