Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Hymn Study

I didn't have any exposure to hymns as I was growing up but as an adult I've appreciated the 
theology & the richness of the words and want my children to grow up with an appreciation
for them. I'm always on the lookout for contemporary music set to the old words and these 
versions by All Sons & Daughters are lovely. It's also easier to start older children listening 
to hymns if they have a modern feel to them.

 Nothing but the Blood

        Give me Jesus

            It Is Well With My Soul (Kutlass)

            Only three out of the six verses are included in this version.

            Be Thou my Vision

            An 8th Century Irish hymn performed by Irishman, Robin Mark.

            Monday, 18 June 2012

            Ambleside Online Folksongs

            We've been concentrating on Australian folksongs recently, and will continue to do so, but I decided to also include three Year 8 suggestions from Ambleside Online (AO) for my two older boys who are studying Renaissance & Reformation history using the AO curriculum.

            Barbara Allen:

            The Death of Queen Jane - lovely scenes on the video:

            This information was included with the video on youtube:

            'The Death of Queen Jane' discusses the death of Jane Seymour, wife to Henry VIII, (but never actually crowned as Queen) who gave birth to Edward VI of England on October 12th, 1537. Jane Seymour died twelve days later. Edward died aged 15. It is possible that Seymour was the only one of his wives whom Henry seriously loved and his delight at being given a male heir was destroyed by the death of Jane. The mysterious verse concerning building a castle seems to have no part of the rest of the narrative; nonetheless, it does appear in at least one other version of the song. The video was filmed at Dun Guaire Castle,Kinvara, Co. Galway, Ireland. The castle is open for visitors.

            Sylvia Crawford: musical arrangement, keyboards, fiddles, wire-strung mediaeval harp, finger cymbals
            Fred Johnston: vocals, guitar, bowed psaltery.

            Three Mariners

            This is the website for The One-Man Renaissance Band. He has other songs from the same time period that you may find useful.

            And last, but certainly not least, a version of Click Go the Shears, the Aussie folksong suggested at AO for June 2012.

            I must have had a fetish for the ukele - if you check over in my music post you'll see this instrument used in a classical music piece.


            The composer we've been listening to recently has been Franz Schubert.
            A good book for younger children on his life is Franz Schubert and his Merry Friends by Opal Wheeler & Sybil Deucher. 
            The Gift of Music by Smith & Carlson has short chapters on great composers and their influence but is more suited to older children.


            'I did my work slowly, drop by drop. I tore it out of me by pieces.
            Maurice Ravel (French composer 1875-1937)

            This video concentrates on the dramatic Romanian conductor, Sergiu Celibidache (1912-1996). The piece is 'Bolero' by Ravel and I think the second part of the quote above could be applied to this man on the video!

             This is a creative variation on Ravel's Bolero - love it!

            Monday, 11 June 2012

            A Week of Nature Study

            We'd just had a week of pouring rain and the only nature study we'd done for a while was on our cat, watching him jumping at shadows and pulling on the ironed shirts I'd just hung up. Then at the beginning of the next week our daughter rang (from the driveway) and said, "Dad, I think there's a snake at the front door. Could you come and have a look?” It was only a very young (dead) snake. Being the first week of winter we were surprised to see a snake, especially when we'd had such cool weather.

             This beautiful male king parrot (Alisterus scapularis) came and sat in the tree outside our kitchen window. We have a bird bath nearby and lots of small to medium bushes and trees which attract the birds and give them a refuge if they're disturbed. This is one of our favourite birds, so gentle and beautifully coloured. The female was nearby, less showy with mostly green plumage. 

            A very useful website for identifying Australian birds: http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/finder
            Photographic Field Guide Birds of Australia by Jim Flegg is a book we refer to regularly also.

             We'd kept our chickens cooped up during the deluge so they made the most of their liberty and probably got some good pickings with the rain forcing the earthworms to the surface.

            We had a nature walk this week on our suburban block which backs onto a bush reserve. Our chooks started digging up the garden and eating my pot plants so we moved them on and then decided we might as well get some kindling while the sun was out which led to the discovery of some interesting mushrooms……… 


            Autumn and early winter is the best time to observe fungi in Australia. 

            We had a bit of a hunt to find this Bracket Fungi.


            Some good fungi photos  here:  http://www.elfram.com/fungi/fungipics_o.html
            And if you really want to get serious try the Australian Fungi Website which is part of the Australian National Botanic Gardens.

            And then we had a look at some mosses and lichen.

            Did you know?

            That lichens are used as pollution monitors.
            They are very sensitive to pollution in the atmosphere so they're not often found in cities or industrial areas.
            They are called the 'termites of the plant world.'
            They were a source of purple dye in Mediaevel times.
            They are not separate organisms but are a partnership between an alga and a fungus.
            Litmus dye comes from lichen.
            Some lichen have antibiotic attributes. 
            The grey/white splotches on this sandstone rock are lichens:

             The cat decided to join us.

            The obligatory leeches. We've got a dedicated packet of salt kept in readiness for getting rid of these as someone is sure to carry some home if we've had rain.

            As I'm writing this the rain has started again and the forecast is for rain all week. We'll go back to looking at the cat's antics (indoors) for awhile I think.