Saturday, July 27, 2013

The aunts go marching two by two

On Saturdays at 9:30 in the morning (during the summer) there is a wilderness/ Jr Forest Ranger presentation at Observatory Campground in the Cleveland National Forest.  The presentation explored many topics such deforestation of the United States after European arrival, historical conservation efforts of Aldo Leopold and presidents like Lyndon B Johnson, current efforts to protect the land along with what everyone can do to help, how to use a compass, how to identify trees... it was very informative.  

The girls, along with the other children, took an oath to protect the forest.  

Great work, Ranger Fred!

After the presentation we continued up the road to Palomar Observatory.  This place is much more than a 'white dot on the mountain' to the girls now, instead it is a big boring dome.  Kathy and I had a great time reading about the history and admiring the telescope but the allure is just not there for young children.  The girls enjoyed looking at pictures in the museum taken with the 200 inch Hale telescope.  The telescope was the world's largest for almost 50 years although now the largest is a 409 inch telescope in Mexico.  But size doesn't matter, scientists continue to collect data here about 290 nights of the year.  They are on the hunt for near-Earth asteroids, distant galaxies and quasars (very bright centers of galaxies where supermassive black holes are located).

There is a 5$, one-hour tour offered where visitors are allowed to enter the ground floor of the telescope.  Ruby would have been bored in one minute so it will be saved for another time.  

The best part for the girls was the picnic we had just outside the observatory.  They climbed trees and rocks for over an hour.  

The Oasis Camel Dairy was our next stop.  Once a month the dairy is open to the public but only twice a year do they allow visitors to feed the camels (they do not want the camels to associate visitors with food).  The event in July is Watermelon Days and in November is Pomegranate Days.  The cost is 15$ for adults and 10$ for children and the money is dedicated to the care for the camels.  They adopt camels that need help or a place to live.  

Huell Howser, Nancy Riegler, Gulliver
In 2005 Huel Howser filmed an episode at the Dairy.

We arrived early so we had a chance to see all of the animals on the ranch.

The turkeys were singing for us.  One would call and they would all answer in unison.  

Nancy's bird show was first part of the day's event.  It is interesting to see the relationship these animals have with their keepers.  

Nancy has had this cockatoo for 38 years.   

We were then told of the benefits of camel products.
Camel dung was used to discover the cure for dysentery.
Camel milk is most similar to human milk, and has lots of insulin which is great for diabetics.  It has antibacterial, anti-tumor and antiviral properties, and is rich in vitamins and minerals.  

The camels have so much personality.  This one reluctantly ate my watermelon but joyfully ate it when the girls fed it to them.   

This is baby Belina, born in May.

It is not my imagination, he is smiling for a picture.  

It was my aunt who found out about the dairy, and I have been eager to go since she suggested it.  
It worked out great that today was Marla and Dan's anniversary so Kathy and I could spend the day watching the girls.  Thanks Kathy!

In the evening the girls were awards pins, patches and other goodies from Ranger Fred.   


  1. There is just way too much to comment on in this post. You should have separated all the "topics". I'll try to remember what I wished to say.

    First off, I love the educational component you bring to your sleepovers. I know the girls will remember it all so much more, hands on, vs just in school. AND what fun to have Ranger/Uncle Fred lead it all. Truly the best experience for Ruby and Elle.

    As for the camels, my aren't they adorable. I did not know such a place existed. Really super cool event and location. AND yes, that camel is smiling.

    What a fabulous day. Whew, did all sleep great that night or what?

  2. Fred looks awesome in his uniform!
    Sounds like a great day, and I love
    the pictures of your nieces with the
    camels, so cute!


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