Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bugs and blogger

**** I am now rewriting this for the second time as blogger has just succeeded in losing it.

Our caterpillar project continues a pace and has now been expanded to include other minibeasts. Three more caterpillars have been added to the collection since Monday. On Tuesday the larger of the two Vapourer Moths started to spin a cocoon, the other shed its skin during the night. Today the tiniest caterpillar in the whole collection, and we thought it was just a newly hatched baby, began work on a cocoon. We were greatly fascinated watching it at work under Grandpa's microscope - nature is truly amazing. On Wednesday Thea found a rather interesting spider in Nanna's garden, it had a red and white striped abdomen. A quick search on the web (pun not intended) revealed it to be Enoplognatha ovata - where would we home edders by without the Internet! If you need to identify any eight legged friends try here - certainly not a site for the arachnophobic. Recording all these creepy crawlies has required me to get to grips with my digital camera and I have pleasantly surprised myself by producing some almost half decent pics. Not bad considering I never bothered to read the instructions. Tonight I printed off some images for the kids to stick in their bug books, lovely little creations made last summer from recycled materials but unused until now. I was a bit disappointed in the quality of the images, time I think to invest in some photographic paper.

There was much excitement at the beginning of this week when our first postcard exchange arrived from Michigan, USA. The card depicting wild animals of Michigan only took 3 days to get here, I think we had better send our postcards air mail in future. Thea was quite taken by the postage stamp - a picture of Yosemite National Park. In fact she was so taken she has decided she wants to start stamp collecting or to use the posh term philately. Grandpa reckons its a great way to learn geography, he says he learnt more about countries from stamp collecting than from any school text book - no surprises there then!! To get us started he has supplied us with several hundred stamps - guess we will have those sorted and mounted in a day or so!!.
Spent some of today researching Michigan on the web.

Ten Interesting Facts About Michigan
  1. The state of Michigan is the 11th largest US state in size - 96,810 square miles.
  2. It is the only state to be separated by water.
  3. It is noted as the birthplace of the automobile. 80% of Michigan's economy revolves around the industryusty.
  4. Michigan is 50% forest, which makes it useful to the timber industry.
  5. The state borders 4 of the Great Lakes, which are some of the largest reservoirs of fresh water in the world.
  6. Boating is very popular in the warmer months. There are more private boats registered in Michigan than in any other state.
  7. The capital city of Michigan is Lansing.
  8. The largest city in Michigan is Detroit.
  9. Michigan's population is 9,938,444.
  10. The origin of the name Michigan is from an Algonquian Chippewa Indian word "meicigama" that means "big sea water".

    Michigan is nearly 4,000 square miles bigger than the UK but its population is some 50,000,000 smaller.

    James has been pestering me to go fishing so yesterday we dug out the fishing tackle. DISASTER - James succeeded in jamming his telescopic rod, I then snapped it trying to free it ****. My purse is now £8.50 lighter following a visit to Hook, Line and Sinker to purchase a replacement. Our fishing trip this p.m. achieved it usual success rate - zero catch. Hardly surprising when none of us know anything about fishing whatsoever. To try and remedy this situation we have borrowed two fishing books from the library - a little bedtime reading for me I guess.

    1 comment:

    peri said...

    It's refreshing to read positive reactions to bugs, especially spiders. I took some of our tarantula moults to a home-ed grp once and it was lovely to show the kids just how wonderful these creatures are. Lots of J's friends hace visited us to meet the spiders - I live in hope that the next generation will be more tolerant of our egg legged pals :0)