Building a Garden

A Day in the Life, Farm Book, How

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A couple weekends ago, we joined a team of volunteers at the Muse to put in the boxes for our vegetable garden and clear out an area that had been fenced off and grown over. I knew there weren’t a lot of kids coming but I think it’s healthy for the Huckleberries to feel a little ownership and responsibility. More importantly, gardening is our favorite!

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Daddy brought the truck to help bring in fresh dirt. Rory brought the wheelbarrow.

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Edie brought get shovel and she knows how to use it.

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We had to rent a trailer to move a ton of dirt to school and then wheel it up to the garden site on the other side of the yard.

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But there’s nothing wrong with wheel barrows.

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It took a long time to get the garden boxes put together and moved up to the right place.

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Now we have a beautiful garden spot and a play forest as well. As soon as the little kids get bored of digging in the dirt, it will be safe to plant seeds!

Building a Garden

A Day in the Life, Farm Book, How

image

A couple weekends ago, we joined a team of volunteers at the Muse to put in the boxes for our vegetable garden and clear out an area that had been fenced off and grown over. I knew there weren’t a lot of kids coming but I think it’s healthy for the Huckleberries to feel a little ownership and responsibility. More importantly, gardening is our favorite!

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Daddy brought the truck to help bring in fresh dirt. Rory brought the wheelbarrow.

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Edie brought get shovel and she knows how to use it.

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We had to rent a trailer to move a ton of dirt to school and then wheel it up to the garden site on the other side of the yard.

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But there’s nothing wetting with wheel barrows.

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It took a long time to get the garden boxes put together and moved up to the right place.

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Now we have a beautiful garden spot and a play forest as well. As soon as the little kids get bored of digging in the dirt, it will be safe to plant seeds!

Please Do Touch

A Day in the Life, Why

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It’s really really fall now, and that means more indoor adventures. We have a great collection of favorite places now that we have lived in Tacoma for a few years, and the top favorite remains the Children’s Museum of Tacoma. These days, there aren’t very many places where kids can practice making their own choices and controlling themselves without worrying too much about mistakes. We love the Museum because it’s a safe place to take some risks and jump into exploring. It’s full of things to touch, press, spill, climb, splash, pour, drop, paint, squish, and pile up.

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“I like painting and I like playing. And I like painting butterflies.” -Edie

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Our recent visits included some great interactive community sculpture. Above, Edie investigates a jump set where kids have been rolling wheels through paint and down the slopes. We check out the tracks left behind by everyone’s wheels. In another room, a potter’s wheel provides a spinning surface for bull’s eye drawings. Edie admires rainbow collection and adds one of her own, while Rory manipulates the mirrors and light tables nearby.

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Both kids work together on the dials and toggles in the cockpit. Rory throws a switch back and forth intently. Edie zooms in to count the numbers on a pressure valve.

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Rory discovered a new friend inside this under-stairs cave. He pops back out to introduce me and add his board to the peg panel just outside.

Each of our favorite places around town invite us to engage and participate in a different way. The Museum always provokes us to see the world in a new way. It’s so hard to leave, and we can never wait to go back!

First Day of Gardening

A Day in the Life, Farm Book

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It’s been one of those warm snaps where we get a few crocuses opening up and spring suddenly doesn’t feel so far away; although we’re sure to have a few more freezes before spring really kicks off, Adventure Time found us thinking about all the food and flowers we hope will pop up sometime soon. Edie picked out a “garden girl” outfit. I expected to stick Rory in the backpack for a little rest, but he beat me to it and took a nice long nap in the nest.

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Since we weren’t sure how long he would sleep, and we didn’t have much of a plan, and it’s too early to plant seeds outside, we decided to prep one of the front beds. After swinging through the yard for tools, we scooped up some poops from the bunnies to fertilize our chosen garden bed.

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Bunny poop is great for gardens, especially because it doesn’t “burn” plants fresh the way other manures can. We used Edie’s rake, Kevin’s welder, and my trowel to clear out some gnarly dandelions and grass patches that had taken hold since last summer.  As we worked, we remembered our last real garden day together when I was so pregnant, I couldn’t reach to seed the middle of the beds. The stuff we planted that day hadn’t done so well. In fact we have yet to experience much real success gardening.

For a long time I have always assumed that I would eventually be well enough resourced and coordinated to take my kids on more or less daily excursions, as I was required to do with my preschool class in Seattle. The benefits for  kids in a class setting was fairly obvious; children get exposed to the world outside the classroom and have a chance to work out their energy in ways besides destroying things. Supervising children on a playground is actually easier in a way than keeping them off each other in the classroom.

However as I’ve delved deeper into Unschooling literature over the last few years, I’ve questioned and shed a lot of the expectations I was accustomed to as an early childhood educator, and I’m not sure why it took me so much longer to question the daily bustle goal. I guess I was just so bad at actually accomplishing it that my ideal image was never really challenged. The season we entered as a family when we came home with the new baby has been one of energy and initiative for me- thankfully, since life got so neglected and out of control during my pregnancy that I am still digging out of that hole.  Today for instance I was putting away laundry and realized that a stack of clothes for sorting had been there very nearly a year. Now, I’m able to keep on top of routine chores, chip away at backed up projects, and even make daily time for something a little exploratory and unusual.

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A big part of the excuse for not “getting out of the house more” has been our long term car-free lifestyle, which has vascillated between voluntary and less voluntary. Sometimes I’ve been super proactive about bussing and walking, and we have always had generous friends and family offering use of their vehicles when we really needed it. This year is a new season for us; I expect to buy a car sometime in the next month. So, with ready access to wheels, will we finally be able to sign up for all the activities and plan all the outings I’ve looked forward to all this time?

