Wednesday, May 16, 2012

mother nature's child

I had a fabulous Mother's Day weekend!  The sun was finally shining and we spent most of the weekend outside.  We enjoyed a lovely dinner on Sat with all the moms (& dads & Auntie M & Uncle J) at the Wayside Inn (favorite restaurant), and after everyone else departed, we rambled down to the meadow to search for bugs and pick wildflowers, and then onto a little brook where Seven went WILD catching crayfish in his dress pants.  What a better way to ruin a pair of pants?!  Of course, after finding ticks all over the place on Monday, I think we may be steering clear of the meadows for awhile!  But boy did we have a blast!  More from Mother's day next post!

bug hunting and flower picking

in the meadow


serious crayfish catching

mel and rose

In a neighboring town, (Melrose), there is a lovely swan family we discovered one day.  We saw them early on when it was just Mom & Dad (named Mel & Rose by local residents) sitting on the nest, and on this day we saw 6-maybe 7 newly hatched cygnets!  So fuzzy and cute!

Today we went back to visit (about 3 weeks later from the visit depicted above), and found only the nest, with one lonely unhatched egg.  No family in sight.  So glad we got to see them when we did!

We are rather bird crazy lately--watching the Decorah eagles on line, and our latest homeschool project is creating Life Lists.  A Life List (for the serious birders), is a list of all the birds you see in your life--at least that's my understanding.  I spent weeks trying to figure out how to do a life list with a Seven & Five (yes--no more four, but more on that later!), and finally came up with a plan that seems to be working.  I found this North American birds coloring book on our bookshelf (no one in the family seems to know where it cam from so I'm thinking a little bird fairy left it), and each time we see a bird, I photocopy a page for the kids to color.  We record the date and place we saw it and put it into a 3-ring binder.  Ahh success!  It's working out great, but I am racing to keep up!  I am doing a more grown up life list for myself where I sketch and record in a journal.  It's been amazing to document all the bird sightings that I am sure would otherwise have gone unnoticed.  We saw an oriole this weekend and actually captured a couple good pics:

I have hijacked my husband's Canon Rebel SLR and am trying to learn how to use it in lieu of my point and shoot.  That's my new homeschool project!

Many thanks to our friends in NH, peregrine falcon fans, who I think inspired this bird frenzy!  Happy birding!!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

springtime explorers

Sometimes I get really frustrated with the limitations of our living situation--no yard, apartment living, the down side of city life.  I believe so strongly in the importance of nature in childhood, and I want my children to grow up marveling at the natural world all around them, and to develop a deep connection to the living world.  They need to spend time outside--playing, exploring, wondering.  And while all this would be easier if we had a yard they had unlimited access to and lived in an area where they saw more trees than buildings, we work hard to accommodate our challenges, and I have to remind myself--I'm doing the best I can.

Looking back at these few snapshots from April remind me of this--and also make me feel like we are doing pretty well!

If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life. - Rachel Carson
climbing trees

desperately seeking salamander egg sacs

newt or salamander?  Seven can tell you!

tadpoles and water bugs

creating our own ponds with modeling clay at Garden in the Woods