Cows grazing.

I arranged a field trip to Amy’s Farm – an organic farm in Orange County with produce and animals – including chickens, horses, cows, pigs, and worms. Here are some photos of our time there.

Children grooming the miniature horse, Crystal.

Mishy hearing the plans of the tour.

Mishy loved meeting Heidi, our tour guide. She wants to return to the farm, as long as Heidi will be leading the tour again. Thank you, Heidi, for an informative and enjoyable tour.

Walking towards the organic fields.

Smelling and tasting the organic herbs.

While the children were tasting the organic herbs and delicious cauliflower, Heidi was showcasing the organic produce and picking some salad for Honey Bun.

Feeding Honey Bun part of the organic salad.

Petting the sheeps and goats.

Mishy after she pets the animals.

Feeding the chickens some greens.

Heidi gave each child and adult some greens to tear up and feed the chickens.

Getting ready to milk Honey Bun.

Mishy and Heidi milking Honey Bun together. Every child had a turn. Adults too. Mishy took my turn.

Thanking Honey Bun.

Digging for worms in the compost. We found a dozen.

Details:

Amy’s Farm

http://www.amysfarm.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Norton Simon Museum

May 22, 2011

I arranged a field trip to the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, CA. Here are some pictures of our time in the sculpture garden.

Mishy by the lily pond, eating her red apple.

A mother duck with her ducklings.

Mishy with Y and J watching the tadpoles.

Mishy and I love going to art galleries. I let her decide what she wants to see and then we talk about what we see in the paintings and sculptures – the different colors, shapes, what she sees in the painting, what the painting might be called, what do you think the artist is trying to convey or not, any feelings that come out of seeing the painting? I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer, because art is subjective and it’s just fun looking at art together and also be in nature. The Norton Simon Museum has a beautiful and peaceful sculpture garden.

Details:

Norton Simon Museum

http://www.nortonsimon.org/

Mishy inspired by a Rodin sculpture.

Mishy showing Babba the long horned cattle.

A couple of weeks ago, on a very hot Sunday in Los Angeles, the Autry Museum, which is located near Griffith Park hosted a fabulous Earth Day Celebration, which was sadly not well attended. We received free tickets via Goldstar and that’s how I heard about the event. There is an upcoming Day of the Cowboy and Cowgirl on July 23rd, 2011 and if that day is anything like our day during the Earth Day Festival, you will probably stay all day long and still find more fun things to do and discover at the Autry – including some delicious food. I had some very tasty vegan chocolate chili. My daughter loved it too.

Here is a photo essay of our time there and it doesn’t cover everything the Autry Museum offered that day. They really know how to create a wonderful day for families. The Autry Museum is known for showing a complete picture of Californian Cowboy and Native America cultures, as well as Chinese American’s contribution during the time of the gold rush and railroad construction.

Pretending they are in jail.

Babba riding the pretend horse.

Mining for gold. They let you take some fool's gold home.

Playing in the Family Discovery Gallery - inspired by Lisa See's family history.

Pretending to eat the food Mishy made for Babba in the Family Discovery Gallery

Reading in the Family Discovery Gallery

Watching Peruvian music as part of The Earth Day Festival

Mishy and me painting a mural.

Dancing to a Native American drum circle

Petting a goat from the Moorpark Animal Teaching College.

Feeding a goat.

Dancing to Brazilian music.

Resting and hugging.

Releasing ladybugs.

The mural Mishy and I contributed to by helping paint it during the Earth Day Celebration.

Details:

The Autry Museum

http://theautry.org/

The Autry Museum Day of The Cowboy and Cowgirl

http://theautry.org/programs/family-activities/national-day-of-the-cowboy-and-cowgirl

Goldstar – where we received our free tickets. Goldstar offers discount tickets to several cultural events in America, including complimentary tickets. You just pay the service charges.

https://www.goldstar.com/join?p=F1627103RP

Photo Finalist!

