“Oink, Oink”…Celebrate the Year of the Pig.

Tomorrow is the Chinese New Year of the Pig. You and your family can join in the celebration by learning a few fun facts about this amazing animal.

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  • Pigs are intelligent animals. Don’t believe me? Watch some episodes of that sit-com from the 1960’s GREEN ACRES where Arnold the pig turns on and watches the TV.
  • Like humans, pigs are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.
  • A pig’s snout is an important tool for finding food in the ground and sensing the world around them.
  • Pigs have an excellent sense of smell.
  • There are around 2 billion pigs in the world.
  • Pigs can run at speeds of up to 11mph, the equivalent of a seven-minute mile.
  • Pigs communicate constantly with more than 20 different vocalizations.
  • Studies have found that, just like humans, PIGS DREAM!
  • Pigs can squeal louder than a super-sonic jet!

pig  “WHO, ME?”

To learn more about these delightful creatures, visit the following websites:

http://thepigsite.com/articles/10-surprising-facts-about-pigs

https://www.reference.com/pets-animals/fun-pigs-kids-910864b9a2dc152d

You can also make some PIG PUPPETS with paper bags and some scrap construction paper. Just follow the pattern below.

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So, why not “get your squeal on” and enjoy a DAY MADE FOR PIGS!

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To Honor the Memory of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King…Help Your Neighbor.

Many of us have the day off from work or school today to honor the memory of a great man: Revered Dr. Martin Luther King. It can be a day to shop or goof  off, to laze in bed or do nothing. But, is that the message we want to share with our children? To really honor the memory of a man who stood for peaceful protest and equality for all people, why not do something to show kids we can make a difference?

There are so many ways we, as humans who share this wonderful planet, can help one another without costing anything but time. Here are some suggestions for things you and your kids can do for MLK Day and beyond:

  • Visit nursing home residents. So many lonely people would welcome a visit.
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen or food bank.
  • Volunteer for Meals ON Wheels to deliver meals to those unable to leave home.
  • Play with pets in a local animal shelter.
  • Foster a dog or cat.
  • Use http://www.mealtrain.com to organize meal delivery for a family going through hard times.
  • Go for a walk with a bag to pick up litter for recycling or disposal.
  • Help your kid’s school start a garden.
  • Read to people with low or no vision. http://www.lighthouseguild.org
  • Gather some friends to clean up a local park or schoolyard.

Kindness and a helping hand are not something to practice only one day  a year. Every time we reach out to others, we honor the memories of those who spent their lives promoting peace and understanding. Acts of kindness can be contagious. Let’s spread them far and wide.

helping hands

 

Shiela Fuller:Celebrating America’s National Bird, The Bald Eagle.

This wonderful post is brought to you by my friend, naturalist, wildlife photographer, and soon-to-be children’s book author SHIELA FULLER.

Since Roman times, the bald eagle has been a “symbol of governmental power”. In 1872 the government of the United States chose the bald eagle as the national symbol for the country, signifying freedom and patriotism.  img_4165 (2)

A figure of a bald eagle can be found on U.S. coins, paper bills, stamps, flags, official government documents and passports, and other items illustrating its importance to our country’s history.  Even with the notable attention given to the bald eagle, it wasn’t that long ago that it was near extinction.  Sport hunting and pesticide use were contributing factors to the decrease in numbers of these majestic birds.  The Bald Eagle Protection Act (1940) is a Federal statute that gave legal protection to the bald eagle. In 1972, regulations curtailing pesticides that were found to be a detriment to the eagle’s future (and ours, too) were enacted.  Since that time, the eagle population has grown.  In 1995, the eagle was declared not endangered but a threatened species and in 2007, the bird was removed from the threatened list, as well.

The bald eagle is not bald but has a feathered white head and tail feathers that are not obvious until after the eagle’s fifth year of life. The bald eagle’s legs are featherless. Bald eagles are found all across North America. They have an incredible wingspan of up to eight feet and can fly 45 miles per hour. front yard dec 2017

A female bald eagle with an immature one missing the signature white head feathers.

Eagles eat mammals like raccoons and squirrels, reptiles like snakes and turtles, and water birds. They will scavenge carcasses and even steal prey from other predators.

If you would like to learn more about our national bird and perhaps see an eagle in the wild, attend the annual Eagle Fest on February 2, 2019.   Located in Mauricetown, NJ the festival is a family fun event featuring vendors, live exhibits, and speakers. After you’ve taken that all in, venture in your car for a short ride to selected eagle nesting areas where volunteers with bird scopes are waiting to show you what you came to see.

