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Archive for August, 2010

“Feel the Life”

Aurora wanted me to go outside with her and check on her tent. We slept outside the night before, her tent was still set up and it was raining. I started to put on my puddle jumpers and she said, “Don’t wear your boots, let’s go barefoot so we can feel the life.”  So we walked outside without our shoes, it was a bit cold, a lot wet, sometimes pokey—sticks, other times soft—moss and then even wetter—tall ferns. The yard was gray, misty, and green, green, green. After many days of no rain you could see how much the plants and trees were enjoying a good drink. You could almost hear them gulping.

Feet in the fernsThis morning’s experience made me want to spend more time outdoors with Stephen and Aurora. It was fun to squish around in the yard, feeling the different textures. I started to think of ways we could incorporate all the senses into these explorations. We could take a walk where we take turns being blindfolded and being the leader, that could help heighten senses other than sight, the one we rely so much on. We could crawl on our hands and knees, getting our hands and sense of touch involved and our nose would be closer to the ground which would get our sense of smell into the experience. If I can find edible plants while walking we could even a sense of taste to the exploration. So next time Aurora wants to go out and “feel the life”, I think I’ll add let’s also go hear the life, smell the life and taste the life. Let us know if you have ideas for explorations or personal experiences you would like to share.

Below are some links to inspire you:

http://www.outdoor-nature-child.com/nature-awareness.html

http://www.freekidcrafts.com/fall-5-senses-nature-walk.html

http://www.teachkidshow.com/teach-your-child-to-hike/

http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/

http://www.ehow.com/about_4793423_nature-walking-edible-wild-plants.html

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Success, baby bluebirds!

Baby bluebird in nest.The bluebird parents pulled it off. Together they kept their eggs warm enough to hatch. While the mother was injured and away from the nest, the father sat on the nest and took care of the eggs. Grace’s response to the news that the father had picked up the slack was “Oh, what a good guy.” True team work on the part of these two bluebirds. Yeah, Dad.

Baby bluebird days old.

Baby bluebird days old.

The kids and I feel so invested in the health of the bluebird family. We leave mealworms for the father and mother to eat and feed to their babies. Tabs are kept on the comings and goings of the adults. If I see one of them enter the nest I let everyone in my family know. I think I will feel relief and sadness when the babies fledge the nest. Classic empty nest syndrome.

Here is a link to a Bluebird Growing Up game. Print the pictures and then put them in order of youngest to oldest. Let us know how you do. http://www.sialis.org/bluebirdgrowingupgame.htm

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All winter long my kids ask me to buy strawberries when we go the grocery store.Local fruit and yogurt for a morning treat. My reply is usually “those are laboratory strawberries they don’t taste like ‘in season’ strawberries.” I did cave one time when the giant red berries were on sale. The kids all agreed that they didn’t taste as good as fresh strawberries. So we made a deal, when a fruit comes into season I will buy it and buy it and buy it and they will enjoy it and enjoy it and enjoy it. T,hen we wait until the next season or we will eat frozen fruit that we put in the freezer when it was ripe in the garden. In order to fulfill my part of the deal I spend a lot of time at roadside stands and farmers markets. If you are interested in finding local foods in your area check out www.localharvest.org/

The kids and Dave have their favorites. Dave wants lots and lots of blueberries and Local fruit with cereal. yogurt. That’s his summer dessert. One morning I offered Stephen some cottage cheese, blueberries and peaches. He loved it. The next morning he asked if he could have some of that “summer breakfast.” I think that name will stick as well as the practice of eating in season fruits  and vegetables.

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Bluebird Update

I thought I was going to have to write with bad news and say that the mother bluebird was gone. She disappeared for a day or two, or she was not on the nest when I checked for her.  Which in hindsight was good news because it meant she was able to fly again. So life for the bluebird family seems to be back to normal. The mother is on the nest keeping her eggs warm and safe and the father is hunting for insects to feed the mother and himself. Bluebird eggs in a nest.

Grace the wildlife rehabilitator said that it’s late in the season to have a new clutch of eggs but we’ll keep our fingers crossed. And I’ll keep you posted.

If you are interested in finding out if your property is a good environment for bluebirds visit www.sialis.org. This site can answer every question having to do with bluebirds. The following address will connect to a Bluebird Fact Sheet at the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection(DEP) http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?A=2723&Q=325966

Bluebirds like semi-open habitats, orchards, parklands, meadows, and other area with scattered trees and short ground cover. They perch in the open and scan the ground for insects and spiders. We had a male bluebird who liked to perch on the bowsprit of a boat in our backyard.

Share your bluebird stories with us.

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