Monday, November 29, 2010


Today, I showed the kids how to have a good time! Actually I think it was more about gratifying my desire to go mudsliding once I saw that impressive puddle in the yard!  It took a while for Kalea to get the hang of it with lots of demonstrating from myself and Tyger, but she did as you can see. This pic was taken just before Tyger took a header right into the mud puddle! He thought it was hilarious.

It only took 10 minutes of rain for this huge puddle to appear, the rain that hit this afternoon was pretty intense and torrential, we all got drenched and had heaps of fun before heading inside for a hot shower. It was only as we ended our fun that I realised the cop next door had all his cop friends over and they were standing out the back with beers and watching us all. They seemed to think it was amusing! I guess adults don't ordinarily go hooning around in the mud and rain very much, let alone heavily pregnant women hahaha

We were just about finished eating dinner when the power went out. The kids opted for a game of Go Fish by candlelight over watching a dvd on the laptop until the battery ran out. We had loads of fun and then the power came back on so Kalea went off to do some drawing and writing. It is swimming tomorrow so we're all off to bed early!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

One of the "best" days

Kalea proclaimed today as one of the best days of her life. She has quite a few of those! And it was all because she got TWO scoops of icecream, not one, when we stopped at that icecreamery thats in the middle of nowhere, after swimming.

Swimming went well. Tyger was more scared than I thought he would be but he handled it very well and wanted extra time after the class was over. Kalea shivered the whole time, the skinny little thing she is, even with the heated pool as it was cloudy/sprinkling the whole time. Both are looking forward to going back!

On a side note, Tyger found two moths at the pool, and even brought them both in to have ice-cream with him. It was amusing seeing them lined up on the table next  to  spots of icecream!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The rainbow that sparked it all

The kids "found" a rainbow today which sparked a lot of youtube watching on how rainbows are made, light refraction and somehow went off down the bee tangent of what beehives look like and how bees get nectar from flowers. Then finished on an elephant beetle note where they were watching elephant beetles fight each other over food.

Another bee species!

Tyger discovered another bee species in the yard today. I thought it was just a blue blow fly but he kept insisting it was a bee. I wasted 30 minutes looking for pictures of blue flies until Tyger told me more about where he found it, collecting nectar from flowers. Found it within 30 secs of changing the search keyword from fly to bee. Doh!! He does know his stuff!

It is a cuckoo bee. Here is a pic off the net of one; from Aussie Bees

It doesn't build its own nests but lays eggs in other bee species nests usually the blue banded bee. Tyger is in the yard again now, trying to see if he can find other bee species other than the fire tailed resin bee and the one cuckoo bee he found.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Visiting friends

We went and visited homeschooling friends who have a property backing the Clohesy river today. Not much of a river at this time of the year, more like a perfect creek, shallow enough to wade, and deep enough for the kids to do a little swimming and splashing. They all found a bunch of frog eggs in a little shallow depression at the water's edge. Not long after, they found a frog. Not the usual green tree frogs, but some interesting golden/brown frog.

There were a lot of little learning tangents going on. I noticed that Tyger was attempting to copy the older kids who were swimming and floating. It will be great once they are both swimming! Kalea spent some time on the enclosed trampoline, jumping around and also playing in the cubby.

Tyger had a bit of an adventure with his friend, they both took off in the long grass and it took us a while to find them! Everyone was exhausted after coming back to the house, watched a bit of tv, then we left. Both kids were asleep by the time we got home.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kalea's pets

Kalea caught a baby green tree frog, the cutest frog we've seen to date, beautiful colour, including the underbelly.

Instead of keeping it in her plastic aquarium cage, she decided to leave it in the mailbox where she found it, and make the mailbox more frog-friendly so  it would keep coming back to it during the day for shelter. She's been putting wet leaves and foilage in the mail box daily. Thankfully our mail hasn't been TOO soggy!

