It has been beautiful here the last few days. We've been watching the birds out the window, scrub jays and robins and crows and black-capped chickadees and some other little brown birds we've not yet identified. Flowers are blooming around the neighborhood, crocuses and daffodils and violets and those little tiny lawn daisies and the pink azalea by the fence. We went for a nature walk to the church around the corner to draw the buds on the cherry trees growing along the path. We plan to make weekly visits to sketch their progress. Yesterday the fine young gents took a play break outside, and I joined them for twenty minutes of play and gentle nature study before lunch. That was my intention, anyway. Two hours later we headed in to eat, starving and dirty but happy. It was so lovely out it seemed a shame to waste any little bit of the afternoon indoors. Books will wait, but Oregon spring sunshine is elusive. Best to catch this glorious sun now and hit the books when the spring rains set in again.
We learn so much in the garden. We listened for birds, dug for worms, looked at the buds on our backyard trees, searched for flowers. We collected worms and grubs and potato bugs and ladybugs and some other kind of bug that middle young gent discovered. We let out the chickens and fed them tasty treats, worms and grubs. First grade gent and I had a long discussion about decomposition of food and other organic materials as I turned our compost. The compost pile has been neglected, so the much needed digging was a bit smelly and slimy, but it made for a great science lesson. We've been studying the African savanna and have just read about decomposers, bacteria and the like, so it was helpful to have a real-life example to offer. We also talked briefly about setting up a weekend worm stand once fishing season opens. Our compost bin is chock-full of wiggly red worms and their fatter and slower cousins.
The gents also filled some of their time taking turns with the shovel, turning the garden boxes. What wonderful work for their growing bodies! My active boys need time for big play and hard work. They enjoy digging and raking and carrying and hauling things in the wheelbarrow. After a rainy and cold winter, they need opportunities to move and run and work and jump and wiggle and splash and climb. They helped me shovel and spread the dirt from the end compost bin, the bin that's ready for the garden this year. When I took off the side panel, we found weeds growing right up against the side of the bin, so closely that once the panel was removed we saw a perfect cross-section of the plants from the top right down to the roots, just like an illustration from a biology book. In the corner was a potato bug colony, which occupied the fine young gents for quite some time, leaving me free to turn the rest of the boxes in peace without any help.
School in the garden, delightful. Peaceful bodies and peaceful spirits. Life is good.