1, 2, 3… Hatch 3.0!!

It started last spring at the end of school and it all began with a simple question we asked our Mom and Dad…”Could we get chickens?” It made sense because we already hatched many birds before, and we wanted some of our own. So we went to city hall to see if it was okay, we assumed it would be because a few people already had chickens in their own backyard, but it turned out, we couldn’t. There was an ordinance against it, so we decided to begin a Civics Project and began ‘hatching’ a plan for action – we were hoping to change that ordinance!

Month 1 and 2. First we did a whole lot of research on other ordinances in towns near us and across the State of Michigan. We took a closer look at chicken behavior and population density in the cities that allowed backyard chickens to create a suggested ordinance. We learned that most towns have renewable 1 year permits with restrictions on roosters, locations and how many hens you could keep. We wrote a suggested ordinance to bring to our fair city of Douglas for consideration in addition to a petition we had residence who were in support of it sign. That took us to about June.

Month 3.  I think it was July when it was presented to the City Council. They moved it on for input and a vote from the Planning Commission. Now, there’s something worth noting about these meetings. They start at 7:00 at night. The room has 56 chairs in total, and the process and people are very formal during their chats about life in the city of Douglas. An interesting fact: The City of Douglas is legally called “The City of the Village of Douglas”. Hmmm. Not super catchy, but it gives us advantages of a city but can still call ourselves a village.

Month 4, 5, 6 & 7. By now, we’ve gone to every Planning Commission meeting and we’ve observed a lot! Each month we went, we thought – “this is IT – a final draft will be voted on”! But then there were more changes. More discussion. More questions. How many feet from a neighbors house should they be allowed? How many hens are too many? What about disease? Maybe neighbors should be allowed to reject someone next to them getting the little feathered ladies. What about predators? The questions went on and on. Lisa, the zoning administrator rewrote the ordinance each month adding and subtracting restrictions as the meetings came and went. Respect Lisa, respect!

Month 8. III’m dreaming of a… brown christmas. Still not approved but at least this idea was still moving along. More details worked out, more restrictions added. The problem was, at this point, we no longer qualified to have chickens on our property!! With a deep sigh and a feeling of defeat, Mom went to that meeting alone to say thank you for all the hard work, but that there were so many restrictions, (even though we live on over an acre and a half of land!), there was nowhere to put a coop without violating the rules the Planning Commission put in place. I guess it was then that members of the Commission decided that it was too restrictive and amended the restriction of ‘backyard’ to allowing them in the ‘side yard’ in certain conditions. One more change for Lisa, and we were back in the chicken game! We’re beginning to learn just how long it can take to change a law, and now we’ve gotten glimpse into an average adult’s life. Also, respect.

Months 9 & 10. Welcome to January 2018! Well, they did it!  After the Planning Commission’s final vote to recommend passed 4 in favor, 3 not, it was sent straight back to City Council where they made a few minor changes and then was voted on, (drum roll please!) they all said yes and no objections! YEESSS!!!!!!!  We were so excited we danced right out the door, laid in the freezing snow in the middle of the sidewalk crying and laughing! Now it’s February and we will be able to get the very first permit as soon as it is drafted!!! We decided on hatching Bantams, mini versions of regular chickens and our friend Eddie has gifted us his old chicken coop. AAAAAH!! SOOOO HAPPY!!!!

 Okay, so here’s the review.  It took a total of 11 months and still counting, Olive and I are each one year older, the ordinance is FOUR pages long and it’s a one year trial, with a maximum of 5 permits granted. The planning commission gained a new person, we got a new Mayor (with cool hair and an upbeat personality!). But as an experience, we thought it was certinly our longest ongoing project but one of the best for sure! We promise to give y’all an update when we got the whole set up rolling but in the meantime, a Mt. Everest sized thank you to Lisa, the Planning Commission and the City Council for all their effort in making it possible for new feathered friends to be part of our family!!

We’ll take you on our many adventures to come. Stay tuned!

 

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We can’t actually get roosters but I thought it was a pretty chicken anyway!
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The ordinance is so long it took an entire page in our local newspaper to print! 

Year of the Dog…

Chinese New Year is this Friday. It’s the year of the dog – hooray for Milton, Mom and all you other doggies out there. We’re starting our celebrating early with a lantern making project. Pretty straight forward and fun to make! You can check out our Chinese Fan making project from a prior New Year here.

The dog is the 11th zodiac in a 12 year cycle. According to the China Highlights website here’s some of the lucky things for Dogs:

  • Lucky numbers: 3, 4, 9, and numbers containing them (like 34 and 49)
  • Lucky days: the 7th and 28th of every Chinese lunar month
  • Lucky colors: red, green, and purple
  • Lucky flowers: rose, cymbidium orchids
  • Lucky directions: east, south, and northeast
  • Lucky months: the 6th, 10th, and 12th Chinese lunar months

Whether you are a dog or not according to Chinese astrology, we hope this is a good year for YOU! WOOF!

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NOTE: The featured image at the heading of the post is from VectorArt.com

Grow Some Love!

It’s that time… love is in the air! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and we are headed to a mid winter craft sale today. One of the things we will be selling are these little hopes for spring…. flower bombs! They’re kind of like bath bombs except that they go in your garden and they don’t fizz… too bad! :0)

We used is ripped paper blended with rose petals, rose extract and water. Then after squeezing the water from the mixture we added flower seeds such as petunias, cosmos and sunflowers and pressed them into the molds, let them dry overnight and they were done! So cute! When planted in a pot or garden in spring they will begin to grow – with persistent watering of course.

