Thursday, March 26, 2015

Nature Study in March

March.  We had snow melting from February, then we had fresh, new snow and below zero temperatures.

February's huge snow is nearly gone, and then...
BAM!  Another oddly large snow for our area.
We had sun and 68.  We had clouds and 75.  Now its raining and 44.  Who needs the other months of the year??  March has it ALL.  Here are some photos of  our time outdoors, or the birdies at the feeders.

The beginnings of green on the tips of the trees
The first daffodil blooms, followed by...
the entire hilltop covered in the prettiest yellow blooms!
For some extra excitement, we spotted a bird we have never seen before!!  There were TWO purple finches, which our Merlin Bird ID app said was a rare find.  Go us!  My pictures aren't good, though.  The Boy tried to draw it, along with my kitchen with ants on the counter ;)  The bird is brown with a red head, as you can clearly see. *grin*

Zoomed in as far as I could get - 2 purple finches
When they got scared at the front feeder, they flew to the back.
Yes, we had ants invade the kitchen.  We checked them out closely, and attempted a drawing.

Thus concludes March, end of our unit on weather, and beginning of insects.  Since we had both this month, I would call that a success!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wednesday with Words: Idylls of the King

We are nearing the end of this epic poem by Tennyson: Idylls of the King.  This is the story of Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot and some knights of the Round Table.  I didn't know what to expect going into this (and wouldn't have even started if not for the Book Discussion area of the AO Forum!) and I'm still unsure of how I feel about this story.  I have long loved King Arthur and Camelot, and remember my parents watching the movie "Camelot" several times as I was growing up.  I loved The Once and Future King in 7th grade Lit class, and followed that up with Stephen Lawhead's books, The Pendragon series.  I absolutely gobbled them up in high school!  They swept me into their world and away.

So, maybe its the poetry that makes me concentrate harder that keeps me from feeling as swept away in the case of Idylls.  Maybe I'm just older and have less time to concentrate on pleasure reading, even if I do count it as teacher prep, since it will come around in AO's curriculum soon enough.  Or maybe it was the older grammar and phrasing used by Tennyson to tell the story.  Regardless of my feelings about the poetry, it is interesting, full of imagery and passion in its own right.  It has given me food for thought, and here are some of the quotes that struck me along the way.

The Coming of Arthur

'The King will follow Christ, and we the King
In whom high God hath breathed a secret thing.
Fall battleaxe, and flash brand! Let the King reign.'
  So sang the knighthood, moving to their hall.
Is anyone worthy of such devotion?
The old order changeth, yielding place to new;
And we that fight for our fair father Christ,
Seeing that ye be grown too weak and old
To drive the heathen from your Roman wall,
No tribute will we pay:' so those great lords
Drew back in wrath, and Arthur strove with Rome.
 I like that this gives a time and place for the story, and a reason for the wars.

Gareth and Lynette

Seer to Gareth, before he is knighted:
For an ye heard a music, like enow
They are building still, seeing the city is built
To music, therefore never built at all,
And therefore built for ever.'

Sir Kay to Lancelot, regarding Gareth:
Sir Fine-face, Sir Fair-hands? but see thou to it
That thine own fineness, Lancelot, some fine day
Undo thee not--and leave my man to me.'

Lord Baron to Gareth:
'Friend, whether thou be kitchen-knave, or not,
Or whether it be the maiden's fantasy,
And whether she be mad, or else the King,
Or both or neither, or thyself be mad,
I ask not: but thou strikes a strong stroke,
For strong thou art and goodly therewithal,
And saver of my life; and therefore now,
For here be mighty men to joust with, weigh
Whether thou wilt not with the damsel back
To crave again Sir Lancelot of the King.

The Marriage of Geraint

Geraint leaves to defend his own land...
Where, thinking, that if ever yet was wife
True to her lord, mine shall be so to me,
He compassed her with sweet observances
And worship, never leaving her, and grew
Forgetful of his promise to the King,
Forgetful of the falcon and the hunt,
Forgetful of the tilt and tournament,
Forgetful of his glory and his name,
Forgetful of his princedom and its cares.
And this forgetfulness was hateful to her.

Take note, men! Haha. There can be too much of a good thing.

I'll take up Geraint and Enid and the next few Idylls soon!  Enjoy your reading!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Random Quotes

I'll take a break from Stepping Heavenward quotes and give you a pick at a few other words I've been pondering.
"The cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears, or the sea." -isak dinesen
Isn't that great?!  I love it.  Found that on Facebook. :)  As you can see from the next quote, I have been doing some reading on minimalism as I declutter.  Its such a good feeling to see clear, flat spaces  again, and to get rid of things I no longer need or even want.
"It's ironic but true: a minimalist lifestyle leads to a broader, more varied life." - The Minimalist Lifestyle
First signs of spring - bit of green on the trees along the creek

I don't remember where I found this one, but it was said by Micael Leunig.
"Love one another and you will be happy.  It's as simple and as difficult as that."
Jump into spring ;)
My own pastor, a couple of Sunday's ago was preaching on prayer and came up with this one, from Exodus 33:12-23.  Yes, it pretty much covers it all!
"Lord, help me to know You; help me to walk in Your presence; reveal to me Your glory."
First daffodils of the year
Over at the AO Forums, we completed reading Charlotte Mason's second volume, Parents and Children.  I have so many highlights and notes from this reading!  Here are a few of my favorites from chapter 25.
"...the Divine Spirit does not work with nouns of multitude, but with each single child." pg. 273
"...let her [the mother/teacher] never contemplate any kind of instruction for her child, except under the sense of the divine cooperation." -pg. 274
"...children must have books, giving books; the best are not too good for them; anything less than the best is not good enough; and if it be needful to exercise economy, let go everything that belongs to soft and luxurious living before letting go they duty of supplying the books, which are necessary for the constant stimulation of the child's intellectual life." -pg. 280