Harness the horses!

Horses came from all over the world. They were ready to race, jump, pull carriages, and more. Riders came to guide the horses. They took part in contests. It was hot. It was muddy. But many of them won medals.


Horses are strong and beautiful animals. They “leap like locusts and snort majestically”! Read about horses in Job 39:19-25. The World Equestrian Games were held this year in Tryon, North Carolina. More than 600 riders and 700 horses came from 71 countries to take part. Some contests were called off because of heat and rain. Horses and riders from Germany won 17 medals. U.S. riders came in second with 12.


• Two miniature ponies named Star and Huck were mascots of the Equestrian Games. They live on a farm near the center where the games were held. They were trained to do many of the skills that the competing horses performed. And they allowed people to pet them and have pictures taken with them.

• There are over 300 different breeds—kinds—of horses. The main kinds are “hot bloods.” They are fast horses that love speed and racing. “Cold bloods” are strong and do heavy work. “Warm bloods” are a combination of the other two. They are the horses that usually take part in riding competitions.

• A foal is a baby horse. A yearling is between one and two. A colt is a boy horse younger than four years old. Filly is the name for girl horses that age. A male horse older than four is a stallion and a female that age is a mare.

• Horses can be many colors: Bay horses are light reddish-brown to dark brown. They have a black mane, tail, and lower legs. Chestnut horses have the reddish color with no black. A type of chestnut with a very reddish coat is called sorrel. Gray horses have black skin. But their coat is mixed with black and white hairs. Dun horses have yellowish or tan coats. A horse of light golden color is a palomino. And a pinto has patches of red, brown, white, and/or black.

It was a Dumpling Day!

People love dumplings. They are puffs of tasty goodness. “Dumpling Day” was September 26. Shops in London gave away the stuffed treats! Deep-fried. Grilled. Steamed. All were yummy!


National Dumpling Day celebrates the many kinds of dumplings people around the world eat. Small pieces of dough are usually wrapped around a filling. Legend says that a Chinese man invented stuffed dumplings 1,800 years ago. He wanted to feed cold and hungry people from his village. He stuffed the dough with meat and herbs. He folded them into the shape of tiny ears. Isaiah 58:10 says to “pour yourself out for the hungry.”


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• Deep fried dumplings from Malaysia, Wagyu Beef Mandu from Korea, Chicken Sui Mai [soo-MY] from China, and grilled chicken dumplings from Vietnam, among others, were served in London’s Chinatown.

• But dumplings are served in other countries besides those in Asia. Empanadas are eaten in Europe and Latin America. Pounded yams are formed into dough called “fufu” in Central and West Africa. They are boiled and served in or alongside stew. You might have eaten pillows of pasta made with potato or flour and served with spinach and ricotta cheese or sage and brown butter. They are called gnocchi [NYOH-kee]. Ask your mom or grandma. Maybe they can tell you what dumplings are made in the countries that your family’s ancestors came from.

• The C. J. company in South Korea makes LOTS of dumplings called “mandu.” It wants to introduce its country’s dumplings to the world. Making dumplings by hand is tiring work. So C.J.’s factory uses machines. These wash and chop veggies and cut dough circles. They add the filling. They fold the dumplings. They press the edges. They can make so many more mandu than people can. Look for mandu in the freezer section at your supermarket.

• Maybe you can have a dumplings-for-dinner night once in a while to try out some of the many kinds of dumplings people around the world enjoy.


Daisy was having a baby.

She needed help. Zoo keepers called Dr. W. and Dr. C. They did surgery. Baby Lily was born. Dr. W. and Dr. C. do not work at the zoo. They help human moms have their babies!


Dr. Laura Whisler and Dr. Janna Chibry are used to being called in the middle of the night to deliver babies. But they had never helped an orangutan mom before. They rushed to the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, to perform an operation. Baby Lily was safely born. Keepers at the zoo cared for Lily until her mom felt better. Isaiah 40:11 reminds us that the mighty God “will gather the lambs in His arms and gently lead those that are with young.”


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• Zoos have many animals and people who care for them. But this zoo does not hire doctors who only deliver animal babies. God gave animals the ability to have their babies without human help most of the time. Daisy needed help and the human baby doctors were ready.

