Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sept 2 and Sept 9 Field Trips

When we signed up for the coop, I didn't realize we'd be making field trips that were another 50 miles or so south from our already 50 mile drive down to San Jose. I know my memories of these trips will be filled with stressed thoughts of wanting to get there on time and then reaching these destinations and being calmed down by the realization of how fortunate we are to be living in such a lovely, enriching, naturally, fabulously beautiful area :) Some of these sights almost completely took my breath away.

The San Juan Bautista Mission (Sept 2)

Founded in 1797 and growing to house over a thousand Ohlone Native Americans by 1803, the San Juan Bautista (named for St John the Baptist) Mission is the largest of the Spanish Missions in California.

During the field trip, the kids were introduced to the mission's architecture. Inspired by the founding priests' Spanish homeland, the mission is constructed primarily from adobe bricks (a mix of sand, clay, water and organic materials like dung). Under the hot summer sun, we felt first hand how cool it could be inside! Since the mission is located on the San Andreas Fault, doorways were built thick and low. A few lucky kids (including DS to his utmost glee) got to see how a seismograph works by jumping real hard around the (poor) machine. We were also very pleasantly surprised to see animal paw prints on the aging red tile floor of the mission's chapel!

For more information, please see this page and this one too. Read this informative article if you can too. It includes a link to instructions on making a mission model. And here are a few photos:

Relaxing green areas

19th century sickles under the roof beams

Tallow vats

Elkhorn Slough, Monterey Bay (Sept 9)

Elkhorn Slough (say slew), is one of California's largest and last remaining coastal wetlands. The slough's main channel, winding inland for almost seven miles, is flanked by a 2500-acre salt marsh habitat that is home to over 400 species of invertebrates, 80 species of fish and possibly over 200 species of birds!

Apart from taking the trail to the slough's Overlook (where we could see the outlines of river-cut terraces, and were spied upon by turkey buzzards), we also visited the remains of the Elkhorn Farm site (now home to only barn owls), viewing lots and lots of poison hemlock (did you know hemlock is related to carrots?) along the way.

After the field trip, we tagged along with one of DS' best buddies to the Salinas River State Park at Monterey Bay. The boys had a huge rush catching the waves!

Train on the slough

Farm that once was
Making leaf rubbings (above) and looking
at a gull wing under the microscope (below)
Beach boys

Adobe structures and majestic arches


  1. They both look like fantastic days, I'd have trouble with that much driving too though.

    I think A has grown taller since your last lot of photos!

  2. He has Kerrie! I swear this kid grows daily in his sleep!


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