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Thursday, April 4, 2019

MLF's Mother's star....................

MLF's Mum's star...............

In 1969, I lived and worked on the Oglalla Sioux Reservation in Wounded Knee, South Dakota, 
as part of a project created by 
David Hawkins, he of Manhattan Bomb Project and, later, ESS, fame. 

Pat Pumpkin Seed, one of the tribal elders, shared this story with me
during a walk he and I took in The Badlands:

The Secret of the Star…..

My people believe all things
come from Mother Earth.

 We believe that stars form in the earth and, when ready,
 search for the roots of the magical cottonwood trees.

They finally come to rest in the small twigs
at the end of the cottonwood branches.

Here, they wait.................until they are needed.

When the Spirit of the Night Sky decides that she needs more twinkling, beautiful stars, she calls on
the Wind Spirit to shake all the cottonwood trees.

The Wind Spirit blows and blows, and, 
as the cottonwood twigs 
break off, 
the twinkling stars are released
and race up to a special place in the Night Sky.

If YOU want to add a new star to the night sky,
find some cottonwood twigs, wait for a clear night,
and hold up your twigs to the sky –

and SNAP!  

Then, look up into the night sky again.
Can you see YOUR star twinkling?


You have added a beautiful new star 
to the kingdom of the night sky......

Last evening I released a star for my dear friend, 
MLF, who has just lost her mother................

Her mother's star will twinkle forever...................

Sunday, March 31, 2019

End of the 6 week glass fusing class.................

.............which I enjoyed so much and was thrilled with what I was able to create. My fellow attendees were great to work alongside.

Not bad, heh??

Just thinking as I type, I could put these on the market and, therefore, stop buying Powerball tickets twice every week!!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Balancing activities with my senior scientists

This morning's class, well attended again but missing Sara who is ill, began with a humorous discussion about last week's test, and comments about a NYT article on a dead whale that had eaten 80 lbs of plastic..............................

Then I set up a couple of tightropes and gave out several figures withe challenge: cut them out and balance them on the tightrope:

Friday, March 22, 2019

Signs of spring...........

March 22.............

The last few days have been a mix of light rain, heavy winds, hail, snow and bright sun.........and green shoots are pushing their way through the soil, up to the air. Buds are obvious now on trees and bushes............and............AND............surprise, surprise, after a night of light rain, I found 11 baby earthworms on the pathway early this morning, all alive. 

I carefully collected them and returned them from whence they came: the soil!


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A walk with Dad.........

1969            From my journal............................where I found this photograph:

 Me and Dad ............

One weekend I drove from Leicester to Penzance to spend a weekend with my Mum and Dad. 

On Sunday, Dad's day off, we went for a drive towards St.Just and took a walk around an old tin mine.

You can see me and Dad in the photo, just leaving the Ding Dong Tin Mine where there was a nest full of kestrel babes squawking their heads off, wanting their mum to bring them grub.

As we walked, Dad pointed to a fox that was running through the bracken.

Hey,' he said, 'there goes Radjel......'

I smiled, knowing he was referring to the fox who lived with us when I was a kid......................

1948   The story of Radjel

Dad kept a few chickens in a small field in the nearby farm, selling the eggs to our neighbors in
Gwavas Estate.

One evening, returning from the farm, he brought home three brown and white hens.
One chicken, he said, was for Jimmie, one for me, and one for baby brother Charles. Me and
Jimmie were so excited. We knew what this meant: every morning we could collect an egg
each and have them  boiled for breakfast, everyday. Yummy!

Dad took the chickens out to our small back garden where he had made a makeshift shelter
for them to sleep. saying he would make a better home for them at the weekend when he had
more time. Before we went to bed that night, me and Jimmie made sure that the chickens
(now named Betty, Patty and Sally) had plenty of food and water.

The next morning, bright and early before school, Jimmie rushed downstairs and out to the
back garden to see if we had our first eggs.
The chickens hadn’t laid a single egg. Jimmie was really disappointed.
He looked at meand said,  “None. No eggs. No boiled eggs for breckkie today.”

But, the very next day, Jimmie’s chicken, Sally,  laid two white eggs, and mine, Patty, laid one.
As promised, Mum boiled them for us. We sat around the kitchen table and  had the very best
of breakfasts. Smiling and looking pleased with ourselves, we dipped slices of white bread,
covered with margarine, into our runny eggs, wedged in small egg cups.

That night, as we looked up to the bedroom ceiling and talked about how many eggs
we would find in the morning. we heard a piercing screeching noise. Jimmie leapt out of bed
and rushed to the window, pushing the grey curtain to one side.
Something’s got our chickens!” he shouted, and ran across the landing to our
parents’ bedroom. Dad quickly got out of bed, grabbed his thick brown and white  jumper,
and went downstairs, out through the back door, into the garden.

When he came back upstairs, Dad  looked really upset.said: “Your chickens are dead,
killed by a damn fox!

I started to cry. To calm me down, Dad put his hand on my shoulder, and whispered that
 he’d get even with the fox.

The next afternoon, when he got home from work, Dad borrowed a shotgun from Mr. Jones,
our neighbor. “No,” he said, “I’m not going to hurt the fox. Just want to frighten it so
it doesn’t come back anymore.”

When it got dark, Dad waited for the fox to return.

Sure enough, around midnight, the fox came back into the garden. My father, half awake,
 pointed his gun and fired.
We ran downstairs, closely followed by Mum. Dad was standing over the fox which was
writhing in pain, blood oozing from a gaping wound in its leg. “I didn’t mean to hit it, Hazel.
Just wanted to scare it off. What shall I do?” he asked, as the tears ran down his face..........
he really didn't mean to hurt it.

