Tag Archive | gardening

“Teach us to Number Our Days That We May Apply Our Hearts Unto Wisdom”

“Though we travel the world over to find beautiful, we must carry it within us or we find it not.” Emerson

We begin our day with a leisurely morning visit to the nursery……………….

Image“I had slept and dreamed that life was duty,

But waked to find that life was beauty….”

ImageFish pond

Image“Standing, with reluctant feet, where the brook and river meet…….”

‘Maidenhood’ Longfellow

Decisions, decisions………….

Image“Time for a little something,” thought Pooh.

Sampling raw local honey.

ImageLittle legs resting.

“God has such a splendid way

Of tempting beauty out of clay,

And from the scattered dust that sleep

Summoned men who laugh and weep.”

Louise Ayres Garnett

ImageWe can’t wait to wear our gardening gloves!

ImageO, the possibilities!

“Here is my description of a truly happy land……….

Sons vigorous and tall as growing plants……..”

ImageIsabelle’s garden decor made from a broken tea cup.

ImageGreen bean tepee, this is after he trimmed the branches about 1/3 of the way down……hmmmm, what was he imagining?

“One of the best things in the world is to be a boy; it requires no experience but needs some practice to be a good one.”

Charles Dudley Warner

…………our day ends by drawing the plans and making pretty things for our gardens. We also plant garlic. Twelve new bulbs from one old one. It should be ready to harvest in September, or you can eat it green during the summer, for a milder taste.


Schooling in the Springtime

ImageI don’t know about you but when the lovely spring weather comes, the sky is blue and the sun is shining, I have the hardest time staying inside to do school work. This year I am happy to say we have been able to mix the two~ sun shine and school!

As usual inspiration hit me in the form of a book, just a random gardening book given to the kids by a neighbor. Kids in the Garden by Elizabeth McCorquodale. It has some cool projects and lots of information about starting and maintaining a garden.

A few weeks ago Blue eyes and I watched http://www.backtoedenfilm.com ,along with our kids who were interested, which turned out to be most of the older ones. We are so inspired about our gardens now and excited to see what God will bless us with, even in our small neighborhood lot.

On an especially nice day we were browsing through Kids in the Garden and came across directions for making compost. Perfect! Off we ventured into the forest, my favorite place to be on sun dappled afternoons, to scoop up a couple five gallon pails of “browns”, decaying leaves, pine needles etc. Boys and shovels go so well together!

We built a bin and layered our browns and greens(uncooked fruits and vegi scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, yard clippings, egg shells etc.), added lots of worms and a few shovelfuls of dirt and we are hoping to have nice rich compost to add to our gardens in as little as eight weeks. How cool is that?

We love to use the note-booking approach. This is a casual narration style of learning that works well for us. At our house it looks like this: every one gets their notebook, we’ll use History for an example, and sits down on the living-room floor. Our “crayon box”, colored pencils and other art supplies go in the middle. I read books aloud and they may do what ever they choose in their notebook as long as it goes with what we are reading about. Little ones draw pictures that are labeled and dated, with help if need be, older kids take notes and draw.

Simple but more powerful, than perhaps it sounds. My kids have been very proud of their History notebooks. They have shared them with my mom when she has come to visit and I love to hear them tell her about the pictures. They really internalize what they are able to take in and then put back out in the way that comes naturally to them.

Since our History notebooks are very thick I told them to turn them upside down and backwards and start a Science Notebook on that end. Ta~da! Without spending any money or time a large part of our spring time homeschool has been born and we are all very excited!

Now when the outside is calling to us, our school day can just be transferred out the door! Our math lessons can be done in the morning and our reading in the late afternoon. Our handwriting, reading, science, and art can easily be accomplished through any number of these spring projects. Especially when we are recording each step in our notebooks!

Watch Back to Eden film and discuss content

Research GMOs and arificial fertalizers/herbacides what are the pros and cons of using them

Stir our compost and check out what is happening in there, add water if necessary

Plan our gardens, each child has been given a space to cultivate and grow, because I want our harvest to be useful to our household menu I gave them some ideas to choose from. Their choices are as follows:

the boys: vines, sugar snap peas, green beans, butternut squash, sugar pumpkins, zucchini, climbing cucumbers. What fun to build a tepee for the vines to cover! We are hoping to grow enough green beans to can some as well!

