Water Tanks, Water Towers

Need a drink? How about a shower? In most places in America, it’s easy to turn a handle and watch the water come pouring out. But how does it get there?! Hydrostatic pressure of course! Most us have seen a water tower but the reason they’re there is because of water pressure. When pumps pull water up into the structures, it creates enormous amounts of pressure that allows gravity to drop the water back down and supply the communities around them. But in cities ‘ a problem: gravity can only push the water so far, so when it’s at its equilibrium (around five floors in NY City because of the height of the reservior that feeds the city) it can’t go any higher because gravity can’t push up, and that’s where water tanks come in! Above buildings and skyscrapers in New York (and most other big cities for that matter) water tanks are placed on top of the buildings where the gravity pulls it down though the building for people to use, that way the entire building can have water! Isn’t that useful? Water tanks are usually wooden and have large metal rings tightened like belts around them and there’s always more rings at the bottom rather than the top because of the increased water weight at the bottom of the tank. Once we understood that, we considered very large skyscrapers. Check out the link below and prepare to be amazed!

So we would completely understand this concept, we did an experiment where we saw this in action. Water at 3 different levels and with the use of siphons, in a few short minutes, all the water levels evened out. It’s gravity and water pressure in action!

Next time you turn on your faucet, give a shout out to a reservoir or water tower near you!

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This is our learning wall that Mom drew explaining how water towers work. Pretty cool!

 

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What’s That I Smell?

Happy Summer from Water Street Academy. This year, we’ll try to do a better job posting on our summer learning adventures! Now, on with the show…

Cinnamon, clove, lime, lemon, grapefruit, lavender, thieves blend, vanilla…..coffffeeeee!

Essential Oils. It seems they can be found everywhere. We recently had a workshop with an ultra awesome “Scent Jeanne” (magic in a bottle – get it?) who has her own skin care line and has spent 20 years researching and experimenting with essential oils, teas and natural remedies. After a talk about plants and their properties, possible uses for them and ways essential oils are obtained from the plants, we headed outside blindfolds and essential oils on hand. Jeanne loves the brand Mountain Rose Herbs because of their craft and attention to the growth, care and harvesting of their plants.  Eden’s Garden is also a brand she appreciates the quality of.

One by one, accompanied by a breeze and the sunshine, we teamed up to explore our experiences with different scents. I partnered with the famous Emmy, with one person blindfolded, the other dabbed oils on a q-tip and allowed our brains to figure out what they thought of it. And boy, did mine think! In retrospect, I wonder how great my sense of smell is. I couldn’t tell if it was that I was trying too hard or I simply couldn’t smell as well as I thought I could. Later, we had a scavenger hunt in which we would smell the plants in Jeanne’s garden and pair it by smell with the right oil! That was tricky stuff, but it was super duper fun!

Thank you to Jeanne for just being so cool and teaching us about all of this radical stuff and to Emmy for being my excellent buddy and class partner! We hope this post made a lot of “scents” (get it?).

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This is our dearest friend whom we almost stepped on. His name is Theodore!

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Memorial Day is for Remembering.

So many people think of Memorial Day as a 3 day weekend or a reason to get out the grill. It’s the end of the school year and the beginning of summer. For those people who have loved ones who have died in service to our country, this is a day of memory. For one day in the year to publicly (or not publicly) share their loss, for the rest of us, it should be a day to remember the sacrifices made on our behalf by Americans defending our country & Constitution.

For the weeks before Memorial Day as we drive past cemeteries, there are flags waving in the wind. I had always noticed them, but didn’t think of how they all got there. Now we know.

Recently, we were invited by Craig and Tammy Postma to honor veterans of our country by putting flags on graves at a nearby cemetery, where Craig is the Sexton. There was a list of names. Hands full of flags and a beautiful evening to assist us with our efforts. We walked isle by isle, noticing headstones from so long ago, and those more recent. Some had known stories, some were left to imagine. We talked about which war these honored soldiers would have fought in and offered our gratitude for their service.

For those reading this post, please join our family in taking a ew moments at your gathering this Monday to sit in silence and reflect on those who have lost loved ones to war. At our table on this Memorial Day we will sit together in a country that remains free because of them and offer our deep gratitude, peace and healing, and of course the ultimate wish of peace between humankind.

To Craig and Tammy, thank you for offering this chance to join you for such a meaningful experience!