2019 Cumberland County Winter Eagle Festival
Saturday, February 2, 2019
8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Mauricetown Firehall
9544 Noble Street, Mauricetown, NJ
$10.00 Adults
$5.00 Children (12 and under)
At the Firehall:
Speakers and presentations
Non-profit and commercial exhibitors
Local fare refreshments & lunch available
Live raptors exhibited by
Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge
Hands-on art activities by
Clay College
Along the Delaware Bay:
Five staffed viewing sites
with scopes & birdwatching experts
Bayshore Center at Bivalve walks,
food & activities
Morning & evening owl watches
Guided trail walks
East Point Lighthouse
Leechester Hall

If you’d like to view a live nesting site online visit the Duke Farms Eagle Cam: http://www.dukefarms.org/making-an-impact/eagle-cam

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bald_and_Golden_Eagle_Protection_Act

http://www.baldeagleinfo.com/eagle/eagle9.html

https://www.history.com/news/how-did-the-bald-eagle-become-americas-national-bird

https://www.livescience.com/32811-why-is-the-bald-eagle-americas-national-bird-.html

https://www.thoughtco.com/bald-eagle-profile-and-trivia-1140687

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/b/bald-eagle/

shiela and jonas little fig

Shiela Fuller is the author of All Night Singing (Schoolwide 2015) and Cliff Climbers, to be published in 2019 (The Little Fig).
She adores Pembroke Welsh corgis and has a new pup, Jefferson Jonas.
She is a frequent bird watcher and legacy keeper for her family.

 

 

Shiela and Jonas.

 

I Resolve to…Cut Back on…

…PLASTICS! Stories about the plastics floating in our oceans and waterways and the dangers this poses to marine life filled headlines in 2018. One statistic stated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than marine life.  That’s a pretty sobering statistic.

Many communities banned plastic straws and some even eliminated plastic bags as an option when shopping for groceries.At the start of a new year, when our minds are focused on “resolutions” and starting fresh, I am resolving to work on cutting back on the use of plastics in my life.

I already use cloth bags for groceries. I have stopped asking for straws at restaurants. I try to recycle as much plastic as I can. I also try to store food in containers that can be reused. I have a stainless steel bottle that I take to the gym and refill. I also use a pitcher with a filter in it for drinking water, so I don’t buy those plastic bottles. (FYI: bottled water costs more per gallon than gasoline when you buy it in those portable bottles. Think of how much money you’d save each year if you went to a filter system.)

I know there is more…much more that I can do.  If healthy oceans and marine life are important to you and your families, maybe you’d like to know what YOU can do to cut back on plastic use.  

One company is making a difference. 4ocean cleans up ocean plastic from oceans around the world, collecting and recycling it into bracelets that support and help pay for the continued clean up effort. You can help by buying  a bracelet. Each bracelet purchased pays for the clean-up of one pound of ocean trash.  Visit: http://www.4ocean.com

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Visit:  http://www.myplasticfreelife.com   for 100 IDEAS and WAYS to get rid of plastic in your life.

May 22019 be a healthy year for all of us!

Don’t Throw it Away Post Holiday.

Now that the holidays are over, many of us are left to “un-decorate” and put away or toss the remnants of another holiday . Instead of tossing old cut trees to the curb, your tree can become a great winter snack for an elephant.  Contact your local zoo or wildlife sanctuary to see if it accepts trees. Goats also enjoy evergreens, and they are full of vitamin C to keep goats healthy all winter. No animal farms nearby? Stick it in the garden bed for birds to shelter in all winter long.

DONATE your old Christmas cards to ST JUDE’S RANCH  for their Children’s Recycled Card Program. It helps teens learn entrepreneurial skills by remaking and selling greeting cards.  http://www.stjudesranch.org

Got wine corks? Drop them off at a collection site and  an organization like ReCork will recycle them  into Yoga blocks and other products.  http://www.recork.org

You can offer your gently used Christmas lights and ornaments to a local nursing home or homeless shelter to use for next year’s season.

Easy, Last Minute Holiday Ornaments.

Need a last minute gift for grandparents or teachers? Want to encourage your youngest children’s creativity and the joy that comes from giving something homemade? Here is a simple craft kids of any age can complete with a little assistance.

I saw these POM POM PINECONES in the December issue of Better Homes and Gardens and thought they’d be perfect for an easy, kid-friendly craft.  http://www.BHG.com

 

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Here’s all the material you need to make some charming and fun-tastic holiday decorations.

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With a dab of glue on the pine cone stems, press pompoms in the color of your choice. You can also use glitter pom poms for a sparkling look.  Tie ribbons in top if you want to hang the ornaments, or place them in a bowl or basket to use as a festive table decoration. Easy, peasy.

Happy Holidays!

New Hess Truck For the Holiday Season.

When my son was a boy, he looked forward to getting a new Hess Truck for Christmas.  Since 1964, the company has produced a new one each holiday season, still delighting kids young and old. This year’s model will be three times special: Along with the RV, there is an ATV and a motorbike. The ramp doors of the RV fold down so you can roll out the ATV and motorbike, both of which have drivers wearing helmets. These smaller vehicles can pop wheelies and move around on their own thanks to the friction motors.  The RV lights up with a total of 72 lights, the most for any vehicle. And, it’s quiet.

You can check out this holiday tradition at: http://www.hesstoytruck.com

2018 Hess RV with ATV and Motorbike

Photo courtesy of Hess.