Sunday, March 2, 2014

Week Ending 2 March 2014

Outside my window... there are sunflowers and honey bees, cicadas chirping, the scent of sweet peas and caterpillars getting ready to turn into chrysalises.

In our homeschool this week… we've been doing very little book work. We've been out and about far more than usual so we've cut back the bookwork to a minimum. We also finished a long term project that should have been done weeks ago. The learning was fun. The polishing and tidying up loose ends to get it into an acceptable form for sharing ... not so much!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…  Too many this week. They've all been good but I do wish they hadn't all happened on the same week. Mr 16 added an extra cricket practice to his schedule on the very same week that Miss 13 had an extra trampoline class - a make up for one she missed the previous week due to birding. Of course they clashed. On Monday dh and I went out for breakfast - a very rare treat. I think it's a year since we last went out together. It was our wedding anniversary and some of the kids had given us a voucher for Christmas so it seemed like a great time to use it. Also, on Monday Miss 13 and I attended the first evening meeting for the year of our local birding group.The annual garden show has been in town this week and the Monarch Butterfly Trust had a stall there, educating the public about the insects and what we can do to help them. Miss 13 and I volunteered for a couple of days. It was great seeing the sense of awe and wonder on people's faces as they watched a butterfly hatch or a caterpillar transform into a chrysalis right before their eyes. 

Dressed up as a butterfly to promote the stall.
The Monarch Butterfly stall .

Just a couple of the beautiful gardens. Our garden at home looks nothing like either of these!
This garden commemorates the earthquakes. The umbrellas represent the shelter people sought in this park immediately after the quakes (at the time exhibitors were setting up for that's year's garden show which had to be cancelled) and the 185 leaves on the water tree represent each of the 185 people who lost their lives.

There were plenty of sculptures including this one of  Haast's Eagle, one of our many extinct birds. It was a little too large and a little too pricey for us to consider buying though!

We also volunteered at a Farewell to Godwits event. Bar-tailed Godwits breed in the Arctic but migrate south during the Northern winter. Several thousands spend that time in one of our local estuaries, Right now but they are getting ready to make the long journey back north for the next breeding season. The city council runs an educational event just before the birds leave and they wanted local birders  to talk to the public and share their scopes. Miss 13 was happy to help out and we spent two hours talking to some of the two hundred people who attended. As the tide rose it was spectacular watching thousands of birds all rise and fly to a new, drier roosting spot. We were also fortunate to see a juvenile Black Fronted Tern right next to a juvenile White Fronted Tern. The first time we've seen either as juveniles, and very handy for comparison purposes! 

My favourite thing this week was… reading. I finished Kate Atkinson's Life after Life, then opted for a little light relief in Jojo  Moyes Last Letter from Your Lover. That was quickly finished and, due to the library's reserve system delivering them both at the same time, I'm currently reading Joyce Maynard's Labour Day and Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries. The latter (set in New Zealand, by a New Zealand author) won last year's Booker Prize. It's great when I have reading time and lots of mental energy. If the mental energy is a little lacking I go for Labour Day instead.

Around the house.. things are a mess. Hardly being home all week seemed not to result in little mess being made, but it did result in no one having the time to tidy up. I also desperately need to clean out the garage. Since Mr 21 moved our we have a variety of now-surplus furniture in there, meaning the car does not fit. I'd like to rectify this soon.

I’m cooking… whatever there is a lot of in our garden, or in other people's gardens. That currently means lots of potatoes, beans, corn, tomatoes and zucchini. Sweet and sour bean salad is a favourite with everyone, and  a zucchini, garlic and mint salad with balsamic vinegar is nearly as popular. Burritos stuffed with lots of corn and tomatoes among things are also well received. I'm also sticking to my plan to try at least one  new recipe a week. I have a bit of an addiction to collecting recipes and they tend to linger, untried, in an overstuffed box. I'm trying to cull the collection and actually use the recipes I have before collecting any more. 

I'm thinking about ...the future of this blog. I started it a year ago in the hope of connecting more with a small group of homeschool bloggers whose blogs I enjoyed reading and who had children a similar age to mine. However, many of them seem to have stopped blogging (it wasn't me, was it??). On the positive side this space is serving as a good record of most of our family's highlights and I'm much more diligent about posting here once a week than I am about  maintaining  a handwritten diary or journal. So I'm trying to decide whether to continue as I am , to stop blogging, or maybe blog more and get involved with  some of the middle school/high school link ups.

I'm looking forward to…catching up with my friend in the coming week. She's been overseas for over a year and has just arrived back in the country so am really looking forward to seeing her again. I'm also looking forward to a quieter week at home (at least until the weekend). 

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)... . I always enjoy Julie Bogart's blog and this recent post resonated with me.


  1. Love your pictures. I am so ready for Spring and for Winter to go away. Warm days, flowers blooming, and trees with green leaves. Can you tell that I have me some Spring Fever! We have been watching something that your bird loving daughter might be interest in. Tell her to Google Berry College Eagle Cam and watch the pair of eagles raise their eaglet.

    1. Thanks for the tip Diane. We're going to check it out right now.

  2. Oh my goodness your Sunflower is GORGEOUS. I am with Diane, all your pictures make me want spring and summer so badly!! Those gardens are all beautiful. As always I love all your birding adventures! I love your blog!! I have had a blog since 2008 and we LOVE going back to different years and seeing what we were doing in the same months. Please keep blogging!! :)

  3. Nice to be on the other side of the season envy for a change! Just a few months ago I was the one looking at photos online and wishing for summer.