Pearl, Daddy, and I are planning to order some silk worm eggs so that we can observe their life cycle. It turns out that silk worm pupae will eat only mulberry tree leaves — and they apparently eat A LOT of them. I almost abandoned the project until I read that there are Mulberry trees in our local park. So, looked for them the last time I was there, but I couldn’t tell which were which. But, today on our way home from breakfast at a diner, we walked under a tree that had a lot of smashed fruit on the ground under it. After taking a sample and berry from the ground and comparing it to our nature book, we concluded that yes, it is a mulberry tree. That excited us! If Mulberry trees are fruiting, then it would be easier to find them at the park. So Pearl and I went over and found several ruiting trees. We now know where they are and even after the fruit is gone, we will be able to identify them. Enough leaves fall to the ground that could surely fill up the most voracious pupae appetites! It was a fun experiment.
We found our first sample on the way home from breakfast at a diner. Some Mulberry leaves have three lobes, some have two, and other have just one. The trunk of the tree on which we found these grows in a vacant lot, but the branches hang out. Daddy says he’ll go and get branches of leaves at night, but we prefer to a) not break the law (if that constitutes stealing), and b) not kill a tree (if breaking off branches will kill a tree).
The mulberry trees at our park are quite beautiful.
The trees at our park have only one lobe.
The mulberry trees at the park are covered with berries. We were surprised there weren’t more birds and other animals in the trees having a feast. Maybe the berries aren’t quite as ripe as the ones in the vacant lot.
After the tree hunting experience, we went to our favorite bakery this side of the subway. We each had a red velvet cupcake, and Pearl drank a sea salt lemonade, and I drank a mint iced tea:)
After Pearl’s piano recital today in Brooklyn, we made use of our rental car by heading out to Staten Island to visit the Jaques Marchais Museum of Tibeten Art http://www.tibetanmuseum.org/. I had never driven through Staten Island in the spring, so I didn’t know how lush it is. Lots of rolling hills, too — reminds me of Austin. The museum is very small — a small gallery inside displays, among many other beautiful artifacts, a sand mandala made by monks who visited the museum a few years ago (not allowed to photograph it). The other part of the museum is the garden which is designed to resemble a Tibeten monastary. Pearl knows something about Tibet because we visited the Silk Road exhibit at the Natural History Museum a year or so ago, and then we read (many, many times over) the wonderful picture book Riding In a Caravan, by Laurie Kriegs. And, we also visited the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan. In any case, the museum had some meaning to Pearl, but she mostly loved running around on this beautiful day.
After three years of trying, we finally made it out to volunteer with the NYS of Environmental Conservation for the horseshoe crab count in Long Island. It was facinating. We’ve never seen horseshoe crabs in the wild — only in touch pools. And we counted almost 100 in about a quarter-mile walk. They come out of sea to spawn, so the NYSDEC takes the opportunity to count and tag them. What a blast. Pearl fell in love with them. Thankfully, she was wearing water shoes so she was able to wade in the shallow pools of ocean marsh.
This guy is looking for love.
The crabs come to spawn in the shallow pools of this ocean marsh.
A happy couple. The female is the larger one on the bottom. The male is smaller and, this one, has a lovely tuft of seaweed growing on his back.
We got to help the coordinators here tag the crabs. I tried drilling the tag hole in an exoskeleton, but I was terrified I’d hurt it, so our guide had to help.
What a lovely day!
Had a craving for bunellos, the dessert I used to help my grandma make when I was a kid. Lots of nostalgia as Pearl took my old jobs — mixing the ingredients, kneading the dough, making dough balls, and rolling out the dough balls. I took on my grandmother’s old job — frying them up (yuck!). Then Pearl and I covered them in a sugar/cinnamon mixture. They brought back a lot of memories for me, and now Pearl is a big fan.
Frying in vegetable oil.
Cooked and coated with sugar and cinnamon.
A wonderful production at the American Museum of Natural History — “Luna’s Sea.” Incorporated all of Pearl’s favorite things — bioluminescence, angler fish, dancing, ocean life, the museum. She got to meet the performers afterwards and touch the puppets (many of which were made with recycled materials). She also got to make a jellyfish puppet of her own.
Angler fish puppet with handler.
The octupus that required five handlers.
Insect cupcakes for the bake sale at Pearl’s school.
Pearl’s beautiful contribution.
On our way home from the supermarket, my arms were about to break from carrying a gazillion heavy bags, but Pearl was so impressed with these bird tracks preserved in the sidewalk cement…we just HAD to stop and take a picture.
While on the the third floor of the Natural History Museum last week, we noticed that one of the exhibits, about dinosaur tracks, mentioned the Paluxy River in Glen Rose, TX. Pearl was so excited because Grandma and Grandpa have taken her to the Paluxy River twice and she crossed the river with Aunt Janet to see the fossilized tracks. Very cool connection.
The replica of the tracks at the museum
Our friend told us about the reptile guy who would appear at our local library. Pearl and I walked over on an unsually cold afternoon. We meet several scaly critters. One peed on the floor, two ate dead mice. It was creepy. It was great fun. Erik Callender is the reptile guy. http://www.edventureshow.com/
After seeing her friend’s new summer sandals, Pearl had to have some of her own. So, while shopping for her cousin’s belated birthday gifts today, she found a pair of fuschia sandals and fell instantly in love. When we got home, she hadn’t taken her coat off before stripping off her sneakers and socks and begging to try on her new suede shoes. While looking in the mirror, she said, “Mommy, these are shoes to wear in Hawaii.” I don’t know how she knows about HI, but she’s correct. Aloha to that!