Saturday, March 31, 2012

Education by hands-on

A couple of weeks ago I said goodbye here. That's no good. Instead, I'm continuing, but perhaps in new directions. My blurb at top indicates this shift. I've decided I don't need a new blog--this is mine and I can blog here all I want. Amazing, the things technology allows. So onward---

Let's study animals, now just any animals, but ones exotic to us. My sister and I recently experienced animals of the wild up close and personal. We drove down to Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch: African Safari Texas Style between Austin and San Antonio and were simply awed by the way the animals ran free (except for a few). I learned about God's profundity with the free range animals.

Here are some of my favorite photographs (note: one can take awesome ones up close and personal). That's my sister hand-feeding a nilgai, a sort of antelope found in India. (No, hand feeding is warned against...)

My feeding experience came with this beauty, a gemsbok, an African native and member of the oryx family. According to the Wildlife Ranch booklet, the gemsbok was kept in Ancient Egypt for sacrificial purposes. I think they are much happier on this ranch! He certainly had fun poking his head into the car, sniffing out the sack of food we were given to feed the animals out side the car!

This is the scimitar horned oryx, also native to Africa, standing with a huddle of babies. Such a fine pair of horns! The male is able to make a deep croaking sound like a bullfrog. I thought they were beautiful!

If you look closely, you will see the giraffe's tongue extended. We don't know why he was putting his tongue out and in over and over, almost as if he were exercising it. Hmmm, we don't know, but it was interesting!

The mighty ostrich preens. She pulls feathers through her beak, one by one, to transfer oils along each one. The ostrich is the largest bird in the world and originates in Africa. All are born with gray feathers. While females remain gray, males turn black by adulthood. An ostrich weighs 200-300 pounds.

My sister remembers learning from some animal program that zebras are, well, rather temperamental. Perhaps looking at stripes all day on self and fellows makes them that way. Up close, that mohawk-mane adds to the rep. But, what gorgeous, unique creatures! I'm so glad we found two zebras this day on the drive through Wildlife Ranch. Although neither was interested in our little bags of food, we still were this close to them.

Although Wildlife Ranch is dedicated to the preservation and even the improvement of life for these wild animals, there is one black mark, as I saw it. These beautiful micaws live in a barren bird house with no vegetation whatsoever. You can see the orange one clinging to the cage. Further back on a ledge is a brilliant blue one. They were screaming. Not a bird, I really didn't understand them, but my imagination was horrified. Beautiful birds like these should not live like this just for humans to gawk at them.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

 I just saw a movie that compelled me to write.

A favorite souvenir

A favorite souvenir
These are my two girls from Ireland!

Judy's shared items

Books on my very ambitious TBR list (*denotes read)

  • *Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox
  • The Odd Women by George Gissing
  • The Zen of Fish by Trevor Corson
  • How to Get Your Child to Love Reading by Esme Raji Codell
  • The Cod Tale by Mark Kurlansky
  • In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
  • *Joan of Arc by Mark Twain
  • Dag Hammarskjold by Elizabeth Rider Montgomery
  • The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet by Rabbi Michael L. Munk
  • Children of Strangers by Lyle Saxon
  • Spiritual Writings by Flannery O'Connor
  • Nightmares and Visions: Flannery O'Connor and the Catholic Grotesque by Gilbert H. Muller
  • The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O'Connor
  • Flannery O'Connor's South by Robert Coles
  • Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
  • Sylvanus Now by Donna Morrissey
  • *Vincent de Paul by Margaret Ann Hubbard
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
  • A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  • The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel
  • Readicide by Kelly Gallagher
  • *Ruined by Paula Morris
  • Say You're Not One of Them by Uwem Akpan
  • Wandering Star by J.M.G. Le Clezio
  • Silence by Shusaku Endo
  • *The Assault by Harry Mulisch
  • Kari's Saga by Robert Jansson
  • *The German Mujahid by Boualem Sansal
  • Western Skies by Joseph Conrad
  • *The Giver by Lois Lowery
  • *Imperium by Ryszard Kapuscinski

School Library Journal - NeverEndingSearch


A semester course in one book about the Soviet Union. Click on image for my review.