This year has been so magical viewed through the eyes of a 2 and 4 year old. I’m learning to join them in noticing the nature around us. There are so many little joys that come from watching a robin build a nest, gathering flowers and plants, pulling apart the various seed pods from trees and flowers, planting and tending a garden, and playing in the rain. Here’s a look back over some of our noticings in May:
The kids found some radishes in our fridge that had started to sprout. They went out to the garden and spent an hour “planting them” in our garden. Nathan moved out back and started planting rocks and Emily turned to flower collecting. She also discovered she can climb fences!
We have all loved feeding the birds in our backyard. There are a few regulars – a pair of cardinals, bold robins, chipping sparrows, and a few that we haven’t identified. They com eat regular intervals throughout the day. Emily has a dream of feeding them right out of her hands and she will occasionally stand out there holding up birdseed in hopes one will fly over to her. We also discovered that they love buckets of water to use for drinking and a bird bath. One Robin in particular is not worried about us and will come and bath, eat or just sit and watch us while we are outside. I’ve been trying to take pictures of them all spring and summer and I’ve only managed a few dirty window shots!
One early morning when I was leaving on my run I noticed all of the neighborhood robins were hard at work collecting materials and building nests. There was one pair building one in the drainage pipe near our apartment. I sat and watched them for awhile and they were focused on the task at hand, completely ignoring me. After I went running and stretched, I ran inside to grab the kids from eating breakfast and we watched for another 30-45 minutes. Even after watching them bring up sticks and twigs and thump around with them I have no idea how a nest actually forms. I was surprised to see how much they could carry in their beaks at one time. They would also dive impressively if a piece of grass dropped out of the nest, sometimes catching it mid air and other times hunting around on the ground until they found the same piece. The kids watched for awhile and then tried offering materials for them to add to their nests.
This also inspired a new outdoor activity of nest building. They’ve built them out of all sorts of materials, but this one was particularly beautiful. I love the little rock eggs.
Andrew, Emily, and Nathan got the dirt ready and planted the seeds for our garden this year. We’ve accepted the fact that with the amount of sun we get we can just grow leafy greens, and we are trying to embrace the reality. Emily has become particularly dedicated in gardening and has learned so much. Her stamina for the task is much higher than mine. When I was out there weeding with the kids a few weeks later she was giving me pointers about how much dirt I need to shake off the weeds before I toss them. She still really loves playing with worms and makes sure we are all keeping our eyes out.
A natural outgrowth of Emily’s flower collecting is lots of bouquets of flowers in our home. We also tried pressing some flowers. That was a neat process and Emily loved gluing them to paper to make cards out of them.
We went to a friend’s home to mill the wood from my grandma’s cherry tree. After getting a tour of the huge band saw mill and wood shop that had us drooling, Andrew got to work cutting the logs. The kids and I spent the day with friends looking at chickens, playing with cats (Emily), and learning about herbs and edible plants. We used some plantain to treat sunburn and scrapes and ate purple and white clovers. After a few hours they cut a delicious watermelon so Nathan was IN HEAVEN. We ended the evening going down to the creek and sitting while the kids played in the water and collected sea shells. It was a favorite Saturday for sure. The time passed quickly and as we neared home at 6pm we stopped by Jimmy Johns to grab sandwiches for dinner. It seemed particularly fitting since that was one of my grandma’s favorites and she and I would get one for a treat.
The rain suits (affiliate) are amazing! We’ve taken them out in many an Indiana rain storm with great success. I love that they have a much longer tolerance for the weather so we can be out for more than a few minutes and that they come in dry (unless they go puddle swimming in them which does happen, but then at least the mud is on the rain suits instead of their clothes).