Saturday, February 11, 2006
I have reached the conclusion that in our house nature study just “happens”.
The year started with us looking after our friend’s spiny leaf insects "Felicity" and "Cheerful" during a heat wave. Poor "Cheerful" died but "Felicity" remained very happy with the fresh leaves we brought her every few days and the thorough misting she got from me at least 2x a day as I determined to return her alive!!
Then there was the dead inchworm caterpillar moth that resuscitated itself once home in our schoolroom to live quite happily on our shelf of videos.
Next, Lachlan (4) found the largest preying-mantis we have ever seen knocking on the glass schoolroom door.
But nothing would have prepared us for yesterday's little” adventure”!! I was turning into the driveway, after dropping Caleb (16) at chess club and stopped the car near the front garden to open the gate. Creeping tentatively out from under the lavender bush I spied a flash of feathery movement. Getting out of the car and bending down to investigate I saw several baby bantams! (We have silky bantams; 7 females and 3 roosters which we were given free by our zoo when they were too young for sex to be determined, hence the 3 roosters!!)
Now for several weeks "Snowdrop" had been escaping from the backyard, returning as regular as clockwork (almost to the hour!)every to days to feed voraciously for 20-30 mins before disappearing again.
No amount of searching either yard had helped us to discover where she went. We figured she’d gone broody as bantams are renound for being but hadn’t counted on the eggs.
Our bantams are very seldom layers. We might get 1-2 eggs per week from the lot of them!
Anway, Duncan (21) and Hannah (14) helped me to rescue the mum and babies (all 7!!)from under the bush and put them in the cardboard box.
We figured they must have hatched just that morning as the inside of the egg shells were still wet and the chicks still had traces of white on their little beaks.(egg tooth?)
So here we were with a nursery to house safely and my dh who would have easily just made something up from scrap, uncontactable and 600kms away working at a uranium mine!!
Fortunately being home schooled children they are used to “thinking outside the square” and Caleb came up with using the shell of an old chest of drawers and covering it with some wire-netting scraps. It is working well. I think for the rest of that evening we were all in a state of shock!
As I watched Snowball tenderly shuffle her babes under her wings and a sound of pure contentment which sounds uncannily like cats purring come out of her throat I couldn’t help marveling how wonderful the timing of our God is.
This hen chose the stupidest place to have her chicks. Our front yard is unfenced and frequently patrolled by cats and I’m fairly certain a blue-tongue lizard! Yet barring one egg which didn’t hatch, they have all survived. (Normally on Fridays Caleb goes to chess with another home schooling mother and also this particular Friday we were planning a visit with another home schooling family. So for me to be in the front yard at that time, well!!)