Skeletons

The kids were signed up for a session about skeletons at the Oxford Natural History Museum today. They packed their lunch bags and got Morris and Daisy ready to come along as well. They have had lots of fun bringing them everywhere with us, and had fun showing them the sights. They wanted a few photos taken to mark the occasion!

Here are Daisy & Morris getting ready and on the bus ride.

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When we got to the museum, the original finders of Morris were there, so they had a small reunion with Morris, while Hazel introduced Daisy round. (And she admitted she was happy Daisy looked much cleaner!) The session was very good. They learned about four basic skeleton systems. The kids were allowed to handle some corals and some sponges, they had to guess what animals four skeletons belonged to, and were offered the opportunity to hold Hissing cockroaches. Major yuck moment for me-though I tried to hide it while Kieran held one. So here is my son, holding a giant roach!

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After the session, we lost track of just about everyone from the group. We went off to do a skeleton trail that Hazel wanted to do. We did that for a bit and then Kieran wanted to find a mouse for Morris to see. He remembered there had been one, so we went in search of it. He was thrilled when he found it. So this is Morris looking at one of his great-ancestors.

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Hazel had fun with Daisy and wanted to show her doing certain things as well. It’s OK that Daisy is on the cheetah-it is one of the items they can touch.

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As most people are aware, or at least I hope you are, the honey bee populations in many parts of the world are failing. No one is quite sure exactly what the cause is, as it seems to be a multitude of problems. So I was pleasantly surprised to see a bee box inside the museums windows leading up to the second floor-which incidentally holds their insect display. They had cut a small hole in the bottom of the window and attached a glass bee hive to it. The bees had the small wooden entrance to their hive, and we could see what they were up to. It was perfect timing as I knew a TV special on the plight of the honey bee population was on in the evening.

If you want to help insure we have food in the future-plant as many flowering plants as you can and try and find some, like the Jasmine that flower in the winter. If everyone has at least a window box, or a pot of flowers on their balcony or patio-it’ll help support the wild bees. Also, try and buy as much organic food as you can afford. I know many people complain about the prices-but they have gone down. I try and buy the ones that take up the most land space to grow, or use the most processes to ensure they are organic. So even if it’s just organic milk you buy-you’ll be supporting an organic field which will provide a safe environment for the insects as well as the cows, the cows will have fewer antibiotics, and their winter feed will come from organic fields. Think of all the land that has to be kept organic just for milk. OK-I’ll hush for now!

After we explored the regular museum we went into the entrance hall to eat our sandwiches before going back into the museum to visit the reopened Pitts River Museum. I hadn’t gone to it before with the kids, and it was closed for renovations for the past year. They have 100’s of thousands of objects on display. We spent a good hour alone just on the first floor looking at the displays. I think we would need to go there for a couple of hours every week for a year to do it justice. One place we will definitely revisit.

Then we popped into a couple of stationary stores before heading back to the bus. We timed it rather well, and had only been in our car for about 4 minutes when the rain started.

When we got home the rain had calmed down to just a drizzle. Kieran decided he wanted to go out and ride his bike. This is a major step forward for Kieran-he normally avoids getting wet at all costs.

While he was out playing in the rain, Hazel started to write in Daisy’s journal. She used a bit of ‘creative licence’ in doing so. She decided that she was going to write: ‘Daisy told me in the car that she felt dirty and needed a bath’, over: ‘My mom thought Daisy was disgusting and had to be washed’. Hazel said she didn’t want to offend any of the other people who wrote in the journal! Goodness-she is too cute at times. She also said she was going to write her neatest, because even she was appalled by the other girls work. We could only read about three other entries without struggling to read the work. Hazel has never complained about doing her handwriting exercises in the past, and I think that will continue for a long while now.

We all had a quite evening and watched the show about the demise of the worker honey bees, while munching on some organic popcorn Michael made. We can’t really do ‘movie nights’ as my two won’t watch any of them-so we improvised. They were rather surprised by some of the farming practices, and I’m more resolved to buy all organic. We do try our best-but cost and availability can be a factor. Then again-maybe I shouldn’t freak myself out too much by watching any more of these shows! We bought a store cake at the beginning of the week. It was a spur-of-the moment purchase, and I was resolved to not look at the ingredients list. I succumbed and read it in the end-and so did Michael. I don’t think we’ll be buying any cakes off the shelf again!

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