The girls are paired an older with a younger and have chosen to do salsa garden and a salad garden for fresh eating.

Visit our local green house to purchase seeds or vegi starts (This green house/ gardening center is so cool, by the way, that sometimes Blue eyes and I will get a Starbucks and wander around there for a Saturday morning date!)

Work in our gardens………watch our seeds sprout, record their growth, draw the sprouts, blossoms and mature fruit in our science notebooks

Research the concept of “earthing” Why does it make sense?

Visit the Back to Eden garden, which happens to be just a couple hours from our house!

Read The Secret Garden

Purchase butterfly and lady bug larva and observe the life cycle (if you’ve never done this before you need to try it! All of us but especially our 3 and 5 year old daughters will love it this year! You can order them online and have them shipped to you, complete with a hanging home and directions.) 

and every other cool thing we think of!!!

Just today my oldest daughter was looking on Pinterest for ideas for plant labels, and other neat stuff for her garden. Every once in awhile our three year old will say to her,”Your my sister and remember we are sharing a garden?” She also told her she wanted to plant seeds and chocolate chips! So cute and bonding for them. They are planning to buy matching gardening gloves at the gardening center.

We are well under way. Our notebooks are filling up with poems about the smell of the forest, drawings, and a variety of other writings. New gardening books came home with us from the library this week. I have a feeling that we will have a very nice spring session of schooling!

I am so thankful again in this season that my days are spent with my children, living, learning, loving, worshiping together. Meandering through life together, as the Lord leads us. Not bound and stifled by any outside forces. Truly the Lord is good to give us the freedom and ability to educate or children at home!

If any other ideas came to mind, please share!

Staying Grounded

Image      I spent my morning “earthing”. Haven’t heard of it? It’s the idea that the earth is negatively charged and when we are in direct contact with it, bare feet, bare hands in the soil, it neutralizes our positively charged bodies. So many in our modern culture are never in direct contact with the earth. Shoes, sidewalks, gardening gloves. The more I think about it the more it makes sense. My boys spend at least a part of every day climbing trees, digging in dirt, and they are seldom sick and (almost) always happy! My kids love this idea,”See, Mom, who needs shoes?” Now I can attest, everything I’ve read about it must be true……

Today I worked in the good old dirt. Baby Lucy slept in her stroller nearby. The other kids were by turns painting salamanders in their nature notebooks. Kindly modeled by the few they caught yesterday afternoon. My oldest son worked along side me. I love how he uses the shovel, like a little man. He loves to shovel. Turning the garden soil. Asking if he can have “a bit o’earth” for a salsa garden this year. He helps me prune the apple trees then wanders away.

The sun is warm on my face. My small flock of backyard chickens makes their contented little noises. There is a small creek that runs between our lot and that of our neighbors, it sings it’s water song as it meanders it’s way along. All the stress and troubles drift away and my thoughts are pleasant ones. I love my “bit o’earth”. I love my faithful tulips and hyacinths and the hopeful purple-red phlox shoots that are there waiting for me to discover them on spring days like today.  I love my good old chives with their delicate oniony smell. They make me think of tender baby potatoes and butter. I even love the black berries that valiantly try to take over my gardens every spring. My neighbor just doesn’t get why I don’t buy some Round Up and get rid of them once and for all. He already think I’m a little crazy, seven kids, homeschooling, chickens…….so I won’t tell him that I like my yearly battle with the black berries. It makes me feel like an over-comer to go out there with leather gloves and clippers and fill the wheelbarrow with brambles a few times. It helps me remember that I am strong ’cause sometimes I forget.

When my hands are in the soil and the sun is warm on my body sometimes I experience perfect complete contentment. Like this morning, and I breathe in deep and I feel it in my whole being. My heart is full of praise because I know that the creator of the whole universe has extended his grace to me. I lift my face to the sun. I am so happy. I am standing in His presence, on His good earth, and He has washed all my sins away and made me as white as snow.

“Therefore if any (girl) be in Christ, she is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold, all things are new, And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ; as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be reconciled to God! For He hath made Him sin who knew no sin: that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor 5:17-21Image