Osmosis, Schmosmosis

Little House in the Big Woods 001

Chapter 5



I was geared up for a Science experiment to show osmosis.

The word and  definition were vaguely familiar from
my High School Biology class.
I didn’t always pay attention in class, did you?
Good thing my Dad doesn’t read my blog all the time,
because he was my high school Biology teacher.

Remember how I didn’t pay attention to his gold panning lessons?
I must have not been listening too well in Biology, either.


We refreshed our minds about osmosis.



That’s alotta’ big words in Dictionary.com’s explanation.



We liked this definition from ASK better.


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We cut the potato in half,
sliced off the round ends,
then scooped out the inside.

Good thing I’ve owned a melon baller for about two decades.
It finally earned its keep.


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Each potato slice was set in a bowl,
water was added to about 1/2 inch depth,
and the hollows were filled with colored water.


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We added 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to one hollow,
and labeled it because I knew I would forget.

Then I labeled the stuff so my family wouldn’t forget.

If you read the corn cob blog,
we have trouble with projects around here.


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Since I don’t want to give them impression that things are always perfect around here,
you needed to see the mess that sat here for a few hours.


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There ya’ go.

That’s what it looked like the next day.


“Trees use a method called osmosis to force water upwards. Osmosis works because there is a difference between the sap, or juice, inside the root and the water in the ground outside. Sap contains large amounts of sugary substances. Ground water contains only tiny amounts of dissolved nutrients.  Sap is more concentrated than ground water.  Osmosis forces water from the soil through minute holes in the root skin to inside the root. p. 37-38 The Prairie Primer



Here’s another osmosis potato experiment
from someone who probably listened better in Biology class.


I was just feeling good that we started and finished a project.
I think some Science stuff musta’ osmosised into our brains,
doncha’ think?


Hark! Who Goes There?

You wouldn’t have to ask that question if you could identify tracks.

But, lemme’ take you the long way around to that lesson.

Over Labor Day, hubby and I took Rebekah on a hike in the mountains.

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OK, in reality, we spent a lot of time in the car oohing and aahing over the mountains


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and eating snacks from a roadside gas station
that cost way too much.


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But, we did get out and hike for a little while.

Nice groomed trails.
Does this really count as hiking?

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Yea, it does.

We also had an unexpected Science lesson.
I love unintentional learning!

Pops and Rebekah wanted to hike around the lake.
I wanted to sit. I was tired.  Seriously.
I also wanted to take pics while sitting.

They enjoyed some Father-Daughter time.

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When they came back, Rebekah was able to identify the split hoof tracks from an elk.


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I could easily identify the track from the Great American North-Faced Hiker.


Pa and Laura had a similar experience as they drove their sled through the Big Woods to Grandpa’s.

“Pa showed Laura the tracks of the wild creatures in the snow
at the sides of the road.
The small, leaping tracks of cottontail rabbits, the tiny tracks of field mice,
and the feather-stitching tracks of snowbirds.
There were larger tracks, like dogs’ tracks, where foxes had run, and there were the tracks of a deer that had bounded away into the woods.”

(Little House in the Big Woods, p. 132-133) 

Pioneer families needed to identify animal tracks for their survival.
Remember Aunt Eliza’s tale of her dog Prince not letting her out of the cabin?
Uncle Peter found huge panther tracks around their homestead.


Creation Science

I pulled out my favorite Science Curriculum, Considering God’s Creation,
and used several animal tracks activities.

It is more fun for me to cut and paste than to just read and answer questions,
so I am a huge fan of this curriculum.  I’ve used it for all my kids.

It easily can be used as your primary Science book
or to supplement others.
Most kids think it is so fun, they don’t know it’s school.

SSHHHH! Don’t tell them!

Some activities, like on Creation, would be wonderful for
Sunday school, VBS or Kids Bible Clubs.



