Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A lesson in camouflage

Collecting the washing from the line just before yet more rain gave the kids a chance to explore "camouflage". 

Here is a moth as we found in on a piece of clothing.....

A quick look underneath revealed a pretty underside....

Here is a better look at the underside patterns...

And camouflaged again on a plant base...

We identified this moth as a Red-lined Geometrid.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Grassy box gum woodlands to end a year of work

I decided to spend the last day of work for the year out in the field... as the kids were already on school holidays they came too.  We went out on an excursion to an on-farm grassy box gum woodland - here are some photos from our day. I think the pictures speak for themselves.

We were exploring some of the wildflowers - spring is late here as we were at about 900m ASL.

Here's a Blue Pincushion - Brunonia australis.

The kids got into recording the plants they saw.....

Our youngest boy ended up with a list of over 15 local wildflowers for the day (as a botanist I got a rough list of 45 species so I think that's great effort for a seven year old)

This is a close up of the flowers of the Blue Devil - Eryngium ovinum

The Blue Devil - flowers in bud

The star-like arrangement of the flowers on the Blue Devil

The kids found lots of snake skins... there must be lots of shiny snakes getting around

Exploring animal habitats in a grassland - the kids found a small scorpion here.

 A Fringe Lily - Thysanotus tuberosus - I love the fringes on the edge of the petals in this species. 

All in all we all had a great morning out exploring nature and it was a great way to finish work for the year. 

Thanks John for being the caretaker of such a great grassy box gum woodland.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Harvesting summer berries

Last year we planted three types of bramble berries (raspberries, loganberries and boysenberries) in the back yard and we are now getting our first harvest - just a year on.

The kids cannot wait to get out and harvest a small container of berries each day.

It has been great to see the excitement the kids show at harvesting and eating foods from the backyard.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Making our straw bale gardens more permanent

When we started our summer tomatoes, squash and eggplant in straw bales it gave us a chance to see how the location of the gardens went with the paths the kids and dogs use in the back yard.  They have proven to be ideally located.... although one bed had to be moved a little to get it out from under the clothes line.

Here is our strawbale garden just after it was put in place..

With the locations settled on it was time to make the beds more permanent.... I took the chance to get the kids to assemble some raised garden beds after school... there has been no homework in the last week before summer holidays.

The beds were about the same size as two strawbales...so with minimal disturbance to the bales we now have two raised garden beds. 

With the new raised edges on the gardens the tomotoes and eggplant should have better protection from the dogs and soccer balls.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Local gifts for the kid's teachers

This year we are giving the kid's music and school teachers local produce as thank you gifts.

We have such a range in Orange - it's great. 

It is also a great way to make for a more sustainable Christmas

What are you doing to make for a more ethical and sustainable Christmas this year?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Reviving old picture frames

We have a series of photos from our early hiking and travelling days in our hall - they are close to 20 years old and starting to show their age.  Dad had often remarked that we should update them and I hadn't really known what I could update them with - until Dad suggested some of the kid's artwork.

Being the end of year - school desks are being cleared out and artwork is coming home daily.  So we are selecting some of the kid's brightest and more colourful art pieces to replace our more tired photos in our hallway. 

The result is great....

and the kid's are so proud of their mini art gallery.

We will soon be sorting through the rest of the paintings and drawings to get a selection to wrap the Christmas presents in - this was a great hit last year.

PS - I have just included a "like" button on our blog- I have met many of you who read my blog through work but I rarely hear from you. Sometimes it would just be nice to know that you are reading and enjoying our blog.  So if you enjoyed reading please send us a :) by clicking the "I enjoyed ready your blog" button at the bottom of each post.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Home made Christmas Cards

We have decided to try to not to get caught up in all the commercialism of the festive season this year and make a more sustainable Christmas... here is another thing we have done.

Home made cards - photos printed from our 2010 family snaps and mounted on 100% post consumer recycled card (cut up manila folders as that was all we could find), decorated with more cut up recycled manila folders.  They will be posted out in 100% recycled envelopes.  They look great and we are going to have lots of fun choosing which card we will send to all of our family and friends.

Are you making your own cards?  Or maybe you are choosing where you buy yours from?  Make your choice of cards a more ethical and sustainable one .

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A special thankyou..

Got this hand painted treasure as a thanks for teaching this year.... Thanks B-L L and the rest of the class.