Friday, August 03, 2007

Keeping the animals clean and fed

With neighbor Larry's help (he loves our dog as much as we do) we gave Tuki a bath this morning. Jesse-dog felt the need for a soaking as well. Everyone who meets Tuki wishes that they could clone her. She is a great dog. She deserved a bath- though she may not have seen it that way.

Later in the day, we noticed a beautiful Writing Spider -Argiope aurantia- in our front yard. Gillen fed it several grasshoppers and later Jesse gave it two beetles. It was cool watching the spider nimbly (and this spider is huge to be so nimble) racing over to the sudden offering to its web in order to inject it with poison.

The following photos were taken with my small Pentax optio S50, which is better for macro photos. It's a good camera if you're looking for one that isn't too expensive. Gillen's about to use it in a digital photography class. Then he can teach me.


GBK Gwyneth said...

I enjoyed the Patti Griffin song that popped up with your post. relaxing ...

I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Stacy Donck said...

I noticed that Muggles' cousin is in one of the pictures. Can you do Muggles next time you're in NYC? We miss you!

Madeline said...

Oh, Muggles! Another truly great dog that anyone could love. I miss you too.

Tamar Orvell said...

small Pentax optio S50: small is beautiful. Wonderful shots. Does it do big, too?

I love your narratives on life. Just plain ol' life — hardly plain or old. A wonder- and wonders-filled summer day . . . right there. No mall, no TV, no fast-food fixes. Has a Huck Finn, Norman Rockwell feeling in the best sense of these associations.

Music I usually deplore w my web/blog reading. This playlist thing you have set up is not all bad. Yesterday I was treated to Proud Mary! I will always love that song because I associate it w a tiny child in what was once proudly self-called "klan country" [sic and sick] in the North Carolina county where I was a school advisor five years. Little Mary with chocolate velvet skin and many tiny braids, glasses, and a great singing voice loved to sing that song. Please dear God, let it be that she thought it was written for her/about her. She sang it as though this was true.

Can you control the playlist choices? I am mildly considering adding this doohickey to my blog. Me? Square me? Could be. I would have to place a bold message at the top of the blog telling peeps how to turn the darn thing OFF. Or maybe I'd just let 'em turn it ON. What do you say?

Keep on blogging in the boondocks. Wish I had the courage to be there; always afraid of missing something . . . your blog tells me there's a lot going on. Example: your elder neighbor.

And we called unschooling homeschooling. Is there a diff?

Sorry for my too-many questions. I just got up and have loads of energy.

Madeline said...

Wow Tamar! SO good to see you here. I want to answer you here rather than by email in case anyone else had the same questions. I'll try to do it briefly.

The Pentax Optio S50 is a great camera for under $250. It does take good big pictures as well. I wanted an SLR so was so grateful to get my Nikon D70 but the Pentax has been enough, for years, and is nice and small.

About the music - I am so glad that you asked and that Gwyneth brought it up. Apparently a lot of people don't even hear it . I guess it depends on your computer? I don't know. I love being able to share music I love and to find music I don't own but really like on the playlist site so that I can hear it here. I do worry about people being turned-off by the music and sometimes a song won't play seamlessly - it has skips- so I have to take it off. That's what happened to "Proud Mary". Thankyou so much for sharing the NC proud Mary story! I'll forever hear that song with her in my mind. Go get a playlist; just click on the link at the bottom of my playlist at the bottom of this blog and yes, you control the playlist choices. People can always turn down the volume on their computer if they don't like it or can choose another of your selections or can even turn it off. Letting people know this is a good idea. I should do that.

Unschooling is different from homeschooling. Again, thanks for asking. I'll add some links to my blog, of sites that describe it well. There is no curriculum except as chosen by a child. Their curriculum is life. The parents strew all kinds of interesting books, games, DVDs, art and building materials, etc. around their homes and take their kids out into the world, both following the child's interests and introducing them to lots of new things. The idea is to keep that same pre-school curiosity about learning and life alive in our older children. That curiosity and love of learning CAN get squashed (I'm not saying it always does) in the process of being forced to learn for tests or approval or to reach some long-term arbitrarily-placed goal. The older unschooled kids that I have met are so confident and compassionate. There is so much more to say but the people I'll link to say it much better.

I am a city girl as well, so was very afraid of missing everything whan I moved out here. We do drive in to Atlanta a bunch (I hate the driving). I do miss seeing more theatre, having food delivered once in a while, being surrounded by lots of options. But I do love the innocence and slower pace of our life here.

Tamar Orvell said...

Such great help your answers. Thank you! So, to follow up —

Pentax Optio S50. Seems your amazing Pentax Optio S50 does double duty as a micro scene shooter and biggger scene shooter. Perfect. Is there a catch? I am now seriously considering handing over my regular digital to one of my little Israeli cousins and getting one of these tiny babes.

Music. My MacBook has built-in speakers. Maybe some folks have speakers they must turn on? And don't always do that? Little Proud Mary of NC: if I ever remove my printer from the factory-sealed box it has been sitting in these past 12 months, in my closet (and find the little song belter's picture) I'd use the printer scanning feature, then write a post on Proud Mary of NC! Thanks for dredging her from the back of my memory; and I'm proud (sorry, couldn't resist) to have introduced you to her.

Unschooling. Sounds like what we called open classroom or Leicester Open Plan when I was teaching teachers a while back. Nothing like it. Sylvia Ashton-Warner, whose work you surely know, was a powerful influence on this "movement" worldwide (even in public schools, NYC system among them). My master's in early childhood ed. — just a year of nothing much except student teaching and reading or meeting worldwide mentors over the ages from many disciplines. I guess unschooling is a term akin to unconference and other "un's." Open schools/classrooms/etc., got slammed, as usual, by the evaluation freaks. I imagine you have to teach your boys to take and pass those standardized tests. Absent acing these, life can be hard(er). I'll check out your links for more info. I'm an avid promoter of unschooling (except for those kids or families for whom the approach/philosphy is not a fit), I do have a few concerns, among them learning to be bored (a useful skill, especially in managing that boredom constructively, creatively) and playing w peeps not necessarily in your neck of the woods or hoods, and so on. While hacking school can be tough in every way (we have the scars to prove it), it can, ultimately, be rewarding in life-enhancing ways. For many populations, it is the only way, and the reason I worked a dozen years in public school reform.

Keep playing with and following your kids (and dog). And nature. Among the best curricula yet! and more power to you. Teaching (what YOU are doing) is exquisitely challenging.

kelli said...

Oh man, Madeline, we're freakin over your spider. We thought ours was big in the back yarn and it was only a bit bigger than a quarter *g* We don't grow those bugs as big up here, they freeze out in the winter ya know? ;) I tried to take pictures of it but had a hard time as we found it at night. I'll try and post the pics, although it looks more like a flash of light on a web rather than a spider.