Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Old News

Hi Kids,
This is me above the banks of the Paluxy River in Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas.  This is what it looks like now.  One hundred and eleven million years ago, this area looked very different.
Most of the area was covered by a shallow sea.  This part was on the shore -- a kind of squishy, muddy, sandy place.

The animals who lived here were very different from the ones we see today.  This was called the Cretaceous Period. 

One great big dinosaur who lived here was called Pleurocoelus (ploor-oh-see-lus).  He was a herbivore -- that means he ate plants.  He was about 50 feet long -- he couldn't have fit in your schoolroom!  Another dinosaur who lived around here was a carnivore -- he ate meat.  He looked a lot like T. Rex.  He was an Acrocanthosaurus (ak-row-can-tho-sore-us).  When these dinosaurs walked on the soft ground, they left foot prints.  This three-toed print is from the Acrocanthosaurus.
You can see his toes.  I didn't take a picture of the Pleurocoelus tracks because they just looked like big, round holes.  His feet were more like elephant feet -- made to carry heavy weight.
The mud eventually turned to rock and so the prints can still be seen today.  This is a picture of the river and river bank.  There are a lot of prints in the rock.
Here is a painting of what those two dinosaurs looked like. 
If that Acrocanthosaurus is planning on making a sandwich out of the Pleurocoelus, he's going to need a BIG loaf of bread!  I'm glad I didn't see these guys on my visit!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Touring Truro

Hi Kids,
There are lots of cool places to visit in England.  Miss Elaine's daughter Zoe lives in Cornwall in the far southwest of the country.  Did Mrs. Bezdek help you find it on the map?  Zoe lives in the town of Penzance.  One day we visited the city of Truro, the largest town in the county.
Lots of things in England are the same as here but it's fun looking at the differences.  This horse-drawn coach carries tourists but there are modern cars here, too.  And you can see a bus in the background.
In most towns, the streets are very narrow because they were built when people rode horseback.  Buildings were built along the streets so they couldn't be widened.  This picture was taken in October.  The weather was still quite nice and you can see beautiful flowers blooming.  Although it can get very chilly in Cornwall, it doesn't snow there very often and, in towns along the coast, there are even palm trees growing.
The cathedral is the most impressive building in Truro.  It looks old but it is just a little over a hundred years old.  The inside is very beautiful.
Although there are cemeteries in England just like ones here, sometimes important people were buried inside churches.  Statues on top of tombs are called effigies.  I'll probably show you more of these in future posts.

Even though the cathedral is in the middle of the city, the tiny bit of land around it has been beautifully landscaped.  Aren't these begonias pretty?

 Here's something we saw in several towns -- people dressed as statues.  They stand very still but if you wait long enough, you can see a blink or a twitch.  Do you see the helmet on the ground?  He hopes people will throw money into it.  I don't think he will make much money but he really does look like a toy soldier!
This is Mr. Jack.  He really didn't want to stand by this sign but Miss Elaine thought it was funny -- so he did it.  
Miss Elaine and I will be sending you more pictures from our trips.  Have a great day!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

T. Bear and Friends

 Hi Kids,
Since I still don't know what you've named me, I'm just going by T. for now.  This is me right after I got off the airplane and took a train into Paddington Station.  Do you know the story of Paddington Bear?  I'll bet Mrs. Bezdek would read it to you!  Here is a statue of Paddington.  And in the train station there's a whole shop full of Paddington Bears!
 We had a long flight to get here to England.  First we had to fly from Oklahoma City to Dallas and wait for another plane to fly us to London.  Then we had to take a train from the airport to the train station where we
caught another train which took us to Penzance.  Penzance is in Cornwall, the part of England that is the farthest west -- the train ride was almost as long as our plane ride!  I was really tired of sitting.

Some famous musicians wrote an operetta -- a musical play -- called "The Pirates of Penzance."  Miss Elaine and I saw these pirate bears in a shop window.

 In England an apartment is called a flat.  This was the view from our bedroom window.  The weather was really nice so we could keep the window open day and night. 
The stores in England have most of the same things we have here -- but not everything.  Miss Elaine's daughter Miss Zoe lives in Penzance.  She has an American friend who lives in a town nearby.  Her friend's name is Miss Peabody.  She loves Fritos, but you they don't have Fritos in England so we brought her some.  
 This is Miss Peabody on the left and Miss Zoe on the right.  Miss Peabody was very happy to get the Fritos.  She said she hadn't tasted Fritos for two years!  They do have potato chips in England -- they call them crisps.  And they call French fries chips! 

This is me with a bunch of Cornish bears.  I like England.  They love bears!

