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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Week Two and Still Having Fun!

We almost did not make it to Wildlife today!  I had worked so hard to get all our lessons ready for the group and then my computer started acting crazy!  Thankfully, Michael had a warranty added to the cost of the laptop when we bought it last year.  We called Dell Support and they arranged for someone to come to our house today to fix it.  The man was supposed to arrive before noon...but showed around 1:30pm...that was going to cut it close...and it did!

But it was cool that the boys got to see inside our kind of went along with the computer project we would have later in the evening, right?

They got to see it all, as he exchanged the motherboard, the LCD screen, and heat sink.  That really did not take very long but when he ran the diagnostic on the computer after these fixes, it registered a problem with the CD ROM.  This took over an hour to resolve and had us leaving out the door at the absolute latest time to make it to Wildlife.  We were glad to see that everyone was running late today!

Unfortunately, this had me frazzled and rushed to get through the presentations before we had to leave the building at 5pm.  I know I will need to review a lot of this information next week.  This is what we covered today:

Henry gave a Gray Squirrel presentation which was mainly about biological facts.  He did a great job!  Proud of his courage to get up and speak in front of the group, as I know he does not like to do this.  This is one of the reasons I am thankful for the leadership opportunities in 4H.

Then we were able to go over the Habitat Management Practices.  Here is the new techniques we learned this week:

  • Prescribed Burning—(deer, turkey, quail, dove) used to maintain or improve habitat; for plant diversity; control undesired woody plants; remove grass; improve browse, usually done in 3-5 year intervals
  • Provide & Manage Water—(small ponds, dams or streams) provide water for target species
  • Disking—(disk, plow or harrow) increases food:  croton, partridge pea, ragweed, and crabgrass; helps dormant seeds by bringing to the surface top soil; done in long strips with minimal fertilization
  • Overseeding Legumes—(high protein) green vegetation and hard seed (resist weathering and breakdown) produced; excellent conditions for insects; few choices for summer seeding; must plant for soil types; inoculate seeds prior to planting because they are susceptible to disease; pastures should be grazed down or clipped then disked before seeding  
  • Streamside Management Zones—(mast and forage produced in this zone) 50 foot strips of timber left along stream channels; provides protection; prevents sediment disruption; allows shrubs and forbs to remain for grazing 

Then we had a speed talk through the 20 Shrubs/Vines that we needed to learn this week.  I hated that we were so rushed.  In fact, we did not even have time to discuss the animal preferences.  I guess that means we have extra homework this week!

We were able to review that plants outside behind the museum.  I think the group knows these plants pretty well, as most have been in this contest previously.

The Homework:
Review Habitat Management Techniques discussed (found in Wildlife book pages 138-157) and Gray Squirrel biological facts (pages 71-75)

We then had time to make our way to the Robotics meeting.  We were both thankful for Robin who helped got the building set up for the project.  Also, Paul and Robin led the first part of the meeting, so we had time to breathe a little before Michael had to teach.  This is what they did tonight:

Our 4Hers tested the strengths of different shapes (e.g. squares, triangles, etc.).  Then, building upon that knowledge and the skills that they learned last week, they sat down and began designing their marshmallow catapults.

After spending about 30 minutes drawing out their ideas, they set to work building.  They were supposed to use a trebuchet-style catapult that uses a drop weight for momentum and a sling to hold the projectile, in this case a large marshmallow.  It was interesting to see the different ideas that they came up with, and then to see how they modified them each time they attempted to launch their marshmallow the requisite six feet.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time before anyone mastered the catapult, but much fun was had by all!

I almost forgot to mention that Zaira was given another gift from one of our 4H friends!  Thank you so much Rebecca for the cute knitted hat with the butterfly!  You know our family well...the hat matched Zaira's butterfly outfit even had the same color scheme!

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