Here's the pet gecko that Kalea kept for a few days in her cage before letting it go. Its tail dropped off and wriggled all around when she picked it up, much to Tyger's horrified surprise! Kalea also said she saw the gecko change colour too. We think it is an Eastern Dtella (Gehyra dubia) common tree gecko.

The Bee Buzz

Bees have been a big interest these days with both Tyger and Kalea. Tyger especially, has been spending a lot of time watching the bees and following them around. Here are some of the photos they've taken with the iphone;

Those two are of the resin cells the bees have made under a shelf in the carport. You can sort of see one bee going inside its cell.

Tyger also captured a bee. He said he waited until it crawled inside this flower, then he grabbed the flower with his hand, and then put it in a plastic container.  He did this AFTER being told that bees sting!

It was impossible for him to get a clear photo of the bee as it was pretty pissed off! I had to delete over 100 photos variants of this photo:

And here is the dead bee that I photographed. The kids found a couple of dead bees in the dirt, one was half eaten by ants and this one was still whole - enough to identify it with Tyger's help as he has seen a lot of them alive and buzzing about!

Tyger and I went looking on the internet to see if we could identify it and agreed on it belonging to the Megachile family. Narrowed it down to the Fire-tailed Resin Bee (Megachile mystacea) with the help of a fact sheet here, the Brisbane Insects website and a photo gallery here on Australian native bees.

We've also been reading a book that Kalea found at the library called "What's the Buzz?: The secret life of bees" by Margery Facklam which has photos and loads of interesting information. The kids also liked "Bush Secrets" by Tricia Oktober, which is a gorgeously illustrated book talking about native bush animals to Australia. Bees also feature in it!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Neighbourhood socialisation

We also had neighbourhood kids visit today. I'm not sure how many there were, at least 5 or 6, and I was surprised to see that a couple of older toddlers still in nappies were accompanying them as the oldest can't of been any older than Kalea.

They had a really kid-friendly dog that joined in the play, walking around wagging its tail and not jumping. They had fun playing with the street chalk outside, and Kalea bought out work books and colouring in stuff and they all gathered to colour in - even Tyger!

Everyone had a good time, even the 3 girls next door who came to their side of the fence to chat and play ball across the fence.  Once it started to get dark, goodbyes were said all around and off everyone went, home for dinner, completely unprompted!

More animals

Tyger found the moth, and was quite attached to the moth. He kept it as a pet in a cupboard, in a closed room, and in a box that he "furnished" with leaves and flowers for a few days, til it disappeared.

It was quite a striking moth too, with beautiful colours.

And here is a photo of Kalea's grasshopper. She managed to get it in the house, but then it got away from her and was un-catchable after that!

Gathering food

It all started with this weird fruit resembling a strange looking kumquat in appearance and size, only with black, jelly like pulp inside. Tyger had already sampled it prior to my knowing. He insisted it was blueberries when I explained about not knowing what the fruit was and to not eat it til we knew. Kalea and I both said it was definitely not blueberries!

Turns out he was closer to the truth than we knew! The fruit was finally identified as a "Blackberry Jam Fruit" tree, also known as Randia formosia, a rare tropical fruit.  And it DOES taste like blackberry jam without the sugar!

This sparked a lot of interest in both Kalea and Tyger. They spent a couple of hours in the yard, examining the trees. They discovered the world's tiniest strawberry on our strawberry plant (at long last we get a strawberry!). Tyger got to eat it after they agreed Kalea would have the next one.

They also found a lemonade tree (incorrectly identifying it as a lemon tree cos of the smell) with heaps of unripe lemonade fruits. I am in heaven and cant wait to eat them!!! They discovered an unknown fruit tree and agreed to not touch it until we identify it. They also bought me a coconut from the coconut palm to open up for coconut milk and coconut. It took a good 20 minutes of hacking away at it to get it open! I also saw there were banana trees in the yard and mentioned it to the kids who then recognised the tree sans fruit as we had a banana tree with fruit at a previous house.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Ginger Horde

Kids have been at me for ages to do gingerbread people, so we ended up doing that today.

