April 1, 2013

backyard birds and bedtime books

wild quail in our backyard
On Saturday last weekend, we were entertained by a group of six quail in our backyard while we ate breakfast. I didn't dare open the back door, so I took a photo through the window. I love quail, and they are so funny to watch! They are cautious, always making sure the coast is clear, looking like they are carefully tiptoeing from one place to another so as not to attract any attention, or running faster than one could imagine under a nearby bush if anything is suspicious. Then they pop back out if everything seems okay. One or two sometimes perch on a rock or bush as the lookout. Now that they've discovered the seed that spills on the ground under our birdfeeder, I expect we'll see them more often as they wander through the neighborhood. Great reason to have a dining room with windows to the backyard! We also saw bunnies a couple times last week, so adorable. Totally makes up for missing the quirky squirrels we used to watch at our last house. I was worried we might not have much good backyard wildlife here, but I'm happy to be so wrong.

books: recently read, and under consideration
As I mentioned in a post last summer, I cherish time spent reading to my kids. Since then, we read Dolphin Diaries #1 and decided we need more of those and found some at garage sales, but we're waiting to find the next one in order (same as the Dive trilogoy which is on hold for #2). We read The Dog Who Wouldn't Be by Farley Mowat, which is full of fun and crazy stories about Farley's childhood with his unique and entertaining dog during hard times in Saskatchewan, Canada. We followed that with another delightful vintage (I read from a 1969 copy) boy-and-his-dog story, The Wolfling by Sterling North. This book is historical fiction and gave quite a touching and eye-opening glimpse into the rural Wisconsin life of kids growing up in the 1870s. We just finished that last week. A few side trails that give background information may confuse younger listeners, but we (my kids are 12 and almost 10 now) made it through okay with periodic explaining and review, and enjoyed it very much. (added bonus: I think any chores they are asked to do will seem pretty easy after hearing that story!) Now I am considering what to read next.

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