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Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring Peepers!!!!!!!

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I heard Spring Peepers tonight for the first time this Spring. What a wonderful thing. Click the link for excellent photos and recordings of these tiny frogs.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Channeling Ruth Stout

It looks like we won't be getting a batch of chicks this spring so we'll have time to concentrate on the vegetable garden instead. We saved all kinds of seeds from last year's garden. To psych myself up I plan to re-read the wonderful book by Ruth Stout: Gardening Without Work. What a great spirit she had. I do not plan to follow in her footsteps as far as gardening naked goes, but I hope to make good use of her wise garden practices. Last year, with her no till big mulch method, I never really had to weed and only watered a few times! I began in March with lawn. I layered newspaper over the grass. I used all sorts of mulch-from leaves to hay to grass clippings -over the newspaper. To a height of more than six inches. Magical things happened at the mulch-soil boundary, just as Ruth described. When I planted, I tucked the seeds and plants into the soil and snugged them in with mulch. I even shoved compost materials (like vegetable peelings and coffee grounds) in under the hay, just as Ruth said she did. The garden worked so well I can't imagine ever tilling again. Or double digging. I found a short version of Ruth's method at MotherEarthNews.com but can't get the link to work.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Don't Give Up




The other day I was jogging along, trying to rid myself of belly fat, thinking about the terrible economy, and worrying a whole lot. Worrying about my family, worrying about the country, worrying about the whole dang world. All of a sudden I could hear my grandfather's voice telling me not to give up. Now, my grandfather is someone I will miss every day for the rest of my life. He was one of the best men I have ever known or ever will know. A true gentleman. Yet he taught me, by example, some of the worst cuss words I have ever heard! Pop was born almost a hundred years ago. He grew up with four brothers. He lived through several wars, the Great Depression, and night shifts at the steel mill. He played the organ. With my amazing grandmother he raised four great kids. He built things, fixed things and always worked hard. He really used his tools. I have a hand crank drill from Pop I treasure even though I can't make it work the way he did. I can picture him in his late eighties, sweat dripping, staggering on his painful feet, mowing his sloped front lawn with a push mower in the heat of August. He probably considered it a weakness that he was using a motorized mower instead of an old fashioned reel mower. Anyway...Pop wasn't one for a lot of flowery stuff but he always made me feel loved. Through the many years I was lucky enough to have him he reminded me, numerous times, to not give up. "Don't give up, Sis," he'd say during small challenges (like the SATs) and big ones (like my parents' divorce). It even became a joke at times, a reminder not to take myself too seriously, and he'd say it with a toothy smile. This simple, common phrase became shorthand for so much, but at the root of it was Pop's love. So I am saying it to myself and anyone else who needs to hear it!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Homeschool and Andy Goldsworthy

From the first moment I saw Andy Goldsworthy's A Collaboration With Nature in the 1990's I was in love. His work both electrified me and brought me a deep sense of peace and "just rightness." I'll never forget the feelings I had when, neck creaking, I finally looked up from that gorgeous book of images of his amazing work with stone, leaves, twigs, ice and feathers. I felt, somehow, that I'd found a member of my tribe.

Another tribe member, my wonderful sister, bought me my own copies of some of Goldsworthy's books when I turned forty, along with the DVD
Rivers and Tides: Working with Time. Here is the homeschool connection! My older son, then seven, loved the books and DVD. He experimented with ice and other natural items to make time limited sculptures. Eventually that period of sculpting passed and we turned to other things but yesterday, four years later, I found him lying on the dry driveway stone just as the rain started. He announced that he'd always wanted to do one of those Andy Goldsworthy things where you lie down and let the rain paint around you. So he did and this is the result!



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