Monday, 27 August 2012

Who's bugging you?

I love bugs. I think they are the most amazing creatures. They are so tightly evolved and integral to the cycle of life. They are each unique, beautiful, freaky, lovely beings.

And I like taking pictures of bugs. Ok. I like taking pictures of all kinds of things, but especially things that you can really get up close to and peer into a vastly other world than the one we perceive day to day.

Here are some of the visitors we have been graced with that I have managed to photograph.

Darner Dragonfly:

Predator par excellence. A sharp aerial hunter, they eat on the fly, clearing the air of mosquitoes.

Bumble Bees (possibly the Hunt's Bumble Bee?):
Bees are my favorite. What is not to love about bees? They make honey! They pollinate fruit and veggies. They are the watermark of the health of our environment. And the perceive the world in a very unusual manner. . They live in a fast world. They can see the beating of a bee's wing. They see the world 5 times faster than humans. I like to try to imagine what that would be like. Cool, but woah! Slow down!

And they dance to communicate. What is not to love about these guys?

and another kind, maybe the Bombus firgidus?

Here the two are sharing one flower. That's some nice intra-species diplomacy.

And of course spiders: I think this is a garden variety Orb Weaver. A most misunderstood creature- usually, with only a very few exceptions completely harmless, shy-- just think of Charlotte. Their web spinning is enough to cause me awe. I love walking outdoors early in the morning and catching the glimpse of dew on the freshly woven webs. Delicate beauties.

this wolf spider thought s/he was camoflauged:

And another graceful beauty- some sort of daddy long legs, for lack of a better name? Long jaw spider? I haven't been able to identify it:

Golden rod spider in my raspberries!

xo Jo

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Gettin' Messy with the kids 3: Cloud Dough

This was a lot of fun. My almost-three-year old loved it, as did the baby.

It is easy to make, but the experience comes with a couple of caveats for the parents. Of course, if you do this outside, then there is nothing to worry about!

In a big tub mix flour and baby oil. This is what most of the recipes I have seen call for.
the ratio is 8:1 flour to Oil. We did 1 cup of flour and a 1/4 cup of oil. This seemed to work well.

Caveat #1: Do not use baby oil if you have kids who are "tasters", ie. likely to "taste" the flour. Mine had to taste it, despite my warnings, and they were pretty sour mouthed about it. One recipe I saw used canola oil and the user said it work the same as baby oil.

Play freely and crazily! My toddler was a little unsure about the oily texture at first, but he soon got over it and had a ball.

He had so much fun that he had to climb right into the tub. He then told me "we are having so much fun!" Yes, we were.

Caveat #2: If you do this inside, your floor will get not just dirty, but oily- baby oil oily, which means it will be dangerously slippery-- and hard to clean. This is where using a vegetable oil would probably, again, be a better idea since it is likely easier to clean than baby oil. Of course if you do this outside, then there is not much to worry about.

We got out some containers and filled them, packed them, etc... it was fun. And then we put everyone in the bath.

We will do this again!

xo Jo