We've been busy lately, but I've slacked off on posting photos of our activities. Here's what we've been up to:
Visiting local farms on the annual Piedmont Farm Tour. We visited two dairy farms, ate ice cream cones, and sampled cheese, chocolate milk, and hamburgers (that's what happens to the bulls on a dairy farm).
Finding our way through the woods at an orienteering event. Mary and I had an electronic scanner, and we had to use our map and compass to find 9 checkpoints in the right order. At each checkpoint, we scanned our device, and when we finished the course, we got a printout showing how long it took us to find each one. It took us about 90 minutes to do the whole course. The longest it took to find a checkpoint was when the most direct route was blocked by an "Area Closed" sign, so we had to backtrack and figure out another way to get there.
Showing Flat Stanley around town. In case you haven't heard of him, Flat Stanley is a character from a children's book. He was a normal kid until his bulletin board fell on him and flattened him. He discovered he could fit into and envelope and visit places. This is a popular elementary school project, and our niece Megan's class is doing a Flat Stanley project now. Her school sent us the Flat Stanley Megan made and asked us to send him back with pictures and other information about our area. Stanley visited my fencing class, Audrey's ballet class, helped out in the garden at home, met Anoop from American Idol and got his autograph, went sight-seeing around campus, and treated us to popsicles. We made him a UNC T-shirt and sent him back with a bumper sticker commemorating the college basketball championship.
Meeting Anoop from American Idol. We haven't watched the show in several seasons, so the kids had no idea who he was, but Flat Stanley was a big fan, so we all went to the meet-n-greet. Mary was impressed by the bowl of potato chips he had sitting out.
Visiting the NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine. The rain was kind enough to stop long enough to let us do the outside part of the tour. We saw all the farm animals the vet school students practice their large animal medicine on. The big pile of fluffy stuff is cotton seeds, which the cows love to eat. The pig area was pretty smelly, but the kids enjoyed petting a piglet. After the tour, a professor showed us animal skulls, lungs, stomachs, and other parts, and talked about the differences between carnivore and herbivore skulls and digestive tracts. Then we moved to another classroom to learn about careers in veterinary medicine. Mary, of course, was a lively participant in every discussion.