Praying Mantis Eggs!

My dear friend, Dawn, called us up one day asking if we’d like a mantis egg sack. They had them at their local garden centre. Sounded like fun. As it turned out, the egg sacks we pretty pricy so we decided to split on one. As Dawn and her kids had already experienced the mantis eggs hatching, they opted for us to care for the egg sack and then take some of the wee little hunters home with them once they hatched.

The night before last, as I was getting ready to turn in, I thought I’d check on the egg sack. I almost dropped the jar they were in! I wasn’t prepared to see so many tiny mantids crawling around!  They lasted the night in their little new world until we were able to release them. Dawn came over with the kids and we let some of the mantids free in our yard and left some in the jar for them to take home.

Mantid-hatch Mantid-jar

Before we released the praying mantis babies L went to check on the ant larvae. Wow! Those ants sure were busy! Sorry this video is vertical – I don’t know what’s wrong with me! I went back later to check on the larvae and they were all moved underground. Guess overturning a rock will make ants move their babies in no time!

We totally geeked out on taking photos with this new macro lens that Dawn had found online. It’s super awesome for a smart phone. Stephen laughed saying we were taking photos for about 45 minutes and the kids had already lost interest and gone on to do other things together. What can I say, we like taking pics!

Mantid-3Mantid-1Mantid-face

I wasn’t sure if these little hunters would find any food but I was amazed at their prowess! An aphid and an ant!

Mantid-aphid Mantid-ant

I managed to get a video of each: (sorry for the vertical one again!)

Along the way I happened upon one of many ladybug larvae that we have happily found in our yard.

Ladybug-larvae

I caught this ladybug larvae eating an aphid about a week ago. Man, aphids have it tough!

Why do I always take videos vertically? Haha!

If you want to learn more about the praying mantis visit Dawn and Annie’s awesome blog Mud Puddles to Meteors! You’ll find a ton of cool info about nature and a ton of pics (surprised?)! ;)

 

 

 

Summer Solstice

We had a wonderful time celebrating the solstice at a dear friend’s place with some great families. The boys had a super awesome time and the adults got some good chat and chill time too.

The landscape was so different from our back yard city-space so there was much to explore. S’mores and other foods were eaten over a very cool fire pit (darn, didn’t take that picture!).

The kids were deeply invested in a Nerf gun game when it was time to go so thankfully everyone left at the same time. I always say a mass exodus is the best plan when you must bring the fun to an end.

I am very thankful to have such amazing friends with which to share and celebrate the longest day of the year.

Feeling blessed.

Hope you had a wonderful solstice as well!

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Snap Circuits fun

snap circuits

Last night I had a crazy urge to start purging things like books, toys, whatever really. I love a good purge.

In doing so, I had to rearrange some of the boys’ shelves. Whenever this happens they are bound to find something that they haven’t used in a while that is really cool. That’s the down side of shelves, they are wonderful for storage but are great enablers for forgetting about things as well.

Tonight I asked the boys to organize the kits and they ended up making another neat contraption. Xman asked me to take a video so I decided to post it for him. I used my point and shoot camera so the end of the video is out of focus. (Really gotta buy myself another DSLR body so I can control video – my lenses are very lonely…)

Gosh darn it though, gotta say, I love Snap Circuits!

 

Inviting the animals

Early in the week I bought a new bird feeder as a way to invite more species into our yard. We’ve had many a Blue Jay, European Starling, Morning Dove and Black-capped Chickadee which we love to watch.

The first few days with the new feeder didn’t show much action until our other feeder was emptied of it’s contents which was a hodgepodge of seeds. This new one holds only black sunflower seeds.

A couple of days ago, to our surprise and total glee, we got a visit from some new birds! We figured them out to be American Goldfinches, a male and female. So very exciting for us to see these lovely and brightly coloured birds visit our yard and it got us all looking anew at bird species and comparing their size to the boys – a blue heron is as tall as L. Wow! That’s a big bird. ;)

Our goldfinches seem to be taking over the feeder – maybe there will be babies in the making? Look like we have some new neighbours for a while. :)

At this point I really miss my DSLR body that I sold. I had a thought to grab it and a long lens then realized the lens is no good without a body to put it on. Ugh! I sold my old body and haven’t gotten a new one yet. I had to use my point and shoot 5x zoom and crop – the horror. But, hey, better than nothing and if the couple stays for the season I’ll get some good pics when my new camera body comes home to stay.