Your friend,
T. Bear

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries

Hi Kids,
This is Evergreen Beach Lodge in Ephraim (pronounced ee-frum), Wisconsin.  It's in Door County.  Do you have a United States map in your room?  Can you find Wisconsin?  Do you see that kind of little pinkie finger sticking out into Lake Michigan?  That's Door County.  this is the hotel where Miss Elaine and I stayed -- it's over 100 years old.  Here is a view of Lake Michigan from our hotel room.
Miss Elaine and I were here to learn all about Montmorency (mont-more-EN-see) cherries.  Door County is the fourth largest producer of these bright red, tart cherries in the United States.

This is me sitting in a cherry tree.  The average cherry tree has about 7000 cherries on it.  That's enough for 28 cherry pies. 
We ate cherries right off the tree and we had cherries fixed lots of different ways.
We had cherry lemonade.

We had cherries and pecans on French toast.
We even had cherries on steak!
One of the coolest things we did was take a cooking class.  The school was called The Savory Spoon.  Do you know what savory means?  Can you look it up in the dictionary?  Janice Thomas owns the cooking school and she was glad I came to class!

We did a lot of the cooking.  We divided into groups.  Miss Elaine and I worked on the salad.  The dessert group made crepes (kreps) filled with cherries.  Crepes are thin French pancakes.  That group put cherries in the middle of each crepe, then folded them over.  Miss Janice put them in a pan on the stove and poured sauce over them.  Then she set the sauce on fire!  That's called flambeeing (flam-bay-ing), another French word.  As you can see, it was pretty scary.  Miss Elaine and I will not be trying this at home!
We did do more than just eat -- or cook.  This is my friend Nicole.  You can see she's dressed warmly.  Wisconsin is much farther north than Oklahoma.  Even though it was summer, the nights and early mornings were quite cool.  I was glad I had my fur coat!
There are lots of interesting towns in Door County.  This picture was taken in the town of Sister Bay.  There's a restaurant there with grass growing on the roof.  Can you tell how they mow it?  Those are goats!  Every morning, they put the goats up on the roof and they bring them down at night.  It's not a very good picture of the goats -- but it's awfully good of me, don't you think?
Have you ever seen anyone ride a Segway?  They have two wheels and a motor.  You make them go by leaning forward and you stand straight when you want them to stop.  It's a little scary but Miss Elaine and I had a really good time riding one.  We rode by lots of cherry trees and into the woods and to the top of this hill where we could see Lake Michigan in the background.
I loved my trip to Wisconsin.  I hope to have lots of travels this year to tell you about!

Your friend,
T. Bear

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

From Snoozy to Snazzy

Hi Kids,
This is my new friend Layla.  She's in the first grade in Michigan.  We had breakfast together then went to see an amazing house called "Bishop's Palace."  It was built in 1893 in Galveston, Texas, for Walter and Josephine Gresham and their children.  In 1923, they sold the house to the Catholic Diocese and Bishop Byrne moved in.  That's why it's called Bishop's Palace.

Can you find Galveston on a map?  I'll give you a clue.  Galveston is on an island off the coast of Texas.  They had a terrible storm in 1900 and many of the houses and buildings in Galveston were destroyed.  The Bishop's Palace was on slightly higher ground and was built very solidly so it survived.

This is the library.  The woodwork in the house is very elaborate. 
In this room, the book cases are made of burled black walnut.
Do you see the pattern on the floor?  It is made from small pieces
of wood.  Floors like this are called "parquet" which is pronounced

During the storm, the windows were smashed in and sea water got on
the floors and made the wood swell and buckle so they had to be replaced.

In many of the rooms, special displays give information for younger visitors.  This one, in the library, is about Peter
Rabbit.  The popular children's book was written in 1903 by Beatrix Potter, an English writer.  The Gresham children
probably read this book.  Have you read it?

This is Mrs. Gresham's bathroom.  Does it look like yours?  It's hard to see but there are three taps on the bathtub.  Can you guess what the third tap is for?  One is for hot water; one is for cold water and the third one is for........RAINWATER!  Ladies used to think that rainwater was better for washing their hair!

Above is the fireplace in the music room.  The wood is called
satinwood and the stone is Mexican onyx.  To the right you can
see a close up of a corner of the fireplace.  Above the Mexican onyx, the
trim is made of silver.

Do you see me sitting on the mantel of the fireplace in the parlor?  There were many beautiful things is this
house but I don't think I'd like to live there.  Can you imagine how much work it would be to clean 52 rooms?

I had many more adventures in Galveston and I'll be sending you more posts in the future.