Monday, February 11, 2013

Beautiful snow crystals

This weekend we had the biggest snowfall that this region has seen in a long time!  It slowed the city way down, closed schools and universities, and brought neighbours out to help each other clear the sidewalks.  We had a family yoga class on the morning after the big snowfall, so we headed out with our gear and daughter on a toboggan to make the trek to uptown.  Another family arrived at the yoga class on snowshoes!  Since the class was small and we were all not in a rush to head home after, we all went to Seven Shores, the great vegetarian fair trade cafe downstairs to have wonderful smoothies and relax.  Upon arriving home it was time to shovel, and then of course build a snow cave with our little snowbear (who had never experienced this much snow before in her life!)  What a great way to spend a snowy day. 

The exploration of snow crystals during our snowstorm prompted us to read the beautiful true story about Snowflake Bentley, and then start our own little science experiment growing sugar crystals in a glass jar on our kitchen counter.  How to do that:

Grow your own (sugar) crystals

You will need:
1 cup water, boiled
3 cups sugar
long string (yarn, twine or hemp, not nylon)
pencil or stick to hold the top
weight for the bottom (e.g. a piece of wooden popsicle stick)
glass mason jar

Add sugar to the just boiled water, stirring over medium heat until sugar is all dissolved and water is saturated.  Then let cool 10 minutes.  Pour into glass mason jars, drop string into sugar solution with weight tied on bottom and pencil on top to hold string up from the bottom of the glass.  Do not let string touch sides or bottom of the jar.  Let this steep for upto a week and watch the crystals grow!  This is also known as "rock candy".

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