Kalea's Ginger

Tyger's Ginger

After making their gingerbread above, they promptly went off to eat them. As you can see in Kalea's photo, she couldn't even wait for the photo before taking a chomp! Tyger went overboard with the smarties so he could have more smarties. Guess that was smart of him! 

The Ginger Horde

Thursday, November 4, 2010

DIY Pets

It all started this morning with Tyger's nimble capture of a garden lizard / skink. He put it in a jar and I showed him how to make breathing holes for it. A few minutes later he came back asking what they eat, so we looked it up on the net.

He had Kalea's attention by this time so they both went out to dig for worms, catch ants, flies and other small insects. They didn't have much luck as they were digging where the ground was hard so I explained about worms liking moist earth. Then Kalea came in to ask how one would catch ants without squishing them!

Eventually they upgraded to a cardboard shoe box for the skink's home, and then decided to let it go when they couldn't catch it any food.

Four homeschooling friends came over and a lovely huge rainstorm hit. The kids had a ball outside getting wet and found a green frog which jumped inside and under the couch to get away from them I presume! They caught it and Tyger was asking what food the frog would eat and Kalea wanted to know how to keep the shoe box wet without breaking it for the frog. 

Such a cute frog. Here are 4 of the kids above, watching the frog swim in the gutter. They seemed a bit surprised it could swim!

Now Kalea wants to know what she can use to catch a bird with. I just laughed at that. I can see that one being successful... not! 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A random unschooling moment

At the beach playground today, I was sitting at the table with a friend. The kids were playing and then ran up to sit with us. Tyger wanted to use the pen. I asked if he was going to write his name and he drew the first letter of his name and as I prompted him with the other letters, he wrote them all except the last one from memory and didn't need help! Admittedly I was a bit surprised as I've only noticed him recently paying more attention to letters and sounds and only showed him how to write his name once, a few days back.

Not wanting to miss out, Kalea wrote her name too, and then my friend's toddler (P) wanted a go, so her mother wrote her name down for her and Tyger piped out that it was his name (because he recognised some letters from Ps name that were also in his name! He also recognised another letter which was in Kalea's name which isn't too surprising given the amount of times Kalea writes her name down on pieces of paper to give him.

It is interesting to see the difference between the two kids and how they pick up different learning and skills at different times and also at different speeds.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Crown Making

After watching a DVD on medieval times, Kalea decided she'd make herself a crown. She had all the supplies she needed out on the floor at 9.30pm and Tyger wanted in on it of course.

We spent the next couple of hours colouring in paper and cutting paper and taping / stapling paper together to make crowns.  One of those days we'll get a new digital camera, the phone is really poor for photo taking inside! Now this is something a schoolkid wouldn't be doing on a school night - staying up late, making messes! Yay for natural learning : )

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Playgroup with the little ones

I had a lengthy appointment today so the two children went to the neighbourhood centre's playgroup session where there were a lot of younger kids. The family support worker went with Tyger and Kalea for supervision and said they were very gentle and considerate of the little ones and were invited back anytime! Pity the group is on Wednesdays which is one of the home ed group scheduled meets.

We also went swimming in the afternoon with our "borrow-a-granny". She's the mum of the family support worker who is visiting from England and has been doing some practice speech sessions with the children. It was FREEZING at the pool - overcast and a biting cold wind! Tyger had plenty of bulk and activeness to keep him warm but poor Kalea's lips slowly turned blue and by the end she was shivering even in the larger heated pool so we hit the showers and went to the fish and chip shop for hot chips.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


We saw Mariposa today (butterfly woman). Tyger and Kalea both enjoyed the time spent with her as she had two boxes of fine sand and shelves and shelves of figurines and objects to choose from to play in the sand pits. It was really interesting seeing the different play styles and choices between the two kids!

