Our Wonders of the World Unit: last night – giant sequoias! The largest trees, the oldest trees (my son learned about counting rings in a slice of tree trunk to determine the age). We love that the hugest of the huge trees have names (like “The President” and “General Sherman”). We love that there is only one way to get an accurate measurement of the trees: a forest ecologist has to climb up to the top (some 300+ feet up, count me out). But here is what got us thinking: a typical giant sequoia can produce up to 11,000 cones a year. 11,000! What if they all drop at once? Is there some sort of cone maintenance protocol? What’s the deal here?
Our George E. Ohr Unit: with great regret, we finished the A+ book on wacky, outrageous self-promoter, potter George Ohr. If you don’t know about George Ohr, here is the heartbreaker: although he was able to support his family with the sale of his utilitarian ceramic pieces, and although his art pieces won awards at the national level, he was unable to sell ANY of his thousands of art pieces! No one wanted them. Fifty years after he passed on, the public “discovered” Ohr’s work and went into a buying frenzy. There is now a fabulous George Ohr museum in his hometown of Biloxi, Mississippi, designed by an architect worthy of the project: Frank Geary.
Our Back Yard: mistletoe has made a home in one of our oak trees, so last night we learned all about this parasite and its legends. Then we took on a related Farmer Brown story problem.
Our Farmer Brown Story Problem: Farmer Brown has donated clusters of mistletoe to a local ecology club for a holiday fund raising project. Club members are going to sell sprigs of mistletoe (packaged in cellophane bags and tied with a festive red ribbon) at the Holiday Romance Dance. If 150 bags of mistletoe are sold at $5 each, how much profit will the club realize (remembering that although the mistletoe was free, the bolt of ribbon cost $60 and the cellophane bags cost $60)?
Our Music Theme: last night was VIRTUOUSO NIGHT starring Sir James Galway, flute player (flutist/flautist/flute player…we learned that all terms are correct, so ONE LESS WORRY). Of note for anyone wanting to improve their flute playing skills: there are several FREE really fun master classes taught by James Galway on youtube!
We love listening to Sir James Galway:
- Mozart’s “Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra”, movement II – as a non-pharmaceutical means of lowering blood pressure, this piece is probably the music equivalent of an aquarium in a physician’s office. Unhurried and soothing. Ahhhhhh.
- “I Saw Three Ships” – the traditional Christmas carol, so brightly played, from Galway’s Christmas CD of 1992. The CD is still available and really, if you celebrate Christmas, you should own it.
- Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee” – composed in 1899 for the opera, “The Tale of Tsar Saltan”. How can he play this fast? Is this played with one breath?
Welcome to the best part of my day!
– Jane BH