May 16, 2011

When I was in grade seven, I had a teacher who was a professional photographer. She had a dark room where I spent many hours developing photographs because I loved taking pictures and watching them appear before my eyes. I loved manipulating them during the developing process – how you can create shadows and textures with movements from your hands. I had dreams of becoming a professional photographer, of having a visually artistic career, of sharing the world my images I had created by snapping away and then processing them in the dark room. (Now, with digital photography, you can manipulate images on your computer. I don’t have time to edit – yes, the photos you see on this blog are completely untouched – warts and all.)

When I was in highschool, I heard about a photograph competition for highschool students and I desperately wanted to enter. I developed the photograph I had taken when I was twelve years old and still loved – a photograph of water droplets from the Eaton Center in downtown Toronto. I liked how I angled the photograph, how the light hit the droplets, how the shadows created a mysterious mood. I thought I had a decent chance of at least becoming a finalist, maybe even winning a prize. I didn’t enter though because as the days came closer to the last days of entering the competition, I lost faith in my photograph and me as a photographer. I let the image sit on top of my bookcase in my room and left it there until I stopped living at home. My dreams of a photographic career finished because I just didn’t believe in myself.

Three years ago, I heard about a photograph contest for amateur photographers sponsored by the Music Center and Los Angeles Times. This year, I entered the competition. It was a marathon day of horseback riding in Topanga, attending preconcert festivities and a classical music concert in Glendale, playing with a statue of Benjamin Franklin, heading to Torrance to see the Golden Chinese Acrobats, and then the next morning, heading to the Santa Monica Pier and riding the carousels – all in 24 hours. I photographed our journey and distilled it down to 10 photographs.

Now, I am a finalist! And it’s time for people to vote. Please vote for me. I would love to win. The prizes are a camera bag and a gift certificate to Samy’s Camera shop. The winning photographs share a spread in Brand X Magazine, which is published by Los Angeles Times.

To vote, text: 2410059 to 22333  You may text up to 10 times! Please do. I really would love to win. Voting closes on May 21, 2011 at 9:30AM.

If you would like to see my photos, here is the link:

http://musiccenter.org/events/241gallery.html

They are alphabetically listed so I am on page 5 – bottom left hand corner under: A Day Starts With Horse And Ends With Horses by M.J. Kang.

And please spread the word so people vote for me. Please.  On Facebook, Twitter – please.

To vote, text: 2410059 to 22333

There is a public viewing of all of the finalist this weekend at the Music Center. Here’s the link for more details:

http://musiccenter.org/events/aa_pulse.html

I am stepping out of my comfort zone and putting myself out there because well, why not? Now that I’m a mother – if I want my daughter to take risks and believe in herself, I need to start believing in myself.

Notice the legs and feet? Those are Mishy's.

As part of my need to build community, I organized an organic strawberry picking tour at Tanaka Farms in Irvine, CA. Over thirty parents and children of various ages joined my daughter and me on a wagon ride throughout the farm as our guide brought us an array of organic and incredibly fresh fruits and vegetables to sample and learn about. How do you know if something is a fruit? If it has seeds. Is a pepper a fruit? Yes. A squash? Yes. How about a cucumber or avocado or even zucchini? All fruit because they all have seeds. What is the one vegetable that has flowers? Chinese greens. This tour was educational and delicious.

Mishy eating the roots of a spring onion.

Two years ago, my husband, daughter and I went on this very same tour. Our daughter wasn’t even a year old so I wanted to bring her back. My husband had to work. Perhaps this will become an annual tradition? I would love that. I think my daughter would love it too. Maybe next year my husband will join us? He still remembers the sweet spring onions and he normally detests onions. Mishy nibbled on the roots of the spring onion. She said they were sweet. (Later I went home and used the onions for a shrimp broccoli brown rice dish.)

When we got off the wagon and onto the organic strawberry fields, after a quick tutorial on how to pick strawberries – with two hands and with care so that you are just breaking the stems off and not hurting the rest of the plant, especially if there are any flowers on the plant because each flower is a potential strawberry. The group walked carefully along the strawberry fields and ate as many strawberries as our bellies could contain. The tour includes one pound container of strawberries per child and while the parents were eating, the children were adding to their containers. Mishy said she was on a quest to find the most delicious strawberry in the world. Right before we were to go back on the wagon, Mishy found it and ate it and said, “I just had the most delicious strawberry in the world!” Mishy told this to the tour guide as well.

