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July 2006

I Love it When This Happens

Dh came home from work last night all excited over an idea he couldn't wait to share Water_project_1with the boys. Well, actually he tried to share it with me first, but since my brain shuts off at 7 p.m. for recharging, the boys proved a more captive audience. All I can say so far is the project has to do with water, the tides, alternative energy and the protection of shorelife. Diagrams were made (click image at right) and principles of air flow were discussed (or so I overheard). And before retiring for the night, I found a dripping wet 10-gallon fish tank in my bedroom - the project is now officially hands-on. (So much for that simple elegance we've been talking about at 4Real).

When I know more, you'll know more. ;)

Programming Note

You might remember a while back I promised not one - not two - but a whole series of bug stories, all about ants, moths, bees and the like? Well time has gotten away from me, and though bugs continue to fascinate us, I (and my blog) have moved on to other more pressing subjects - like ed. plans, books and home organization. :)

But in lieu of abandoning all those half-finished posts, I've created a new photo album called Summer Bug Study over there on the righthand sidebar. In it you will find many of the insect photographs we've taken over the last month or so. This week we will add notes about each picture - a record of the bugs we've met and mused over - to give you a small glimpse of the posts that would have been. ;)

We hope you enjoy our bugs, and please let us know - which one is your favorite? :)

"God in His wisdom, made the fly and then forgot to tell us why." Ogden Nash

File this one under ...

"What is the world coming to?"

I just came from the pharmacy where I picked up some over-the-counter cold medicine for Crackerjack who has a troublesome cold ~ fever, cough, aches. You know the drill.

So when I presented said medicine to the cashier (a cough syrup beginning with Tri- and ending with -ic) I was asked to A. show my license, B. give my license number and C. sign a form!

First, a quick disclaimer: we don't typically dole out medicine for every little cough and snffle; for example my kids have - knock one wood, thank you God - never needed antibiotics. And usually when dealing with a mild illness, we go the common sense route (i.e. extra rest, fluids and ginger tea). But we do use medicine when the occasion warrants - if say, the afflicted child A. spikes a fever or B. is too miserable to sleep. Crackerjack fell into the latter category last night, and is worse off today for the lack of rest, so I decided to buy something to have for tonight should he need it.

Anyway, back to the story. While I fumbled in my purse for my license, the clerk explained that there are certain OTC medications that contain an ingredient that require a store to take down the purchaser's identification and signature. This potentially hazardous ingredient is called pseudo-something-or-other, but I'm not going to type in the whole name because I can only imagine the google searches I'd show up in.

And what is it about this stuff that requires such strict moderating? Kids (his words not mine) use it to make some kind of illegal dr*g! Of course I entered my information into the pharmacy log, but I stood there shaking my head over the whole sad and scary situation. Everyone in line was shocked but the man behind me said they require similar identification when buying, of all things, spray paint cans - and for the same reasons.

I expressed surprise that this issue hasn't been on the news - or in parenting magazines - but the clerk said the new regulations have only been in affect about a month. I would think once cold-and-flu season hits (outside this house anyway) there will be more reports and public attention.

And attention is needed to be paid, not just to the new requirements, but certainly to the reasons behind the increased supervision. Because what on earth has this world come to when we need to monitor the sales of houshold products and children's medication because of what they might be turned into? And worse, what has this world come to when our youth feel a need to do such a thing in the first place?

Questions for another post, and probably another blog. I know this is not my usual kind of topic, but I thought I would post about it if only to bring the situation to your attention, and perhaps to your prayers as well.

The Pirates and The Prius

Now that's a strange post title, isn't it? Hang on, and I'll explain. :)

This afternoon dear husband and I went to the movies, a rare and enjoyable treat for us! My mother, God bless her, offers her babysitting services whenever we need them, it's just finding the time to go! Well today we made the time, andPirates caught the matinee showing of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

And let me tell you, the reviews may have been iffy, but we found it to be highly entertaining! We're big fans of the first one (which we watched last night as a refresher), so we were really looking forward to this one, the second (of three) in the series. I gave it 3.5 stars out of 5, while dh says 7 out of 10. ;) You say tomato, I say tomahto ...

I will say this one is definitely darker (i.e. more gore, more violence and more adult themes) than the first one. Not one for the young'uns! (Not mine anyway.) But boy, I just loooove going to the movies - the popcorn, the previews, the 2-hours of peace, LOL!

