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!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Parent Teacher Conferences

Today were our parent-teacher conferences for the kids. Apparently, while I was busy with other things, my children have shown themselves to be well-liked, well-educated, and well-behaved. On grade level or above in every subject. (Hazel's my math girl, Rain's a great reader.) Managing their emotions, getting along with peers, growing in maturity with their polite and appropriate self-advocacy. Staying focused, being on-task, accepting transitions. What progress these little munchkins have made!

Their teachers mentioned just one area where they could both use a little more practice. Writing. Doesn't it just kill you?? I could use some more writing practice too.

I've got a little notebook that I pass back and forth with Rain. He has filled it with the most amazingly detailed pictures, mostly of animals in nature. His teacher suggested that I ask him to label the pictures and then try to write at least one or two good sentences about them. 

As I type this right now, Hazel sits at the other corner of the desk, plotting and planning her piece of short fiction. I'm going to ask her to share it with me. Maybe she'll workshop one of my short essays in return.

Smart, good kids. I am so lucky.

Now all we have to do is the 504 meetings with the G/T teacher so that we can educate her about how a person can have a high IQ or great talent and a disability which requires accommodation at the same time.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Photo

Friday Photo

A single photo, every Friday. No words required.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Jack O'Lantern

You know what's the best? When you're doing something really hard and scary (and bloody!) and then your sister comes in and she's so encouraging and proud of you for being so brave.

From great struggle comes great success. Look at that mouth, would ya?

He has decided that this is the perfect year to go as a Jack O'Lantern for Halloween. Gotta love age 7.