Tuesday 5 February 2019

Summer Smorgasborg: Nature Study, Notebooks & Mother Culture

It's summer in our part of the world and it's been pretty intense weather-wise. Bush/nature walks have been non-existent except for the occasional park early in the morning but we have had some nature finds around our garden.
Birdlife has been raucous with a few new visitors some of which I'm still trying to identify. We hear the birds here but getting a good look at them through the trees isn't easy.
I was excited to spot a lyrebird in a tree as I was sitting outside. That's a first for me.

A very brief spell of rain was most welcome - that was one time I got to go out walking:

“That best portion of a good man’s life, 
His little, nameless, unremembered acts 
Of kindness and of love.”


'There are always two ways of understanding other people's words, acts, and motives; and human nature is so contradictory that both ways may be equally right; the difference is in the construction we put upon other people's thoughts...
Of all the causes of unhappiness, perhaps few bring about more distress in the world than the habit, which even good people allow themselves in, of putting an ungentle construction upon the ways and words of the people they live with...
Kindness which is simple thinks none of these things, nor does it put evil constructions upon the thoughts that others may think in the given circumstances.'

Ourselves: Kindness in Construction.

I think, if for no other reason, this is something we need to nip in the bud so that our children don't pick up our habit in this area. Or if we don't have that inclination ourselves, it stills helps to point it out as something to be avoided.

Moozle's Nature Notebook:

These two book are our mainstays. Australian Nature Studies is used as a reference while Nature Studies in Australia by William Gillies is a book Moozle reads each week.

Lots of these around at the moment: Eastern Water Dragon

Stick Insect (Phasmatodea)

Architecture Notebook & LEGO model of the Eiffel Tower - Moozle did this in the holidays. So good when their 'lessons' extend into their free time just because that's what they love to do.

Christmas bush leaves and flowers ravaged by the native birds and dropped on the sandstone capping on our verandah:

Summer Sunset from upstairs looking out over the bush:

Some cuttings left to grow roots on our laundry window sill: Nodding violet & fuchsia:

A late afternoon trip to the beach for dinner after a stinking hot day:

And this prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e'er prevail against us...

Our Natural History book by James Herriot is the second book in this series of memoirs and contains 'Let Sleeping Vets Lie' and 'Vet in Harness.' 
Called out at 2 a.m. on a freezing Yorkshire night to look at a ewe that had given birth earlier in the day, he has to strip off his overcoat & jacket to examine her:

‘There’s another lamb in here,’ I said. ‘It’s laid wrong or it would have been born with its mate this afternoon. ‘ Even as I spoke my fingers had righted the presentation and I drew the little creature gently out and deposited him on the grass. I hadn’t expected him to be alive after his delayed entry but as he made contact with the cold ground his limbs gave a convulsive twitch and almost immediately I felt his ribs heaving under my hand.
For a moment I forgot the knife-like wind in the thrill which I always found in new life, the thrill that was always fresh, warm.

Herriot's memoirs are a delightful  mix of humour, nature study, relationships, and life as a young vet. I've been reading them aloud and they are a lovely way to include some natural history.

Eastern Coast of Australia, Sydney area:


Aflyonmyhomeschoolwall said...

James Herriot has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember. I wore out one set of his books and had to purchase a new set some years ago.

You've had unrelenting heat. We've had unrelenting cold! Perhaps it is time for a change of seasons.

Your photos and musings are lovely. Thank you.

Brian Joseph said...

You raise an important point. I think thaf ascribing unkind motives to people when it is uncalled for is indeed the source of a lot of unnecessary pain in this world.

My wife is a James Herriot fan and has read the three memoirs that you mention. Someday I will give him try. He seems well worth the read for the reasons that you mention.

Lark said...

Love the photos! And how cool that you got to see a lyrebird. I'm jealous of your summer weather. It's snowing outside my window right now. And the only birds in sight are little goldfinches shivering in the branches of our trumpet creeper.

Erin said...

As always stunned by Miss M's drawings.
I have leach's book but hadn't heard of Gillies before, will keep an eye out

Carol said...

Hi Anne, I don’t know what is harder - the heat or the cold. Not that we have the intense cold here! I think I’m a spring & autumn person 🙂

Carol said...

Hi Brian, his books are just a lot of fun combined with some very poignant moments.

Carol said...

Lark, everyone’s complaining about it here 🙂

Carol said...

Hi Erin, I really like the Gillies books. I posted some links to free online versions here if you wanted to check them out:

Heather said...

A lovely collection of observations. Thank you for sharing them.

Ruthiella said...

What beautiful photos! I read James Harriot as a teenager and loved the T.V. series with Robert Hardy and Christopher Timothy.

I am with you in your comment to Anne above. I think our weather in Southern California is similar to yours and I love spring and autumn...there is no need for air conditioning or heat IMO during these seasons and dressing is a breeze.

Carol said...

You’re welcome, Heather 🙂

Carol said...

Hi Ruthiella, I’ve never seen the TV series. I think because we only have a few months of heat/cold each year we’re never really prepared for either! I lived in Tasmania for 3 years and it’s a lot cooler there & for longer, but I noticed the cold more when I moved to Sydney.

Amy said...

I love this post so much...so thoughtful with Miss Mason, nature, and I love the Wordworth...thank you for sharing!

Carol said...

Thanks, Amy. I'm enjoying your winter photos.

Celeste said...

These odds and ends posts are always some of my favorites, Carol -- so much food for thought, and of course I love the notebook photos too! :)

Carol said...

Glad you enjoy them, Celeste. They’re a bit of a scattergun approach 🙂