How Tall Are These Animals Compared to Humans?

The tallest man in the world was Robert Pershing Wadlow born in 1928.  He died at the age of 22 years.  Robert reached 8 ft. 11 inches (2.72 m).  This is a picture of Robert with his father.

The Ostrich is Taller than even Robert

Ostrich stands at 9 feet

The Ostrich is the largest living bird, with a height of 2.7m (9 feet) and weighing in at 156 kg (344lbs). So, the ostrich is taller than the tallest human.

How Tall is a Grizzly Bear?

This time, the grizzly bear is smaller than Robert, the tallest human who ever lived.

It can be up to 8 feet tall when it stands on back feet. Although grizzly bears are large animals, 75% of their diet is comprised of berries, leaves and nuts. They also like to eat fish, rodents and moose. Animals that eat plants and animals are called “omnivores”.

Some Facts About Grizzlies

–Grizzlies have brown fur with white tops on shoulder and back.  They have a hump on their backs that is made from muscles.  This is a large animals weighing between 300-800 lbs.  Grizzlies standing up can reach  8 feet and when on all four paws, they still are 3-4 feet in height.

-What Do They Eat?

Up to 75% of a grizzlies diet consists of berries, leaves and nuts.  The other 25% of their diet consists of fish, rodents and moose meat.  Animals that eat plants and meat are called “omnivores.”


Prior to hibernation (a long sleep) many grizzlies eat up to 25 fish per day, often salmon.  This gives them fat that helps them to survive for between 5 and 8 months.  Breathing and heart rate will slow down and they survive from their fat.  Grizzly bears can wake up at any time.

Baby Cubs.

Females are often pregnant when they enter hibernation.  Later, she will give brith to two cubs a few months before hibernation ends. They will stay with their mother for between 2-4 years.

Cubs can climb trees when they are young, but when their claws become longer don’t have the same climb ability.  Grizzlies can live for 30 years in the wild.  They have great talents.  They are excellent swimmers and they can run up to 30 miles an hour.

Just be careful if you are in an area with grizzlies.


History of Kites with Images – So, Go Fly a Kite!

History of Kites


No one can explain when the first kite was made, but most experts believe that China was the first country to fly kites.  One legend tells of a  farmer who invented a kite to keep his hat on while he was working.

Other experts state that the first kite was made in the Chinese city of Shandong.  The first kites were made from light materials such as paper and silk and were  framed by bamboo.

Traders from China brought kites with them to Korea and India.  It is said that Chinese Buddhist monks used kites to scare away ‘evil spirits’ that might attack the plants and crops.

Marco Polo

Marco Polo was an Italian who was one of the first Europeans to visit and trade with China.  In 1295 he drew kites and wrote about them.

Scientists Use Kites

A Scottish meteorologist named Alexander Wilson used a kite with a thermometer attach to measure the temperature at 3,000 feet.  This was in the year 1749.  Three years later Benjamin Franklin and his son flew a kite and proved that lightning was indeed electricity.

Kite Flying Around the World

In 1964, The American Kitefliers Association was formed and now has over 4000 members in at least 35 nations. Their annual convention is the largest gathering of serious kite fliers in the World.

So what are you waiting for…..”Go fly a kite!”

Looking after Alpacas in New Zealand.


We are looking after a wonderful dog and three alpacas in New Zealand. I hope you will learn about these great animals.

Cara, Milo and Delentia

Cara (brown) and Delentia (white)

It is our delight to look after the above-named alpaca.  They graze just before a beautiful open deck and spend their time “chewing the cud” between two paddocks.  When it is feeding time, Milo, the alpha male will actually hum.

Listen to them Hum

Alpacas communicate by humming.  Only if they are extremely upset will they spit.

When feeding or walking them, our hosts have told us not to touch their hinds legs which are very sensitive.  To do so, might result in the alpaca kicking backwards.

Brown line show countries that contain the Andes

They were first domesticated by the Incas of Peru, Chile and Bolivia.  Back then, only the I can royalty could wear their soft and warm wool. Alpacas may graze as high as 5,000 m or 16,000 ft.

Alpacas are smaller than llamas and come in two types of breed.

The larger animal is the llama

The Huacayas are the most popular and are sheared like sheep for their wool. (They are on the left of this picture and on the right is the Sure breed.