• The word “orangutan” means “person of the forest.” These animals live on two islands in the Indian Ocean, Borneo and Sumatra. These countries have large areas of rain forests that grow wild.

• And that is just the kind of place that makes the best home for orangutans. These creatures spend most of their time living in trees. They eat leaves, bark, flowers, and fruit that the trees provide. They get rainwater in the trees. They build new nests each night out of leaves and branches. And they are safe from harm hidden up in the treetops.

• Orangutan moms have a baby about once every seven years. So these babies stay with their moms longer than any other animal does. They even nurse for 6 to 7 years because they need to learn which plants and trees are safe to eat. And they must be taught how to get through sharp spines, husks, and shells to get to the tasty stuff. Can you see why Lily needs her mom?

They like salad with their fish.

Most sharks eat only meat. Bonnet-heads chew sea grass while they chomp fish and squid. The grass breaks down in bonnet-head shark tummies. It helps them to grow. No other shark eats both animals and plants.



New Testament believers praised God in Acts 4:24 saying, “Sovereign Lord, who made the Earth and the sea and everything in them.” Sharks are part of the “everything” in the sea. Scientists have learned that bonnet-heads eat plants as well as animals. This is called being omnivorous. All other sharks eat only meat. Bonnet-heads not only eat seagrass. Their stomachs digest it. And the grass helps these sharks to grow. We are always learning about God’s great big world. Bonnet-head sharks teach us.


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• Bonnet-head sharks have another name. It is shovelhead! Can you see why? This shark is the smallest member of the hammerhead shark family.

• Bonnet-heads like water that is 70 degrees or warmer. So they live on both the East and West coasts of the United States. They swim in the Atlantic Ocean from North Carolina to Brazil. They can be found in the Caribbean Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. But they also live in the Pacific Ocean from Southern California to Ecuador.

• God created sharks to breathe through gills. And they need to keep moving to do that. So sharks swim all the time! They are free to move from place to place.

• Sharks are fish. They have skeletons made of cartilage. That is like the stuff our ears and noses are made of. Cartilage is lighter and more bendable than bone. All sharks also have many rows of teeth. These often break off. But God created sharks to grow new teeth to replace the missing ones. Bonnet-head sharks have small teeth in the front of their mouths and wider teeth at the back.

There is a garbage patch in the Pacific!

Boyan Slat wants to clean it up. He invented a screen. It goes down into the water. Sea animals swim under it. Plastic floats. The very long trap floats too. Big and small bits of plastic catch in the screen. Ships collect the trash and bring it to land.


Plastic trash is a big problem in the ocean. The Pacific “garbage patch” is like a big pool. It collects all kinds of floating plastic—shoes, nets, toothbrushes, bottles, and other things. Boyan Slat invented a 2,000-foot-long floating trap to catch the plastic. A boat towed it into place. It floats with the waves and the wind. A ship will fish out the caught plastic. People on land will recycle it. The Lord of hosts stirs up the sea so that its waves roar. Read Jeremiah 31:35.


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• Many things made from plastic are good and helpful. Bike helmets, airbags in cars, many medical supplies, and drinking bottles are made with plastic. But we often toss away many other plastics like food wrappers, packaging around toys, and grocery bags. These are called single-use plastics. And almost half of those plastics wind up in oceans. These do not decompose, or decay, back into the ground. They stay in the ocean forever.

• God has commended us to take care of the Earth. God told Adam to “work and keep,” which means to take care of, the garden in Genesis 2:15.

• How can you help with the plastic problem? Keep a reusable water bottle for your drinks. Pack your lunch items in containers that you can use over and over again.

Do you know this “Silly Old Bear”?

A.A. Milne wrote the “Winnie-the-Pooh” stories. How did he think them up? Who drew the pictures for the books? A new exhibit at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts will show you the answers. It has letters and drawings. See stuffed toys and Pooh’s house too.

God has given us many rich things to enjoy. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver,” says Proverbs 25:11. Good books are among these rich things. Have you met Winnie-the Pooh and his friends Eeyeore, Piglet, and Owl? Do you know that Christopher Robin was a real boy? A teddy bear was a gift to him. His daddy was A.A. Milne. He made up stories about his son’s stuffed toys. Then he wrote them down and Ernest E. Shepherd drew the pictures. The Boston exhibit tells how the men did this.


