Experiencing our nation through its environments, animals, people and history.

Galatians 5:1

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Where does all the water go??!!

Here, join us as we review our visit to the great lakes!! We have been following the largest freshwater system of lakes for quite some time now.... it started with an 8 hour drive with the Jacobs clan under lake Superior...

To a lovely dip with the Caversons in Lake Michigan......

And the next day in Huron....

And to top off our 12 day blaze across the northern part of America, we ended up in Lake Erie, just like most of the water does!

Now, do you know where all that water goes next? It all drains out of Erie into the Niagara River, and eventually pours over the amazing Niagara Falls.

It then moves down the Niagara gorge and makes some class 6 rapids. Greg used to be a white water raft guide and he said these look pretty fun, but class 6 is "impassable" and these are supposed to be some of the most dangerous rapids in the world.

These are the Whirlpool rapids, where the water curves around a bend and makes a great big eddy. We came down here one day to do some art and learn more about erosion, and listened to all the tours passing by. At the point of that V, the water is basicly plummeting straight down. Then it pops up and around through the lower Niagara gorge and ends up in....
Lake Ontario!!!
The kids were so happy to finally be at the fifth great lake, they busted out in spontaneous affection!! We have been camped out here for the last few days, enjoying Hamlin State Park (and no internet signal.) We've had the park practically to ourselves and the weather has been amazing. We've seen deer, woodpeckers, and so many big fat ground hogs we had to study them for science! Lake Ontario is so huge it feels like the ocean, and when the wind picks up it can get some very almost boogie-boarding waves. The kids tried their poles in with the big fish, Shayna learned how to bike ride, and now we are now off to a few more attractions in NY and making our way south....

Unlike the water, which actually continues its way up north. It empties into the St. Lawrence river up through Canada and eventually into the Atlantic Ocean... right up there by Prince Edward Island.
Ta da!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

fishing update...

For those of you (ahem, Rachel...) who needed a little more drama in the Kaler story....

Shayna caught the biggest fish of all today, which brings her total to five and the entire collection of Kaler catches well into two digits!!

If that's not great sabbatical drama, I don't know what is!! Hugs..... -C

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Erie Canal

JJ, what do you want it to say? We could put... hahaha... hehehe... hohohoho... (Dadddy, get serious kids). Stop laughing and get. JJ... we went to Lockport today with the Godwins. (Shayna) Hey JJ... Stop... (JJ) we got to go to the locks and see the water rising. It was cool. (shayna) this is so coool. (JJ) we got to see a better view than the tour boat that we were following. (JO) and it was free! (shayna) gigggle. hey it's my turn. Jo.. no its my turn. giggle, giggle. sk Hi alexis. (JJ)Alexis is spelled with a Captial A Dad. Dad... I know JJ this is what we call a "rough Draft".

Grunting (from Dad) blog not cooperating.

(JJ)I think I know what we can do. This is where we started Jo Blah blah blah. giggle giggle. sk Hey JJ how come you get to talk all the time. JJ cause i'm the only one talking. sk thats because we are too busy giggling.

Jo. this is a classic blog. sk OK.... ok.... Hey mommy. Do you like our blog. jo I love you mommy.

jj this is where we started. We followed the boat on a trail to the locks. sk My turn now... JJ i dont' think there is turns sk we got to see the tour boat... um... going on the new fashioned locks. They had big doors that... JJ did you know that ther water rises 48 feet Jo when did you learn that? JJ: We learned it while we were walking. there is a 48 foot rise from where the boats enter the locks to were they leave the locks.

JO. Can we move on to the next picture. PLEASE! SK Josiah didn't say please. Exclamation point.

SK HUMPH> In this picture we are going to descibe the locks JJ (cutting shayna off) this is the high side of the locks. (Post facto clarification from daddy... this is actually the low side of the locks) Daddy. Lets let Shayna talk. sk. When the boat would come up to the locks... they would signal the lock person and the lock person would push the button that makes all the water go from UP to... makes alll the water go.... makes all the water.... well it makes the boat rise when it goes towards the big bridge. JO unintelligeble whispering to JJ. sk giggle. JO why are you guys laughing? sk explains to JO. all Giggle giggle giggle.

This is the low lock where they are going up. The water is real high on the other side. sk they raise the boat and open the doors and the boat goes through. jj they make the water rise sk no, no. they just fill one side up.. Jo. NO No. sometimes the water goes a little too far down. we practically got the tour with out paying. JJ actually maybe that is the high lock exept that they had already lowered it.
Daddy Clarification... In this picture the boat has pulled in and the water level is rising.

JO. remember to put giggles for me. sk Now that is the high one. JO. How do you know that? sk because it is going that way and I remembered it. JJ can I see the picture so I can remember what the picture is. JJ OHHH. JJ: They are just opening the doors and you can now see that the water is level JO UHrgome. I'm cold. Time to get more ljaoisafdh. sk/jj giggle, giggle. JO What?? What?? More giggles.
sk. You're a good blog artist. JJ/JO Yeah! JJ sorry mom. We said we'd do a good job on the blog but this is what we came up with. Jo Mom is going to be craxking up when she love this. JJ/sk What's Craxking.

Jo. OHHHH> That's the museum. sk thats the museum when the water is rushing out. JJ what is that yellow thing. Jo I signed up on the guest book in there. in the ..... eee uhh... i'm thinking.... sk: in the museum. jo yeah thats it. sk the yellow thing is the pole because we are on the bridgy thing that goes over the water to the museum.

sk. ohhh. That's the old fashioned locks. JJ. How do you know thats the old fashioned locks. SK Because we read a sign that said so. JJ oh. JO Whats' the date. JJ I don't know. Dad: its the (checking his phone) 23rd. Jo. Can you do faces on here? sk I don't think so that's only on email. Sk Isn't it the 22nd. JJ how should you know. Daddy (reaching for the phone again) it's really the 22nd. sk Yeah. I was right. Jo. what's the date. JJ/SK it's the 22nd.

