Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sandhill Cranes

THE sound started gradually. Frogs? Insects? Birds? I couldn't quite place it and couldn't tell where it was coming from... until I thought to look up. Hundreds of birds flying very high up in the sky, all in the same direction. I could barely make out the shape except for a long goose-like neck and short tail. Could I be witnessing the migration of the legendary sandhill cranes? I went on a local birdwatcher website and sure enough, there had been many sightings throughout the day.

The sandhill crane is a large grey bird that lives in wetlands and marshes. It has a wingspan of up to 200cm.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love, Love and More Love

HOW sweet to celebrate Valentines Day with different groups of people! At school, we had a bag for each child and everyone went around the classroom delivering their cards. Then on a blustery but sunny day with gathered in a friend's back garden to celebrate Candlemas and Valentines Day.

Handmade valentines went into specially prepared mailbags and baskets. A story and songs reinforced the themes of love and light. Candle dipping, free play and a chilly outdoor picnic completed the day.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Perfect Snack Spot

THE snack log has to be our favourite spot to stop for a snack at any of our regular walking places. (It's higher than the picture suggests due to the huge mound of earth underneath.) When you're finished eating, there are mountains to be scaled, bark to be peeled, insects to be discovered, ships to be sailed, rockets to be launched and oh so many other possibilities!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fairy Ring

FOR Emma's school birthday (the "half year" celebration for summer birthdays), where the birthday child gives gifts to everyone else in the class, we had fun painting little mushrooms from wooden door knobs. Before giving them away, we couldn't resist a little fairy ring game in the grass.

Valentines Leaves

OUT hiking, Emma came across some heart shaped leaves. The perfect thing for Valentines cards! We made leaf rubbings then cut the shapes out, hanging some on ribbons and turning others into little Valentines mice.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dem Dry Bones

THOMAS came across an antler-less deer skull while hashing, and brought it home. While researching how to clean it up, I came across this young man's blog. I followed Jake's instructions, and soon we had an interesting addition to our backyard.

We wondered why it didn't have any antlers (bucks lose their antlers every year after mating season - between January and April) and made him new ones from branches. We played "hunt the deer," trying to creep up on a "deer" who had his head buried in yummy grass and could be alerted to his hunters' presence by hearing alone. We discovered the jawbone as a musical instrument. Jawbones (usually of mules, horses or donkeys) were used for centuries as percussion instruments. Though we didn't remove the jawbone, we did notice how the teeth rattled and made a pleasing sound! Our deer was even invited to a tea party, where he enjoyed sand cake with worm icing.

The skull was played with in many capacities and shown off to friends for many days before Basil (the labrador) could no longer resist the temptation... and ate it.