Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Big Picture

So... yeah. Here it is. About 3/4 of it anyways.

When people come over, and tell us about their totally sweet vegetable gardens, they sound apologetic when they say, "Oh it is small compared to this."

Oh really? You don't have a garden this size? I guess that's because you aren't insane.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


You are probably thinking that the one thing this family needs is a community garden plot. No? Me either. Our neighborhood just put in a lovely community garden and I have been approached to join, but declined (because we already have an excessive amount of gardening going on).

When I found out that quite a few plots were still unclaimed at our favorite gazebo park, I got somewhat suckered into taking one and I am glad I did. I came to the realization, that while we don't need garden space, we are always in need of more community. I have met loads of neighbors and it is really fun digging in the dirt together and watching to see what they will grow.

Dirtiest Kid and I decided to plant a butterfly garden with special plants for the caterpillars (rue, parsley, fennel, dill) and plants for the butterflies (lantana, greg's mist, daisy, lavender). We really REALLY don't need more veggies and I figure this will help pollinate our neighbors' gardens. Plus no one on the planet dislikes butterflies.

Our neighborhood is filled with talented artists. Two of these artists, Diana and Hank, made a commitment to personally throw ollas for all the gardens. Ollas are porous clay pots that are not glazed on the bottom. You bury them in the ground and fill them with water. They slowly release the water into the garden when the soil is dry. This isn't something we have tried at home so I am excited to see how it works. These ollas are masterpieces! Truly. Dirtiest Kid got to pick out our lids. She was beyond excited. There was even an article in the newspaper about the project. Cool huh? I'll keep you updated.

What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.- Kurt Vonnegut

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Kids Are Not Alright (inside)

After reading Last Child in the Woods, I was really inspired to fit more outdoor time into my daughters life, as well as my own. Here's my first in the series -until I get bored with it - Kids Outside! Did you know most adults cannot name 10 native plants? I doubt I could have before I met DHITW. My daughter can't count to 20 without skipping the number 15 but she must know the names of dozens upon dozens of plants. She can identify everything in our garden and knows if its edible. This isn't something we sat down to teach her, but between my husband and my mother-in-law, I think it comes to her through osmosis.

Some people feel out of sorts in nature. They didn't grow up in it, or it is somehow scary or boring. Kids Outside! is here to help. Since this is the first in the series, I'll give you two hot tips to try on for size. * Not just for kids.

Build or Paint a Birdhouse.

We bought a prefab bird house on sale at Target but immediately after purchase I thought how much DKITW would have loved to help build her own. Kids equally enjoy making bird feeders with peanut butter on pine cones or even filling up the bird feeders at their grandparents house. The cool thing about doing an activity like this is that your child will become more aware of birdhouses or feeders out in the neighborhood (and beyond) as well as the kind of birds who utilize them.

DKITW Bug Adventurer Kit: Ski cap, bunny backpack, paper, crayons and a magnifying glass.

Investigate things outside and draw a picture of what you have seen.

Blooming Now

March in South Texas almost makes up for August.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Spring has Sprung

Our red bud is budding. When you stand beneath it, you can hear the bizarre, magical buzzing of 100s of bees.

Our lime tree is liming.

Our dwarf peach is peaching.

If one spent a lifetime doing nothing but planting trees, I think it would be a life well spent.

He who plants a tree
Plants a hope.
-Lucy Larcom