Kodak Gold 100

Birds of Small Bag

"Eagles are smaller than me, but their wings are bigger. The Tawny Eagle is the biggest." "The Condor is a vulture. Like in Lion King. Their wings are soooo big. We saw one at he zoo."

"Seagulls are baby eagles. So they are smaller."

"LOOOOOOOOK!!! A pigeon!!"

"Why can't we fly?"

"Can birds swim?"

"Can we go swimming?"

"Can we buy a new pool?"

We homeschool. That is to say our kids stay home and don't go to school. In my very limited experience and slightly less limited thoughts, it seems that the most important aspect of homeschooling (especially in the younger ages), is to foster and encourage kids natural curiosity about anything and everything. One week it might be worms, the next gardening, the combustion engine, or maybe Egypt and the ten plagues (or Mongolia. They are convinced that "bad people" live there). One of the great advantages of homeschooling is that you can spend as much time on whatever subject your kid is interested in at any given moment. A kid may be obsessed with whales in 4th grade, but by the time they learn about them in 5th grade he's into tractors. Or by the time he actually gets excited about them, the class has moved on to the indigenous people previously known as "the Indians".

Lately the older half of the Berkowitz offspring have been mindjacked by anything with wings. Ostriches (the biggest. Doesn't fly. Crazy people with sun addled Aussie minds ride them), Peregrine Falcons (the fastest, not that strong or big), Condors (especially the California one, not that many left, bigger than Tatty (me), lays eggs on cliffs), Eagles (they LOVE eagles, they fly the highest), Seagulls, Pigeons, and lately, Terns, Herons, and Ospreys.

So one Tuesday morning, in the latter part of the early hours we packed up some apples, cheese, water and cameras and headed to the Bolsa Chica Wetlands (sounds much better in Spanish. The English version would be "Small Bag Wetlands". Don't ask.) The wetlands are (is?) a huge swab of land on the Huntington Beach coast set aside for all sorts of odd birds and their even odder watchers. The real estate value of this land chunk is seriously crazy.

We saw stingrays, ospreys, terns, herons, seagulls, bird watchers with monstrous camera lenses, bird watchers with ipads, bird watchers with binoculars, barnacles, pelicans, and red ants. The kids were most excited about the ants.

We ran, danced, climbed, photographed, whined, dined, cried, and spent 20 minutes looking through the cracks in the bridge at pigeon nests.

We did end up buying a pool and swimming in said pool, but that's another story.

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Let us rejoice and be glad in it

In the past year I have dug four holes (not counting the figurative ones). The first is way back in the backyard. Zevi planned on planting a tree so I helped him dig a nice large hole back there. This was almost 10 months ago. We just filled it in last month.

The next two were under the swings so my kids wouldn't constantly hurt their toes (there isn't much yummier than little toes).

And the fourth was on the beach.

Each one was physically exerting and mentally exhilarating. Which is slightly embarrassing, I mean, why should a full grown adult (albeit a slightly short one) so enjoy the simple task of digging a hole?

I very much want to go on a rant right now. About the value of manual labor and the fallacy of making all economical decisions based solely on a time/money merit basis. But I won't. Not here. It's coming though.

I read a great blog post by a great woman who lost her infant and today would be celebrating his third birthday. She mentions "seizing each day". Looking back, what do we remember? For me it's the simple times with my family. None of them really costing much or needing a "high quality of life" (a ripe topic for another rant). Yet we live day by day, just wasting time. Worrying. Over-working. Under-praying, and definitely under-learning. Under-playing.

You have an hour or two (if you don't, then make some)? Grab a kid (preferably yours, or at least one you know), drive to the beach, and dig a hole. It's worth a heck of a lot more than an expensive movie, restaurant, and possibly even more than one of those fancy theme parks. And it's free. Like Pandora.

And just because I like sharing; Samuel Adams Octoberfest. Not worth it. Lagunitas Little 'Sumpin Ale. Very, very worth it.

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