Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Weathering the storm

Last weekend we had Hurricane Irene come through. John and the kids went down town and filled sandbags to put around our house so we wouldn't flood. It is great to have such happy helpers. 

 I had just planted my fall veggies and the sprouts were trying to pop their heads out of the dirt, so we covered all the boxes with plastic and hoped for the best. As the rains began to fall, but the winds hadn't yet picked up, the kids played in the down pour.  They played in the rain and puddles until the winds really began to blow. They came in so cold so I made some hot chocolate for them as we cuddled on the couch watching the weather change outside. 

Lots of trees went down and people are still out of power, but we were the lucky ones. We had no flooding and this tree was in my neighbors yard. ( it did not hit their house). Even my tomato plants were in perfect shape. We are so happy that we took down our massive poplar tree this year to plant a garden in our back yard.. It was leaning toward our house and would have probably come down in this storm. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

kids want real tools too

Kids enjoy doing real work and they want the tools that can actually get a job done. Can you imagine trying to cut a carrot with a plastic knife or play a song on a 12 in electric toy piano or hammer a nail with a plastic hammer? Well, they feel the same frustration we do. With a few lessons on how to care for and be safe with real tools, children can enjoy hours of fun creating and feeling the great satisfaction of "real" work. We built a little work  bench for the kids with their help using scrap wood from the yard so they would have a space of their own to work. Now they have a place to put all their tools and work on projects when they want. It is amazing how many hours in a day they can spend out there hammering away. The other night my 4 year old got up from the dinner table and whispered in my hear "Mommy, is it o.k. if I go down stairs? I have some work to do." A few minutes later we heard the beautiful sharp sounds of a hammer hitting a nail . We smiled at each other because we knew how content and happy he was in that moment. All it took was a hammer, a few nails and some wood.  And as an added bonus, these are all things you probably already have in your house. So no need to go shopping. And when you buy "real" things for kids, you can avoid those dreaded toy stores and all those brightly colored plastic toys decorating your floors.

Friday, August 26, 2011

This Moment: my two boys

This is a special moment from the past week that I want to stop, savor and enjoy. If you want to see other moments being shared this morning, go over to SouleMama

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fall Garden : Planting the seeds

As most of the kids were heading to their first day back at school this week, my kids were heading to Bowen's Farm Supply store to pick up some seeds to start planting our fall garden. I can't think of a better place to learn then a garden, and I find that the more time I spend there with my children, the happier we all are. Both Jetta and Pilot wanted to plant their own garden, so I helped them pick their seeds and get started. We are planting Beets, Collards, rutabagas, turnips, chard, kale, and broccoli. On this morning of planting we started by getting our hands in the dirt and learning about the natural ecosystem in the soil with the roots from spring and summer plants and worms and bugs all helping to create a perfect environment for life to start.  We practiced being gentle with the seeds and the soil and talked about how we would care for these little seeds each day to make sure they got enough water to sprout. We felt and observed how each seed was different and learned about how much sun and space each plant would need to grow.  We also decided that we would need to make signs for our garden to identify the plants and to make our garden more beautiful. So we got out our paints, found rocks from around the yard that would be perfect for the job, and created some colorful little pieces of art for the garden.  Now, we just have to tend the garden each day and wait for the first little spec of green to appear.  We can hardly wait.

Monday, August 22, 2011

garden update: squash bug invasion

We have been enjoying the most delicious zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers from our garden. Little did we know that those cute little bugs all over the plants were slowly sucking every bit of life from each little fruit. I began to wonder why the plants were looking so yellow and suddenly stopped producing. I saw what I thought were stink bugs on the plants and researched what could be the problem. SQUASH BUGS! Yes, that was exactly what they were. I t seems we had created a little heaven for them to thrive in. Plenty to eat and no natural predators lurking. So, instead of putting my head in the dirt and forgetting the whole garden, we are using this as yet another great homeschooling lesson. What could be better then to study squash bugs. Identifying their eggs, the little babies, the nymphs (or teenagers) and the adults. Learning how to remove them. Making soap and neem oil solutions to try and eliminate and deter them and learning what type of plants to grow with squash that bring in other bugs that like to eat them. Wow! My kids are out int he garden fining squash bug eggs and newly hatched bugs and removing them from the leaves and I have lived my whole life not even know that these things existed. It is amazing what you can learn just planting a garden. We have come up with some good ways to pick the bugs off the plants. Our new favorite is the sucking them off with the shop vac. That was Johns bright idea. Pilot still loves catching them in his cute little hands. We are not giving up though. We have started planting our fall garden and plan to put up some hoophouses over our raised beds to extend our growing season. We may not have much coming out of the garden right now to eat, but we are learning and becoming better gardeners day by day and that is a good thing. 
::the eggs look like shinny golden ovals
::some newly hatched babies
::eggs, babies and nymphs
::these nymphs are hiding in the dead leave...a favorite spot for squash bugs

Sunday, August 21, 2011

simple living: at the beach

Appreciating our week at the beach:

:: Observing and connecting with nature.... making friends with the animals at the beach.
:: Taking time to relax and nap
:: Spending time with people that I love. 
:: Cooking and eating each meal together.
:: Watching as magnificent sand sculptures rose each day only to be washed away by the waves each night.
:: Delightfully watching little bodies riding and diving in the waves as I too felt the waves of the new life inside of me, soon to join us.
:: Fun wild foraging on the dunes were we found these delicious beach plums that became the best snack while playing at the beach each day.
:: Enjoyed reading and discussing the book "The Joy of Less" and day dreaming about all the space that I will uncover in my  house when I get home. I am taking that space that the ocean and the week spent with family provided me and bringing it home so that we can live each day with as much joy, creativity, and peace as we did at the beach.