Here is a tracking guide you can print out and take with you
if you want to investigate your neighborhood,
that is, in case you have any wildlife other than
the Great American North-Faced Hiker.


This is a more detailed chart of animal tracks chart you can buy.


This blog has a fun activity to play with a peanut butter mixture
to leave your own tracks, then eat them.


Now, go test your skills
and see if you can identify more species than Momma Mindy.


Why Do Weasels Pop?

We’ve all grown up with the song Pop Goes the Weasel. It was a favorite folk tune when Pa played it on his violin for his family,
it’s still a favorite for kids today.

However, when I was a kid, I didn’t even know what a weasel was.  It wasn’t a species common to Montana.
I didn’t know what a cobbler was, either, or why he had a bench.

It was a catchy tune, with tricky lyrics.

You can look up weasel on the New World Encyclopedia website, but they use a lotta’ big words.
It’s Monday.  I don’t do big words on Monday.  Wait, it’s Tuesday.  I don’t do big words on Tuesday, either.

Here’s a source from the Hylebos Wetlands with smaller words.
Short words are my friends when I’m tired and school must go on.

But, I read enough to learn that even though we think negatively about the weasel,
who by tradition is sneaky and annoying, he provides something useful.
We love ermine, ya’ know, the white fur kings and queens use to trim their purple robes?
That’s  a weasel’s winter wear.
In high elevations, the weasels turn white in the winter, creating the much-desired fur.

No wonder the cobbler was chasing the weasel.
He wanted to make some ermine-trimmed boots!
I would SO wear them, just not in Washington, the animal activist state.

While Rebekah was looking up information on the weasel, I noticed she left the section for DIET blank.

“Rebekah, why didn’t you write down what he eats?  It’s right there in the dictionary.”

“What he eats?  I’m supposed to write down what he eats?  OH.  Because for a woman a diet is what she doesn’t eat.”

Good point, my dear, it’s no wonder you couldn’t finish your homework.
Women do complicate life, don’t they?

Weasels are like brothers, in that they use a anal secretion to ward off enemies.
That’s the fancy Science way of saying fart, but maybe you don’t use that word in your home.
My teacher husband got reprimanded by the principal for using this F word in the classroom years ago.
Apparently, a parent called quite offended.
Now he works in the business world where the F word they use is not the anal secretion word.

The antidote for a weasel bite is monkey secretion.  EEWWWW, is that like monkey pee? Or would that be monkey spit?
Anyway, if you’re hiking in the US and you get bit by a weasel, you’re going to have to run to the nearest zoo.

While we were pondering what the secretion was, we found a map showing our entire state is a habitat for long-trailed weasels.

Then, we found out the collective name for a group is a boogle, gang, pack and confusion.

Bing Images supplies pictures of weasels and tracks to make drawings.

But, after the research, we’re still confused about the popping of the weasel.
Why don’t we have Weasels in our Jack in the Boxes instead of a scary clown?
That would be  a popping weasel.

Just wondering.

Of course, we had to visit YouTube, the intellectually stimulating website.
OK, it’s a site where you can waste a lot of time, but we found what we were looking for.

Pop Goes the Weasel

If you want to hear the Cedarmont Kids sing a cute version, click the link.


David Scrivener is actually play Pop Goes the Weasel on Pa Ingall’s violin!

If ya’ wanna’ play and sing with your kids, here is sheet music.
It’s a little high.  You can play an octave lower, or stand on your tippy-toes.

There’s a lot of different verses, but Pa sang a scandalous one,
about the preacher kissing the cobbler’s wife.
That would be enough to make the weasel pop.

After my diligent research, OK two sites and Wikipedia,
nobody seems to know what POP GOES THE WEASEL means.

Isn’t that the way it is?

So, the fact remains.  If you’re hiking in Washington and you run into a boogle of weasels and the anal secretion doesn’t warn you in time and you are bitten,
you better run, don’t walk,  to the nearest zoo for a monkey secretion antidote.