Then from there, we went on one of the local boardwalks to see what animals we could find before heading home for hot showers and hot chocolate. We were rained on pretty impressively on our walk!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


At the Gardens today. There was a guided tour on the Aboriginal medical plants. Tyger was more interested in examining plants and identifying them from a brochure he found. Kalea was happy to hang out with the group and listen to the guide talk, so I spent my time with Tyger looking at plants and flowers and taking photos of the ones he liked. He managed to correctly identify 3 plants from the drawn pictures in his brochure and came close with the rest, identifying similar looking plants. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bird eating spider meets spider eating bird!

It was quite an interesting sequence of events this morning. We had a huge spider web complete with spider across one of our windows. We were sitting there eating breakfast when a bird flew by, and then came back and proceeded to attack the spider! Tyger was very loud about insisting the bird "stop bugging the spider" and shoo'd the bird off. We thought the spider was dead but Kalea saw it move. Apparently it was faking it.

We're off to the Botanical Gardens tomorrow. Today we discovered a really awesome playground/park right next to a shallow creek. Will be going back there to wade in the creek and look for yabbies!

Monday, March 15, 2010

A treat!

We wandered around town today and had a lovely time. I was not looking forward to getting the car serviced as it meant killing a couple of hours in town with two kids in tow, however we made the most of it! The dealership was very nice and dropped us off in the middle of town so we didn't have to walk.

We checked out the local Salvos and Kalea found two gorgeous outfits for under $2 each. Tyger wasn't interested in clothes but I found some shorts and a couple of shirts he liked when I showed him. Tyger chose a plastic toy shoe with windows and a door, like the old woman who lived in a shoe's house. He has been keeping all his collectibles inside it and is very attached to it. Well worth the $1.50!

We window shopped along until we found a cafe and had burgers, milkshakes and lovely conversation. On the way home, we stopped at an icecreamery in the middle of nowhere for some really good icecream made right there on the spot. There was a large glass window to view icecream in the process of being made. The kids were more interested in which flavour of icecream they were going to eat though!!

Friday, March 12, 2010


Kalea wouldn't let me take a photo of her dragon so here is Tyger's. His was made in a hurry as his attention span at the time was limited, there were too many distractions going on. Kalea's dragon looks more dragonish! This is from the library crafts session today, and the books today were dragon themed of course!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thunderstorm at meet today!

There was a massive thunderstorm at the home ed meet today.  As we made for the covered area at the park, it started raining.

Once we were all under cover, we realised a stray dog had come along for the shared warmth and shelter! She was very sweet and mild mannered around all the children.  

Kalea spotted two cockatoos hanging upside down in a large tree sheltering from the rain. She thought it was hilarious. Kalea seems to get along with K really well and they ended up playing hide and seek. Tyger enjoyed running and riding around the park on the bike track with the other kids and seems to have worn himself out!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Kalea drew this for me last night and wrote Mama under it. I just can't get over how cute it looks! We've had a busy two weeks plus about a week of being sick which was a nice break. It gave us all time to focus inwards and do our own thing.

Kalea spent a lot of time drawing, writing words and doing ABC printouts. Tyger spent his sick time alternating between watching Sesame Street and sleeping. I hope the weekend goes well for the kids as we've got another busy week next week!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

By the river

We went for a walk by the river while we were visiting at a local's house. Her 4yo daughter played rope games with Kalea at the other end of that rope in the picture. Tyger and the 7yo boy pulled and pulled on the rope which was tied on to a floating ramp in the water. It was very large and heavy but those two boys managed to pull it around to the dock! This kept them entertained for a good 30 minutes!

Other interesting things found on the walk through reeds and mud next to the river were grasshoppers, golden orb weavers, the occasional butterfly and dragonfly. Around the muddy water near the docks, the children found water spiders, blue dragonflies, loads of tiny toads or frogs, and tadpoles in different stages of development.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Castles, dragons & unicorns

After reading about dragons, unicorns, knights and castles during the library reading session, the kids were given the task of making their own castle. Now we know what to do with all those toilet paper rolls, paddlepop sticks and aluminium foil!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Kalea and Tyger had a great time at the beach today with the homeschooling group. There was quite a big turn out with a couple new people.

Tyger spent his time playing ball games with some older boys, exploring, climbing trees and playing with toys.