And I do I love the swashbuckling genre ~ Pirates, Indiana Jones,Pirates_2 Lord of the Rings, The Mummy, The Princess Bride and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves come to mind. Enthralling (if not plausible) adventures and damsels in distress. (Call me old-fashioned.) But if asked - and no one's asking, but I'm telling anyway - my top five movies are hardly what you'd call action flicks ~ Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Little Women and Meet Me in St. Louis. Sense a theme? Chick flicks, some might call them; nary a swash or a buckle among them. But I can appreciate a good action-adventure, when it's fun and tastefully done. And Pirates 2, I'm happy to report, was both. :)

Now the other piece of the post puzzle is the Toyota Prius, my husband's new (well, 2 yo new!) car. Up till today I have only looked at it, and barely even sat in it ... haven't yet ridden in it, nor driven it! And he's had it a whole month! It's not that I don't like it - I do. And it's not that I'm not very happy he's realized a long-held dream to own an electric car - I am! But to be honest, I've been a bit timid about driving it.

I'm not a big car person. I like my van, I know my van - vans are what I know. I'll admit that this new vehicle parked so unassumingly in our driveway intimidated me! The whole hybrid-electric thing threw me:

"What do you mean there's no key?"

"What do you mean I push an ON button to start up?"

"What do you mean, I get 60 miles to the gallon?!!"

So today with dh by my side, giving excellent directions and quiet encouragement, I finally rode in, then drove the Prius! And I must say, it drives Priusvery nicely! Great pick-up too. Once I figured out the on/off and gear "shift" I was completely comfortable and can see myself using it for weekend errands (like he's wanted me to do). It's surprisingly quiet too - I almost ran over a pair of mourning doves in the driveway who literally didn't hear the car coming and had to be shooed away before I could pull in! And of course it's economical - it saves TONS of money on gas! And then there are all the environmental benefits to consider ... :)

So there are my reviews for the days folks! If you're in the mood for a movie, the latest Pirates film is a good bet, and if you're in the market for a car, the Prius is, to borrow a phrase from Bookworm, one sweet ride!

Year 7 Here We Come!

Well, they're done! They're out the door! They're in the mail!

(The ed. plans I mean!)

It's official: the Hanigan family will be home educating again this year!

Like there was ever any question. ;) But this moment always feels so, well, momentous! I just had to let out a big ...


I'll post all about our new year plans as soon as I can ...

Can you tell I'm just a wee bit excited? :)

About That Couch ...

How do you know it's time to check the pulse of your home's level of cleanliness? When you vacuum out (and I do mean out) the sectional and realize a whole colony of prairie dogs could have survived down there. For months. And we live nowhere near prairie dogs, but believe me, for my couch, they'd relocate.


This is the after picture. Conveniently, I forgot to take the before.

To Do Today:

1. Make out a grocery list for tomorrow. Add cucumbers to the list so we can try out a few recipes I put up at Harvest Home. :)

2. Post the boys' Friday Photos at Marigolds for Mama. More nature shots, these taken at their great-grandmother's house earlier in the week.

3. Scramble to get the ed. plan done and out in the mail today. Well, scramble is too strong a word. Move expeditiously to finalize and deliver our 2006-2007 educational plan to the proper authorities via tomorrow morning's mail delivery.

4. Soothe Earlybird who has come down with the stomach bug I dealt with a few days ago. :(

5. Resist the urge to read a Jane Austen book - again - when I have The Geese of Beaver Bog by Bernd Heinrich to finish first. Maybe we'll just watch Sense and Sensibility tonight and observe Marianne, checking for any similarities. To me (see the quiz), not the geese. ;)

6. Order our tickets to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest for tomorrow ~ a long-awaited date with dh. :)

7. Catch up on laundry (see # 4) and vacuum the couch. You cannot imagine what came out from under the cushions this morning. Or perhaps you can, and then I wouldn't feel so bad.

8. Measure Crackerjack's bed frame. We're downsizing his full futon lower bunk and building a twin size bed in its place. I say we but of course I mean dh. Lumber is his department; bedsheets are mine. :)

9. Learn about Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha whose feast day it is today. Remember to spend a few minutes looking at her stained glass window at church on Sunday.

