Memories for Miriam, Alice, Theo, Delia, Tessa
and anyone else who would like to be here
Little blue penguins live on islands and some shores of New Zealand. We saw one swimming in the water near our boat when we were watching dolphins. All the little blue penguins come to shore at night, but by day they swim and catch fish to eat. We came on a boat to Kapiti Island, and we heard some stories about little blue penguins.
This spring, a mother penguin had her nest in a burrow the back yard of the people we visited. John, our host, told us about this mother penguin. She had one little chick, who stayed in the burrow all day. The mother brought food for the baby. She fed the baby so well, that after a while, although it still had baby feathers, which are very downy, it was actually bigger than the mother.
Finally, the baby grew its real feathers and was ready to fly with its mother. A few days before we visited the island, it started to go out to sea in the daytime. We did not get to see the baby or the mother, since we only visited the island in the daytime. At four o’clock our boat took us back to the mainland.
One penguin used to build a nest in a hole underneath John’s doormat on the wooden porch. You can see the door and the doormat in the photo. They could hear the penguin chicks under the porch, crying for food. They could smell the yucky smell of fish that the mother brought to the chicks. Finally the chicks grew up. This year, the penguin family didn’t come back to the porch. They must have found another home.
What kind of burrow do penguins use for a home? They like to find a hole that’s all ready for them. Usually, there are no houses with doormats where penguins want to have a nest. But another bird, the kiwi, digs many holes. Kiwis hide in their holes. They sleep all day, and then go out to dig for worms and grubs at night. The little blue penguins think that kiwis dig very convenient holes. They often pick one and make a nest in it. The picture shows a kiwi burrow where there was a penguin recently. John said he knew the penguins were there because you can see penguin droppings outside the hole.
So John says, if you look into a kiwi hole on Kapiti Island, maybe you will se a kiwi, and maybe you will see a little blue penguin.
Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah. It is eight nights long. Remember why we light candles every night? A long time ago, the Maccabees were a family who fought for freedom, and won the right to worship as they pleased in their own temple. They wanted to light an oil lamp in the Temple in Jerusalem. They didn't have enough oil, but remarkably, the little bit of oil lasted for eight days.
I took this picture of the hills right next to the ancient Temple. This is probably very much like the landscape that the Maccabees could see around 2100 years ago.
Another thing we do to remember how the oil lasted in the story is to eat food fried in oil, such as pancakes. Now in modern times we eat donuts or potato pancakes. This is a little funny, since the potato did not exist in Israel 2100 years ago. We can enjoy them anyway. I made these potato pancakes on Sunday:
For more stories see what I wrote last year: "Hanukkah"
; "More Hanukkah Stories"
and "Hanukkah Lamps"