Review: The Light at Tern Rock

This is a Newberry Honor Book I have never heard of.  It is appropriate for ages 7 and up.

The plot summary is that Ronnie and Aunt Martha are asked by the lighthouse keeper at Tern Rock to take care of the lighthouse while he goes to visit family.  Ronnie hesitates because it is near Christmas and he is afraid of missing Christmas with his family.

Older readers may be able to guess the outcome.  However, I understand why this book received the Newberry Honor.  The plot is very tight, characters well-described, and the language is middle to high school level.  There is a great lesson taught as well.

Find a copy and read it especially if you have older children.


via Daily Prompt: Radiate

To radiate.  This word has its’ positive and negative meanings and connotations.  The positive have to do with warmth and beauty the negative have to do with health and pollution and environment.  Or do they cross over in some way?

Right now my computer and cell phone are giving off radiation.  Why are we told not to worry about this?  A lot of people disagree.  Radiation from nuclear fallout, atoms hitting each other.  Yes, there is natural radiation from the sun that we can’t live without. Radiation provides us with so much that we may not be able to comprehend it all in one sitting.  However, I don’t understand why radiation is used in medicine and for cancer patients.

I love sunflowers and they radiate happiness.  Big, strong, tall, and bright.

When someone is smiling from ear to ear, people say they are radiating happiness.

People who are empaths know that others radiate emotions, like a radio tower, and they tune into them.

How many things, good and bad, radiate in our lives?

Ascend or Descend, Your Choice

via Daily Prompt: Descend

Descend always makes me think of Dante going into the Seven Circles of Hell.  Down and down he went until the part where Hell does actually freeze over.

It makes me think of Steven King.

It makes me think of going down, of horror movies, and Edgar Allen Poe.  The dark staircases with a flashlight coming around the corner, of pyramids, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, sleuths with flashlights searching for clues.

Descend is the action, the verb.  Descent is the noun, the thing.

The best thing you can do is ascend, go up.  Pick the best way, the best reaction to a situation.  Ascent is the noun.

Religions carry a lot of stories and beliefs about people ascending, Elijah, Jesus, Mohammed, to name a few.

The more one complains, the more they will not ascend.  They will descend.  Do not bring negativity into your life.  Always ask that whatever this negative is to turn it into a positive situation.  That’s the best way to stay away from descent and to keep going.


Other Parts

Interior parts of animals are somethings that may be forgotten about.  People go through biology classes to see the interiors, yet do we really think about them?

Do we really realize that all animals have similar organs to ourselves?  Do we stop to think about that?

During my last several posts about horseshoe crabs, I made a list of the body parts I haven’t talked about and usually don’t.

They have: a prosoma (top part), opisthosoma (abdomen), carapace (covering), hinge, chelicera, gnathobase, chilarium, genital operculum, gill opercula, gills, anus, cardiac, extracardiac, and subopthalmic. And I may be missing one or two.

Horseshoe crabs breathe through their gills like fish do yet their gills are on the underside of their bodies.  One can only see them when you pick one up and turn it over. They looked like layered fans.  Their gills allow them to breathe, unlike fish, both in water and on land.

And yes, they have a cardiac system to move that blue blood around.  (See earlier post). One of the main criticisms of their bleeding by pharmaceutical companies is that they insert the needles near the hinge on the horseshoe crab which is also right where their main cardiac is located.  This would be like having a large needle jammed in your neck or chest and your blood sucked out.  We don’t know for sure if they feel pain but they must if they have a brain and neurological system.




Not so yummy?

Two common questions I get about animals: what do they eat and how do they eat it?

The horseshoe crab doesn’t have a mandible, or jaw, and neither does it have teeth.  This is fairly common in the non-mammal animals.  Instead, the horseshoe crabs crush their food between their legs before they pass the crushed food into their mouth or gullet. Their mouth or gullet is located at the top of their body.  From there the food is passed to their stomach.

The gullet is also known as a gizzard in bird species.  The purpose of this thick sac with muscular walls, also known as a secondary stomach, is to grind up the food before the food is eaten.

This gullet is important because horseshoe crabs do eat clams and mussels as well as worms, algae, and carrion (dead flesh).  Unlike shorebirds, the horseshoe crabs don’t crack the shells open, they grind the clams and mussels down.  The shells of the clams and mussels are made of calcium carbonate.  Humans cannot each these shells as shells because human teeth aren’t made to grind down thick shells.

Growing Up

Estimates on the number of eggs a female horseshoe crab lays range from around 9,000 to 60,000.  Migratory shorebirds rely on the eggs for food.  In areas where horseshoe crabs have declined, the numbers of migratory shorebirds have also declined.

Other animals eat the eggs such as raccoons and other types of birds.

Once the female horseshoe crab lays her eggs in the sandy shorelines during the months of May and June around the time of and during the full and new moons, the eggs are on their own.

Horseshoe crabs will not mate in captivity.  They seem to need the ebb and flow of the water, the moon, and the seasons to mate.

One can tell the burrows if one looks closely at the sand.  They look like indentations about the size of a half dollar.  Many people mistake them for sand that has caved in.

Just like turtles, the babies must make their way to the water.

It is not known how many survive this journey.

It takes about eight to ten years for a crab to reach adulthood.  They face many challenges along the way, especially from humans.

Blue Bloods

May begins the month I volunteer at the local Marsh.

Little by little I will share this with you.

Also this month horseshoe crabs begin their mating and egg laying on the shores of the Atlantic and on the beaches of Asia as well.

They frighten a lot of people.  They are living fossils people fear because of the way they look.

Yet they save human lives each and every day.

Have you been to the hospital and/ or had a transplant?  Horseshoe crab blood is used to test for the dreaded Ecoli bacteria on medical equipment and instruments.

Humans have red blood due to the high iron content and horseshoe crabs have blue blood due to high copper content.  They also have a a chemical in their blood called LAL: limulus amebocyte lysate.  LAL is the only (yes, only) chemical on earth, so far, that can be used to test on medical equipment.

Thank a horseshoe crab for helping to save your life or the life of someone you know and for helping to make medical procedures possible.