(9/2012) This summer so far has been a busy one. I have been a counselor for Strawberry Hill Nature Center in Fairfield. I will basically did that for most of the summer. I really liked being a counselor
because it kepts me busy. I wasn’t just sitting at home doing nothing . I tend to go bored really fast. At the camp I was with kids all day and we went on hikes, looked for critters and played games. It was really fun. The kids
ranged from ages 4 – 9.
I was also a counselor for a camp with Penn State Extension in Gettysburg called Ag Explorers Camp. I had my very own group of kids that I had to watch after while we would go to different field trips and
do other activities. Each group of kids had a group name that related to something that we learned or did. My kids’ group was called the Alpaca Pack. They were 9-12 years old. It was named that because we went to an alpaca farm
called Alpacaholic Farms. We were in the pen with the alpacas and were able to pet them – very cool! Not only did I help out with Ag camp but later this summer I will be helping with a camp called Farm to Table and a Small
Animal Camp. Both of these camps should be really fun to help with.
The end of the school year always ushers in something exciting. This year, one of the things that happened was a small surprise from my grandfather. He had told me that there were two week old kittens at
his farm. Of course after he told me that my mom says, "you know, you probably shouldn’t have told her that because now she and her sister will want one." But my mom agreed to take me to the farm to see them. When we went to the
farm we headed straight to the barn. It was pretty empty because it was right before straw season so there were not many straw bales left. As soon as we walked in there we started looking for the kittens. We were just about to
give up when we heard a meow and we looked behind one of the straw bales and there were two small kittens. One of them was black and white and the other was a dark, dark grey, almost black kitten. My mom was right, I fell in
love with them. They were so friendly. My mom finally said that it was time to go home. I regretfully put the kittens down and we left.
Later that week my mom and grandfather went down to the farm to pick something up. My grandfather said that they were going to do straw that week which meant that they would taking straw bales and heavy
equipment into the barn. That would mean that the kittens could get hurt by the equipment and straw bales, and with all the help, the kittens could get squished. My mom felt bad and took them home.
I came home from Strawberry Hill that day and saw the kittens. I got so excited. My grandparents bought milk replacer and bottles. We had to feed the kittens milk every couple of hours. That was really
tiring but fun and too! The kittens grew quickly and we had slowly reduced the amount of milk we gave them and introduced them to hard kitten food and water. We found out that the black and white kitten was a girl so we named
her Sydney and the black kitten was a boy and so we named him Rosco.
What I enjoy most is how different their personalities are. Rosco is very hyper, playful, and it takes him a while to settle down. Sydney, on the other hand, is playful yet calmer and she settles down
quickly. Both of the kittens are really friendly and I can’t wait to see how they grow up.
Another interesting thing that has happened this summer is this: one evening Mike Hillman (editor for this) called my dad and asked him if he could take in this abused African tortoise for a little while.
Of course my dad said yes. Mike said that he would bring it to us that evening. But later that night he called and said never mind, he couldn’t get the tortoise because the guy wouldn’t give it to him. I was disappointed of
course, because it would be so cool to see a large African tortoise. The next day Mike called again and said that he got the tortoise and was bringing it to our house. I got pretty excited but we still had to build a pen for
this large tortoise.
So luckily we had some spare goat fencing that was leftover from when we got our first goat several years ago. We also had some spare T-posts that we used to build the pen. At the end of building it my
mom, I, my dad and my sister stepped back and said "this is a pretty good pen for building it in an hour for this huge tortoise." I knew that we wouldn’t be keeping this tortoise for long but I was still worried that I might get
attached to it. I asked my sister if she thought she would get attached the tortoise and she said "no I would never get attached to a tortoise."
Later the tortoise came and we put him in the pen. My sister and I named him Sir Humphrey because we thought that he needed a fancy name for all he had been through. So each day, (more than once) for a
few days, my sister and I and dad would go outside and check on the tortoise, replacing his water and making sure that he had plenty of hay to eat. At the end of the week after I had gotten home from Strawberry Hill my mom had
said that Sir Humphrey was gone. I had said to my mom, "Please say that he didn’t go back to the abusive guy." Mom said no, that he had gone back to his rightful owner who had lost the tortoise earlier that month. I was
disappointed, of course that the tortoise was gone yet happy that it had gone to his rightful owner. I found out later that his real name was Chester.
There are two things complete the summer. One was getting ready for the South Mountain fair and my summer reading. I am was not looking forward to the summer reading. The two books I worked through were
The Great Wide Sea and The Pearl. Along with reading, I had to make a reader’s notebook for one and annotate the text for the other – that I didn’t look forward to. It definitively took the rest of the summer to complete!
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