Monday, 5 September 2016

Snow in Summer

Squirrels in the planters,
 Slugs in the veg,
Blackbirds digging in my pots,
 Cats pouncing from the hedge. 

This sounds like an excerpt from a children’s rhyme and I may make it into one but it most aptly describes my garden on most occasions. I shouldn’t, then, have been shocked to discover what I saw when I crawled out recently from beneath my covers, shuffled downstairs and stood bleary-eyed at my kitchen window. The scene - a mass of white.

 I know what you are thinking – snow, as did I….initially. (It is summer – what else?) As it looked quite patchy I realised it warranted further investigation. To my amazement, as I reached the door I realised that instead of snow, the covering on my lawn was, in fact, feathers. Lots and lots of fluffy, downy white feathers. What on earth had happened? Asking myself this question prompted me to ponder on what the children would think of my ‘blanket of feathers’ outdoors. 

When they arrived, later that morning, I remarked at the sight outside and asked them, firstly, what they thought it could be. As they looked out from the patio doors they could see what the elder one described as “white blobs.”  We had to go out and take a look.  Under close supervision we trooped out with our magnifiers to inspect my garden.

The magnifying glasses revealed the filaments of the feathers, larger versions of which they have happily played with indoors.

“How did they get here I wonder?” I began the conversation.
The eldest child thought the birds must have “left them for us.”
I wasn’t so sure and I couldn’t quite believe that one bird could have so many feathers. 
On retiring indoors we began some research. There are some amazing facts about feathers. (As a childcarer I am constantly learning.) Here are a few ‘Did you know..?’ facts.  Apparently, the number of feathers on a bird varies according to; species, size, sex, age, health, season, and temperature of habitat. Most songbirds have between 1500 and 3000 feathers and  there are 7 different types of feather. I have quite a collection of my own and we looked at the contrasting types. 

All this was very interesting but this didn’t answer my question; what happened to the now, presumably, featherless bird? My own knowledge of my garden is inclined to lead me to believe that it was a fox.  I have seen of them in broad daylight confidently prowling in the bushes and some of the extremely large, slow-moving wood pigeons are easy prey. This brought me to an additional problem; how to discuss the apparent savagery of such a well-loved wild animal?  I say ‘well-loved’ because the children are young and are used to tales of ‘Foxey Loxey’ and the not so unfriendly fox in the ‘Gruffalo.’

I decided to take my lead from the children and see what other explanations they could come up with after talking a little more about birds, feathers and wildlife generally.

“I know some foxes eat birds”,
I offered when the children became quiet.
The reply?
 “I won’t be a fox - don’t want to eat pigeon with fluff on it!”
How fantastically sensible.

3 Little Buttons
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  1. You sound like a fabulously inventive and inspiring Mum and carer! #FartGlitter

  2. Sweet story, Clare! And I love your enthusiasm for both learning and teaching. (PS I'm a cat lover, too!)

  3. Love the way you write and the conversations with the children, I bet you are a fab childminder! :) #dreamteam

  4. What a lovely story, and so creative too! I really enjoyed reading this post, you sound like a natural with the children. #momsterslink

    1. Thank you, Laura. So glad you enjoyed it.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Aww what a lovely story! Quite right, a fox doesn't want a fluffy dinner! Thanks for linking up #FridayFrolics

  6. Brilliant response. I love their innocence. Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics

    1. Thank you to the lovely linky community. You are all so supportive!

  7. Haha- you dealt with it in such a lovely, magical way. Excellent reply too!

  8. Sometimes it's hard to explain to kids about how nature works. But what's even harder is when you have to explain the human nature. You did a great job on easing the blow. Thanks for linking up with #momsterslink and I hope to see you again tomorrow with another fabulous story :))