Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Flower Experiment

If you remember from Pooka's birthday party, we colored some flowers for the big event. Now, I think I bought the wrong kind of flower, since they are taking their sweet time changing. If you are so inclined to do this experiment, I would suggest looking for a different flower (supposedly carnations work well).

We started with store bought white flowers, and I added water to the glasses. Pooka came up with colors for the water. I would place a random numbers of drops of food coloring in the water (I probably should of counted them), and allowed a Pooka to stir the water. Note: when we do this again sometime, make sure Pooka is wearing older clothes and has her sleeves up. She loved having polka dot arms for the next day or so.

Your supplies, flowers, cups of water, food coloring

We made a point to cut the ends of the flowers at a slight angle to help the flowers soak up the water better. For this we used a pair of scissors I didn't care too much about. Once the water was stirred, the flowers went in. I let Pooka choose which flowers went in which cups.

30 hours later
After about 30 hours, we had the flowers you see above. the color is there in some flowers, enough that Pooka and her guests could tell what we were doing, but not all of them were a viberant color.

Flowers 6 days later

As you can see (if you open the picture a bit bigger), after about 6 days we are getting some very nice colors. The blooms that are just opening up already colored. We have some definate darker colors which are making for a nice shading effect,  but it still isn't very vibrant. The things you learn I suppose. Pooka saw that flowers do pull water (and anything else) up through their stems. I learned to research the experiments a bit more before I do them.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Butterfly Snacks and Seed pouches

Now let me start by saying I did not come up with this wonderful idea. Aunt Stephie sent me a link, which I followed to here. They are super cute and super easy, especially when a Pooka is doing the hard part of painting.

However, I will say we did have a few.... oops that included an emergency pant change on Pooka to get the paint out, and one of my kitchen stools now has red paint all over the top. But it was fun for her.

We started with regular clothespins that were wood. I let  Pooka paint them. I will say I let her do this over 2 days since she painted the tops and then the bottoms.

Painting supplies everywhere

Once all the paint was dry, Pooka and I glued on wiggly eyes. Now, I will say I should of gotten one size smaller of eye balls, but  They worked out okay. You do have to be super careful with this step, since our eyeballs tended to fall off, and well, then you have a cyclops butterfly.
It now has eyes
After your butterfly has gain the ablity of sight, I took a snack baggie and filled it with just goldfish. The model has grapes or something on one wing, but since I didn't want to have to worry about the butterflies going in the fridge until the party, goldfish became the wings. I did do our test butterfly with colored goldfish, but since one of the guests had a food allergy, I stuck with whole wheat ones for the party.
The last step was to take a pipe cleaner, cut it to about 6" or so, curl the ends and put it in the clothes pin for our butterfly's antenna.  Doesn't the butterfly look so cute (aside from the dirty plastic tablecloth)? It was super simple and super cheap party favor. We had the snack bag, the pipecleaners (from another project), and the goldfish, and I spent a dollar on a giant bag of eyes and $2 or so for the clothespins (which came with like 30 of them).

Butterflies and seed pouches
Do you remember the cute little orgami seed pouches? Well, I forgot to take pictures of how to do that one. I got the original idea out of one of our gardening books called "Easy Growing" by Gayla Trail. Her website is You Grow Girl. I can't seem to find the link online on making the pouches. I guess I may just need to keep some secrets.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Birthday time

Pooka is officially a year older. Where the time has gone, I will never know. But yesterday she had her Gardening Science party. I will be the first to admit that a science gardening party is not easy to create. Especially when the birthday child in question greatly dislikes pink and all the "girl garden party stuff" tends to have a TON of pink in them.

I will say since we did her party so late this year, I was able to get spring flowers patterns and butterflies from the party store. I think they were suppose to be for Easter, but if it doesn't have words, so it became a birthday party very easily.

We had a few touches that I will highlight and maybe even do how tos on later. A few weeks ago, Aunt Stephie sent me a link to some clothespin butterfly snack bags. Well, Pooka asked to make some, so she did all the painting, helped me glue it and decide which guest got which one. This was a great way to keep a Pooka busy for a half an hour a day for a few days.

