Spring at our house

Close your eyes

and do not peek

and I'll rub Spring

across your cheek-

smooth as satin,

soft and sleek-

close your eyes

and do not peek

-Aileen Fisher

Warm weather is here to stay in So. California, ( I hope I hope...)

We are busy hanging bird feeders, gardening, and playing outside with the kids. I got out my inline skates yesterday...I have to say that I remain a steadfast lover of the old fashioned roller- skate. Sky says he will order me a pair, so he can see if I can still 'shoot the duck'. Funny, I don't remember being so concerned with falling, years ago...

I heart poppies.

arm-chair bird watching

Exciting times at the bird-feeders outside our window; we have two outside our big front window- this one here is technically a squirrel feeder. I placed it in the backyard to bribe the squirrels to leave my bird-feeders alone. So far we have mixed results...

Seen here are my favorites, a pair of band-tailed pigeons. Seldom seen in the city, they are larger then regular pigeons and have yellow feet, not pink. A royal class of pigeons.

This bird was very exciting- and hard to catch a photo of... it's a male black-headed Grosbeak.

This one is maybe the female Black-headed Grosbeak... Mrs. Wonderful Neighbor told us what bird it was ( I run to her to show her my pictures in my digital camera because to me the birds always look like 5 other birds in the bird book) but now we are debating if that was what she said, I thought she said it was another type of grosbeak...though good luck remembering which.
We were pretty excited about this one, too- it looked like a sparrow on steriods.

Last but not least....

well, she thinks she's pretty special...

Bird books that are helpful; The Burgess Bird book - a favorite Charlotte Mason resource,
Kaufman Birds of North America,
Stoke's backyard birdfeeders guide


I just love it when learning comes as easily as breathing. Yesterday, the whole family was out in the street, playing football with the neighborhood kids...when I looked behind me and saw a small swarm of bees in our yard. I gathered the kids to make a run for the neighbor's house across the street...but we noticed the swarm move to the corner of our yard and get smaller.
It was a spring-time swarm looking for a new home, and they picked our fence. The first photo most of the bees are inside the rock column, but you get the idea...

Today, as we loaded up the van to head to the library, my 3 youngest students began asking all manner of questions about bees. I picked out several books on bees of course, and a dvd. I think we have our science for the month decided on...

So far, we have Bees (under the microscope),
Honey in a Hive, and Time for kids-Bees!

Frozen- some link fun

This looked like a lot of fun...

watch the video, it is really well done, and a fun prank...

Dawn over at By Sun and Candlelight did a post on her bird feeders, it was inspirational- they are very much into bird watching at their house, and she gives some tips on how to attract birds to your yard. Makes me itch to go fill up our feeders, which I have sadly neglected.

I found this post on Tips for using the Handbook of Nature Study... Which is a book I have, ( a really neat old copy of) but I don't get it out very often. This Handbook is a Charlotte Mason favorite, go check out this post and blogsite, it may inspire you to get your handbook out, or at least inspire you to go for a nature walk.

Link-reading book recommend, squirrels

Dawn, over at By Sun and Candlelight wrote up this book recommend on a Cynthia Rylant book. We really loved Cynthia Rylant's "Mr Putty and Tabby" series- really a sweet read for beginner readers. Anyways, this new book is about a red squirrel- and we like squirrels. -at least so far, they just moved onto our street about a year ago, so for now they are still a new treat! Dawn gives some good links on squirrels and even one with photos of a drey. If you don't know what that is, go on over and see... I have Dawn on my bloglines list, she is very crafty and very into nature, she inspires me to get outside and do more.

Squirrel Nutkin

We have a regular visitor to our yard, we've named him squirrel Nutkin, because he had a rather nasty encounter with our cat and lost part of his tail. After it happened, I was so afraid he had crawled away to die somewhere and I kept watching for a tail-less squirrel. I think this is the one, his tail is much less "plume-y" then the other squirrels...

Here is Nutkin at the squirrel feeder we put up to hopefully save our bird feeders for the ..birds.

Today we spotted Nutkin perched on one of our sunflowers, eating the seeds. Exactly what we had in mind for those...

"But Nutkin was excessively impertinent in his manners. ...Nutkin danced up and down like a sunbeam; ...This looks like the end of the story, but it isn't...Nutkin pulled so very hard that his tail broke in two, and he dashed up the staircase and escaped out of the attic window. ...And to this day, if you meet Nutkin up a tree and ask him a riddle, he will throw sticks at you, and stamp his feet and scold, and shout- 'cuck-cuck-cuck-cur-r-r-cuck-k-k!'. The End. "

Robins and Shakespeare

Sunday afternoon we were returning from lunch, when I began exclaiming loudly over a pair of birds I saw in our tree. Sky thought that at least something or other must be on fire, but no- I was beside myself because I thought I spied two robins in our tree. Being right in the heart of OC, I have never lived in a neighborhood with robins. A few years ago we were at a nature preserve about an hour away, and I saw a robin there..but Robins are not birds we normally live with. I ran into the house to get the camera so I could show our neighbor, who is a real bird watcher...but, they flew off. I hope they come back to visit. Our neighbor said that this was the right time to see them passing through, since they are migrating.

Today we joined a group of homeschoolers for Shakespeare in the park, tho today it was in the house, because it rained. We sat in while a very talented mom read Cymbeline. She had a large group of children clustered around her feet, supplying answers as she asked them what happened at the last reading. I was really impressed! My older two thought the story really good, and want to read the whole thing now, since we missed the first half.

Did I mention it rained today? It was a light rain, the chickens seemed to enjoy it. the cat did not.

April is poetry month, so I will leave you with yet another poem:

The Secret

We have a secret, just we three,
The Robin and I and the sweet cherry tree;
The bird told the tree and the tree told me,
And nobody knows it but just us three.

Of Course Mrs. Robin knows it the best
For she built the -oh, I can't tell you the rest-
And laid the four little somethings in it-
I fear I shall say what they are any minute!

But if neither the tree nor the Robin will tell
I'm sure I can keep the sweet secret as well,
Though I know that when baby birds fly all about
The wonderful secret of spring will be out!