Monday, June 13, 2011

Rock Hunt '11

Well, it was that time of the year again. .the annual geology trip!
This year just my friend Taffi and I went. .hauling 7 kids. .some that were ours, and some that were not. Grant stayed behind and drove the combine for his papa to help finish off harvest. Cami stayed home simply because I can't deal with her on this trip by myself with all the other things that I need to do. That left Tristan and Devin from my crew. .and Tristan left early with my folks yesterday so he could go help my family with their wheat harvest.
We headquarted in Newton this year. .and did a tour of central Kansas. .going into the eastern Flint Hills, up to northern McPherson county, and as far west as Russell county. We totalled 680 miles before making it home. .hot. .tired. .filthy. .and hungry Sunday night around 8:00. I have to admit that the weather was incredible. The temps were down from the 100's to the mid 80's with partly cloudy skies, that distracted the hot sun from our heads. We did incur a little rain Sunday morning, but it finished as we hit our first stop. Perfect weather for hunting.
The kids are really doing better at picking things up and collecting specimens specific from the areas we go to. Taffi and I find that we are no longer the overwhelmed geology moms that know nothing. .and we can actually identify a lot of things in the field.
A highlight for the kids was getting a hotel with a pool. They are funny to watch as they use their social skills.
There were some classes for the kids, a wonderful catered supper, and time to ID the specimens and get questions answered before we got all those rocks home! Our hotel was right next to Braums (how fortunate is that), so we enjoyed meeting up with my Aunt and Uncle for ice cream and a visit.
The milkweed was blooming in the flint hills, and I enjoyed seeing the wildflowers as much as I enjoyed hunting rock.
Sunday found us around Wilson, and what beautiful scenery that was too! It was much hillier there than I had expected. .and though the whole state is still dry, it was much greener there than it is at home, and that was refreshing to see. . places that looked like spring instead of August! 
The man pointing his hand knew a LOT about wildflowers. .and gave me a little education at the top of the hill where I was admiring the array of blooms.
This milkweed was probably the prettiest blooming thing I saw all weekend.
He called this a sensitive plant. .a very interesting plant indeed. When he touched the leaves, they proceeded to fold themselves up together for a bit. My wildflower book called it Sensitive Briar. .and noted that because the leaves are painful to children who are running barefoot and get them caught between their toes. .the plant is also called Devil's Shoestrings! HA! It had a gorgeous hot pink flower on it!!
We also saw lots of coneflower blooming. .which is one of my favorites!
We were glad to get home, only to repack and head out for camp this morning by 7:30. I helped to haul 32 kids to western Kansas for a 2 night 4-H camp. I am staying again this year (my 3rd) to work as the "camp nurse." I have been plagued since I got here with cuts and scrapes, sunburns. .already. .sprains, burning rashes (from the stinging nettle they keep finding), and homesickness. .and it's only been half a day. Finally things are quieting down for the night! I will certainly enjoy a pictureseque walk in the early morning before any of them arise. .and a cup of coffee from the heated box. .blech!
Devin's already got 3 girls lined up to dance with him tomorrow night. .and all this time I was worried about Grant!
Please pray for our safety and patience here at Camp Lakeside!


  1. Great wildflower tour. Oh wait, you were looking for rocks. Well, I'm sure the flowers were growing by rocks. :-) That sensitive plant has amazing flowers. Hope you survive camp.

  2. Was thinking about you guys as I was heading to bed. Hopefully everyone is ok and no one gets sick!
    I'm going to live! Started feeling much better yesterday afternoon!
    Wow-that sensitive plant is really cool!!

  3. wow, what a schedule! Some day you should slow down or it will make you old. I know you are building great memories for the kids, and wonderful pictures for the rest of us! DJ

  4. The rock hunt looked interesting. Best wishes with the camp thing!

  5. That looks like an interesting trip! My boys would enjoy that!!

  6. You make me tired! What a great experience for the kids - something they will always remember.

    My Purple Coneflowers are on the verge of blooming - I can't wait because I love them too. I have never seen the flower on the sensitive plant - what a cute little puff ball. There's sure to be some butterflies passing through with all those desirable plants!

  7. Oh my goodness, you are very brave to go on a trip with so many kids. They were lucky to have someone like you. So many people cut out when it comes to donating your time. Looks like it was a fun trip and educational too. Love purple cone flowers!

  8. Sounds like a fun trip! My kids would love that. Have fun at camp! Hope your work gets a little easier... ;)