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• A.A. Milne gave Christopher Robin a teddy bear for his first birthday. The bear’s name was Edward Bear—at first. But as the little boy grew, his dad often took him to the London Zoo. They always visited a black bear from Canada named “Winnie.” The bear was so tame that Christopher Robin was allowed inside the cage and could even ride on Winnie’s back! He also had his picture taken with the bear. So that is why his favorite stuffed toy’s name was changed to Winnie-the-Pooh!

• Christopher Milne also had a stuffed piglet, a tiger, two kangaroos, and a sad-looking donkey. His dad made up Owl and Rabbit for his stories. And the Milne family lived near Ashdown Forest. It was very much like the Hundred Acre Wood.

• Most of Christopher Milne’s original stuffed toys can be seen at the New York City Public Library. Roo was lost about80 years ago.

• Do you have a favorite stuffed animal? Draw a picture of it. Write an adventure story about you and your toy.

• Could you act out Tigger getting lost in the forest? Or Eeyore losing his tail? Or Pooh getting stuck after eating too much honey?


They rowed hard and fast.

“Donk, donk, donk” went the drum.  Paddlers row-row-rowed. Dragon boats raced.  The drummer beat out a rhythm.  Each rower pulled an oar.  The steersman steered.  And Team USA won the race.  Dragon boat racing began long, long ago in China.  Now it is a world-wide sport.


Dragon boats look like long canoes. But each one has a traditional Chinese dragon’s head on the fore and tail on the stern. Dragon boats are raced in a festival every year in China. But now there is also a dragon boat world championship. It was held on Lake Lanier in Georgia this fall. Rowers from 14 countries raced. The Bible reminds us in 1 Corinthians 9:24, “In a race all runners compete, but only one receives the prize.”


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• Dragon boat racing began over two thousand years ago in China. People back then worshiped the dragon. They believed it ruled over the rivers and seas and clouds. They needed rain for their crops. So they had boat races on the water to please their god. But the Isaiah 44:3 tells us that God pours out water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground.

• Today, dragon boat racing is a fast-growing water sport. And it is also part of festivals in China. Families prepare Zongzi [ZONG-zhee]. It is a dumpling made with sticky rice and wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves. They also might add dates, meats, lotus, chestnuts, and egg yolks to the dumplings.

• Dragon boat races are LOUD. Boatmen grunt, strain, and splash as they row the boat. The drummer sits in the bow. He bangs a drum to help rowers keep a rhythm so they work together. The paddlers sit facing forward and try to keep pace with one another as they paddle. And the steerer controls the direction of the boat from the back. He or she has a straight oar that is nine feet long. It is locked onto the boat. The steerer either pushes the oar away or pulls it toward the body. These motions turn the boat.

• Would you like to row a dragon boat?

It is like a gold mine!

People were working on a new bridge.  They dug into the ground.  Surprise!  They found parts of an old fort.  Bits of pottery, stone tools, and spear tips were there too.  The Norwalk Indians built the fort.   Experts are thrilled.  They will learn more about this tribe.


Workers were replacing a railroad bridge in Norwalk, Connecticut. Archaeologists are people who study things from long ago. They dug in the ground and found this old fort. They believe the Norwalk Indians traded with early Dutch settlers 400 years ago. They found hatchets, knives, and wampum beads (Indians used this as money), and more. It is good to know about the past. Isaiah 46:9 tells us, “Remember the former things of old.”


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• The land for Norwalk, Connecticut, was purchased from Chief Mahackemo, of the Norwalk Indians nearly 380 years ago. But not much else is known about those particular Indians.

• We do know about another Indian tribe that lived in New England, though. They were the Iroquois. They lived in villages placed on high ground near rivers, lakes, or bays. They built “longhouses.” These were shaped like rectangles, made of logs, and covered with bark. The roofs were covered with strips of bark. Eight to ten families lived in a longhouse. And barriers of sharp sticks were placed around the village to keep the Iroquois safe.

• Newborn babies were washed right after they were born. Then they were carried on a cradleboard until they were old enough to walk. Children often played games together.

