Monday, April 27, 2009

Not Exactly What I Had in Mind

My sons participated in the Youth Birding Competition last weekend. We had an eventful twenty-four hours and drove to several prime "birding spots" in our state. One of our stops was a wildlife refuge where red-cockaded woodpeckers have nested. Three years ago, before my sons began bird watching, I barely knew what a woodpecker was. In fact, what little knowledge I had came from Woody Woodpecker cartoons. Thanks to my sons, however, I now know that these particular birds are very rare in our state and can only be found in a few select spots.

While we walked down the "Red-cockaded Trail" in search of this unique bird, we kept coming across large amounts of what appeared to be dung. Gross, I know, but stay with me.

At first, my boys were curious....

"What are those?"

"How did they get there?"

Then they acted like boys....



Finally, they began to speculate....

"Did bears do that?"

I assured them there were no bears, and we continued the trek. Eventually, they did hear and identify a red-cockaded... very cool and worth the effort. However, as we left the foot trail and stepped onto the paved road that led to our parking place, we heard a very loud, very deep, very disconcerting animal sound. This call was definitely not a bird's. My "there-are-no-bears-in-these-woods" conviction began to waver.

We cautiously walked farther up the hill until the parking lot came into sight. The car was completely surrounded by cows! My immediate response was relief that there were indeed no bears. Then I wondered why there were cows in the middle of the forest and how we were going to maneuver around the herd and get in the car. Orville, on the other hand, had a different thought....

Orville, Wilbur and Teammates "Mooing" at the Cows

He looked at me with a huge smile on his face and said in all seriousness and with great joy, "Oh! That's what those were... cow patties! That is what the pioneers burned for their campfires while on the Oregon Trail! Mom, can we burn one so we can better understand what life was like on the Trail?"

Although I admit that would be true experiential learning, even I, the OLIVE-with-an-E-for-Experiential mom, had to say "NO WAY!" to that request.

The cows eventually moved away from the car.

Goodbye Cows! When I said "experiential", you were not exactly what I had in mind!


Christy@MercyEveryMorning said...

That's hilarious! I think you should have tried it. LOL! :)

Raising Olives said...

I love how homeschooled kids think.

argsmommy said...

I'm with you -- no way! But you just have to love those moments when you know they really are taking it all in.