We went on a family camping trip in mid-January which was a great nature study opportunity. We only went about three hours north of our home but it’s surprising how much difference that short distance makes in the local flora & fauna.
For years I’ve heard cicadas but I’ve only found their shed skins so I was surprised to find full-grown cicadas in plentiful supply while we were away. Most of them were dead & I found out later that that was probably due to the run of very hot weather we’ve had. The one below was about 3″ or 9 cm long. For an article about Aussie cicadas see this newspaper piece.
For a website devoted to them see Cicada Mania. For a poetic piece on these maddeningly noisy but fascinating creatures check out ‘The Song of Cicadas’ by Roderic Quinn.
Moozle just had her 13th birthday, while we were camping, actually, & I’d been holding off starting a Commonplace Book with her until now. I’d been allowing her to choose some of her own copywork material in the past year or so and lately she’d begun reading out passages in books that caught her attention so I thought now would be an opportune time. She chose a notebook and made a title for the front.
On the first night a fellow camper mentioned to my husband that he’d seen a large snake on the path to the bathrooms so when I woke up in the middle of the night needing to visit the loo, I got my husband to accompany me just in case I met the creature. We decided that as we were up that we might as well go for a walk along the beach, about five minutes away. So in the early hours of the morning we were looking up at the spectacular Milky Way and listening to the sounds of the sea. Living in suburbia you just don’t see the sky like that and even where we were camping just over the ridge, the trees obscured a good part of the sky. We also had a great view of bioluminescence as the waves were crashing in onto the beach.
And this is from ‘Secrets of the Universe’ (see the Science schedule for Year 7 at AmblesideOnline)
As you can see, she has been getting good use out of the watercolour set she received at Christmas. When she has done one of her more artistic notebook entries, I have her explain the concept she’s illustrated to make sure she has a good understanding of it, even though she hasn’t included a lot of detail in the entry.
The waves that ripple to the shore,
The vigorous trees which year by year
Spread upwards more and more;
The jewel forming in the mine,
The snow that falls so soft and light,
The rising and the setting sun,
The growing glooms of night;
All natural things both live and move
In natural peace that is their own;
Only in our disordered life
Almost is she unknown.
She is not rest, nor sleep, nor death;
Order and motion ever stand
To carry out her firm behests
As guards at her right hand.
And something of her living force
Fashions the lips when Christians say
To Him Whose strength sustains the world,
‘Give us Thy Peace, we pray!’
by Bessie Rayner Parkes (1829-1925)
* Bessie Rayner Parkes was Hilaire Belloc’s mother. Belloc, a prolific author, who was a friend of Chesterton, is famous for his Cautionary Tales for Children.