This morning the Dread Pirate Grasshopper’s bird feeder was visited by a bird or two and the DPG came to watch. Being a boy inclined to Notice Things, he observed suddenly “Hey! They have CLAWS!” and he turned to demonstrate to The Equuschick how their feet were wrapped around the feeder.
He wandered off a short time later, and The Equuschick called him back when it was time to do what they call, for lack of a better word, their schoolwork. The Equuschick however, following the dark and cunning ways laid down before her by her own homeschooling mother, quite caught the DPG in his own brain’s little trap.
The afore-mentioned John James Audubon: The watercolors for The birds of America
was dragged out, and a varied study of the sort of footwear sported by all different sorts of birds was set out upon. The DPG examined in detail pictures of the claws of an eagle grasped around a fish, the feet of a finch grasped around a branch, the webbed feet of a pelican and the webbed feet of a cormorant. A discussion ensued regarding the different uses all these different types of feet might be used for. Providentially and unexpectedly, Shasta came home in between his own college classes and since he’s quite the Artist in the marriage, he sat down with the Dread Pirate Grasshopper and sketched his own rendition of an eagle. Shapes of wings were compared, the claws of many birds were counted, the colours of the feathers were discussed. Shasta took the children on a very kinesthetic “flight” round the house as they each pretended to be different birds- Soaring like eagles, buzzing like hummingbirds. (The Ladybug was especially fond of this activity.) A Bible study ensued- What day did God make the birds? Where can read about birds? Shasta read Psalms and Isaiah, where they speak of “soaring on eagles wings.” The Equuschick got out her The Classic Hundred Poems and read Tennyson’s “The Eagle,” where said Eagle “clasps the crag with crooked hands.”
After about 45 minutes of this, things were drawing to an end the DPG requested that The Equuschick find his favorite Audobon picture. (Incidentally, it is the one of the blue jays stealing the eggs. Never been quite sure why this picture appeals to him so. There it is.) The Equuschick said she would find it, and then they would have to be done.
“Yeah,” said the Dread Pirate Grasshopper sighing complacently, “then we’ll have to start on our schoolwork.”