Jimmie and I looked down at the poor fox and looked up at Mum. We knew Mum knew
what to do. She’d make it better like she made us feel better when we were sick.

Sure enough, she fetched an old bedsheet, put it over the fox, and gently lifted and carried
it to the kitchen. Dad poured some warm water into a bowl and Mum, making the fox as
comfortable as she could. bathed the leg wound.

Over the next couple of weeks,the fox got better. Dad kept it in the home he’d made for
the chickens.

He gave our new pet a name, Radjel, the Cornish word for fox.
Mum nursed Radjel every day, gently rubbing and cleaning his wounded leg until
Radjel could stand and walk a couple of paces.  

Every day, when he got home from work, Dad exercised Radjel until he was able to
stand and walk on his own.

One morning, about a month later, Dad patted Radjel’s head, turned to Mum and said,
“Bet he’ll walk with me, like a dog. I’m going to try. What do you think, Hazel?
I gotta collar somewhere.

Dad searched in the garden shed and found just what he was looking for – a collar from
a dog we’d had a long time ago. Very gently, not wanting to upset Radjel, Dad stroked Radjel,
then he put the leather collar around his furry neck. Radjel whimpered, thenstood up and
tried to scratch the collar with his good back leg.

Dad patted him on the head and then pulled gently on the lead. At first, Radjel resisted
but ,then, followed Dad out into the garden.

Walking very slowly, and, talking to Radjel, Dad eventually led the him wo or three times
around the garden.

A week or so later, when Radjel was strong enough, Grandma walked me and
Radjel down Paul Hill to my school.

It was a Monday, the day Miss Harvey, my teacher, let us bring our pet rabbits and
dogs to school.

Everyone who passed us stared at us. When Miss Harvey heard all the commotion
outside her classroom window, she came out, took one look at me, Grandma, and Radjel,
and shouted: “Oh, no, Mrs. Paull, you don’t bring that fox in the yard.
It’ll scare the children. Foxes  got fleas! Take it home. NOW!”

Grandma did exactly what she was told, not wanting to incur the wrath of Miss Harvey.
She turned, gently pulled Radjel’s lead, and started to walk back up Paul Hill.
Upset, I went into school.

No one was allowed to say a word to me about Radjel until we had our cod liver oil and
OXO cubes before we  went out to play.

Then, the questions came thick and fast. One of the boys nicknamed me Radjel.

Miss Harvey asked about Radjel the fox every day, but would always add:
Sorry, Johnny Paull. You are not bringing him to school.”

When he felt Radjel was able to look after himself again, Dad took him to Bejowan Woods
and let him go. We watched as Radjel ran towards the trees and………….
we never saw Radjel again………………….

Everyone was really upset because Radjel had become an important part of our family.

We loved and missed him.

But, hey,  Dad did get us three new chickens……………………

Johnny Radjel Paull


ASC science quiz


March 18th    Monday's Science Class at the Adams Senior Center.

I used this science test during Monday's Senior Science class, jesting that the class members  had to prove that bribery had not been used to access membership to our science club!! 

The questions relate to discussions/subjects we've touched on in class some time or other.

Here goes:

1. How far away is the moon? More than a 1000? 10,000? 
500, 000?
 - On average, as it varies, about 23,855 miles. The sun is 93 million miles away.

2. What is the human body's largest organ?
..................The skin.

3. How many legs does a spider have? How many eyes?
     ............8 legs, most have 8 eyes, some have 6, some 4..........

4. How many parts to a spider's body?
      ...........2 - head (cephlathorax) and abdomen.

5. How many parts to an ant's body?
      ...........3 - head, thorax, and abdomen.

6. How many species of spiders in the world - more than a 1000, 10,000?
     ...........35,000 and new ones still being discovered.

7. How many different spiders in New Mexico?
................Close to 1000.

8. Could dinosaurs swim?
 ...................They sure could.

9. What's the connection between a dinosaur and a chicken/bird?
................They possess(ed) a wishbone.

10. What is WORMWOOD?
.......Tunnels made in a tree trunk/branch by the beetlewood larvae.

11. How many bones in a baby's skeleton - more than a hundred? More than 200? Less than 300?
    ........... 270 at birth.
How many bones in an adult's skeleton?
     ------ 206, as some fuse together as we grow...

12. Do earthworms have eyes?
........NO, but they can perceive light.

13. Do honey bees die after they sting a prey?
....Yes - when the sting is inserted in a prey's body, it breaks off from the bee, and it leaves behind a big gash/wound.

14. Do wasps die when they sting?
.......NO....doesn't happen to wassies.

15. How many times per second can a hummingbird flap its wings? More than 10? Less than 50? full flapping speed (usually when hovering), 35 beats a second!

16. Can hummingbirds fly backwards?
..........Yes, they sure can. They hitch rides, too, on bigger birds.

17.  Who was the Head of the Manhattan Bomb Project?
..............Robert Oppenheimer, aided by his personal assistant, David Hawkins.
Was Albert Einstein an active member of the Manhattan Bomb Project team?
..........No, but he was contacted for advice many times.

18. Is there a KING ANT in an ant colony?
...............No - the Queen has lots of mates.

19. Why do leaves change color in the autumn?
.................Chemistry of the leaves change when air temperature drops dramatically and the leaves stop going through the process of photosynthesis and die.

20. What is the oldest known tree?
.....................The beautiful Bristlecone Pine, 4300 years old.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Today's science class, led by Jim


Led by guest instructor, Jim, the class was challenged to use their brains and their hands to build a battery. Jim supplied all of the resources and motivated everyone to have a go.......and everyone did!

A super science time was had by one and all!

Thank you, Jim!