People who are allergic to sheep’s wool are happy wearing Alpaca clothing.  Believe it or not, alpacas can be house-trained. Outside in the field, alpacas like to use one spot to poo.  Llamas are beasts of burden, but the alpacas is mainly bred for its wool.

Milo the Alpha Male

Milo likes to gurgle-talk with a hum thrown in.   That is the best way that I can describe his greeting when it is time for feeding.   His two female friends, Cara and Del remain silent.  Feeding consists of placing dry hay into individual buckets and making a nest where pellets are thrown in.  It is a joy to see them notice us and know that it is feeding time.   They run up the hill with such grace.  Watching alpacas eat brings smiles to our faces.  They have a three-chambered stomach.

After taking food, they chew the cud in a figure of eight motion.


Females give birth to a single alpaca called a ‘cria.”   The gestation time is approximately 11.5 months.  As a species, alpacas tend to live for up to 25 years.

Guard Dogs

Alpacas make a variety of sounds.  Although we have only heard Milo hum.  He does produce a “cluck” and a “click” sound and this is a friendly or submissive gesture. When alpacas fight or are threatened by dogs or cats they make a “wark” sound . Alpacas are social herd animals that also live in family groups with a alpha male.   When the herd in in danger, they make a high-pitched bray.  The herd may attack smaller predators with their front feet and they will spit and kick..  Farmers will often employ alpacas to guard sheep from coyotes, dogs and foxes.

This is our third time looking after alpacas.  The first time was on the southern island of New Zealand.  The second time was in the Yorkshire moors and now, in the northern island of New Zealand.  Alpacas are wonderful animals and we would like to housesit them again.

Cassidy: Kitten with No Hind Legs Gets Around

   LAPS =          Langley Animal Protection Agency

Cassidy the kitten lives in Langley, British Columbia, Canada, and introduce you to Shelly Roche.  Shelly is the loving foster mom of an incredible kitten called Cassidy.

Missing Hind Legs

It must have been quite a shock for Shelly to discover a tiny nine week old kitten without hind legs.  He was missing both kind legs  below the knee.  There was some sort of trauma when he was born.

Put Him Down!

Shelly took Cassidy to an emergency vet who suggested that his life should be terminated.

Shelly is a strong woman who fosters abandoned animals for the Langley Animal Protection Society.  She was determined not to give up on him.  There was something about Cassidy that Shelly decided that he, too, was a fighter.  She wanted him to be given a chance to survive and know love and to put fear, pain and starvation behind him.

Let’s Get Cassidy Moving!

Cassidy moves thanks to young kids

Kindness and creativity knows no gender or age barrier.  Two local stud3nts built a custom 3-D printed wheelchair to give Cassidy an opportunity to walk.  It worked.  Cassidy was given hope and he lost the frustration of not being able to walk and turned it into an adventure.

Cassidy the Internet Hero

There are many good things associated with the internet.  Nearly everyone needs a heart-warming story and be inspired by people or animals.

Cassidy on his vacuum robot

Someone suggested that Cassidy ride a Roomba vacuum cleaner.  This is a robot cleaner that knows how to avoid hitting furniture.  More information can be found about Cassidy at TinyKittens Society.

Download “Belinda’s Dandelion” from Amazon

Here are a few pages of a story I wrote about bullying.  If you like it, you might ask your parents to download the entire story.  Here are a few questions before the story begins.

Have you noticed how kids gang up on one student.  It starts with one unkind remark and if the bully gets a laugh from the class, others will join in.

Someone has to be brave and report the bullying.  No one should go home unhappy.   No one should dread or be afraid of coming to school.


Here is part of the story – enjoy.

It was a warm spring day, when a Dandelion woke up and took her first look at a beautiful world. All around her were dazzling colors, wonderful scents and delightful sounds.

There were other plants in the garden. They had also bloomed for the first time. These plants were dressed  in nature’s finest clothes. The little Dandelion was quick to tell everyone how beautiful each one looked.

The Crocus felt the Dandelion’s love and said, “Dandelion, your head is like the color of the sun. You are very pretty plant.”

The Dandelion was happy to live in a garden where plants were friendly and kind to one another.