10. Start my Christmas planning ~ really! I feel another blog coming on ... stay tuned!


With so much to do, I'd better crack open my planner!

What's the Big (Book) Idea?

It may be July on the calendar, but there's a definite hint of August in the air. The burning bush is turning pink, the chrysanthemums and sunflowers are budding, and the back-to-school catalogs are filling the mailbox. And for me, the urge to clean, plan and organize is kicking in ...

I'll be posting a lot about lesson plans and schedules over the next few weeks, but these days I'm thinking about books. And by that, I mean more than usual. We home educators are always thinking - talking, dreaming, planning - about books. :) Specifically though, I am looking to get a handle on the "books, books and more books" we have all around here, ahead of our new academic year ~ which for us, give or take a few days, begins in roughly a month.

In addition to all this, we're in the (timely) process of turning our living room into an informal home library. As we set to work on this project, I remembered something Jessie Wise described in The Well-Trained Mind about how she and her children made best use of the library:

"...I was known at the public library as 'the lady with the laundry basket' because I took my children in every week and filled a laundry basket with books. Their cards allowed them to check out seven books each, and I made them follow a specific pattern: one biography, one science book, one history book, one practical or arts-and-crafts book, and three books of their own choosing - stories, poetry or nonfiction. We always read everything we brought home."

You may be chuckling over that laundry basket image, but if you're like me, you might also be also thinking - what a great idea! (Because, really, five bulging tote bags make far less sense). But what I really like is her idea of "assigning" a checklist of categories from which her children could choose their books. I wondered, could this system help us use books more efficiently at home? Although I love going to the library, realistically we only get there about once a month. And, though I feel blessed to have so many books in our possession, unfortunately we only make use of a small percentage. Far too many wonderful books end up sitting there unused ~ new paths left unexplored, new ideas left unimagined, new synapses left unfired. :)

So how to get a handle on all these books, this embarassment of riches slipping through our fingers? Well to start with, some better (physical) organization, and then a new way of looking at our home library - because that's what it is really - and here's where the card idea comes into play. Cards seem to work pretty well in the public library, why not here at home in our own?

This is all still pretty much in the "idea" stage, but here's the Pockets_1general plan. I bought library pockets at the teacher-supply store (the kind you place inside books) and a bunch of colorful index cards. I adhered three pockets to the side of the main bookcase (see photo at right), one for each boy. On an index card I wrote each boy's name and then several categories to be filled: science/nature, general nonfiction, history, audiobook, magazine, library choice, storybook, chapter book OR early reader ... I'm still tweaking the categories, which obviously, will be unique to each child's age and reading level.

Each week the boys will look through our "stacks" and choose Tote_bagsbooks according to their card. The books will be placed in their "school" bags (see right). We'll write the titles on the cards, read the books throughout the week, and check them off as we go. The cards will be saved as a record of our reading. An experiment to be sure, but I hope it's one that will help us "rediscover" some old friends and widen our reading horizons a bit. Next on my list is to tackle my own reading basket - I have gotten away from my regular reading time lately (of course that would have nothing to do with blogging) and I want to put things to rights again soon. :)

In the meantime, here are some pictures of the main book areas that are currently under review. Hopefully by September, I'll have things in better order.


Above is the main home education bookcase, organized by subject. (Top to bottom: math and arts/crafts; poetry/language and nature; science; more science; history and educational coloring books) It's always this full, but not usually this neat. (We have been entertaining recently and there's nothing like a party to get your shelves looking smart.) It is maybe too full though - it's hard to slide out a book without pulling out several more at the same time.


This is the corner bookcase which holds mostly paperback novels and chapter books. We use a rather inelegant, yet thrifty and efficient, system of brown coffee boxes to hold the books facing forward. It is easy for the kids to pull the boxes forward and see the spines (titles) at a glance. They're all a jumble right now, but I hope to weed through them and establish some rhyme and reason here soon. The top of the bookcase has a globe (not pictured) as well as the dictionaries and children's encyclopedia. The bottom shelf holds the kids' magazines. Slipped underneath the bookcase are atlases and oversized books (for example, A Street through Time).