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Coins left on a veteran’s gravesite have special meanings:

A coin left on a headstone let’s the deceased soldier’s family know that somebody stopped by to pay their respect. Leaving a penny means you visited. A nickel means that you and the deceased soldier trained at boot camp together. If you served with the soldier, you leave a dime. A quarter is very significant because it means that you were there when that soldier was killed.

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An Unlikely Surprise!

It was a regular school day and we were all outside finding flowers for a project. We were in separate corners of the yard when suddenly, as I stepped onto the deck, a little bird fell from the sky and fell right in front of my feet! After closer examination, a couple paces around it and a shout out to everyone else, it was carefully picked off the ground and we then began the examination. As we looked up, we realized it must have flew into our window and stunned the poor little friend. We looked over its tiny wings, checked its feet for injury and then we simply waited for it to realize what had happened. Several minutes later as Mom tried to hand it off to me and Olive to hold, it began to clench her finger so hard it looked like its little nails were going to puncture right through her skin! Just as she was trying to figure out how to get those tiny nails to loosen their grip, it suddenly jumped off and flew away! (At least now we know how they stay on those branches…)

About 40 minutes later, I had looked through every bird book I had trying to identify this little guy and all that was left was the Bird Songs Bible (which is ridiculously large and even has a speaker inside so you can hear the sounds that each bird makes!). After a third re-run through the book I’d finally found it, it was a male Golden-Winged Warbler which doesn’t even live here! According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, it’s a very rare bird due to habitat loss in upper Michigan and they have one of the smallest populations of any songbird not on the endangered species list. Amazing that we had seen him flying around here and had a chance to hold him for an up close look at his beautiful self!

 

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We decided that he probably hit our new windows before we found him. 
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Here I am furiously looking for what kind of bird he is!

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The Culture of Clothing

This was one of our longer projects. We get this incredibly beautiful magazine called Happinez. It is all about culture, peace and inner beauty. And their photography is incredible! For this project, we used this magazine as our inspiration and incorporated research, design and patience to create traditional clothing for 3 different cultures.

We started by taking a look at traditional dress for male and females in other cultures. We learned about the significance of headwraps that are culturally and religiously based. We tried our hand at putting on a hijab and an african headwrap ! It is trickier than it would seem :0) We decided on 3 cultures – Poland (Olive), Hawaii and Africa. After heading to the fabric store to find just the right fabric patterns, sewing began along with more online referencing of styles, significance of accessories and general understanding of their cultures. The day of the photo shoot was sunny a cool. We used DC Superhero Girls as our models, we think they most certainly should be offered with cultural clothing like these in stores everywhere!!

The Project Brief:

culture clothing

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Poland

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This was a ‘magazine spread’ that Mom mocked up as if it was in the Happinez magazine!poland

Hawaii

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Africa

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Flower Tracking

Spring is such a fun time to be outside and see things growing before our eyes. It happens so fast! One day there is snow on the ground, the next tulips are in full bloom. We used this opportunity to track the growth of bulbs we planted last fall. Every other day, for 10 days, we observed the changes, measured the plant and documented the process. We were amazed that on average, the flowers grew in overall height 1/2″ per DAY! That’s a lot of work from a little bulb!

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*Featured image found on inhabit.com

 

Its SOOO Soft!!!

Last August, we went to the Fiber Festival in Allegan, Michigan and met this awesome alpaca rancher who offered us a visit to her farm this spring. Due to unexpected health issues, she was unable to have us out, and then… we found Blendon Pines Alpaca Ranch in Hudsonville, Michigan where we met Lynn Scholten!

It was an AWESOME Michigan spring day – cool breeze, few bugs and SUN! Exciting, right!?!? First we met Lynn’s two rescue pigs, Gertie and Gretel, which was a fun surprise – they are funny little creatures. When we saw the alpacas (who had recently been shorn),  we realized they were much smaller than we thought, they were about at eye level. They are SO CUTE!! Each one looked so different from another.   We learned there are two different types of alpaca: Haucaya – has teddy bear like fur and can have little crimps. And Suri – long locks of fur, has the appearance of dreadlocks though much softer and easier to pull apart. Aftarwards we saw some goats, chickens, and a sweet calico cat, which we learned are most certainly always FEMALE. Anyway, we thought this was a fabulous experience and was certainly worth the wait!

Thanks to Lynn for taking the time to share her sweet furry (and muddy!) 4 legged friends with us :0)  We attached a video to this post of interesting background on the alpaca industry if you want to learn even more about these awesome animals!

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notice the interesting stance the light chocolate one has….
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This is a suri alpaca. notice the fur stays flat to the head, She’s sooo cute right?

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