Night came to the garden. The plants began to whisper goodnight. Suddenly, an angry plant yelled out in the darkness.

“It is NOT a goodnight! We have a weed amongst us.”

“What’s a weed?” asked the Dandelion.

The angry plant made herself tall as she spoke.


“A weed is useless and ugly. Sometimes, it even tries to look like a flower.”

The Dandelion had more questions.

“Who are you? How do you know such things?”

The angry plant twisted her stem and shook her petals.

“I am a perennial. This means that I bloom each year. Tomorrow, the gardener will water the flowers and pull out ugly weeds.”

The Dandelion looked around her. The moon had began to shine her light on the plants. They looked so pretty.

“Lady Perennial,” said the Dandelion respectfully. “I see no weeds in this garden. Everyone is different and each plant is beautiful.”        The Perennial twisted her stem again and hissed at the dandelion.


“Stupid Dandelion! You are the only horrible weed among us!”

The Dandelion shivered with fear as all of the plants looked in her direction.

A Pansy spoke up.

“Lady Perennial, who decides which plant is a flower and which plant is a weed?”

“Humans made this decision a long time ago.” answered the Perennial.

The Pansy was confused. “But, she looks and speaks like one of us. I don’t think we should put her down by calling her a bad name. That would make us bullies.”

“Weeds have no feelings!” replied the Perennial. “They cannot feel pain like plants.”

The Dandelion did feel the pain of the Perennial’s words. She turned to her friend the Crocus.

“Dear Crocus, you told me that my head was like the sun. Please tell me that the Perennial’s words are untrue.”

Now, the Crocus was afraid of the Perennial. If she stood up for the Dandelion, maybe the Perennial would pick on her, too.

“I never said that your head was like the sun. You, Dandelion are just a lying weed!”


Well done, Crocus!” shouted the Perennial. “You spoke like a proud flower. That is the way to speak to weeds!”

The Crocus felt happy even if she did tell a lie.

The poor Dandelion began to feel that she was ugly. She hung her head in shame.

The Rose looked at the Dandelion. She knew that she should act with love in her heart. After all, humans gave Roses as a sign of love on earth.

“Lady Perennial,” said the Rose gently, “I don’t see why weeds cannot live peacefully beside flowers. I think that everyone is equal in the garden.”

To the Dandelion’s surprise, the other flowers began to agree with the Rose.

The Perennial thought about what the Rose had said. She did not think that flowers and weeds were equal. She had made up her mind to hate weeds. The Perennial began to think of a way to trick the flowers into thinking what she believed.

“I come from a rich and clever family,” said the Perennial. Grandfather Perennial fought a war to get rid of weeds. Many, many flowers told him that he did the right thing. Do you want weeds taking over the ground in which you are growing.?”

“No weed will do that to me!” yelled the Lily.

I’ll stop the story now.

Questions to ask:

  1. What do you think will happen to the Dandelion?
  2. Is there a plant that will become her friend.
  3. Can the nasty Perennial hurt the Dandelion further?
  4. Who is Belinda?   The Story is called “Belinda’s Dandelion.”
  5. Can Belinda help the Dandelion?

You can download the entire story from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.



Six Blind Men & An Elephant: Funny Poem

It was six men of Indostan, to learning much inclined,
who went to see the elephant (Though all of them were blind),
that each by observation, might satisfy his mind.

The first approached the elephant, and, happening to fall,
against his broad and sturdy side, at once began to bawl:
‘God bless me! but the elephant, is nothing but a wall!’

The second feeling of the tusk, cried: ‘Ho! what have we here,
so very round and smooth and sharp? To me tis mighty clear,
this wonder of an elephant, is very like a spear!’


The third approached the animal, and, happening to take,
the squirming trunk within his hands, ‘I see,’ quoth he,
the elephant is very like a snake!’

The fourth reached out his eager hand, and felt about the knee:
‘What most this wondrous beast is like, is mighty plain,’ quoth he;
‘Tis clear enough the elephant is very like a tree.’

The fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, Said; ‘E’en the blindest man
can tell what this resembles most; Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an elephant, is very like a fan!’

The sixth no sooner had begun, about the beast to grope,
than, seizing on the swinging tail, that fell within his scope,
‘I see,’ quothe he, ‘the elephant is very like a rope!’