The above bookcase is fairly new, and still unfinished. It holds most of our Catholic resources, including my most important home education and family-life guides (Real Learning, A Charlotte Mason Companion, A Catholic Homeschool Companion ...) as well as all the little books and children's missals we take with us to Mass (including Bookworm's Magnifikids). The second shelf down is holding our Catholic Mosaic book collection (mostly dePaola books thus far). Once we begin following Cay's (beautiful) literature study next month, I plan to set up the selected titles for the current month on display, much as our "island books" are shown here. For now this shelf revolves aroound our current read-aloud (Swallows and Amazons) as well as a collection of books about islands, island life and seafaring in general ~ a nice summertime trail.


And finally, we head out to the family room, where we have yet one more book area to peruse. This table holds our nature books and field guides, nature trail basket (currently bugs) and this month's kids magazines. On the lower shelf are preschool books and underneath is a basket of Crackerjack's early readers. To the right is a basket holding favorite picture books of the moment. Gosh, it all looks so cluttered - my aim was "cozy" but I think I've created confusion, LOL! (And yikes, look at those crayon marks left by a little 4yo who shall remain unnamed - though not unspoken to!)

A few other "reading" areas I'm assessing ~

  • the homeschool shelf (i.e. the Saxon books, CHC materials etc.)
  • library books and materials (all in one place)
  • theme baskets (no matter how streamlined I get, there will always be these)
  • cookbooks, cooking magazines and recipes
  • music instruction for the keyboard as well as seasonal songbooks
  • audiobooks
  • catalogs (I get lots and love 'em)
  • art study books
  • craft books like how to knit, cat's cradle, origami, etc.
  • Bible and prayer books

In upcoming posts I hope to address other aspects of our home (and home school) such as our bulletin board, our learning room (aka our dining room), our year ahead (aka the ed. plan), setting up the planner (but ah, which one?), our schedules and systems, as well as my own reading basket.

Not too ambitious, am I? ;)

Another Post Not to Miss!

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life." ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

This is such a beautiful quote (one for the 'fridge to be sure). The rest of Donna Marie's thoughtful post on Elegant Simplicity is just as lovely. Another one for the printer ~ truly inspiring! :)

Which Jane Austen Heroine Are You?

Which Jane Austen heroine are you?
created with

Hat tip to Higher Up and Further In ~ a lovely blog I've been enjoying thanks to a mention by Lissa at The Bonny Glen. :) Now the funny thing is, I first came out as Emma Woodhouse, but I had to re-take the quiz because I couldn't get the HTML to work in my template ... so now I'm the somewhat tragic, ever-romantic Marianne Dashwood. Interesting, if maybe not quite accurate ... I'll have to take the quiz again later after I've had my coffee. :)

I'm Tickled Pink!

By way of my stats and referrers, I just discovered I have been nominated for a Nominee_1blogging award! By Sun and Candlelight was a nominee for the Blogs of Beauty Awards 2006, in the category of "Best Crafts and Projects." Though I'm not a finalist, I am thrilled that someone out there felt my blog was worthy of a nomination! I also just learned that Lissa at Here in the Bonny Glen is a *finalist* for "Best Homeschooling Blog!" Congratulations, Lissa! You've got my vote! ;)

I had not heard of these awards before, but I am so honored to be a part! Please check out all the details on voting (as well as all the nominees and finalists) at A Gracious Home.

And *thank you* from the bottom of my heart to the person who nominated me - and to awards hostess, Sallie! :)

Happy Birthday Honey!

Today is my dear husband's birthday! And it's a biggie ... can you guess which one? ;)

Here is a picture of our family from almost exactly a year ago. This was taken at my cousin's wedding in New York last July (Crackerjack was the ring bearer).


And now for the boys' thoughts on their Daddy's birthday. There are so many reasons why we love Daddy - most importantly because he's our daddy! - but here are a few little things we want to share about this great guy:

  • Daddy works hard every day for us - at his job and at home helping Mama.
  • He is good at fixing things like cameras and building things like windows and walls.
  • Daddy helps us whenever we need it.
  • Daddy loves to eat salsa and chips, lemon sorbet and cereal right out of the box!
  • He loves cars, especially his Prius. We love to go riding in it too.
  • Daddy cares about the earth and thinks a lot about ways to help keep it safe.
  • He loves to ride bikes and play swing-ball with us!
  • He likes to watch soccer on TV. (And now we do too!)
  • Daddy says "Love You and God Bless You" every night when he tucks us in. It makes us feel safe.

