Sunday, March 13, 2005

Bald Eagle, GRUBS and "When You're Smiling"

The GRUBS momentum continues to build. We're into weekly meetings now, and the sod is coming off thanks to a benevolent local guy with a Bobcat. The club is going really well. I love the families who are coming. The energy is positive. The biggest surprise to me continues to be how enthusiastic my own kids are. They generally balk at anything I initiate, or anything that they sense I believe to be particularly important. I expected them to warm up to GRUBS very gradually and begrudgingly. But it's not like that at all! They are loving it, brimming over with enthusiasm. "Being together mostly outdoors with other kids doing real work on something worthy and largely child-directed" seems to be a formula they can't resist.

Yesterday we had a great sunshiny meeting at the garden site. Got lots done. Then we went to visit a bald eagle that had been found on the beach unwilling to fly but looking perfectly healthy. It was given over to the care of a local guy named Jim who had cared for a starving Barred Owl last winter. He's been feeding it salmon and venison and trying to figure out what's up with it. My husband was asked to bring his ophthalmoscope over and have a look at its eyes. Jim had figured it was blind in one eye and is therefore unable to fly and hunt. Chuck took a look and his guess was that it has a complete retinal detachment, although our subsequent research revealed that eagles have something peculiar called a pectin which helps supply blood to its packed retina, so that may have been what he was seeing that looked like a detachment. He was able to get in very close (within a couple of inches) of the right eye with his tool and have a look. There was no way to get anywhere near the left (good) eye ... lots of hissing and flapping!

There were about 12 kids there, so we didn't all go up and touch the bird but we were able to stand really close, within three or four feet. What an amazing bird. And what a wonderful opportunity for the kids.

The bird is being fed lots to get its strength up. Assuming its vision doesn't miraculously return it'll be flying (commercially!) out to the Delta BC to live out its life at the O.W.L. raptor rescue centre.

Later that day the kids went with their musical-unschooling compatriots to the nursing home to do their monthly Tea-time Musical Entertainment. They enjoyed themselves and the residents enjoyed the music and the kid-energy. The arrangement of "When You're Smiling" that I had worked out for Noah and me to play on the piano together was a real hit and he was pleased.

The kids have been outside so much the past couple of days. The cycle of daily computer use seems to have been broken, at least temporarily. Ahhhhh!!!!

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