• seasons

    a picture post – flowers.

    I’ve been meaning for a month or so to make a post with some of the nature pictures my six year old took this summer. He’s been roaming the street with a camera and then we’ve been looking up the names of the plants he’s taken pictures of. Most of these are from earlier in the summer. If you look close enough, there are a lot of plants that look like they could be the models for extra terrestrial monsters in some sort of cheesy science fiction show. Related posts: Homemade Rocket Ship – a post by my five year old child. Top 5 Dragon Picture Books (for the overly-analytical…

  • science,  seasons

    Monarch release

    Our butterflies came out of their chrysalises, all four the same day, despite one having transformed into a chrysalis a full day before the others. It leaves me very curious as to how their communication and processes work. The first to come out was the first to go in, the only male butterfly of our collection though we didn’t know it was male until it came out and we could see the distinctive scent glands on its wings. A second one came out shortly after, and then the male started moving around and in the process touched a third monarch in its chrysalis. A moment or two later we could…

  • books,  history,  seasons

    Home from Holidays: thoughts about milkweed and Bess of Hardwick

    I’m home! I’m home from holidays, and it is nice to have the sense of perspective that comes from stepping away from everything for a bit. I remember a few years ago my husband and I were really into rock collecting as we drove. We’d get library books out that explain the rock formations on the driving routes we were taking, and we’d stop at road-cuts to try chisel out bits of garnet, mica and neat quartz formations. Back then it was the folds of rock in the road-cuts that attracted my eyes while driving but this year my eyes were drawn to the plants in the ditches. I admired…

  • books,  God,  religion,  seasons

    More Christmas books

    For three years now, we’ve made it a tradition to sing Christmas carols every evening of advent. Some nights we read Christmas stories, and sometimes we watch Christmas movies as well, but always Christmas carols. As a result my children have learned some of the Christmas carols they would not have heard otherwise. Knowledge of the carols is a gift I wanted to give my children. People talk about putting Christ is Christmas, and in some ways, despite my religious questions, that’s what I want to do. I want to remind my children that this is a religious holiday. Yet who is this Christ and why does he matter? What does…

  • books,  God,  religion,  seasons

    Two Amazing Interpretations of the Christmas Story

    Christmas time is coming, and I want to write about two fascinating books about the story of the conception and birth of Jesus. Both books are written by Christians, and both look closely at the scriptures to try to understand what the scriptures are saying, yet both come up with variations on the “first Christmas” that challenge the traditional assumptions. The first book is called Closer to the Real Christmas Story,  by Jared Burkholder and you can buy a copy of it at the Dorrance Publishing Company website (I got a copy through their now-defunct review program). The author of the book takes issue with several issues in the traditional…

  • food,  seasons,  the ethical life

    Reflections on Thanksgiving

    It is Thanksgiving here in Canada, and I’m not entirely sure what to think. As a child in school the emphasis was on pilgrims and settlers and natives and pumpkins and turkeys. Now of course I know that the stories about the first European settlers aren’t exactly as simple and straightforward as they make it sounds to eight year olds and I’m not sure that time of history is something I want to celebrate. Should we celebrate the contact between the “old world” and the “new” when it resulted in such a loss of population for those of the new? Thanksgiving as a celebration of the harvest does make sense to…

  • food,  homeschooling,  science,  seasons

    Science in the Park

    I love October. We’re more settled into routines then we are in September. Schoolwork is going well. Right now we’re studying logarithms and geometry, and we’re trying to write lots of letters to relatives. We’re doing autumn-y activities too. We’ve gathered leaves and done leaf-rubbings. We’re drying apple slices to have for snacking on so I wake up to the smell of apples every morning and serve apple-pancakes for supper at least once a week. The children are talking already of Halloween. This is probably my favorite time of year. The weather is still nice enough we can spend quite a bit of time outdoors. Sure, the equipment is normally wet…

  • food,  seasons

    food in spring

    So far this spring, I’ve been able to harvest two small handfuls of food from my garden. The first was dandelion roots dug up, washed and then sauteed and eaten. The second was greens – radish thinnings, salad burnet, a tiny bit of tarragon (and some arugula I was growing indoors). Somehow those first handfuls of food always seem special too me, even if it is barely enough to make a single serving out of. It is the reminder that food will be arriving. It is the promise on my part that I will not let this season pass me by and I will not let food go to waste.…