• But each boy and girl had to take a test before they were considered grown up. A girl had to spend a week by herself in a wigwam. Only her mother or an old woman of the tribe could visit her. She could not talk to anyone. And she was allowed only vegetables to eat.

• A boy went for days without food and water. He had to eat bad-tasting herbs and roots. His elders purposely made fun of him. And he was sent into the forest alone.

• Have you ever found Indian arrowheads or beads near where you live? Find out which Indians lived in your area. See what you can learn about how they lived.

Renting Chickens

Where do our breakfast eggs come from?  People want to know.  Phil and Jenn T. “Rent The Chicken.”  Families pay $350. They rent two egg-laying hens for six months.  Mr. and Mrs. T. provide the coop, food, dishes, and the hens.  They shelter the birds in winter.


The Tompkins knew people who wanted to raise chickens. But they did not know how. The Tompkins had chickens. They knew. And that gave them an idea to earn some money.  They hoped to rent out 15 pairs of hens in the first year. They rented out 60 pairs! Two hens lay eight to 14 eggs every week. Jesus wept over the sinful people of Jerusalem. In Luke 13:34 He said to them, “How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings!”


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• Do you live in a community that allows backyard chickens? Have you ever visited a neighbor who raises chickens? Maybe your mom buys eggs from them. Or maybe you already know what having chickens is like because your family has some. If so, what is your job in taking care of these birds?

• People who study history think that chickens first were raised to fight one another, not for their eggs or meat. The Egyptians of long ago hung eggs in their temples. They believed the eggs would cause the Nile to flood so that the ground would grow good crops. Roman soldiers took chickens with them when they went to fight enemies. If their chickens ate a lot before a battle, the Roman soldiers believed they would have a victory.

• Soon chickens were tamed. There are generally two types of chickens. The “layers” produce large amounts of eggs. The “broilers” are plump and meaty.

• But many chicken owners will tell you that they make good pets. Chickens also are colorful, They lay eggs that are white, chocolate-brown, jade green, and speckled olive, as well as shades of blue.

• Silkies have beautiful fluffy feathers. But their skin is blue and their meat and bones are almost black! Cream Legbar chickens lay sky-blue eggs. Sulmalters have shiny, rainbow-like feathers and lovely tails. Jubilee Orpingtons are speckled brown and white. And the Silver Sussex chickens are black and sliver. How lovely!


It is a long way down from there!

The Perlan 2 is a glider. It has no motor.  But it flew near the edge of space!  It rode on waves of air.  They rise above mountains.  The Perlan 2 flew higher than any other glider ever has.


The Perlan 2 glider rose more than 14 miles up into the sky over Argentina on September 2. That is one place on Earth where winds from the cold Antarctic rise in waves above the Andes Mountains. A special plane towed the glider into the air and then let it go. There was no sound. The pilots saw the curve of the Earth. They said it was “fantastic”! They were higher than most people ever go. But Nahum 1:3 reminds us that “the clouds are the dust of God’s feet”!

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• Have you ever flown a kite? Watched birds soaring through the air? Then you know that air does not stand still. Air is always moving.

• Air currents rise up from the ground. Others move down toward the ground. And whirlpools of air swirl about too. These currents of air are the “waves” on which gliders ride, just as surfboards ride the waves on the ocean.

• Gliders are lighter than airplanes. They are usually made of lightweight metal, fiberglass, or wood. Either an airplane tows the glider aloft or a stationary winch (it does not move) can pull a glider off the ground and up into the air using a very long steel cable. Maybe your parents will let you watch a YouTube video of how this is done.

• The glider pilot uses up-drafts of warm air to go higher and higher. So the pilot will look for places to fly over, like flat fields or an airport runway where the Sun warms the ground. Warm ground warms the air above it. Glider pilots also know that warm air is rising when they see puffy, piled-up cumulus clouds in the sky.

• An early glider pilot named Otto Lilienthal made more than 2,000 flights about 150 years ago from a hill he had constructed outside of Berlin, Germany. And Octave Chanute was an American glider pilot at about the same time. The work these two men did inspired Orville and Wilbur Wright to first fly gliders. And then they attached an engine to one. The brothers are known as the first men to build a full-sized airplane that could fly under its own power.

