Sunday, September 10, 2006

Suzy and Centrifugal Force

Today we met a new friend. At least, we hope she considers us her friends. We named her Suzy, and she is a Praying Mantis.
While playing some Bob Marley, we went onto the back porch, and discovered her. While she made her way around our patio, Trevelyn kept his eye on her, and came in to report that she was dancing on the patio.
He asked me what praying mantis' eat, and I didn't know, so we went downstairs to look it up in our Wild Life Fact Files. They eat other insects, sometimes other praying mantis, and if they are a large species, frogs, lizards, and birds, if you can imagine.
Their forelegs are very spiky, and they use these spikes to snatch up and then grip tightly any unwary insects that fly by. They hold tightly, then "Off With Their Heads!" chomp.
We figured Suzy was a female, for she is rather large, and the females are always larger than males. We couldn't find out how long they usually live. We briefly considered capturing her until Daddy got home, but we don't know when the mating season is, and mantis' are pretty good at guarding their eggs, and we didn't want to distress her if she had a nest nearby. Eggs take from three weeks to six months to hatch, depending on the species.
We were hoping to see her catch something for lunch, but for now she has disappeared, has moved to a different spot in our yard, hopefully.
When we first met her, we welcomed her, and told her she should find many nice, fat, healthy insects in our yard, and she was welcome to stay. Hopefully she will, and we will see her again.

This afternoon I was sittin' here for a minute, taking a break from household chores, and Trev is right here by the washer, and I see him ever-so-slowly taking this sopping t-shirt out of the washer. The lid was down, so it's sort of wringing it as he is dragging it through. "Whatcha doin?" asked I. "Uh, I think this shirt is done being washed." "Oh. Does it look clean?" "Mmhmm, now it needs to get put in the dryer." "Oh.Well. If you'll watch and see what happens, in just a minute all the water will drain out, and into this pipe." The washer starts draining at this time. "Feel the water moving through the pipe?" "Yeah!" "See, the water comes out of the washer, and through this pipe, and in just a second, it will start spinning really, really fast, and (lifting lid of washer) see all those little holes? The water comes out through those holes."
Trev climbs up on top of the washer. "It's shaking." He proceeds to "uuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhh-uh-uh-uuuhhhh", hearing and feeling his voice vibrate while the washer spins. A couple of minutes later, it stops, and voila! The clothes are stuck to the side of the washer from being spun so fast around, and "See? The clothes are now ready for the dryer!"

We've also done some reading and a worksheet, but that's not important.

Has been my favorite sort of homeschooling day. Just a couple of days ago (though I didn't voice it) I was lamenting that all of our homeschooling seemed to be of the "school" variety, and I was sad about it. Now here is this wonderful day. Just what I needed.
Life is good.

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