And so these men of Indostan, disputed loud and long,
each in his own opinion, exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right, and all were in the wrong!

Nellie the Elephant – Cute Poem and Song

To Bombay
A traveling circus came
They brought an intelligent elephant
And Nellie was her name.
One dark night
She slipped her iron chain
And off she ran to Hindustan
And was never seen again


Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk
And said goodbye to the circus
Off she went with a trumpety-trump
Trump, trump, trump

Night by night
She had danced to the circus band
When Nellie was leading the big parade
She looked so proud and grand
No more tricks
For Nellie to perform
They taught her how to take a bow
And she took the crowd by storm

The head of the herd was calling
Far, far away
They met one night in the silver light
On the road to Mandalay

A female is always the head of a herd of elephants

Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk
And said goodbye to the circus
Off she went with a trumpety-trump
Trump, trump, trump
Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk
And trundled back to the jungle
Off she went with a trumpety-trump
Trump, trump, trump

Did you like the poem?  Are you happy that Nellie is free to be with other elephants?

How Big Are They? Giraffe,Whale, Ostrich, Elephant

Blue Whale

The Blue whale is the largest animal of all time, reaching a weight of about 180 tonnes (198 US tons) and a length of 30m (98′). Their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant and their hearts as much as a car.

The average height of a giraffe differs between male and female.

Male giraffes (or ‘bulls’) can be up to 18 feet (5.5 meters) tall, with a shoulder height of 11 feet (3.3 meters).

Female giraffes (or ‘cows’) can be up to 14 feet (4.3 meters) tall, with a shoulder height of 9 feet (2.8 meters).  They weigh approximately 2 tonnes or 2.2 US tons. Even baby giraffes are huge, a whopping six feet tall at birth

The tallest recorded male giraffe was one at London zoo called George who reached an amazing 19 ft 3 in (5.88 meters) The tallest recorded female was ‘Shackie’ who is 22ft tall (6.7 meters)

The largest living reptile is saltwater crocodile with a length of 5 m (16′) The largest recorded crocodile weighed an incredible 1,900 kg (21US tons) and spanned 6.3m (21′) in length!

The Ostrich is the largest living bird, with a height of 2.7m (9′) and weighing in at 156 kg (344lbs).

This man did get away, but he will probably keep his distance from ostriches.

Kiwi Kids Celebrate an Indian Hindu Festival

It is wonderful when schools and communities share and celebrate other cultures.   Here in New Zealand families from the town of Marlborough, children from Te Kupenga Preschool, welcomed their own grape festival by celebrating the Holidays festival.

Rainbow of Colours

Khloe-Rose Fishburn, of Te Kupenga Preschool, celebrates the Holi festival with a splash of colour.

It looks like a lot of fun.


Spreading the colourful love at the Holi festival at Te Kupenga Preschool.

The Holi Festival is about celebrating the love you have for other people.


Children from the preschool shrieked in delight as they threw handfuls of the powder into the air and at each other.  Well done to everyone.


Puffins: Adorable Birds and “Parrots of the Sea”

Puffins: Adorable Birds

Puffins spend most of their lives in the sea so they need to avoid oil spills from big tanker ships. Oil spills stop them from flying.  Puffins can flap their wings up to 400 times in a minute and they can soar through the air at over 88 km an hour.  Oil spills also affect the small fish that Puffins eat.  Sometimes, overfishing can frustrate the Puffins as they have to keep searching for new fishing areas.

Sea Parrots

Puffins are sometimes called “sea parrots’ or ‘clowns of the sea.’  You will notice that Atlantic Puffins have black and white feathers and a large parrot-like beak.  They measure about 25 cm in length.

Coming Ashore to Breed

There are two times that puffins breed – spring and summer.  It is during the spring that the puffin’s beak becomes a beautiful orange.

The nest is a burrow that parents dig out with their sharp claws and beak.  The parents line the nest with feathers and grass to make it soft and comfortable.  There is just one egg and both parents take turns incubating it.  They wait between 36-45 days to see their puffling.  All the time, both parents are looking for predators such as hungry seagulls.  Some parent puffins have been together for up to 20 years.

Looking for food means that puffins will often dive down 60 m (that’s 60 large metre sticks).