19May2014_Goldfinch_01 20May2014_Goldfinch_01Just added:
We have now seen a male cardinal as well!

The boys are all excited and are delaying lunch so that they can sit outside and bird watch. They have their binoculars and their bird guide in hand and the two goldfinches are on the feeder.

They have notified me that we also have a house sparrow and a chipping sparrow.

Warms my heart. :)

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Sunny days to remember

There has been a lot of rain this past month, as is expected for April. Now with May here there are a few sunny days for which we are quite happy and getting outside when we can. Of course, today, it’s rain as it is a Saturday, a day for getting outside! So, to honour the sun god, I’ve posted a pic of our glorious day last weekend, outside with no schedule to adhere to. Something to remember. :)

Submarine Playground

Scoopin’ Poop!

That’s right. We were scooping’ the poop yesterday and we had such a great time!

A friend of mine introduced me to one of her friends that owns two alpaca and a big pile of poop. Jen needed to get rid of the composted poop and we were more than willing to help knowing that our vegetable gardens would thank us!

We all had a great time learning about the alpaca who are native to South America and related to the camel. See that split front lip? Just like a camel. And their poop looks pretty much like a rabbit’s but bigger.

Both L and Xman had new gloves bought just yesterday as they love helping with the shovelling in the garden and their old ones were no where to be found. This is the worm we found in our yard while digging the day before. It’s a beauty!

worm

With new gloves they were excited to help scoop. L lasted a few minutes then found it of more interest to feed Jack and Carl. Understandable. They are just so cute!

08May2014_Alpaca_0308May2014_Alpaca_01

08May2014_Alpaca_05L did eventually come back to help scoop with Xman while I took some pictures. Eventually, I got in trouble by Xman for not holding the bag and scooping. Wow, I never expected him to take this so seriously, he was right into the poop scooping and loving it – he just needed someone to hold open the bag! He scooped until the end! He’s my poop scoop trooper!

08May2014_Alpaca_0208May2014_Alpaca_04From time to time we all got a bit distracted by the newfound red backed salamanders, centipedes and pill bugs. I think the boys found five salamanders. It was hard to get a picture of one as they are pretty wiggly runners!

08May2014_Alpaca_06Here’s Jen with her awesome animals! Thanks Jen! I think in all we packed up 17 bags total and I can say for certain that we all had a great time!

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Make and Listen

Hello! It seems like I haven’t been doing much posting lately. Guess I’ve needed a break from technology wherever I can these days. Down side is that I have been getting behind on reading some of my favourite blogs and commenting.

We had a lovely visit with Dawn and the kids yesterday – we have so much catching up to do but the hours go by so quickly and the kids are playing so loudly (happily!) that sometimes it’s hard to hear! Dawn also hand delivered the Star books from the giveaway at Mud Puddles – so excited to dig into these with the boys! Thank you, Dawn and Annie, your site rocks! The boys love looking at all of the wonderful nature photos.

Gotta say I’m glad that Dawn is a day late with the Make and Listen Along post for the week because I just haven’t gotten to much posting and had something to share this time around. So a quick post then it’s off to swim lessons and the eye doctor for my checkup after my LASIK surgery I had done last Saturday. Still healing but wow it’s so nice to see without glasses after 30 years! Look at all of the contact cases I’ve collected over the years! Off they go to the second hand store (yay!).

contact-casesLast week while looking for a bachelorette gift for a friend my boys and I came across some neat cookie cutters – a great excuse to make easter cookies! There are three different cookie cutter shapes: circle, rectangle, and heart. You slide letters into the bottom and press these into the cookie. Very fun!

easter-cookiesI haven’t done much sewing lately but I’ve been wanting to make these cases for the boys for at least a year. We don’t give a lot of gifts for easter and try to make it about the season, celebrating spring and new life, so these little owls seemed to fit into the giving. I had a great time hand sewing these up to fit their iPhones (our old ones). They also got a Pokémon book (of course!) and some animal spirit cards. It’s all about the animals over here!

owl-cases

As for listening, it’s been the usual CBCR2 with a little Happy thrown in amidst the sound of the raindrops as of late.

Mother Earth, she is yawning and stretching after a long sleep, and slowly waking up. That is nice. :)