Category Archives: history

“What killed the sailors on the 1845 Franklin Expedition?”

Earlier this year, The Ten-Year-Old’s fifth grade class spent 18 hours learning what it meant to be sailors in 1906 as part of the Age of Sails program at the San Francisco Maritime National Park.  Ever since then, she’s been reading everything she can get her hands on about life on the sea between the mid-1800s and early 1900s. After learning that the entire crew of the Franklin Expedition of 1845 died in one of that century’s greatest tragedies, the Ten-Year-Old naturally wanted to know why. Continue reading

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“Were Thin Mints really the third type of Girl Scout cookie ever introduced?”

In case your neighborhood hasn’t been overtaken by Girl Scouts peddling cookies, consider this a public service announcement: It’s Girl Scout Cookie Season. Sales end (in Northern California at least) on March 4, so if you were planning to buy … Continue reading

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“What’s a sugar plum, and why does it get its own fairy?”

The holidays have finally struck here at Caterpickles Central. I wasn’t entirely sure it was going to happen this year, seeing as how there are still flowers blooming outside our front door, but I chaperoned The Ten-Year-Old’s field trip to … Continue reading

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“Has anyone ever committed a robbery while armed with a cow?”

In which we discover that cows make surprisingly effective weapons. Continue reading

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“Did Isaac Newton invent the cat door?”

In which my daughter learns that you can’t believe everything you read in books. Continue reading

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The Ten-Year-Old asks the most important question of her life

When I picked The Ten-Year-Old up from school yesterday, she wasted no time. “Mommyo, I have to ask you the most important question of my life.” Uh-oh, I thought. That’s gonna be a doozy. She’s at that age, you know. … Continue reading

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Caterpickles cleans house, Part 4

Taking most of the summer off from answering questions would have worked a lot better if I’d had established a Caterpickles Agreement with The Nine-Year-Old that she would take the summer off from asking them. I did not, alas. The backlog of questions is … Continue reading

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“Why did California ban paper money in 1850?”

Thanks for stopping by Caterpickles. The good news for you today is that I’m mostly done writing about potatoes. But The Great Potato Gold Rush Project of 2016 still has riches to offer us. In the course of figuring out … Continue reading

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“Why didn’t miners during the California Gold Rush realize eating potatoes could prevent scurvy?”

Welcome back to Caterpickles! As we learned last week, miners during the Klondike Gold Rush valued the scurvy-fighting power of the humble potato so highly they were willing to pay $25 per bushel for them. After politely listening to my … Continue reading

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“Why were potatoes so expensive during the Klondike Gold Rush?”

As you may have inferred from this blog, I am the sort of mother who adores stocking my child’s mind with interesting tidbits about the world around her. I am also the sort who likes to make sure (eventually), that … Continue reading

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