Sunday, January 4, 2015

Fortnight Ending 4 January 2015

Christmas Day passed in the usual way - much eating and merriment, plus the usual disasters. One of Miss 14's presents didn't arrive - and it was ordered in mid-November; dh forgot to give his mother her gift - he only noticed it after she'd left. Everybody had a good time regardless- and Miss 14's gift arrived eventually.

The days since then have been mostly relaxing (for me at least).

Miss 14 and dh have been obsessively watching series 3 of Once Upon A Time.

I picked up a new pair of glasses. They are my first pair of progressives. So far I don't like them. AT ALL. Apparently it can take a couple of weeks to adjust. I'm hoping it takes me less time because right now I feel like throwing them out and reverting to my old reading glasses!

Mr 17 was lucky enough to attend two days of an international cricket test match - believe it or not a test match lasts for five days. A friend of his had spare tickets. Our country won which made it all the better. He's now left for a week long Scout camp where he'll be working as part of the abseiling crew.

Miss 20 has been busy working extra shifts at the supermarket. Lots of her colleagues have wanted time off but she has been happy to pick up extra hours - particularly on public holidays when staff must be paid time and a half. As she said, with a grin, one morning "Twelve hours pay for eight hours work."

Speaking of Miss 20, Christmas came early for her, with a letter from the university on Christmas Eve notifying her that she was one of their senior scholarship winners.  In an amusing twist of fate Mr 22 won one of those scholarships a few years back and dh also won one, more than a few years back, when he was a student at the same university.

Miss 14 and I, sometimes accompanied by Mr 22 and sometimes by dh, have gone for several walks, with some bird watching on the side. She was lucky enough to spot a Shining Cuckoo on one walk - I missed it :-(  
The Pohutukawa is also known as the New Zealand Christmas tree. We spotted this one on one of our walks.

Since the New Year we've been out birding at least once every day - slowly working on building up our year list. So far we've spotted forty two species. Last year we managed 102. The goal this year will be to try and beat that number. The highlight so far has been an African-Collared Dove. It's our first new addition to our life list for 2015. Miss 14 tried to take a photo but her camera malfunctioned. We weren't far from home so went back to get another one but by the time we'd returned the dove had gone. Still she has managed some other nice shots.

This is the time of the year for baby birds. On one outing we enjoyed watching young scaup (L) and young coots (R).

I especially liked this series of shots Miss 14 took of the coot parent feeding its young.

I've spent some time most days mulling over plans for the current year's homeschooling. I think Maths, Latin, Geography and World Literature are sorted for Miss 14. Physics and Art History are possibilities that are still works in progress. Ornithology may or may not make it as an "official" course - I'm still thinking - possibly overthinking if truth be told. As for Mr 17, he still hasn't expressed any strong desires as to what he wants to study or thinks he should study. We'll be doing some brainstorming once he is home from camp.

My parents visited today. It was great to see them, especially since it meant my Mum's back has recovered enough for her to make long car journeys. Apparently she still needs to stop and walk every hour, but even a month ago she couldn't sit for that long.

We were delighted to discover - finally - some Monarch eggs and a couple of tiny caterpillars in the garden.  Last year we had a lot more eggs and they were laid a lot earlier. A couple of years ago the first Monarch eggs were laid as early as September and by January we'd be on our third batch. Hopefully it is just cyclical variation and not yet another sign of environmental degradation.

Tonight we're hoping to spot Comet Lovejoy as it passes over. It is supposed to pass close to one of the few constellations I can easily find so our chances are somewhat positive!

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