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Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Walk the good road my daughter,

and the buffalo herds wide and dark as cloud shadows

moving over the prairie will follow you….

Be dutiful, respectful, gentle and modest, my daughter.

And proud walking.

If the pride and virtue of the women are lost,

spring will come but the buffalo trails will turn to grass.

Be strong, with the warm, strong heart of the earth.

No people goes down until their women are weak and dishonored.

~words spoken at puberty ceremonies for Sioux maidens~

(from The People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn)

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The insect I know. It’s the larval form of a ladybug. But what is the spotted hard-shelled immobile creature?

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What on earth is that miniature albino zucchini that’s attached to the body of the cute green caterpillar?

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Here’s another view of it. Ignore my ragged cuticles and dirty, uncut fingernails.

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We found lots of elm leaves that had these cancerous looking lesions. Are they eggs imbedded in the leaf?

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It’s always this way with me. The kids find things that I can’t explain and can’t seem to find explanations for. And if I do spend time tracking down entymologists or researching in the library, by the time I come up with an answer, the question’s long been forgotten. I wish there was a book that had all the answers. I could jump up, grab the book, flip to the picture of the lesiony lump and say aha! it’s the this-or-that, and we’d all be that much wiser.

Another thing I wish is that I could find a printer that doesn’t drive me crazy. I hate printers. They never do what I want. It’s so aggravating to rush to the computer to print off a sheet of downloaded musical notation paper, or whatever musicians call those lines they compose music on, so that my young guitar player can jot down the song he’s just invented only to find that the printer is in a mood and won’t respond. I tried every thing I could think of to make it work as Tee slowly drifted off to another activity, and nothing I did made any difference, dratted thing, and then, without warning, several hours later it sprang to life and spat out the sheets. RRRRGH.

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Meet Curly
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and Flicker
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One Moment

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We were back at the pond today searching for tadpoles, and after a while, I squatted down in among the reeds and tall marshy grasses, ostensibly to take photos, but mostly because I just wanted to. I wish I could have captured the feeling of being there, warm in the sun, amid the rustlings and chirpings and clickings and raspings. I felt solid in the moment, without a worry or even any thoughts. I was just there.

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Tadpole Hunting

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Our tadpole habitat is all set up. It’s quite a palace for the one tadpole we managed to find today.

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After we replaced the leaking ten dollar tank we got at the used pet supply store with a better ten dollar tank, R hauled up some river water. T and J dragged a few pails of it to the house.

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Then off to a pond.
Land of the silver birch,…

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….home of the beaver. We looked and looked for the beavers’ dam, but no luck. We did see some beautiful red-winged blackbirds though. L was hoping to see some garter snakes, but they must have heard us coming.

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All of our newly learned water bug identification skills were called upon as we saw tiny dot after tiny dot dart around in the murky, marshy pond. We saw snails and all sorts of insect lifeforms, but only one small tadpole, which my fast-reflexed daughter managed to net. Thankfully. Or there would have been one empty fish tank.

I think we’re just a little early in the season for tadpoles yet, because of our cold spring. Maybe we’ll go to a different pond next week.

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Owl Pellet

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Dissecting this owl pellet was the highlight of the morning. At least for Jay. Tee was more interested in the book he was reading.

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I’m pretty sure that the skeleton was of a mouse, not a rat, based on the size of it, but it still had very impressive incisors.

Jay squealed with excitement at every new bone she found, and announced that she’s decided that she’d rather be a naturalist when she grows up than a plasticine sculptress. She spent the rest of the morning making observations in our backyard and jotting them down in her naturalist’s journal. Things like I saw a squirrel. I saw a bird.

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Bird Watching

For the last two weeks or so, I’ve noticed a pair of crows in our yard. They’re interesting to watch because they have regular habits, and if you watch them often enough, they start to seem almost like flying people, unlike the song birds that hop about in little twittering groups.

One crow starts off the day by perching on the exact same fence post and cawing in short bursts. He caws three times, pauses, caws three times, pauses, and caws again. Once he gets an answering caw from his mate, he flies off. Later on, the two of them sit on a tree limb, side by side, occasionally looking at each other. Then one of them flies off in one direction and the other goes off in the opposite direction. I see them co-operatively gathering nesting material, sharing food, and very clearly communicating with each other.

I read in Private Lives of Garden Birds by Calvin Simonds that crows mate for life, and that along with ravens and other members of the Corvid family, are the most intelligent of all the birds. I believe this, because I remember when I lived up north seeing ravens hovering above our driveway on garbage day before the garbage had even been put out. Apparently, crows can count to as high as seven, and that they have been observed flocking in hundreds around a dead crow, in what has been described as a “crow funeral”. They’re also the only animal other than primates that have been seen using tools.

They kind of give me the creeps though. I’m reading The Witches by Roald Dahl to the kids right now, and whenever I see a flock of crows they remind me of that book.

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