Kalea spent her time playing on the swings, reading her book with a few other kids, climbing trees and exploring. We nicked off for a quick swim as well which was refreshing given how hot it was!

A good day all around, bonus being one of the new people is local to our area and we can organise local meets on the side of the larger group.

Water Dragon species

This is what we found on our front stairs this morning. Definitely not a goanna, it seems to be a type of dragon. Unfortunately the photo wasn't good quality (phone photos!). A young homeschooling friend has identified this as an Eastern Water Dragon - see here for a better pic and more info.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Power cut

We had the power out for more than half a day today. It was aggravating as it was hot and sunny. We made it til noon then headed to the library for airconditioning only to see the street chock full of electricity company trucks and lots of people fiddling with the power lines. Sigh. When we got back home, the power was still out and it started thundering and raining hard so I sat down on the couch outside to watch the rain.

Kalea came out, sat next to me and muttered so darkly "I hope THOSE people get wet!". It was hilarious as I was just thinking that I hoped they electrocuted themselves while working on the lines in the rain. Just to clarify I asked her what people she was talking about and she said "The ones who broke the power!"

Glad to know I'm not the only one thinking sour thoughts about the power company!

On the plus side, we got a lot of reading in at the library, plus a lot of cleaning and art stuff done this morning.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Science experiment website

A friend just sent me this link. It has some interesting experiment ideas on it! The children want to make the duck call one to call some ducks! I don't think it quite works like that if there are no ducks in the immediate area!

Golden Orb Weavers

We have heaps of those outside our windows. Even had one living right over the washing machine but it wasn't having much luck catching food so it moved!

No pictures unfortunately. I did try taking some with the phone but they were crap quality, not worth putting up. We had a google around and here are some websites we found on the Golden Orb Weaver;

Learning Spark Orb Spider
Spiders in the Wet Tropics

And curiously a few sites said those spiders don't actually eat birds.... had a chuckle when we then came across this news article - Spider Eats Bird

Tyger counted 5 spiders, Kalea counted over 10. Turns out there are 5 large golden orb weavers with quite a number of other smaller spiders living in a symbiotic relationship sharing the big webs. Or they might be the male species of the golden orb weaver. I'm not getting close enough to look!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Reflections and Rainbows

Tyger was outside playing with a spraybottle filled with water. Suddenly he came running to me to tell me he had 'found' a rainbow. He showed me how if he sprayed in a certain place it would reveal a rainbow!

Kalea was telling him it was because of the sun, so Tyger tested spraying in other places out of sunlight and announced there were no rainbows there. We talked a bit about how water and light reflects images, and how white light is made of different colours which are seen when the light is refracted by a prism.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


We've been all over the place in the last few days. Lots of to'ing and fro'ing with tiresome errands but in the middle of all that we managed to get to the library twice and to the beach once. We have books on cicadas and cassowaries that we ordered in and the kids are engrossed. They want to visit a beach where a pair of cassowaries can usually be seen wandering up and down the beach but it is a ways away so we will have to plan for that - maybe a camping trip.

Of new interest are the large spiders that have taken up residence outside the windows. We've got one over the washing machine as well but that one doesn't seem to catch much as it is still the same size it was when we first saw it, compared to the ones outside the windows. The kids have been watching the spiders catch their food. I've offered a few times to help them identify the spiders on the net by pulling up some pictures for them to look at, but they were more interested in youtubes of Astroboy cartoons. I didn't even know Astroboy was STILL around!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Australia Day

Australia Day Printouts - Colouring in pages, crosswords, find-a-words

The shops were all shut today and the kids wanted to know why. They weren't that interested in the information but Kalea is happily colouring in a picture of the Australian flag. Tyger is playing solo Guess Who and appears to be winning heh. When out we used some coins from the car to get sausage rolls, a chocolate milkshake and stopped at an icecreamery literally in the middle of nowhere for $1 choc chip large cookies.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


is on the path to recovery. Today is one week since she's been getting her ear drops and the hair is growing back just under her ear, she is more active and not sleeping as much. We were told two weeks of ear drops so we will continue with those for one more week. Yay Dino!


