Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Nature Study Day

Wow. It's been a busy few days since I last posted.

Mum came round on Monday night and had dinner with us. I cooked salmon and salad. (Actually, didn't cook the salad). The kids were pleased to see her. Luke showed her his new bedroom. That evening me and Mum went to the cinema to see The Lake House. We didn't really know what we were going to see. It was very good - Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. The both live in this lake house at different times and they fall in love through letters which travel through time to each other in this mailbox outside the house. Ok, it sounds awful, unbelievable, but it was actually very good, very believable, and a good evening out.

Yesterday the kids and I had a nature study day. We've been meaning to do it for a few weeks. So we left the maths books at home and set off with some paper, pencils, a camera and some reference books. The plan was to drive to my parents plot of land, where they are currently building a house. But on the way we stopped at Corbet Lough as all the swans were on land and waiting for company. Luke didn't like them at all and I had to carry him. He got panicky if I went too close. But Sam and Jude were in the middle of them collecting feathers.

There were two old fishmen there, getting their fishing rods ready. Sam sreamed "look its a Turkey!" and the men thought it was hilarious. So one of them started to tell him that it was a duck (a muskovy duck or something). He told them about how they are farm animals, and very tame like pets. He said that a pair of these ducks had been living at the lough for 2 years, and so someone must have dumped them there. He told them both stories of his childhood living on his Fathers farm. Then the other old man got his binoculars out and let the kids look at the wild birds in the distance. He taught them a bit about the wildlife in the area. They both said they enjoyed talking to the kids as it was very unusual to meet children who are interested in nature any more.
This is Sam with the 'turkey' duck.

So then we carried on to the field and building site. At the site we studied all the wild flowers. The kids took photos of every wild flower they found, and samples of some of them. They also drew sketches. They noted down any wildlife that we saw in the area. We found all sorts of wild flowers including scarlet pimpernel, sea holly, wild water mint, daisy, chamomile, foxgloves, and more that I can't remember without looking in their sketch books. They seemed to really enjoy it. Luke enjoyed exploring the half built house more than anything else. We had our lunch in Grandad's caravan and then headed on to Tyrella Beach. Here are some of the flowers that we discovered...
Sam and Jude with their sketchbooks at the plot. And Sam studying foxgloves.

This is a very bad photo that I took of the house. You can only see about a quarter of it in this shot! I will take a better one next time, with all the lovely fields around it. Well, we had no plans to visit the beach. If we had, I would have packed towels and clean clothes! I thought we were going to play in the sand dunes. Which we did for a while. Even Luke slid down some huge dunes. But then the kids wanted to go for a paddle. When they said paddle I invisaged bare feeted wading through the shallow water. But no! Paddling to my children means swimming up to the neck fully clothed! Oh yes. Sam and Jude took their shoes off and ran to the water, and little Luke ran after them, completely unafraid of the sea. He came back once to tell me that the sea was chasing him. He was a bit unsure whether this was normal. So I reassured him and then he ran back into it. He would have swam out to sea with his older siblings if I hadnt have called him back! Sam and Jude had such a great time in the sea. There was no one else on the beach. They had to strip all their clothes off to get back into the car and I popped into Peacocks in Downpatrick. They had a sale on and I managed to get t-shirts for 25p and trousers for £1. So they didn't have to freeze for the evening.

After the beach we drove to my Mum's house for dinner. Luke was so excited to see her. He didn't want to leave at the end of the day, and begged to stay over (on his own, without Sam or Jude). Aww. Sam and Jude shattered Mum by constant talking and examples of plays and dances that they had either made up, or Sam had leanred at stage school. Mum fitted me out with a complete new wardrobe of clothes that she has slimmed out of. I've never had so many nice clothes and now I need somewhere nice to wear them! At the end of the day the kids were shattered and had such great fun. It was far more educational and beneficial than school. Sam said it was like his birthday day out. It was one of those magical days that the kids will remember when they are grown up. And we caught some of it on camcorder too, so that we can watch it in years to come.

Peas in a pod???
Two drowned rats!


steve said...

sounds like i missed a really great day. One of the great reasons to home school!!

Grandad Peter said...

Sams "turkey" is a Muscovy duck, we had some in our early days at The Glenn. Looks as though you all had a lovely day, I've printed the pics and they've blown up nicely, now I can take them down to show G Granma.

hannah said...

Cool, that sounds like fun. Will you take me on one of your educational trips? I'd love to learn useful stuff about nature etc that I was never taught in school.

Alyx said...

Oh, what a wonderful day! I love having those kind of days with the children (I keep the memories close to me too). I have older children and I feel like I missed so many good times because I had to work to support us. I am blessed because for some reason, they still love me. =)

I loved reading about your day.