I’m not positive, but I think that when normal people hear that there is a winter storm bearing down on their home they stay put. We are not normal people though and I’m beginning to suspect that Mr. Knitting Sarah views such events as a personal challenge. Instead of picking out some movies and holing up in our cozy house feeling like we can’t go anywhere, he is especially motivated to find the answer to the questions: “Where can we safely go for a fun day in terrible weather conditions?”
Earlier this week we had such an instance. The weather reports for my husband’s day off spanned anywhere from a foot of impending snow, to an ice storm, to sleet, to rain to raining ice pellets as our spot on this Earth seemed to be falling right on the line between freezing and not freezing. But… that meant that everything south of us would just be rainy… unless of course the weather system shifted south which is always possible. Alas, knowing I’d probably not be on board with his idea, my dear husband waited until 5:30am the day of to announce that we’d all be headed to the Chicago Field Museum for the day. It’s a favorite spot for the kiddos and he skillfully built it up as an opportunity for the kids to show me everything they’d learned on their last trip in October when I’d stayed home. We get in for free with our Milwaukee Public Museum membership so aside from the cost of the 6-hour round-trip drive, the inevitable incidentals, and the treacherousness of my generally grouchy demeanor when it comes to getting going unexpectedly in the early morning, it’s a relatively inexpensive day-trip for us that is a ‘WOW’ for the kids so I got cleaned up and out the door.
It was pretty worth it to get to experience this place through the wide eyes of my kids.
This cross-section of a conifer trunk from the Triassic period pretty much blew my mine…
As did the Dunkleosteus, a giant armored fish from the Late Devonian. And I’ll admit that it was pretty funny to see the reaction of the docent who, in the Carboniferous era display, asked my daughter what the giant millipede looked like. Instead of saying, “a giant millipede,” my girl chirped, “That’s an arthopleura.” Of course, she was correct.
I was surprised that Protoceratops was only about the size of a sheep. For some reason, I always envisioned them bigger. Thankfully my guide (my son) was very knowledgeable on the subject. He also wowed a docent who had a table of fossil replicas when he correctly identified a dino toe that was mixed in with teeth and claws. I never would have gotten that. I don’t know where these kids get their brains! I just try to keep up around here!
It had been many years since I last visited this museum, so it was very fun to have a refresher on so many aspects of science and culture. I had two favorite exhibits. First, Inside Ancient Egypt, simply because I have a real fascination with the culture. Most incredible, I thought, was the royal boat they had on display which belonged to Middle Kingdom Pharaoh Sen-Wosret III.
There was not way to get a good photo, but seriously, this is a 4,000 year old boat. That’s not something you see everyday.
I also seriously loved the special exhibit, Lichens: The Coolest Things You’ve Never Heard Of. It was truly incredible. Perhaps funniest of all is that my hubby teases me from time to time because I often stop on our hikes to take photos of lichens. We agreed that I may have missed a true calling in lichenology, but as they say, hind-sight is 20-20.
For my friends who are into natural dyeing, I though this little tidbit was worth snapping a photo of and sharing. Who would think that grey lichen would produce such pretty colored yarn?
I looked, but wasn’t able to find any spinning or knitting displays, but I did find plenty of weaving.
This reminded me that to get started weaving I probably don’t need an expensive loom. If folks in Arizona & New Mexico in the 1900s can make this with little more than two sticks, and some pretty yarn, I can probably figure something simple out, too, should I want to try weaving.
Of course, with a 6-hour round-trip drive, I was able to make some excellent head-way with my Antarktis using the lovely Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts Reinvent in Kismet.
After settling in at home after our long day on the road, I was making great progress into the last repeat before the border. I should be done in no time!
It’s worth noting that despite the bad weather to the North our drive was almost entirely through rain only. The temps didn’t even dip below freezing until we were just a few miles from home. At our house, the ground was definitely covered with some slippery slush and the following day we did eventually end up getting a couple fresh inches of snow. This is spring in Wisconsin though and sometimes when the weather doesn’t cooperate you just have to get creative in how you face it.
Sometimes you just have to find your adventure farther afield.