Keep out, wild pigs!

Mr. B. gathers thick branches for posts. He weaves long, thin sticks between the posts. Mr. B. does not need nails or wire. He is building a wattle fence. A wattle fence keeps wild pigs out of the garden.

Which animals get into gardens where you live? Rabbits? Squirrels? Woodchucks? Cain Burdeau lives where wild pigs roam. Many farmers in the mountains of Sicily build wattle fences. The fences are easy to make and do not cost much. They protect gardens. They are even strong enough to keep farm animals safe. God always keeps us safe. Proverbs 29:25 says, “whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”  


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• Wild pigs in Italy are called “cinghiale” [ching-GYAL-ee]. They live in the woods where they make nests of leaves and moss and sleep away the day. But they will hunt for food both day and night. They particularly like grapes in vineyards. They can rip through rows of vines in minutes. This costs grape-growers lots of money.

• Wild pigs have straight, hard snouts that are excellent at sniffing out the best piggy food. And those snouts are strong enough to dig holes and trenches under ordinary fences to get at all sorts of underground vegetables, as well as sweet, juicy grapes.

• A farmer pounds posts at least 12 inches down into the ground to make a wattle fence. These are evenly spaced and not too far apart. Then he weaves twigs and thin branches in and out of the posts. He starts the first row by going inside the first post, outside the next, inside the third. For the next row, he weaves outside, inside, outside, and so on. A twig needs to be long enough to go around at least three posts so that it stays in place.

• Some people build fences of old license plates. A fence in Ithaca, New York, was made of old bicycle parts fit cleverly together. A person in Pomona, New Jersey, used thousands of clear, blue, green, and brown glass insulators from old power poles to decorate his fence. There was a wagon wheel fence made from 1,000 old wagon and tractor wheels near Uniontown, Washington.

• What do the fences look like where you live? Are they built to keep something inside? Or to keep something out? Are they to mark a border? Or only for decoration?

Family customs are good.

James Chase loves his work.  He sells veggies and fruit from a colorful cart.  Horses pull it.  His family has done this work for 150 years.  We call that a “custom” or “tradition.”  Leon Hoover loves his work too.  He is a quiet farmer.  He shoes Mr. Chase’s horses.  The men are friends. They honor each other’s traditions.


James Chase lives in Baltimore, Maryland. He follows a tradition called arabbing. That name was used in long-ago England. It describes people who go door-to-door selling things. Leon Hoover also follows a tradition. He is a Mennonite. His family does not have electricity. He grows vegetables on a small farm in Pennsylvania. He also can make horseshoes. He cares for Mr. Chase’s horses. Both men are happy with their family traditions. Luke 2:41-42 says, “Now [Jesus’s] parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.  And when He was twelve years old, they went up according to custom.”

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• James Chase’s grandfather is 85 years old. He says that when he was young, there were many men who worked as arabbers. Mr. Chase now owns the stable his grandfather had. He rents out horses and wagons to the few remaining men who do this kind of work. Mr. Chase says that the older men he grew up around sold vegetables and fruit from colorful wagons, and that is what he learned to do. He likes traveling away from the noisy city to Mr. Hoover’s farm.

• Leon Hoover and his family are part of a group of people known as Mennonites. Some of them, like Mr. Hoover, live simply on farms in rural Pennsylvania. He has a large family. And everyone works the farm together. They do not travel far from home. So, Mr. Hoover says his children like to hear Mr. Chase’s stories from the city.

• What traditions does your family have? Do you decorate an “I Am Thankful” poster or tablecloth on Thanksgiving Day? Or does your family serve Thanksgiving dinner at a homeless shelter? Do you have Family Friday Nights where each person takes a turn deciding what your family will do on that night? You could go ice skating or play board games or watch a fun movie.

• Maybe you could start some new traditions with the New Year. Have everyone in the family memorize one Bible verse together each month.

• Think of some new “firsts” your family could do together. Take a Polar Bear Swim. Or make and eat one meal each month that uses recipes from some other country: Mexico or Germany or Japan, for example.

• Maybe your family can share one of your traditions with another family from your church or neighborhood to learn from one another, as Mr. Chase and Mr. Hoover do.