Ohh. The big bridge JO. I think it's the 23rd. JJ its the widest bridge in america. JO and canada. If you were driving over it you wouldn't even know you were on a bridge. SK how do you know its the widest in canada too? A bunch of talke between kids that dad didn't get....
JJ the bridges would have to come afterword. sk there wasn't very many though. JO was the upside down bridge there? jj I know nothing about the upside down bridge. sk why didn't you mention my book. daddy. What, hunh? kids giggles hohoho. Jo: make that in BIG BOLD LETTERS. SK. Arent you going to fix all the mistakes after we go to bed?
Jo. Did yo uknow that your armpits are the warmest part of your body. sk is that a fact or a theory? JJ lets get back to the subject. jo. awww this is classic blog. sk you've already said that twice. it's not really worth putting on the blog. JJ hey what is going on (covered by the blanket that jo is putting on him.
SK This picture is Daddy and JJ waving form one of the widest bridges in world. Jo hey, where was I? JJ you were with mom and shayna. (upon further examination, Jo is actually there, he just looks like a pole.)
JO: That's the upsided down bridge. Sk This is a view of the upside down bridge from one of the locks. Daddy. get off JJ jo. giggles giggles.

JO. Is that the rapids. sk Hey that is the museum and Josiah is the canal driver. you are not the canal driver actually, you are... Jo: Iam too. sk: you are leading the horse ... the mule... um.. that is attached ot the boat in the water. it pulls it. Jo can we turn the air off now. sk but daddy was hot. Daddy. Go ahead andturn it off. a race for the control ensues.

This is shayna who would like everybody to know that we ate brownies tonight. Yummy good ones. JO. they are called dark chocolate ways of delight.

JJ. In the museum there was a play stoplight on the floor that you could open up and look inside. JO. It looked like a trash can inside since there was a hole on top. unless all stop lights have that. JJ all stop lights have lights in them but not this one. Jo. I wonder how they actually did that. I wonder how they control it.
Daddy (typing) OK kids, bed time. Love you. Go crawl in bed. Kids covering heads with blankets and saying "I didn't see that"
Daddy: Love you all. Night night.
Daddy. Josiah, go to bed! Thank you! Love you. Rest in the Lord. Go jo. JO Type NO on there... as he walks to bed.

Guess who caught the first fish?

Our extended stay here in upstate New York has provided us plenty of opportunity to experience a little more culture. This is one of our first times staying at a camp for two weeks, and we have been immersed in a new culture for us, called "full time retired RV, let's go fishing!" culture.
We've learned not to take anything too fast.... that the 5 mph speed limit signs really mean 2 mph, and in my commute to work, I need to allow an extra half hour to chat with the neighbors about thier dog, say hi to the camp pastor, and stop and wave at the gate keeper (who will tell me to slow it down to 1.5 mph). One of the kids math projects has been to collect some data about the camp residents... a project they thought might take an hour or so, come to find out that a question like "do you have any pets?" inevitably ends up as a half hour visit with Budgie the bird.
It has been a blessing, and a great lesson for us in slowing down. After "interviewing" our neighbors, they became quite interested in the kids studies and our adventure, and were most intrigued when for science the kids decided our next unit should be about catching fish.
They watched the kids construct kite-string get ups with amusement, heard about our several failed attempts, and one day decided to bestow on us a couple gifts....

Real fishing rods!!

The kids spent the next few days learning to bait,

Discovering wildlife,

And then... on one sunshiney Saturday, it all came together!! Did you make a guess on which Kaler caught the first fish??
It was Josiah!!! He was so excited, and then when dad helped him take it off the hook, the thing slipped and flopped around on the dock just like he was straight outa Nemo.
Shayna became our expert baiter and then the excitement really began......

Those fish are scared now!!
Not to be outdone, Daddy caught one too....
(Please do note the size for future fish story reality checks...)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Niagara Falls

Hello Friends!! We have arrived to upstate New York and have been busy with exploring the exciting parts as well as enjoying the quiet parts of the state. We are camped 9 miles in from Niagara Falls, amidst farmland and tucked in by two little lakes where we are discovering the art of fishing. Maybe one day we'll catch one and we can blog about it, but for now we'll take you to Niagara!!

These are the American and Bridal Veil falls. They are taller than the "Horseshoe" Falls, on the Canadian side, but don't put out quite as much water.

NOt that you can tell!! HEre is the side view. Amazing volume of water!! We have some videos so you can get the full effect but you'll have to wait til the next blog for those.
We were the full on tourists and did the "Maid of the Mist" boatride- here the boat is going into Horseshoe Falls. Talk about craziness, they take you right up into the "roar!"

Then we did the kids "most favorite thing", walking through the "cave of the winds" right up under Bridal Veil falls. Below is an ariel view of the stairs you can walk on. They have to take it down and rebuild the whole walkway every year, can you imagine? The snow and ice though the winter would damage them anyway, plus the falls move back about a foot every year, so they make adjustments. The actual Cave here has since collapsed and you stay in front of the falls the whole time, and it is quite a thrill!!

They even give you special shoes.... This is the view from the observation tower. I believe Shayna took this picture as mommy is afraid of heights...

Here is a view from goat island where you can get up close to the top of the falls. Can you believe, 7 people have gone over these falls? Only 3 have survived. One of them was a teacher who went over the falls in a barrel, with her cat!!
Now which is stupider, going over the falls or taking your cat??

(more soon.....)