Trying to Watch for Meteors – an excursion and the aftermath

by Deb on November 19, 2009

Well, we didn’t see any.  But we had a great time anyway and there was so much to talk about!  We drove about 40km out of town and had a picnic dinner.  We saw these things:

Cow Tracks


Sky colours

So we tracked the cow, waved at road trains going past that honked back, and collected all sorts of things from the trees like seed pods, bark, some sort of gall we weren’t sure what it was, bones, all sorts!  During dinner we watched the sun set and talked about all the colours in the sky reflecting from the sun, even though it was down.

While we were waiting for it to get dark we did a bit more cow-tracking and collecting, then we were lucky enough to see this:


There was a fair amount of lightning in the clouds, big girl thought it was very exciting to spot it.  We talked about how it was the same as when we used balloons to make baby girl’s hair stand up, or when we gave each other zaps sometimes, but it was a giant zap.  She asked if it was thunder, and we decided that lightning was the light and thunder was the noise.

Then big girl spotted the first star (Venus) and I taught her “Star light, star bright.”  She was very excited to spot all the stars as they came out.  Unfortunately it was getting a bit late, and even repeated rounds of “Twinkle, twinkle,” wasn’t keeping baby girl happy.  My husband spotted a satellite, but then it was time to go home.

In the car it continued, big girl asked about the reflectors on the sides of the road and I explained about the light from the car bouncing off them so we could see where the edge of the road was.  She could spot that they went dark when the headlights went past them just before they got to her window.

Quick shower and bed for two very tired little girls.

The fun continued the next morning when we investigated all the things we collected the night before.

We’d already talked about the seeds from the seed pods and bark being the skin of trees, but we weren’t sure what the lumpy thing and the big white thing were.

As you can see from the sawdust, they were woody with two large holes.  There was something like spider web in there, and a small hole on the outside.  A tiny insect/spider ran across the chopping board just at this moment but we didn’t see where it came from.  However, I’m guessing that this is some sort of gall the plant has grown around an infestation.  So it could be for eggs and larvae, or there could have been something living in there.

This was actually a great opportunity for big girl to tell me an elaborate story about how the chicken bone got out there.  We also felt the cartilage and talked about how the cartilage in our knees makes it easier for them to move because it’s soft and slippery.

Q:  What do you do if you have a collection of stuff and some water?

A:  Put it all in to see what floats.

The water was actually for washing the white thing, which turned out to be plastic because we could bend it.  But then everything else went in the bowl too.  It all floated except the plastic.

Hours of fun!

This has been a bit long and elaborate, but it can be easily summarised:

  1. Go somewhere.  Anywhere.  This is a picnic on the side of the road!
  2. Let your kids go and they will ask questions, lots of questions.
  3. Talk and talk and talk.  You probably know most of the answers if you think about it, and if you don’t, pop it in your collecting bag to check out later.
  4. Collect anything that looks interesting and portable.
  5. Later on, go through your collection!

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