Cats: Up Close and Personal with Observations #1

The Handbook of Nature Study has lots of interesting things to do to observe your cat or kitten. Many of these activities I hadn’t ever thought about before so I am grateful for the guidance of Anna Botsford Comstock.

On page 265 of HNS:“This lesson may be used in primary grades by asking a few questions at a time and allowing the children to make their observations on their own kittens at home, or a kitten may be brought to school for this purpose. The upper grade work consists of reading and retelling or writing exciting stories of the great, wild, savage cats, like the tiger, lion, leopard, lynx, and panther.”

Page 265 Observation #1:“How much of Pussy’s language do you understand? What does she say when she wishes you to open the door for her? How does she ask for something to eat? What does she say when she feels like conversing with you? How does she cry when hurt? When frightened? What noise does she make when fighting? When calling other cats? What are her feelings when she purrs? When she spits? How many things which you say does she understand?”

Our answers (given by my boys) Our cats give a soft meow when they want to go outside or they just sit by the door and wait. They sit in front of their empty dish and look at you when they wish for something to eat. They will rub up against you or jump up on our lap when they want a little “conversation”. They hiss when they are hurt. The give a pitiful meow when they are frightened. When fighting, they hiss and put their ears down and chase each other through the house. They purr when they are enjoying a good pet and are relaxed. They will come when they are called “kitty”. They come running when they hear the cupboard door open where their food is kept. They will jump down when you say sternly “down”.

I think they did a good job answering the questions.

We will continue next week with our cat activities.

https://handbookofnaturestudy.com/2010/05/ohc-spring-series-7-mammal-study-cats.html

Paper Wasps-A Work of Art


You need to click on the photos to enlarge the photos and really see the wasp nest.

My dad found this paper wasp nest for us to look at in the tree behind his house. It is sooooo big I can hardly believe it. It does look like something has pulled it down and you can see the actual honeycomb cells that are exposed. Here is a better shot.

The texture of the nest itself is truly amazing. I found a resource online that says that they make the nest from a papery pulp of chewed up wood fibers mixed with saliva.

Page 378 of the Handbook of Nature Study has a lot of very interesting information about wasps in general.

Another great day out.

https://handbookofnaturestudy.com/2012/06/ohc-more-nature-study-book-4-yellow.html

 

Honeybee: Gardens that Help


In the latest issue of Organic Gardening, the cover article is all about bees. I had heard how honeybees had a bad winter last year and there are far fewer of them around but I hadn’t taken the time to find out what it was all about. Interesting stuff. The article brings out that scientists estimate that “more than 30% of the nation’s 2.4 million honeybee colonies died out over the fall and winter of 2006-2007″ due to Colony Collapse Disorder. 35 states reported damage due to CCD. The damage was as high as 80-90 percent of their hives for some beekeepers.

What can we do to help the situation as home gardeners? The article brings out some easy steps that can make a difference. I always start planning my spring garden during the cold winter months so this article came at the right time and had lots of practical ways that I can plan my garden to benefit the local honeybee population.

Here are some ideas from Organic Gardening:
1. Plant flowers that are blue, purple, violet, white or yellow. The article suggests leaving the dandelions and Dutch clover in your lawn. Tip: Visit your local nursery and buy whatever you can find that has bees on it. My tip: Color and lots of it.

2. Skip flowers like marigolds and hollyhocks, impatiens, and salvia. The flowers are too dense for the bees to gather much nectar.

3. Try to plant for a three season bloom. The article says, “Spring is tough for bees. Common spring bulbs like tulips and daffodils aren’t attractive to bees. It’s good to have fruit trees or flowering shrubs to cover their early season needs.” Some choices they list for spring are calendula and wild lilac. For fall they suggest sedum, asters, and goldenrod.

4. Bees stay longer in gardens at least 3 to 4 feet in diameter.

5. Bees need a water source.

The article was very enlightening and will help me plan my garden to include plants and flowers that can help my local honeybees. This is a great way to tie your study of insects into your gardening time. I am planning on keeping track of which plants have bees on them. I know they *love* my spanish lavender and I have it planted in two long rows along the edge of my garden. Even now in the middle of November it has many bees in it every afternoon. I have observed bees in my cosmos that are left in the back of the garden. The plant doesn’t look as nice as it did in the middle of summer but the bees seem to enjoy it. My neighbor’s rosemary plants are always full of bees so that might be a good plant to try too.

It may not seem like each individual garden can help but according to this article about bees, we can.