Finished Butterfly

These went in the goody bags or should I say goody pots. At the end of the summer, I found some small terra cotta pots for 5-$1  at our grocery store, and we also made some orgami seed pouches that Pooka put 6 of her homegrown sunflower seeds in one and in the other we found some of her colored carrots that she desperately wanted to share with her freinds. Finding colored carrots seeds, this early is a bit of a challenge and took some looking and a few phone calls.  Pooka even found and picked out different toy bugs for all of her guests. Each guest got a bug she thought would be perfect for them.  The stuff in the bag was lovingly donated by Aunt F who runs her own party store and heard I was a bit behind and sent us a care package. THANK YOU AUNT F. 
Goody Pots

Up until now, it was turning into a bit of a garden party. But we didn't have much to make it science-like. But I had a plan. I had promised Pooka that she could color flowers for her party. So we bought some white flowers (later I found out they are roses or something. Again, flowers are not my thing unless I can eat them) and put them in separate glasses with water that Pooka colored with food coloring.

Coloring flowers
Now I will admit, I didn't do this far enough in advance. I forgot it takes a bit of time to do this project, so by the end of the party, they weren't completely colored, but it was enough Pooka and her guests knew what they should be. We had yellow, orange, red, blue, green, purple and black flowers that were all showing their colors. The yellow and orange show it very well, as do the red, the darker colors just look slightly tinted. Even this morning they are still showing more and more color. I think this is something Pooka will love watching over the next few days. 

Colored flowers 30 hours later
I do not have a picture of the "science table" where Pooka pulled out her microscope from Christmas and her mad scientist kit from Aunt S and her family. That kit had more fun with the kids pretending to mix the chemicals and then making potions. Kids and their imaginations can be enough to entertain them a good chunk of the time.
Those are some of the highlights from the party. Hopefully, I will get some how tos on some of it up later this week. I admit not all my ideas worked the way I wanted them to, but in the end, Pooka loved her party and said it was "Science-riffic" and "The best party ever" and that is all that really matters.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The last of the holidays and a happy Pooka

Sunday was our last Holiday party. Pooka's Aunts and Uncles from our chosen family came from all over to see us and each other. This of course makes Pooka more bouncy than ever and with our family comes not just more love, but also the ones who are encouraging *cough feeding cough* the gardening bug that has gotten into a Pooka and is starting to affect me.

These are the people who sent Pooka seeds they didn't need last year that resulted in the herb garden, these are the same people who literally climbed into the garden to help with the last harvest. These are our family, and with them came some swapping and a few new projects and experiments for Pooka.

One of her uncles gifted her with some new houses for Green Thumb and her friends for her birthday. Pooka is excited to get to painting them (more on that later, I forgot pictures of it). Her Aunt Stephie gave her another root viewer. 2 of the same thing for this Pooka, not a huge deal, she is excited since I told her we would find colored carrots to put in it. In fact, she has been hounding me DAILY to go find them.
Not the new one, but it is the exact same.
However, Sunday morning as everyone was getting ready to leave, and Pooka was coming home from a night away, Aunt Stephie came in from her car with her basket of seeds. All the sudden we were doing a seed swap after I grabbed Pooka's basket.

Random seed swap
I gave to Aunt F all of Pooka's Hundreds and Thousands cherry tomato plant seeds (Daddy really didn't want those growing again), as well as giving away some of Pooka's home grown sunflower seeds to both Aunt Stephie and Aunt F. I even gave Aunt Stephie the lettuce seeds that the kids didn't like as well because they were too spicy.

New seeds to try

Even with the seeds I gave away, Pooka came away with new ones. She got some new basil seeds, some poblano seeds for Daddy, as well as a heirloom variety of rainbow cherry tomatoes which made Pooka so happy to have more colors in her garden. Aunt Stephie even gave Pooka some Blue Jade Corn seeds that are suppose to be able to grown in containers and give us nice ears of blue corn, which will make brother super happy too. Pooka is so thankful to have a family that cares about her and that they help her learn new things. 

Sadly, then our family had to return to their homes, most too far away to see more then every few months. But they will come back, and Pooka is so excited to show them real plants, and then when they come back at the end of the summer, they will see how well she has cared for her garden. 