Since that day at the park where one of the home learners had a makeshift kite, I have seen Tyger and Kalea experimenting with aerodynamics frequently throughout the days.  It started with Tyger wearing a plastic shopping bag on his back and zooming up and down the driveway with it billowing up behind him. Kalea was quick to join in once she saw him at it.

It progressed to them throwing shopping bags off the verandah and then to paper planes. Today I saw Tyger playing with a makeshift paper plane I had not seen before  - a piece of paper and a peg.

It wasn't working very well, then I saw Kalea come up and adjust the peg and the plane became more effective. I asked her about it and it turns out she came up with the idea and was throwing those peg planes off the verandah earlier and knew what worked and what didn't. Tyger had modelled his off hers but missed the subtleties of where the peg should be positioned and how the paper was folded up. Here's a pic of Tyger's peg plane!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Oh noes!

This morning when Kalea woke up and discovered the power was out she said so dramatically "OH NOES! There is no POWER! That means we have no lights, computer, tv, fridge, fans or AIRCONDITIONIN!"

It was quite amusing especially given we don't have fans or airconditioning. At least she appears to have a good idea of what requires electricity!

It is rainy weather here today, excessively so. We popped out to reading time at the library and then came back to torrents of water. We have little waterfalls and rivulets all ove the place much to Tyger's delight. He's been outside sweeping leaves up on the driveway to create corridors for the drainpipe water to run down. Kalea wasn't too keen to get wet because it was cold, but now she's gone out wearing a towel over her head. A drawback of not having a dryer, we run out of dry towels FAST when its raining!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


We checked out the local library today. Kalea immediately got stuck into looking for books she was interested in and wanted to borrow. Once she was happy with her pile of books, she sat down to read some young adult nonfiction books. I suspect she was looking for words she recognised on the pages.

Tyger played with some puzzles on the floor and shared pushing a car back and forth with another child. Then he spotted the children's computer and went to have a look. He found some children's games and did okay at Chicken Invaders. I had a chuckle when I turned around and saw him playing that game. Ah childhood memories of playing Space Invaders, such a simple arcade game but mesmerising nonetheless!

When I was smiling about that, Kalea came up with a book "Puff the Magic Dragon" and I remembered a movie from childhood - Pete's Dragon. Will have to find that for the kids.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Falls and Dinner on Beach

We saw a waterfall today. Tyger was quite awestruck by how much water there was and Kalea seemed to enjoy standing there looking at it. It was interesting to note that both children were tentative about approaching the railing. They aren't usually so wary, the waterfall must of been loud!

Then it was off to the beach for dinner with family. The children caught and cooked their own dinner - their first taste of pipis. There were many exclamations about how yummy they were and a few "Hey! There's sand in some of them!". I explained about putting pipis in a bucket of salt water for a while so they would spit out the sand before cooking them.

I like pipis too but didn't get many as the kids were so into eating them! By the time they wanted more, it was dark so we got out the torch. That didn't last long though as a woman came by with a large dog and warned us she sighted a large crocodile up the beach a little way. So back to the BBQ area we went quick smart!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Breakfast taken care of!

I woke up this morning to discover Kalea was already up and had made breakfast. I enquired as to what Tyger was eating out of a bowl and he said "Pancakes!". Groan. Uncooked pancakes to be exact. He was in heaven. He likes pancake batter better than  pancakes (unless its beet pancakes then he'll eat those!). Kalea put the rest in the fridge for me to cook later, cleaned up after herself and put the food away. I helped her make Choc & Pear smoothies. We ended up putting a banana in it and more honey as pear doesn't go very well to smooth out the tanginess of kefir.

