Oldest Daughter has been with my parents for the past week. She went home with them from Laurelville and spent the week at their house. If Amtrak is on time (and it never is), the two of them should be pulling out of South Bend right about now (0651 CT) and will be arriving in Chicago in roughly two hours. I’ll be going to the station to pick them up.

It is one of the benefits of being home schooled that she could spend the week with them. The school doesn’t stop. She just gets two new teachers. (And that actually works out pretty well, since Ordinary Grandpa is a retired biology prof, and Ordinary Grandma is an elementary school teacher.)

Here are her reports from the past week:


Today we went to three ponds to look for some creatures to take back and put in containers to study. We got two fish, millions of tiny creatures and guess what else! A baby turtle! I hope I can send some pictures. Tomorrow we are going to Penn Alps and we are hoping tomorrow we can also catch a salamander.


Grandpa is going to release the turtle (and the other creatures) sometime after he gets home from our house.

Today is a busy day. First,we have to go to Grandma’s school to get Grandpa’s boots (she took the truck: you’ll see why). Then we take the car in for an oil change and we go to Penn Alps. After that we look for salamanders.

P.S. Did I mention we went to Page’s last night?


We have four salamanders, one frog, two fishes,a turtle and millions of tiny sea creatures.

I have been seeing lots of birds. I think you would like the pileated woodpecker. It’s a big woodpecker.

When we were going to catch salamanders we heard a Ruffed Grouse trying to attract a mate. It starts beating its wings which produces a low, drumbeat noise. We just heard our spring peeper frog peep. He woke me up this morning. Grandpa said today he is going to take me to see an eagle’s nest today.


I think today I will do my freewrite today (I’ll explain it to G’ma and G’pa).

Yesterday we went to The Cut. It was double cool (as in very windy and interesting) and amazing. I keep on forgetting to tell you that I have a nature journal.

I have seen lots of birds and I have taken lots of pictures of them. I am going to try to list them. Goldfinch, towhee, mourning dove, green heron, pileated woodpecker, downy woodpecker, flicker, red-bellied woodpecker, blue jay, rose-breasted grosbeak, chipping sparrow, wren, cat bird, tufted titmouse, nuthatch, starling and a cardinal.

[Ed. note: “Freewrite” is when you write for ten minutes. You keep your pencil moving at all times and put down everything that comes into your head without regard for punctuation, spelling, or complete sentences. This is one of the ways that OD is learning how to write, courtesy of Brave Writer.]

We didn’t get reports for Friday and Saturday yet, but I’m sure we’ll hear quite a bit once the train gets in.