Yes and no. I am relieved to look forward to a summer that we can run out to a beach or forest whenever we like, for foraging or just to explore the natural beauty of our exquisite region. But I think for me the daily outing has gone the way of the phonics coloring page: it’s fine to pass the time and sometimes may be just the practice a child needs to clarify a specific concept, but there’s really no obligation to schedule it every day.

Instead I’ve been focusing on the value of sinking in to home life and the comfort of rhythm. I’ve been considering how to isolate what is healthy and lovely about the busy activities we chose, and find a way to include that in our home life. How can we suck the marrow out of life without giving up all of our peaceful days?

For now, we’re settling in, sinking roots, condensing. We’re gardening, painting, cleaning out, and reading up. We’re asking friends over and sticking close to home. It’s a good place to be in the soft dead of winter. Perhaps another season, it will be time again the expand, unfold, and bloom.

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Princess of the Ducks

A Day in the Life

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One day we decided to go to the zoo for our field trip, but Winter Hours foiled our plan. Usually we can only go to the zoo if some someone else comes to drive us. We tried to ride the bus there once, and it is technically possible, but it takes nearly three hours round trip so…. Anyway, our very sweet friend Rachel left us her car while she was on a trip so we tried to go to the zoo. And it was closed.
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Fortunately Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium is sited within Point Defiance Park, which turns out to be the largest city park in the US, second only to New York’s Central Park. We love Point Defiance, and we don’t often get to play there, since if we’re able to make the trip we bee line to the zoo.
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Thirty degrees in January, but shoes were optional. We spent a long time at the duck pond which seems to have been completely taken over by some ornamental Asian variety. There were maybe a thousand of these lovely but invasive water fowl on the pond and the lawn all around, and it was better than bowling. We held hands and ran down hill into the midst of them, and they flew away in waves. The idea was to drive them all into the pond, and we more or less succeeded. The pictures of course don’t do it justice, but the pond was really something to see, just swarming with these unusual ducks.
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Eventually we moved along. Edie figured out the deer gate so we toured the barren rose gardens. She wanted to move into the gazebos permanently, but yet insisted that she was not any kind of fairy or sprite. I was a little confused. We found mounds of vibrant hellebore and the first  daffodil stems of the season, almost ready to open.
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Then of course we had to walk the Japanese garden around the restored Pagoda, which is easily the best of the gardens to visit in the winter. Here, the boots really became intolerable, because the Pagoda ponds are soooo beautiful. She had to stick her foot in it. We negotiated extensively, but it was apparent she was not ready to take me at my word. I told her it was her choice but I recommended shoes on. Edie is pretty tough about cold, and I am not, so she performed her experiment and proved she could tolerate cold wet feet in January… for about six minutes. We warmed back up with boots on in another gazebo with dancing to Who Loves Edie.

The ensuing nap was impressive.

Two Things About Cousins

A Day in the Life

This is Edie. Edie has three first cousins and one second cousin. All the first cousins live in other countries. We could fly there. The second cousin lives in another county. We can drive there.

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When the mail man came one day, he brought a message. The envelope says it is from very far away. Edie uses her fingers to open it up.

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This message is from first cousins! Aydan drew a beautiful picture! There is a message from Drake on the back too! Edie is so excited to read the messages. Thank you, Aydan and Drake! In a few months we will see Edie’s first cousins and hug them and play with them.

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Here is something about that second cousin. Iris had a birthday party! To get ready, we went to the store and got special birthday crowns for Iris and Edie. Even though it was not Edie’s birthday.

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Iris is a big girl, kind of like a grown up, especially because she had a birthday. She let Edie blow out candles, and Edie even got some icecream. Happy birthday Iris! Now Edie can’t wait for her birthday!

November Beach Day

A Day in the Life

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I’m wearing sunshine clothes for sunshiny day. Sunglasses and clothes from Manila. I wish I could do that. Aydan does and Uncle Patrick and Auntie Kim and baby Drake. Heather got the clothes for me. A blanket on me. A sunshiny day. I want the blue sunglasses now because I’ve been sucking on my yellow ones. Do you like my blue ones?

Today I’m am excited about art. After art we’re gonna read a book. Jingle jingle jingle. I want to tell them that I love them: Baby Oliver loves me!

You should put ” stop hissing in my ear!” Who say that? I don’t know. It’s from Robin Hood. The snake, like in jungle book. Stop hissing in my ear.

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A Castle

A Day in the Life

I made a tower. Maybe Mimee and Poppy live in it, or grandma and grandpa. Or california. They’re going to fight with the green. Look, and then that goes there and then that goes there. A castle for Mimee and poppy. They are not going to fight anymore. Now I’m gonna build one for Nana and Papa. Here is the roof.I’m just going to dump it all out, is that fine? I mean…

Dad, are you a boy or a girl? I said that earlier. I’m just a girl. I just have long hair.

I’m making a swing now. That’s a slide. This there. Now fire is going to come out after I chop all the pieces down. Are you going to see it? Now fire is coming out to scare you! This is somebody’s fire. It’s not coming out any more.

I’m cutting the lemonade because it’s not fire anymore.¬† I’m cutting the fire. You do that and then you do that. Oh, actually you just need that one.

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Maybe a angel could come live in it. Uh! I knocked it down! Sorry, Angel.

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