We have a sick rat with an ear infection. We made a quick last minute (45m) drive to the vets yesterday before they  closed to get the rat checked out. Tyger was quite friendly with the dogs at the vet awaiting their appointments and was very interested in the posters on the walls of cats' skeletal and muscular structure. We have to do ear drops for Dino the rat 2 times a day. It is not going to be easy to get her to stay still!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pancake goodness

Today Kalea got up and made pancake batter. Then she asked me to cook the pancakes in the frying pan. Her pancakes turned out waaaay nicer than mine. I suspect its because she used more sugar and eggs!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

At the Park

With the home learning group!

This creek was very boggy and smelly. Yuk. Tyger ended up sitting in it hence him runnng around naked for the rest of the time! However the tadpoles were worth it apparently!

Kite flying with a home constructed kite.

Exploring the creek further up - found lots of yabbies in this pool!

Found all the kids at the top of the hill, playing quietly around this
- a memorial to a 16 month old called Oliver.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cicada Pinup

I got sick of the cicada piles all over that the kids kept moving around. I gave them the cardboard from the printer box and showed them they could pin their cicada shells up like a display. The Brown Bunyip is on the left side, they reckon they'll find heaps more adults to pin up. We'll see about that, they're hard to find! They also had a ball cutting up the printouts they asked for of the cicada off the computer and gluing it on.

Cicadas... again!

More on cicadas today. In between eating beet pancakes and watching Naruto, Tyger came running in with another cicada shell. No big news there. However he also had found an adult cicada, this time a dead one. Naruto was forgotten (but not the beet pancakes!) while Kalea observed it wasn't the same type we saw yesterday and asked to look it up. Much to her delight, she discovered it was a Bunyip!

The common name for this cicada appears to be Brown Bunyip, scientific name Tamasa tristigma.

We found two new websites to add to our collection. CSIRO Entomology and Cicada Mania (Australian section) which was really handy. Kalea wants to tell Cicada Mania about the Green Baron and give them our photo so I'm emailing them and then I'm going to be dragged outside to look for more!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cicada Discoveries

A few days ago, I noticed a couple of cicada shells on the posts of the carport. I thought about pointing it out to the children but decided to wait and see if they'd notice them and be interested. Today, Tyger came running into me with a handful of cicada shells - way more than those two I saw!

I pulled up google image search and Tyger's eyes widened as he identified the pictures as being what he had found. He yelled for Kalea and she came to have a look, she asked Tyger where he found them, and we all went outside to look at the carport posts. Found one he had missed. Came back inside, looked up cicadas on youtube. Kalea and Tyger were both fascinated by the sounds and Kalea mentioned hearing the sounds before.

We came across this marvellous video which showed the life cyle of the cicada; (NOTE: Those are american cicadas who are seen every 17 years. Australia's cicadas are seen annually)

It was very interesting. We watched it a couple of times, and then had a discussion about how we could find more shells and Tyger decided the best time to look for live cicadas would be at nighttime when they came out of the ground to climb the trees. When outside with the camera, looking at the trees, we found more shells, and Tyger pointed at marks on some trees that looked like cuts and observed there were no eggs in them. After looking at heaps of trees, we found one! A LIVE adult cicada, with pretty wings. The children were so excited (and I have to admit I was too heh). Kalea is very eager to go out tonight with the torch to see what we can find.

The rest of the cicada discovery photos we took can be viewed in the Cicadas! set on Flickr. We've identified the live one we saw as Psaltoda magnifica, the Green Baron from this page.

Australian Websites on Cicadas

Enchanted Learning - Cicada print-outs - scroll down page a bit to see them.
Free Cicada Printout - (WORD DOC Download) (ADOBE PDF Download)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Rainforest walk

All up this was a 1.8km walk. We walked some of it, ran some of it. There were a few slippery spots which we carefully navigated. On the way back, Kalea started whining so I ended up piggybacking her for some of it. Tyger's got more stamina and endurance than Kalea, but he used up energy running and ended up needing to sit for a little bit. He also complains a whole lot less! While sitting he discovered a black worm (or so he said) and gave it to me. I yelped and dropped it. It wasn't a black worm. It was a freaking leech!

A very pretty creek crossing!