Blast Off! and Our Field Trip Too Far Afield

When we walked out our door on our way to book club this morning, there was still 2′ of snow in *our* yard, but two blocks away I pointed out the van window and said  “see that green stuff, kids?  That’s called grass!”  They proceeded to chant ‘green grass’ for most of the 25 minute drive to book club.  It has been a loooong winter, but today it officially felt like Spring! 

Today’s Red Clover Book Award nominee was Moonshot, by Brian Floca, all about the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.  Regular readers will know that Beara says she WILL go to the moon when she is six, and that we just finished up a big space science unit, so, as you can imagine, my kids were All Over This.  Not only did Librarian Katie read the story with her usual panache, but she, as usual, had the activities to back it up with:  she screened footage from the Apollo mission in the background as she read, then we made rockets with chemistry!

Where she found film canisters in 2011, I don't know!

Katie is a good enough children’s librarian to have no fear for her job.  This is a good thing, since it allows her to launch rockets IN the library with impunity!  She had three film canisters, and put variable amounts of water in each one (demonstrating, but not explaining, the scientific method), along with half an Alka-Seltzer.  Then she placed them each cap-down on the table, we all stood back, waited a few seconds, then watched them go!  More than a couple bookcases and kids got splattered with fizzy goop, but it was very inspiring, as you can imagine!  Next, each kid made a fuselage to go with such a propulsion system; cardboard tubes, shiny nosecaps, and aerodynamic fins, along with the all-important drawn on doors and windows, made these buckets of bolts more than worthy of venturing to the moon! 

Here’s a shot of Big D’s, Buddy’s, and a friend’s rockets, nearing launch time.  Beara wasn’t in the picture, as she was on the phone with JPL at the time, explaining her breakthrough regarding something or other that I couldn’t quite make out over the din of twenty kids pretending to blast off for Mars.  Upside down sunglasses make rocket science even more cool, apparently.

No pictures of the outside launches, unfortunately, due to Beara’s NASA security issues, and her rambunctious two year old brother.  Basically, though, fill the canisters as above, place cap-down on the pavement, and then place the cardboard tube down over the top, so its open end rests on the ground around the canister.  Stand  back, and watch them go!

* * *

Then, after a celebratory post-launch lunch, we headed off for the farm, where we expected to see new lambs, and to visit the sugaring operation in full swing!  We had been told that the road was *expressly* closed to ALL traffic, vehicular AND foot, so we’d have to hoof it over the meadow.  No problem, I thought. 

Boy, was I wrong.  Going somewhere, ANYwhere new, during Mud Season in Vermont is just Not A Good Idea, since you never know what you’ll be encountering.  We had on boots, so snow, ice, wet meadows, and mud were no problem.  What WAS a problem were the streams of icy-cold melt-water that crossed the meadow every 50 feet or so.  At first they were adventurous navigation hazards, but when they first became either a) 10+’ across and 10″ deep, or b) completely hidden by ice so rotten Buddy fell through it, and then c) both of the above, it got a lot less fun.  When I finally caught up to Big D, she was soaked to mid-thigh.  Buddy was only soaked to the knee, but his surface to volume ratio is obviously the most prone to cold issues, so he was pretty miserable too. 

Ergo, we decided to turn back.  I don’t even know how close we were, as I’d never been to this farm before.  About two minutes later, *I* went in to mid-calf, and, to add insult to old cold-injury, it was right around that time that I saw a *car* go blithely past us on the road, not 75 yards away. 

We trooped along, bummed to be heading home, but even after we sighted a somewhat clear path to the road and took it, walking on the maddeningly dry and firm surface back to our car, and even warming up in the process, Big D and Buddy still refused my offer to *drive* us up to see the lambs and sugaring.  They just wanted to go home.  Ah well…

* * *

FYI: If you happened to notice the smoke cloud billowing up from Vermont yesterday, it was courtesy of the bonfire our dear Daddyman set in my honour last night.  PS: The smoke wasn’t from the candles, but from my ears.  He put on the full number of candles!

This entry was posted in adventures, books, milestones, science, space science. Bookmark the permalink.

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