We went to the RBG in Hamilton yesterday for a “Geo-Quest”, which was a mini-course on geocaching — what it is, how to use the GPS, stuff like that. They set up a treasure box somewhere on the RBG grounds, and then gave us co-ordinates for three signs around the grounds, and we had to find the signs, get some clues from the signs, and the clues gave us the co-ordinates of the treasure box. Each of the four of us got a GPS unit to use, so the boys had fun watching how close they were getting and what direction to walk and stuff like that. Nicholas, however, seemed to have missed something that the instructor pointed out: “The GPS doesn’t tell you things like ‘There’s a tree in your way’, so you need to keep your eyes open!”. More than once, Nicky would be staring so intently at the GPS to make sure he was going in the right direction that he walked into a tree or bush or person.
The boys each did a week of summer camp at the RBG this past summer, and told us about “feeding the chickadees”, which they did every day at camp. After the course, we each grabbed a handful of birdseed from the desk and walked down a path a little ways to try that. I had assumed that the boys meant that they spread some birdseed on the ground and the chickadees came up to them to grab it, but it was much better than that. We held our hands out in front of us, and the chickadees were so tame that they would actually land on our hands and eat the seeds (or grab them to take back to their nests). There were also some blue jays and nuthatches around, but the blue jays never came near us, and the nuthatches wouldn’t land on you, they’d just take the seeds that dropped on the ground. Standing there with a little chickadee sitting on your hand eating was just the coolest thing.