Posted on April 20, 2016
Some kind of switch has flipped for me this week. The time pressure is becoming real, the seasonal changes have had an impact–we hit 80 degrees the other day!–and I feel like the tide has turned from “we’re leaving someday soon” to “final prep.” Decisions are coming faster; purchases are being made without the thought of putting it off until we do more research; and evaluating all our stuff for the categories of Pitch, Sell, Store or Take is instantaneous. (There’s a very small pile of “Take If We Can Find Room On The Boat,” which is making the process easier.) We’ve taken our last family non-boat trip from Madison. The school days are winding down. Meal prep is quick, bread is no longer being baked, the whole house feels lighter as our possessions decrease. We’ve started taking advantage of the offers of help from our friends, as we now know very specifically where we need assistance.
Paradoxically, this shift has made me calmer. Fewer things seem vague and uncertain; for better or worse, choices are being made. For most things, the weightiness seems to diminish in the aftermath. Looking at a bookshelf and knowing that the worth of each volume needs to be debated At Some Point has been annoying for months; a cleaned out bookshelf is a perfectly peaceful thing. And really–am I going to be sitting at anchor wishing beyond everything that I’d packed the MFK Fisher? If that turns out to be my biggest regret–well, A.) life must be pretty good; and B.) Kindle, baby. Turns out, there are very few choices that can’t be undone, and most of them don’t matter much anyway.
We’re on our way out.
Posted on April 17, 2016
- Long, hot showers. Like, empty the hot water heater long.
- Driving everywhere. Sorry, carbon footprint; it’s only temporary!
- Having pizza delivered.
- Laundry, automatically and without effort.
- Library books.
- Netflix, Amazon Prime, NY Times Sunday delivery.
- Having other people educate our kids.
- Flushing the toilet without pumping. Sometimes it’s the small things…
- Enjoying storms, lightning and all.
- Spending time with friends and family. We’ll miss you all!
Posted on April 9, 2016
Compared to our math and lit programs, our science curriculum feels a bit thin. We have some good books; we’ve got a microscope and a telescope and curious and engaged kids; but we don’t have an actual science program, so to speak. Here’s to making some changes, in pursuit of citizen science: two studies in which we plan to participate.
Six-pack rings floating around in the Pacific Gyre and flip-flops washed up on the beach make for good photography, but even more disconcerting is the amount of invisible plastic concentrated in our water. Plastic never goes away; instead, it breaks down into microparticles that are ingested by fish and work their way up the food chain. How widespread is this problem? Hard to say; but sailors the world over have been collecting data and sending it in to Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation. More people=more data. We’re excited to help our kids understand why we try to limit plastics in our lives, and for them to be active participants in a global study.
We also plan on participating in a study measuring algae growth. The hypothesis is that rising sea surface temps have lead to a decrease in phytoplankton. Sailors can measure this decrease by suing a Secchi disk to check for visibility; the farther down you can see the white disk, the clearer the water. The University of Wisconsin at Madison has a long history with Secchi disks–North American limnology was founded here–and our kids will learn to be ambassadors for water sampling. Head to Secchi Disk to sign up.
Photo from Secchi Disk
Both of these opportunities came to us via the lovely folks at Hello Ocean, who are developing their own citizen science research projects. It’s an amazing thing, to have project-based science activities that actually contribute to the scientific community. Which projects would you sign up for?
Repurposing kids’ science gear: rock polisher turned paint-stirrer