Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Photo

Friday Photo

A single photo, every Friday. No words required.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Autumn Wraps

We had the most beautiful, perfect autumn. (Thank you, global warming.) It was warm during the days, right through Halloween, with cool-season herbs and flowers still in bloom. No snow crushed our autumnal enjoyments, hardly a frost even touched the ground. It made for a perfect, chilly-not-frigid, Halloween.

Carving with Aunt Laura

My funny little pumpkins

Self-made squash suits

We carved pumpkins. We made and wore costumes. Rain was a Jack-o-Lantern and Hazel was a Delicata squash.

We ate a lovely feast. We set up luminarias all over the backyard and we ran around in the dark with flashlights and candle lanterns. We played with Auntie and Uncle.

And because we're rural and don't have a lot of trick-or-treating options, we decided to skip the long walk through the neighborhood that isn't quite ours across the busy street.

We did a backyard treasure hunt instead.

Aunt Laura and Uncle Paul played too.
We ended up the evening with a bonfire in the backyard. Rain was a bit disappointed about not trick-or-treating, but the rest of us loved the treasure hunt. It was different and new. Maybe we'll do it again next year. Or maybe, since next year Halloween is going to be on a Saturday, we'll have time to do a little bit of everything fun.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Quotations for Health and Sanity: Mike Rose on Failure

Quotations for Health and Sanity

Mike Rose on Failure, from his book Why School?

"Be ready to fail. Or, at the least, get ready to think you're failing. If you're doing something worthwhile, something that pushes on the edges of things even just a little, you're going to slam up against your limits, not to mention your insecurities and demons. ... Get out of bed. Get a drink of water. If you pray, then pray. If you take a pill, do that. Scribble some notes if that helps. But realize that the odds are that you'll get through this, maybe with a new insight, maybe with a new way to frame the problem."

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

Planting Milkweed

Milkweed is an important native plant in North America, attracting and feeding many beneficial insects including monarch butterflies, whose incredible annual migration is one of the wonders of the world. Monarchs, like many native species have become threatened as the vast bulk of North America is farmed more and more intensively. If weeds are eradicated from the countryside and insecticides are used to excess, many species may disappear, diminishing life for all of us. Luckily, I do not have to maximize crop yields on my small corner of this vast continent. Like the native sunflowers which magically appear all over our property every year (great habitat for local birds and insects), milkweed belongs in our landscape and has arrived on the wind. At this time of year, the milkweed pods ripen and begin to spill out their seeds.

Hazel shows us the seeds inside an almost-ripe milkweed pod

"Planting" milkweed on a sunny afternoon with a light breeze is a delight. Each seed is attached to a wonderfully fluffy parachute. If you have never spread these seeds on the wind, let me encourage you to do so. If possible, do it with young children. You'll all be giggling as joy spreads with the funny little seeds. It's as good for our souls as it is for our environment.

Planting milkweed in our backyard meadow
Living with a disability which severely hinders mobility, like Duchenne does, we like to do whatever we can to make our home a magical place. Nature deficiency and a sense of disconnection can be contributing factors to depression and anxiety, particularly for people who find their worlds contracting due to lack of mobility. Nurturing our gardens and backyard wildlife habitat can be a way to bring nature to us so that we don't have to work so hard at getting to it. Even when getting out of bed is too big a challenge, we can see from our windows the natural landscape and beauty we have encouraged. There's no downside as far as I can see. The upside manifests itself in every change of season, in every small moment of wonder. We cherish every chance we take to do a little, easy thing that helps make the world a safer, more hospitable, friendlier place for our neighbors--winged, hoofed, pawed, or otherwise--included.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Photo

Friday Photo

A single photo, every Friday. No words required.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Spider Hunting

Aunt Susie knows how to look for spiders. Big ones.

If you go out at night with a bright light shining from about your own eye level, any animal that looks at you will reflect their eyeshine in your direction. When you see the light in their eyes, you know that you and the animal are regarding one another through the darkness. A small cluster of green eyeshines in the grass is often a spider.

Let the backyard wildlife expeditions begin!