We thought that this is a really fun way to get flowers into our gardens and speaking of spring we are pleased to announce that we will soon be getting little chickens of our own! YIPPEE!!!! Stay tuned for a post on that very soon!!

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Paper Crane Magic…

It’s become kind of an obsession, origami. Especially the cranes. I’ve been focused on the standard size and smaller. Until today. Today was different. We broke out the big paper. After some measuring complications, we got our paper square and began to fold. Tough when it keeps rolling onto itself, but with the help of a redeemed iTunes card, many folds later, the crane appeared! It’s wings are floppy, a trade off for using thinner paper.

It made me grateful for reasonably sized origami paper. Check out my tiniest cranes. The smallest one, folded with tweezers and a magnifying glass is no bigger than a grain of basmati rice.

Next on the list of folds: a unicorn. Stay Tuned.

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Get My Drift?

It’s winter. On the lakeshore in Michigan that means a lot of snow (usually!).   Did you know there are different types of snow?  The magic of snow starts in a cloud high in the sky where supercooled water droplets bounce around and knock into dust particles which in the right conditions, become the ice nuclei. As the ice crystal grows, more water droplets collide with it – that process is called accretion. As a side note, accretion is also how galaxies form (far out!)!

Angles are very important when talking about snow. The ice nuclei is in the center of a snowflake. Because its formed from water, the molecule of H20 is positioned with a single oxygen molecule with 2 hydrogen molecules located 60 degrees apart from each other. This is the same angle that the branches of a snowflake forms off of. So each branch is at a 60 degree angle from each other, which is where you get the 6 arms of a snowflake!

There are many kinds of snow… graupel (like granola, or popcorn!), sleet (melts, then re-freezes), aggregate (bunches of snowflakes connect to each other), hail (supercooled water droplets in the cloud being recirculating through the atmosphere, building up layers each time it makes a full trip), snow, freezing rain (similar to sleet but colder and freezes on impact). That’s a lot of different kinds of snow!!

For our experiment, we headed outdoors to learn how 3D shapes can affect snow and creates drifts. We called in the help of expired potato flakes, flour, rice and literal snow to see what happened. It kind of worked. There was too much wind (in addition to the fan we were using) and we needed a van full of material to make it look like an actual drift! Check out our results below!

We always hope for more snow here on the Lakeshore. We hope there’s enough still to come (22′ anyone!??) to head back out into the dunes for some exhilarating sledding, snowboarding and adventure before Spring arrives in Michigan!

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See how the snow held together and stuck in a drift to the shape? That bit of snow underneath it is what stuck to the table :0)

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Is that Music We Hear?

The ear is an incredible place! As you might remember from our earlier post on hearing, we have continued our learning about noise vs. music. In one experiment that we found here, we took a pin, a sheet of paper and an old record to mimic the function of a gramophone. We had to get it just right and then, there it was, MUSIC!

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Here’s an ultra close image of what a record looks like – pretty groovy, huh?

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Then we moved further into the patterns of sound by taking measurements of everyday things in and around our home with a sound meter. Here’s what we found:

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So! We learned that things aren’t as quiet as they seem. The basement was 46 dB and the dryer wasn’t even on. The hum of the furnace was enough to change the level of sound waves our ears could perceive. We never thought the flushing toilet would have such a high reading, but then again, everything is relative…At night it really does seem loud. It makes more sense now why we all have a sigh of relief when there’s a power outage… It is silence that we usually don’t have in our daily lives!

 

 

Are You a Super-taster?

We all know about taste buds. But did you know that your sense of taste is directly related to smell? This week we’ve been learning all about it…to start, we wanted to know how good our sense of smell was. To find out, first we needed to take a sneak peek at how our noses smell. At the back of our nose there’s a patch of skin called the Olfactory Epithelium and on that are the olfactory receptor cells. Those connect to the olfactory tract and then to the brain. Smell is the first sense a human uses when they’re born!

We tested our own sense of smell by taking four bowls of vinegar and water (tiny ones) each diluted at different percentages and we had to organize them in order – strongest to weakest. Harder than it sounds since your nose gets desensitized to the smell and after a minute or so, it’s hard to tell the difference! We then had unlabeled scents that we had to identify by smell alone. Some were easy to place, some not so much!

Now, on to taste. A super taster is someone that has the ability to taste more flavor than your average human. There are a couple different kinds of tests online to see if you are a super taster but we used a relatively simple one. All we used is our phone camera, our tongues, a little paper circle (we got ours from those lined sheets of paper that go in binders, and cut ours out) and blue food coloring. After carefully dabbing our tongues with food coloring, we got our little paper doughnut and placed it on the tip, then we quick took a picture and started counting. To know if you are in fact a super taster you need to have at least 40 or more taste buds in that designated area, although this number fluctuated depending on which site we looked at. We each did this, and Mom and Olive are super-tasters and not surprisingly, superior smellers, while me and Dad are not. This explains our love for spices and flavors and Mom and Olive’s amazement when we keep on adding more!

Are you a super-taster or super-smeller? Leave us a comment and let us know!

If you’re up for a 15 minute super funny test of silly guys testing their super tasting abilities, watch this!

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No labels, we had to sniff out what the scent was. Fun anytime!