Happy Birthday to the very best Daddy! And by the way, here's a hint about how old is our daddy ... he's XL! ;)

A Day out with Daddy

Yesterday afternoon was slow and warm. Earlybird crashed for his nap and I was working on the ed. plans, so dear husband decided an "adventure" was in order for the older two. So he set the World Cup game to record, and popped the boys in his car for a quick trip of surprises! Of course I sent the camera along with them. ;)


First stop was ice cream! Mmmm, that looks good! And then came the BIG surprise ... 


A visit to the airport!!!

The boys were very excited to watch the planes and Crackerjack decided right there on the spot he wants to be a jet pilot some day! Bookworm liked a white Cessna trainer, but this one was Crackerjack's favorite - a black and red "fighter jet." ("It had shooters on it, Mama!")

Their next surprise was an out-of-the-way nature trail ...


What a lovely view! The boys saw lots of nature and took several pictures:


This is a "baby" catbird they spotted. They say "baby" because he was so tiny.


And this burrow was some creature's home; perhaps a fox, or a badger, or ...


... maybe this bunny's? He looks like a good sized fellow!


And what a strange looking mushroom they found! We'll have to look this one up.


And here's a fast-moving monarch that caught Crackerjack's eye.

What a fun afternoon they all had! Daddy's the best at surprises!

And please don't feel badly for EB because he napped through yet another ice cream trip. Saturday, while Bookworm and I ran errands, Daddy took Crackerjack and Earlybird out for a lunchtime picnic by a nearby river! The boys even got to meet some kayakers ~ and sit in their boats!

And on the home front, I got some quiet time to work on those ed. plans. The end-of-year reports are finished and the ed. plans are coming along ~ but I'll post more about all that later. :)

Library Books ...

Too many is never enough!


It was supposed to be a quick trip - dash in, return a few things, grab a hold and then dash back out - but you know how it goes. You start looking around, your 11 yo buries his nose in a paperback, you remember you want to look for books on earth science and then the pile starts to form ... and before you know it, you wish you brought two tote bags instead of one!

Here's what we picked out this week (and why):

Please do not miss this ...

My friend Elizabeth has a beautiful post today about her special blessing, a lovely boy of 14, whom we have had the privilege to get to know better recently. Mothers who have been blessed by challenged children have special needs of our own ~ and the support, wisdom and friendship we find in each other are so empowering ~ truly, gifts from God. Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing your journey, and shining a light on mine. :)

Small Wonders

(Note: this post includes our weekly Friday Photos.)

Dear husband brought this letter to my attention yesterday morning. It was tucked at the bottom of the Boston Globe's opinion page:


Reverie takes wing as butterfly flits ...

"When I turned 15, an adult friend of mine sent me a card that read, "Do you remember when a butterfly was more beautiful than a girl?"

Standing at the Yawkey stop on the T recently, I thought of that message. A Red Sox game had just ended and there were scores of people waiting to catch the train. A monarch butterfly flew around a growth of milkweed, and I watched it in fascination. Although there were many parents with their kids, no one seemed interested. The sight of this small wonder delighted me, but the apathy of the crowd had the opposite effect.

Observing - and appreciating - such a remarkable creature should be a tonic moment, as much so as the excitement of a baseball game."

Ethan Shimony, Wellesley


You're preaching to the choir here, Ethan, but very well said!

I like to share (appropriate) snippets from the daily news with the boys. This one inspired our ongoing conversation about how to slow down and take joy in the world around us. We talked about whether it would have been a good idea for Ethan to point out the butterfly to the crowd around him, because maybe those folks weren't disinterested, but just coudn't "see" the butterfly. Sometimes you just have to get the ball rolling; the more you stop to notice things, the more things you notice! Train your senses to be on constant alert, and no matter where you are, nature will make itself known to you ...

So a quick little rabbit trail about "urban wildlife" was in order ~ and we have a great field guide to get us started (see below).

From the introduction: Urban_wildlife_1

"Many people, when they think of urban wildlife, imagine squirrels and pigeons or perhaps even foxes and peregrine falcons. It is true that compared with the great diversity of species on Earth, there are relatively few species of urban wildlife. But we have more nonhuman neighbors than we might suppose ... Like most neighbors, these living things become less foreign and more interesting once we come to know and understand them better."