Mishy on the organic strawberry fields.

Tanaka Farms has been offering tours of their certified organic farm for a number of years and they have it down to a science. It’s really a fun and educational adventure on a real working organic farm in Orange County.

Here are a few tips about organic farming: Tanaka Farms plants their strawberries with their spring onions to deter insects and other animals from eating their strawberries. Want an easy way to stimulate this in your home garden? Crush a clove of garlic. Mix it with water and put it in a spray bottle. Spray the strawberry plant or any plant in your garden to deter insects from eating in. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about rabbits eating your vegetables or fruits – maybe read Peter Rabbit by Beatrice Potter?

A scarecrow with our guide by banana trees.

I remember when I was younger my favorite field trips were going to the farm. I dressed in my jean jacket and jeans and wished I could live on a farm. Now, I wish my daughter and I could go visit Tanaka Farms once a week and continue to find the best strawberry in the world. I’ll be organizing a watermelon tour for July. Details to be posted on the FieldTripsSOCAL yahoo group.

Details:

Tanaka Farms

They offer organic strawberry tours yearly from March-June, watermelon tours where you pick your own watermelon from June-August as well as Pick Your Own Pumpkin tour in the fall and a Christmas tour in the winter. Please check their website for other special events and information on their CSA – to get organic produce delivered to your home or near your home and continue supporting Tanaka Farms and organic farming.

http://www.tanakafarms.com/

Sandy Point Dume

May 11, 2011

I am a bit behind in my posts. I started a new yahoo group and quickly organized a lot of field trips. Now that the group is getting solidified and I’ve already organized 18 or more field trips – I’ve lost count, I can get back to blogging!

Mishy and I joined a group of younger homeschoolers on a sandy hike in Malibu at Pt. Dume. My husband and I lived in Malibu at a friend’s guest house for six years and we never went on this hike. We’ve heard of Pt. Dume – of course – it’s a surfer’s paradise and we’re not surfers. My husband says he’ll learn with Mishy. (Mishy and I plan to learn how to drive a plane, if she would still like to when the times comes.)

Point Dume is a beautiful short hike with the ocean breeze following you and smell of the sea wafting in the air as you climb higher and higher along the ridge of the mountains. We heard sea lions, which Mishy said they were calling her name. When we went whale watching, my husband told her the sea lions were calling for her and she laughed then. The sea lions lie on the buoys on the Pacific Ocean. You could probably see dolphins and whales with the help of binoculars during their migration.

Mishy walking on the sand hill.

The hike starts off the side of the beach. In the parking lot, where you pay anywhere from $4-$8, depending on the time of day and season, there were two sand hills sitting side by side of each other. Mishy loved climbing up and down, along it, backwards and forwards while the group of homeschoolers went up the trail. We actually didn’t spend much time with them, since the timing was off. When we were headed up, they were headed down. We ended up doing our own thing, which is fun. It was interesting for me to note that I still felt the pull of the group, even though I didn’t know this group very well. It’s important to feel a part of a tribe.

Firefighters practicing foe a search and rescue.

As we climbed higher, we were privy to a group of local firefighters practicing for a search a rescue rally. While it was serious in nature, it did look like fun when they were repelling down the rock wall. Once upon a time, I did a little bit of rock climbing. That would be another fun thing to do with my daughter. Our daughter. My husband reminds me she’s our daughter.

Mishy balancing on a rock while hiking.

Hiking with a preschool aged child is much different from hiking with my husband. My husband and I used to hike a lot when we lived in Malibu – our backyard had a beautiful hike along the Santa Monica Mountains. The way my husband and I hiked was mainly for the exercise. Hiking with our daughter, we stop a lot and play with the dirt, investigate the plants, and find animals – lizards, mostly. It’s a calmer and more focused hike. In The Moment Hiking, if I were to give it a title.

Our views

Details:

Point Dume Preserve

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=623