Thursday, March 26, 2009

A visit to our P-Patch

On a very gray day, the rain had paused so we decided to see what was happening at our local P-Patch (Seattle's Community Gardens.)

The gardens are still very sleepy, but Little Ita was delighted to wander the secret passageways.

Isn't that so perfect for Seattle? Gardens asleep under coffee bean covers. Ah yes, the apiary, my absolute favorite area. Give Bees a Chance.

Explore with your child the nature of growing food. Visit a p-patch regularly and watch the process unfold. Here's directions to your local patch and the magnificent Picardo Farm, 98,000 sq. ft., is worth a leisurely wander. "As the original Seattle community garden, it has the longest term gardeners; dedicated people who have worked for years at tilling the soil and cultivating the program. It is also unique in having the longest quack grass roots in the city, the greatest number of comfrey plants per acre, and the most numerous slugs in the universe."

We ended our day with a nice fat juicy worm and our two favorite books about the hard-working little pink earthy marvels. Bob and Otto by Robert O. Bruel. Wiggle and Waggle by Caroline Arnold.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chicken Wish

When was the last time you broke a wish bone? When was the last time you made a wish? Little Ita and I had a bit of a magical moment with the remains of our chicken dinner. This was an interesting moment for us. An introduction to the bones inside living things. . . and a moment to reflect on my choice to eat meat. Although brief, we were connecting with our food source, always a good thing.
"Animal food should be considered precious and valuable; after all, a life has been sacrificed to sustain yours." Cynthia Lair author of Feeding the Whole Family.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bring Buds In

One great thing about Seattle is that spring starts early and it goes on and on (until the fourth of July really.) So we've got many flowers blooming right now. Introduce the wonder of buds. Bring branches inside from the neighborhood. Especially from trees and bushes that can be seen by your child from a window, even the car. These trees were bare a few weeks ago and Look! Camillias are large and can withstand a lot of toddler handling. Azaleas are abundant, so bring in enough to explore. Allow him to peel them open and crush them. Give him an unbreakable vase with water for his flower. Save some that you witness open in the next few days. If you bring in a branch of cherry or plum blossoms, explain the cycle of bud, blossom, fruit, (or just sing a silly song with those words.) Pussy willows are a favorite at this time too. My daughter spends time picking the fuzzy orbs off of her branches and collecting them in a bowl.

What a wonder!

What's this?

Update: Alita decided to make "soup" with her petals.

Build a Moss Garden

Here in Seattle, we've got an abundance of moss everywhere. From the cracks in the sidewalks to the rooftops, this is a moss appreciation activity that is great for toddlers.

You will need: moss, soil, shallow dish, strainer, small rocks, shells, pieces of wood and a spray bottle
1. Collect a piece of moss from a variety of places so you don't deplete one area and you have an assortment.
2. Sift soil into the bottom of your dish
3. Arrange moss and other elements into a special garden design
4. Use a spray bottle often to keep it moist

5. Marvel at the delicate diversity.