Coastal Bend Nature Challenge: Fulton Mansion

*Joey and William will be guests here on the blog as they document our Nature Challenge journey for 2016.

The Challenge: Explore Harriet’s Garden and the yard behind the mansion.  Use the plant markers to locate the plants in your mission.  Complete the worksheet.  Observe the plants and flowers.  Sketch your favorite.  september-2016-006_1_1

After Goose Island State Park, we headed over to Fulton Mansion although we ended up on a very scenic tour because somehow we drove right past it the first time!september-2016-005_3_1

J:  After a loooong mosquitoey morning at Goose Island State Park, I was glad to go somewhere that we could go inside.  First we all ate lunch outside the museum.  We all remembered a funny tale from last year’s nature challenge when Andrew accidentally cut up the direction page for a craft inside the museum (Mommy fixed it, so all was well).  He just got so carried away with his scissors that he didn’t realize what he was cutting!

W:  I ate peanut butter and jelly with some grapes.

J:  I ate beef jerky.

W:  Then we went into the museum where they told us to head over to the mansion before it closed.  I decided to skip the stroller and walk up the stairs by myself.

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J:  No, silly, we went down the stairs to the basement first!

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W:  Oh, yeah, remember how neat the the basement was.  Remember the dumb waiter?

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J:  What dumb waiter?

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W:  The one where you put the food on it and pull it up and it goes upstairs.

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J:  Oh the dumb waiter.  Not the dumb waiter!  It must have been nice for the servants to have a whole basement all to themselves.

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W:  We went upstairs to the main two floors and got to play an I Spy game as we toured the house.

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J:  My favorite room was probably the bedroom although it would have been fun to go lie on the bed.  I played the I Spy downstairs first then I went up the stairs and I was not scared one tiny bit.  I played I Spy upstairs and when it was time to come down the stairs, I threw a fit because I was scared.  I am scared to go down the stairs because I’m scared of heights.

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W:  Good thing we don’t have stairs in our house!

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J:  That’s true, but Daddy didn’t let me sit on the Fulton Mansion’s stairs like I do when I go to Granny and Pappy’s house.  Daddy kept urging me down and then I held my hand and he promised not to let me fall so I was able to go down the stairs.

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W:  Next we headed over to the museum.

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J:  I definitely loved building that bridge with Andrew!

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W:  I helped Granny dress the mannequin and I got to dress up as a cowboy!  Then we took Granny’s picture with her head on top of the mannequin.  It was funny!

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J:  It was a good thing I brought my Ironman Lego into the museum with me because then I got to help Ironman cross the bridge after I finished building it.  I kind of liked watching Granny dress the mannequin even though I don’t get all excited about that kind of girl stuff.  I dressed up as a cowboy which was really fun.

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W:  Then we finally went outside to the grounds to do the Nature Challenge.

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J:  We had to find the plants and write their scientific name in the garden.  My favorite plants were the firecracker plant and Turk’s Cap.september-2016-264_6_1 september-2016-265_7_1 september-2016-266_8_1 september-2016-267_9_1 september-2016-269_10_1

W:  Mommy made us all get together at the end so we could have our picture taken.  I loved having our picture taken but I did get a little annoyed because Mommy kept saying one more!  One more!september-2016-272_11_1 september-2016-275_12_1 september-2016-276_13_1 september-2016-277_14_1 september-2016-286_15_1

J:  I really liked going to the Fulton Mansion.  The day at Rockport was full of fun!  I’m already looking forward to next year’s nature challenge!september-2016-288_16_1 september-2016-293_18_1 september-2016-294_19_1 september-2016-289_17_1



Coastal Bend Nature Challenge: Goose Island State Park

*Joey and William will be guests here on the blog as they document our Nature Challenge journey for 2016.

The Challenge:  We chose Challenges #2 and #3:

#2:  Complete a Scavenger Hunt. september-2016-003_2_1

#3:  Become a nature detective to find out who lives at Goose Island State Park by walking along the trail and looking for clues the animals leave behind.  Draw the clues and write down what it was.  september-2016-002_1_1

On September 4th, we headed to Rockport, TX to complete our next Nature Challenge.  Granny was in town and William had just had surgery 3 days before (that’s why you’ll see him cruising along in the stroller).

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We arrived at Goose Island and checked into the Ranger Station.  We picked up our scavenger hunts and headed for Turk’s Cap Trail.


J:  As soon as I entered the trail, I saw Daddy pushing the stroller as fast as he could and running at top speed back to the trail head.  I thought there was a rattlesnake at first but then Daddy said it was so mosquitoey, we’d need bug spray.  Daddy whipped out the bug spray and sprayed us all but it didn’t help because there were so many mosquitoes.  It seemed like every time we stopped, they started biting again.  I got at least a thousand bites on my leg (well, maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration!).  Near the end of the trail, I got the bright idea to run as fast as I could to the end of the trail.  I barely survived those mosquitoes.  As for the scavenger hunt, I noticed things as I was zooming by. I did pretty good on it.

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W:  I was covered in mosquitoes and I complained about it a lot!  I pulled up the cover on the stroller so I could observe nature from behind the screen.  I saw a gopher hole where I think he was digging for grubs.  I haven’t been in a stroller on a nature trail in a long time!


J:  William, to the gopher those grubs were “buried” treasure!


W:  Ha, ha, ha!


J:  Once I got off the trail, I was able to fill in my scavenger hunt.  Last year when we got off the same exact trail, we got lost and we did not know anyway back although somehow we stumbled on the car.  This year we got lost again but I already knew from last year how fun it was going to be to find the car.


W:  On the way back to the car we saw a red Cardinal (a male and a female).  There was a bird watching spot and we stopped there to listen and watch quietly.  Joey, is the male the big one and female is the cute small one?


J:  The bright red one is the male and the reddish brown one is the female.


W:  The ugly reddish brown one?  And is the female bigger than the male?


J:  Well the male has a crest and the female doesn’t.  I don’t know if she’s bigger than the male or not, but I know how to tell the difference.


W:  Well I know that one is bigger than the other and I think it’s the female.


J:  I just looked it up and the male is slightly larger than the female.


W:  Oh thanks.


J:  Even though we’d already completed our challenge, we went to visit the Big Tree.  It’s more than 1,000 years old!


W:  No, I think it’s almost 1,000 years old.


J:  Don’t make this into an argument!


W: Let’s look at the picture and see if it says…


J:  Neither of us were right!  It says exactly 1,000 years old on the By the Numbers sign, but on the timeline, it says the acorn was planted around the year 1,000 AD, so that would make the tree actually 1,016 years old.  I was right!


W:  Wow!  That is one impressive tree!


J:  It really is awesome!  And by the big tree there are a lot of other big trees that are good for climbing.  At first I thought another one of the big trees there was THE BIG TREE but then I realized that the one enclosed by a fence was the real Big Tree and although it wasn’t taller than some trees I’ve seen, it was sure big and fat and it had a lot of branches.  But don’t climb over the fence to climb it!  We wouldn’t want anything to happen to a tree that old.

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See you next time to tell you about Fulton Mansion’s Nature Challenge!