After being out of the house for five days last week I feel like we've been playing catchup all week - not only in terms of other things we want/need to do but also in terms of having some much needed down time. Much of the week was simply spent hanging out at home, reading (I noticed Miss 12 rereading The Penderwicks - an old favourite), cooking and generally recharging our batteries.
One highlight was watching a live streaming session from The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa, focusing on their prion research.
Prions are sea birds and, although fairly common in the southern
hemisphere, not many people see them because they spend most of
their time at sea. In 2011, following a lengthy severe storm, 300,000
washed up on our shores. Many of the bodies ended up in Te Papa where
they are being used for research. During the live stream we learnt how
the six different species are identified (not an easy task because the
differences are small), how a dissection is carried out and how it
identifies the age and sex of the bird , how DNA is extracted from their
tongues and what it can tell us about where the birds came from, how
their feathers can tell what they eat, plus how and why the bodies are
stored and displayed in different ways.Great stuff and also a good
insight into future career options for Miss 12. In other bird matters Miss 12 watched two of her online classes and wrote up a blog post for looking at the efforts to
conserve New Zealand's Black Robin ( at one stage only five birds remained)
and Old Blue, who was the only surviving fertile female and is the
ancestor of all today's Black Robins.
Another highlight was Miss 12 and Miss 18 going on a shopping expedition
to the mall. A highlight for Miss 18 since it marked the end of her
exams, a highlight for Miss 12 because she enjoys shopping and
desperately needed new clothes, and a highlight for me because I hate
shopping so not having to go myself was a real treat!
A third highlight was getting a large chunk of the garden planted. I'm more a fair weather gardener and more or less neglect things over
winter so there is always a fair amount of heavy duty weeding and
general tidying to do at the start of spring. Once that was done Miss 12 and I started planting.
It's not finished yet but we've got lettuces, tomatoes, zucchini,
capsicum, corn, beans, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach,
silverbeet (swiss chard for North Americans), carrots, radishes and a
few other plants in so far. We've only got a small section so we can only plant a
little of each thing - certainly not enough to fully feed us all but it is nice
being able to eat some food that we've grown ourselves.
Another highlight was the start of the fourth season of Downton Abbey. It's one of the few tv shows we watch and everybody (except Mr 21) enjoys it. Dh and Miss 12 have also started rewatching the first season of Once Upon a Time, in preparation for the second season which Dh has just received on DVD. I've never watched it but the rest of the family enjoys it - and I know Dh is enjoying having time to do things other than work.