Now I just need to figure out when to start the seeds we got, and where I am going to get new ones. I also need to get the plans figured out for where they are all going to go in the garden. Oh it seems the work is never done some days. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

As good as her presents

Like most gardeners, The seed catalogs have been arriving. Catalogs that make a Pooka begin to dream and ask lots of questions like "Mommy, whats this? Mommy can we grow this?"

These little gifts are becoming extra presents for a Pooka. They are her new favorite things to read, even tho she has yet to figure out the words. So much in fact, I generally have to hunt for said catalogs if I want to read them and or figure out what we will be doing. When I am lucky, they live on her desk. When I am not lucky... Lets say the pit of a family room.

Pooka has decided she wants to grow Chinese 5 Color Peppers  from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds. To me they seem a bit pricey, and having never ordered seeds from a catalog before (I admit to being a "Ooh, I see this on the display at the store, we should try it" kinda gardener), I am not entirely sure if they are worth it. Or if ordering them at all will save me money or cost more. Now, I will admit that one of Pooka's aunts offered to go in on the 5 color seeds, but with only 15 in the pack, is that enough to split with someone?

These presents for Pooka only go to show me what I have yet to learn, and it seems to be everything. All the sudden, I feel completely lost all over again. I was just starting to feel smart about this whole gardening thing.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

More plantings and surprise

Today Pooka got the last of her flowers planted. I let up on the one toy a day rule since I wanted to get them planted and rolling since who knows how long it will take to get it going. 

More and more flowers
There was a bit of a surprise however. The bulbs had both sprouted. Pooka was very happy once she understood what that meant. However, this also means that I was right to be worrying about things having started to sprout.

I love easy directions. Put disk in the pot, put in 2 cups of water, let sit for 15 minutes, or in our case. Eat some lunch.
Not dirt yet.
Plant your bulb and go. Oops there is the chip in the pot, but it gives it character. The flowers are in, and should be growing soon. Now to hope the new location for the plants is warm enough and gets enough light. That is the key right now. Although this also means Pooka will have to miss the great "Hey look it started" but I am hoping it will give her a faster bloom.
In other surprises, today we noticed a radish in Pooka's root viewer has sprouted. Nothing else has just yet, and sadly, I forgot to get a picture, so you can wait till a few more have sprouted. Pooka has not yet been able to see a root, but I reminded her to be patient and it will happen.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Making dirt and planting

Hello all,

Well, its been a very busy few days here, most of our holidays are over and Pooka and Brother are settling into a nice routine before they head back to school. In fact, Pooka has had some time to get her hands dirty and plant her root viewer and her flower from her Great Aunt.

Root viewer 
Now, I won't go over all the directions on the Root viewer, but it was  a slick set up. The only real downside I can say about it is that you have to mix the dirt and the water (to hydrated the dirt) in a separate container, and then try to scoop the dirt into the viewer. This was not easy, especially for a child to do without making a great mess. In my opinion, it would of been easier to mix the dirt and water in the container, but I didn't write the directions.
Bowl of dirt plus assembled viewer
Once it was full, it was time to plant. The set comes with radish, carrot and onion seeds. We planted 2-3 of each as directed and added a touch more dirt to cover them. Pooka had an easier time getting the seeds covered then I did due to her smaller hands.
Seeds in place

The directions say to leave the green root cover in place unless specifically viewing the roots since the roots will not grow correctly if exposed to light. Pooka had a hard time understanding how she would see them until I removed the cover and replaced it a few times. The cover does have labels on it to show you where to plant each seed which was nice since there isn't much room for markers in the set up. 
Viewer cover in place

Now we wait. The plants that have survived their move inside as well as our root viewer and flower got moved to the window in another room. We hope that they will get enough sunlight here but more importantly they should stay warmer since its no longer in the draft from the door (Since the flower says to keep it very warm). 

Now to await results
The seeds in the root viewer have only been in the dirt since New Years eve, and the flower was put into the dirt the Saturday before. No real growth or sprouts yet, but as we learned last year, wait and give them time.