We have sassafras growing all over our land. The leaves kind of look like a mitten. We heard that the roots were good for making tea. Paul went and dug some up for me. I cut them into little pieces and steeped them for 20 minutes, then added cold water to make a gallon.
The flavor tastes a little like root beer. It's incredibly refreshing. Sassafras does contain safrole, which is a carcinogen, so you want to enjoy it in small doses.
It sure does get exciting once I can start pulling things from the garden to eat. This month many of the root veggies have been ready to pull (along with kale and spinach and peas). We've had turnips and beets and carrots.
Plus radishes. I don't actually like radishes. Not normally. But I plant them to help control the bugs. However, a few years ago I tried them pickled at a Korean restaurant, and they are pretty tasty that way. I did a test run with pickling a few in the fridge.
I used a random recipe off Pinterest. They turned out amazing! So now I eat radishes too. Cort also loves them - he'd eat the whole jar if I let him.
Pierce invested a lot of time over the past couple of months memorizing the entirety of Edgar Allan Poe's poem The Raven. He's read a few books on Poe as well. So on our way back from DC, I surprised him with a detour by the Poe Museum in Richmond.
Although Poe didn't live in this house (the houses he lived in in Richmond were all torn down), the house is quite historic, and they had a number of items from Poe inside (like his childhood bed). No pictures were allowed in the buildings.
This was taken in the courtyard. Supposedly there are two black cats living there, but we were not lucky enough to see either of them.
Before leaving, Pierce recited The Raven for the customers in the museum gift shop, and they all applauded enthusiastically. He bought a tiny plastic raven that says 'Nevermore' as a souvenir.
During our trip to DC I hadn't really planned on going to the National Zoo. It's a little out of the way of most of the museums, and it is huge with lots of walking (and the day we were there was 90*). However, the twins had watched some movie in Social Studies about the baby bald eagles at the zoo, and were insistent that we needed to go.
So, we made the detour to head up there. It was actually a good move, as the pandas were active that day, and every other time I've been they weren't out.
The boys found a fountain to splash around in and cool off some by the seal exhibit. It really was a hot day!
The zoo had a special art exhibit sprawled throughout that featured sea life sculptures made from trash. They were all excellent.
It doesn't get much more exciting than getting to examine elephant poop up close and personal.
We did make it by the eagles, but as I was only taking pictures with my cell phone (I had enough to keep up with that day without lugging around my real camera) I don't have a picture. But the twins were thrilled to see them.
We only made it through half the zoo before heading back to the mall area so we could catch the Museum of Natural History before it closed. Cort really want to see the Minerals and Gems exhibit. He's still obsessed with rocks.
The day after school let out, I woke the boys up early and told them to load up in the car because we had errands to run. They didn't say much until I merged onto the interstate headed north. Pierce asked where, specifically, we were going. I told him a grocery store, a camping store, and to pick up some books. They were quiet a while longer, but then started asking again. I told them the camping store was "a ways up the road".
We ended up at the Green Valley book fair, and they were delighted I had tricked them. After picking out books, I strategically loaded them up with some fast food distraction before merging back on to the interstate - north, again. As we were passing a sign that said, "Manassas 10 miles", Pierce asked if we were in back in our hometown yet. Were they ever surprised to find themselves in Northern Virginia!
We had dinner with friends that night and the next day rode the metro in to DC. Our first stop was the International Spy Museum. The boys loved the creepy blue light elevator to get inside. And being able to crawl through the duct work to spy on museum-goers was a huge hit.
There were many hands on activities mixed in with a lot of artifacts and history. The boys liked all the buttons.
There was also a hallway that had a movie of a shark swimming behind glass, and if you touched the glass the shark would attack it, 'breaking it'. I wish I'd gotten it on video the first time this happened. The boys did it over and over and over again. They love being scared or surprised.
We had an excellent time touring the museum, and although it is not free like all the Smithsonians, I think it is worth the expense for one time.