My kids and I are in San Francisco, CA for a special family event this week, so we've had lots of wonderful family time. Sunday, we also had some wonderful nature time. After three days of rain, Sunday brought bright warm, sunshine, so we walked down to Ocean Beach. This was completely unstructured time. To start, my kids did what any kid would do... race the waves and risk getting their feet wet. They also collected rocks and shells, wrote their names in the sand, and flew a small pocket kite. When my daughter first wanted to purchase a pocket kite at the Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC I was skeptical that it would fly. But we took it to the National Mall and found it worked as well as any other kite we had flown. Both of my kids now have one and they have been terrific for times like Saturday. All you need is a little open space, a small breeze, and some energetic kids.
In addition to the usual beach glass, seashells, and sand dollars we found on ocean beach, my sister found a fossil. You really cannot predict what you might discover when you pay attention in nature. We think it's a piece of a sand dollar. What do you think?
Sand dollar plus a fossil- possibly from a sand dollar
You don't need to spend lots of money or plan elaborate outings to enjoy nature, spend time with your kids or students, and create lasting memories. All you need is a willingness to get outside with them. One other great benefit: After getting so much exercise, my kids slept like logs.
One San Francisco mom I spoke to on Sunday told me she finds the beach the place she can best expose her kids to the wildness of nature. For my readers who live in the city, how do you keep nature in your kids' lives? What are your favorite places?
Today’s basil harvest. From one plant. We have 10 more. 😳 #PestoTonight
It’s been a stellar #gardening year for heat loving plants.
This lovely lady came to visit us with her husband and teen-aged daughter. More than 25 years ago, she was a Rotary Exchange Student who lived with my family. We’ve stayed in touch for all of this time. She has visited a few times since then and my parents attended her wedding. When we lived in Dublin, my family of 4 flew to France to see her family of 5. (On that trip, we also visited a different, lovely French sister, @florence.pit, who lives in Paris). Watching our kids play together was a real joy. It’s always such a pleasure to have her around. #citizensoftheworld
We have friends visiting from France right now so we took a little day trip to #Boston. Here are some pics from @newenglandaquarium. (Yes, I’m always extra happy to see an octopus). #science #ocean
The newest plane by @dantecusolito #STEM #STEAM #FutureEngineer
Some photos taken around my parents’ farm yesterday. The cozy coop in front of the corn makes me smile. My nephew left it there when he visited. The egg is so small because the chicken just started laying- that was her first egg. Also, my dad grows the best corn around. #farmlife #NoFarmsNoFood
I received THE SONG OF SOLOMON as a gift many years ago, back when I was still teaching. It was the night before winter break ended and I decided to read a little before bed. 100 pages later I had to force myself to stop reading and go to sleep. I devoured that book. Next I read BELOVED. Damn, did that book challenge me as a reader. I had to work so hard to understand it. I had to lean in and really concentrate. I was so thankful for that gift- it reminded me what reading must have been like for many of my 4th graders for whom reading was not yet second nature. It made me a better teacher. And what can I say about PARADISE? Another book I had to lean in to understand due to the complex interconnected family trees. Once I was too far in, I wished I had drawn up family trees to help me remember all of the relationships. I’ve been meaning to go back and read that one and make the trees from the beginning. Maybe now is a good time to do that.
RIP Ms. Morrison. The world is a better place for you having been in it.
Our garden is super prolific right now. I’m harvesting zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, jalapeños, sweet basil, Thai basil, and purple basil nearly every day. There are loads of green tomatoes and bell peppers I’m hoping to start harvesting soon. But the zucchini and summer squash...OY! The last picture shows what I harvested THIS MORNING. And we only have one plant of each. We’ve been eating it regularly, and I’ll freeze some, but we can possibly use as much as we’re getting. (This is what happens when you use compost from your parents’ farm!) There are loads of squash blossoms on the plants. Anybody want some? Because we know what those blossoms will soon become... (Seriously local friends... hit me up if you want some squash or blossoms). #organicgardening #gardening #wondersofcompost
With his gourd banjo completed, @dantecusolito decided to make a remote controlled tug boat. Isn’t this thing the cutest? #STEM #STEAM #summertime