B12 and I are continuing our study of ecosystems with another family so we made the most of the good weather last week to take another field trip. I shared pictures of our first field trip here. Our trip last week was to a local woodland area with many trails which pass through various types of ecosystems. B12 & P12 were on the lookout for the flora and fauna in each different area but ended up being most interested in the birds we saw.
After waiting and changing location a couple of times B & P’s patience with the chickadees was rewarded.
We saw this little nuthatch next.
The highlight of the day came just as we were about to finish our walk. A barred owl swooped through the woods ahead of us. It passed a few feet from B12’s face and then landed in a tree about 15 metres away. We went as close as we could and I snapped a few photos. I’ll include the full photo first to see if you can pick it out; the camouflage is superb. (click on photos to enlarge)
Did you spot it? We wondered what it was doing flying around in the middle of the day. There is a bird sanctuary in the area so perhaps it had a day pass.
For more photos visit my Photo of the Day board on Pinterest
A friend and I took our 12 year olds to Mer Bleue this week as the introduction to a unit on ecosystems. Mer Bleue is a bog and it turned out to be way more interesting and picturesque than they were expecting.
We enjoyed some relaxing family time and some fun with friends as well. It was lovely to have Andrew’s mum here with us to celebrate Christmas and experience a bit of Ottawa winter. As always we were spoilt by Andrew’s excellent cooking; the turkey was done with the new Smokenator 1000!
While the superb weather continued we took our visitors to Gatineau Park to enjoy the colours and the sunshine.
For the last week we have enjoyed the company of guests from Australia, a family we met in Wollongong in 1996 and have been friends with ever since. They visited for Christmas and New Year in 2008-9 so have experienced our winter. This time they were happy to avoid wearing all the winter layers.
Their children are very close in age to our children and a good time was had by all. We spent one day in Montreal visiting the science museum in the morning then walking through the old town and up to Mount Royal in the afternoon. There was one exhibit in particular which kept everyone intrigued as they tried the 26 “hands on” activities including the giant bubble maker.
When school ended and the summer stretched out ahead of him B10 had one purchase in mind. J11 across the road had just bought one and was kind enough to let B try it out numerous times. When B had the money and had done the research we set out so he could buy his own Ripstik. It looks like a skateboard but has only two wheels.
He has fun around our street but what he really wants is to be taken to the skate park.
Both ways involve chocolate!
The girls and I have recently been involved in two very different fundraising efforts. Both were raising funds for the same cause: the Stellae Boreales tour to Iceland in June/July of this year. Nobody loves fundraising, but our ensemble does get creative at times. Our yearly November concert is always followed by a silent auction and last November one of the parents generously offered to host “An Evening of Fine Food and Fine Music”. It was bid for and bought by four couples. L16 was enlisted to provide musical entertainment between courses along with another senior musician in the ensemble. I volunteered to be sous chef and A14 was called on to serve at the table. Vicky, the chef, hosted it at her house and prepared nine superb courses in her tiny kitchen!
The dinner was a huge success. The musicians played a duet after the guests had enjoyed their amuse-bouche. Guests were then seated for the next two courses before enjoying the first sonata of the evening. The main course of Arabian Nights Stuffed Quail followed, then L16 played her sonata with our fabulous accompanist Judith Ginsburg.
There were several more courses and two more fine performances from the musicians before guests, chefs, musicians and serving staff adjourned to the living room more than satisfied with the fabulous food, music and company.
I had a ball assisting Vicky in the kitchen. She had prepared almost everything in advance so my main task was plating up. For dessert this involved a little “chocolate artwork” with of course a musical theme.
I decorated the plates in advanced and whisked them away to be retrieved later so I could add slices of chocolate terrine with balls of mango and raspberry artisanal sorbets.
All the courses were delicious; Vicky had prepared enough for her staff as well! The event was deemed a huge success by all and will hopefully be repeated next year.