Here are a few other resources that explore this concept:

A fun field trip would be to visit a nearby city for the sole purpose of searching out signs of nature between the sidewalks and buildings. We don't get to town too often, but maybe we'll send Daddy to work with the camera one day next week! (He's agreed - stay tuned!)

In the meantime, we took the camera along with us to Crackerjack's doctor's appointment yesterday morning. While not technically "downtown," the office is in a decidedly non-suburban area ~ there's a shopping center, lots of buildings and pavement, and a highway nearby.

On our way into the office building, I asked the boys if they thought we'd find much nature in the area. That seemed iffy, because at first glance, the landscaping seemed pretty formal and it all seemed so busy with cars coming and going. Most people were rushing in and out of the building ~ and most times that would be us too, but on our way out today, we took 10 extra minutes to look around for small wonders of nature, and here's what we found: (pictures by Mama; narrations a combined effort):


These are tiny green acorns way up in a tree. We knew it was an oak tree and that possibly squirrels might live here as acorns are a good food source for them.


There were a lot of birds flying around, but the only one we could get a picture of was this poor goldfinch we found on the ground. We feel very badly about this bird - our own goldfinches are beautiful and cheerful little songbirds.

Crackerjack adds: "Now if there was a dead goldfinch, then what kind of bird do you think would be around here? I think it was just maybe a turkey vulture!"


This field behind the parking lot attracted a lot of buzzing, flying insects. The bugs probably feed lots of hungry birds!

Crackerjack says: "There was a biiiig field in front of our car. I would think a mouse could live in there."

Bookworm adds: "By the look of it maybe even a few snakes could live in there. And Crackerjack's suggestion would just support the snake idea."


Crackerjack noticed this small patch of red leaves:"The whole tree was green except one circle of orange leaves. At first I thought it was some kind of flower, then I thought it was a kite and then I realized it was leaves! It's a sign of autumn!"

Bookworm adds: "That means that part of the tree is dead and can no longer supply enough food to those leaves."


These are mushrooms that we found growing all over the grass - squirrels and many kind of bugs would eat them.


There was a small grove of pine (or possibly spruce) trees there as well. Lots of pretty little cones - they look nothing like ours so we will look them up in our tree books. More squirrel food!

At the end of our "experiment" we were delighted to discover what seemed like a secret world of nature right out in the open! But we wondered if we were the only ones "in" on the secret?

Of course a woman and two little boys walking all over a busy parking lot taking pictures got a lot of second glances. Our hope is that maybe those folks were wondering what we were looking at and might just have stopped and looked for themselves! :)

What small wonders will you notice today?

Update on My Little Man

I want to reassure everyone that Earlybird is doing much better today! His eye is still swollen and a bit red from rubbing, but he can open it now. Thanks for everyone's kind comments and thoughtful suggestions. :)

Here he is feeling much better:


*Dh points out EB is in his undershirt. Well, yes, he is. He had just eaten lunch (I think he is chewing his last bite here) and his top shirt got messy. So hence the "informal" look. :)

In other family medical news, Crackerjack, had his left ear "flushed" at the pediatrician's office this morning. Nothing more dire than impacted wax was the cause of his discomfort, but to give him his full due, here is a picture of Crackerjack's ear:


Be well and keep safe! Have a great weekend!

The Hornet's Story

Note: This is the second in our continuing series of bug stories ~ unless you count this morning's post about Earlybird "The Mosquito's Story" and then this would be third. ;)

Remember a while back we had a Bald-faced Hornet make a nest outside our back door? Well, we took care of the nest, but the would-be queen found a new spot for her home ...


Her new nest was discovered underneath a bush by our front walkway. We commenced a similar protocol - a quick evening spray of Raid neutralized the situation and then several hours later, the nest was under quarantine in my kitchen ...


Two days later we were checking it out thoroughly, and as you can see this nest had advanced further than the last ...



There were three adult wasps and several larval stages represented:


The construction of the nest itself was truly amazing. If we ever find another one, we'll keep that one intact - it makes a very interesting conversation piece!

And in case you're wondering, as we did, what the difference is between a hornet and a wasp, here's a great place to find out the answer.

Next up ~ ants! :)