Friday, September 9, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

Now that we're back in the groove of school, we had a bit of a summer flashback with a 3-day weekend. In fact, it was a LOT of a summer flashback because the temperature was 100+ degrees. And of course, the one thing the kids wanted to do was go to the zoo.

So down we went on Saturday, and you know, it wasn't so bad. The zoo has lots of shade, and when things get really hot, an ice cream or a visit to the reptile house really can hit the spot. In addition to the normal fun of animal watching, the girls practiced map-reading, directing us from exhibit to exhibit. It's Mae's turn:

Yes, you may notice the tutus are STILL in action. In fact, yesterday Abigail wore the green one WITH HER COWGIRL BOOTS! Several of the teachers got a kick out of that.

At the zoo, we also attended the bird show for at least the 6th time. And we still enjoyed it. We got some one-on-one time after the show, feeding the bird a dollar...he takes it from your hand and puts it in the bin. Very quickly. So this is what it looks like one second later.

Although I generally don't initiate conversations with strangers, the zoo is one exception. I will approach ANY PERSON who has a zoo badge, and start asking them questions about the animals. I love to hear their stories. Where did they come from? How old are they? What are they like, really?
- I learned that the sole, crabby-looking camel is at least 40 years old, and is the last of the "camel ride" camels from years ago. And he's actually quite friendly.
- The tortoise population is saturated, even at pet stores, so they have to get rid of 20-30 fertilized eggs every year. Hey, tortoises...haven't you ever heard of abstinence?
- I learned the ages and names of all the giraffes. The two mommies are sisters.
- We watched the two baby orangutans clinging to the backs of their parents as they climbed around the enclosure. Interestingly, the male was carrying one of the babies. We learned that this never happens in the wild...the females keep the babies from the males because they don't generally tolerate the babies well. It's nice to know that the primates are becoming so gentrified, isn't it?

The next day, we took a last run down to the lake, even daring to spend the night on the houseboat in the slip on a holiday weekend. Yes...I know. But it turned out the only noises after 9 p.m. were the wind and the water. Which was still plenty loud enough to keep me awake all night, but I'm a tough case.

On the way home from the lake, we stopped at a favorite spot along the stream to see if any wild blackberries had lingered into September. Score!

And so it was, that with berry-stained fingers, scratched-up skin, and full bellies, we bid farewell to the formal end of a fantastic summer.

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