home routine and nature sightings

 

“I enjoy doing housework, ironing, washing, cooking, dishwashing. Whenever I get one of those questionaires and they ask what is your profession, I always put down housewife. It’s an admirable profession, why apologize for it. You aren’t stupid because you’re a housewife. When you’re stirring the jam you can read Shakespeare.”  Tasha Tudor

 

Living is always at a quicker pace when you’re raising children but lately I’ve been able to enjoy a calmer morning routine.  As soon as I get up, I wander to the coffee maker.  The teens are getting ready for school and we talk a little before they leave.  Rich has already left for work, and he typically kisses me while I am still asleep (this morning it was tenderly on my hand).  We have a nice connection to start the day.

I look out the door to see what morning birds have come to the feeder, which I keep full of sunflower seeds.  This morning I saw something interesting but soon realized is was a banana peel that someone threw up into the bushes.  It had landed and sat on a branch very much looking like an exotic bird.

I make a cup of coffee and drink it throughout the morning and I realized that I like coffee of all temperatures.

I wake up the three younger kids at around 6:50.  I stopped picking out small Sarah’s outfit because after I leave her room she goes ahead and chooses something entirely different.

This morning Seth was sent to school with a puffy eye.  He had a bad allergic reaction to the dust at the little league field last night.  He looks pretty terrible….and he loves it.  It does itch, though.  I wrote a quick note to the teacher so she wouldn’t send Seth to the nurse.  Seth played very well last night in his game and received the game ball.  I didn’t go.  It was around 53 degrees and Rich took them by himself.

After the kids have left for the day, I usually blog, or run on the treadmill.  We have an “exercise room” in the basement with a treadmill and a TV.  If the TV wasn’t down there I wouldn’t darken the door of the exercise room.  So this TV that I watch while doing my half hour run is how I have now become a watcher of Investigation Discovery Television…..true crime is quite fascinating.  It’s my TV station of choice unless the little kids are at home, of course.

I usually tidy up the house in the mornings….and it’s been a great feeling to have time to clean and have it STAY clean while the kids are at school.

It’s amazing how much a person can get done as they work at a steady but NOT FRANTIC pace…..for so many years I have rushed from one thing to another….but now I have time to settle down do things little by little…and still see a result and have time to read, blog, go for walks, and watch crime tv.  LOL

Once or twice a week I go shopping for food, and of course once in a while I might have to take someone to a doctors appointment (this week it was Ethan).

After a morning of errands, cleaning and/or the treadmill, I have a quiet lunch, and then go outside for a while.  After I come back inside I might read a book and take a catnap to prepare for our very busy afternoons and evenings…..David gets home first at 2:30, then Seth, Sarah, and Caleb an hour later.  Then it’s homework, snacks, dinner preparations, little league, picking up Grace and Ethan from drama rehearsal, and so on……

After the kids go to bed Rich and I generally watch TV in the dark living room while dozing.

Then…..bedtime. love and zzzzzzzzzz

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I took these pictures with my phone at Target last week when I freaked out noticing how much taller Dave was then his older sister.

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A couple pages from my Nature Journal.  Nice, right?  Don’t worry, I found these things A.D. (already dead)…….

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Before and After dinner for 7 (the other 2 were staying after school and they finished everything up later on that evening).  My family loves dorito chip salad.

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Rich’s new car!!!!  We are going to have so much fun with it.

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I’ve had more time this spring to be an even better chicken-keeper!  I love visiting my hens throughout the day.  I let them out in the mornings along with giving them a nice treat of dried mealworms.  Now that I know a fox is around I DO NOT let them out if I’m going to be gone.  There are two big waterers in their coop and a large feeder, so if they are stuck inside they still have plenty to eat and drink.  There is a nesting box for egg laying purposes.

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A cat or two or three usually follows me to the coop.  Gentleman Gray was purring like a steady determined motor as I held him.  I love pressing my ear to a purring cat!

This is my Father’s world,
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
his hand the wonders wrought.

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These rest of the photos were all taken with my Nikon camera.  I loved catching these two Tufted Titmice together in the bushes next to the feeder.

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This House Finch had such a lovely song that it made me stop and peer into the sunny bushes until I saw it…….by the way, I have a bird identification app on my phone that really does help!  It’s called the “Merlin Bird ID” and you put your location into the app, tap the size of the bird, the colors, and where you saw it, and it gives you a list with photos and more info on each bird it could be.

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Way up in a pine tree, perfectly safe, was a red squirrel making such mean noises at me!!!  It scolded and shook its tail and made such a fuss that I stood much longer than I typically would, to watch it.  I fell in love with it, truthfully.  I get so sad sometimes because all the wild creatures are scared of me and all I want to do is pet them and take many photos of them.

Come to think of it, I would be scared of me, too.

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Ferns, ferns, beautiful baby ferns starting to unfurl.

Oh it’s so lovely in the woods in dappled sunshine.

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Isn’t this pretty?  I focused the camera on our stream in the background, making the wire fence in the foreground blur.

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One of my goals this spring and summer is to study the types of trees we have in our woods so I can call them by name……(see quote at end of post)

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Again, sadness….because I never SAW the loud woodpecker I heard hammering up in the trees close by.   It became scared of me and stopped its work.  I sat by the stream for a while, binoculars around my neck and camera in my hands.

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Clear across the stream I saw a busy Robin with its beak FULL of soft looking dried grass.

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A marsh marigold was getting ready to bloom.  My books says this, “One of our loveliest wild flowers is the bright yellow Marsh Marigold, which grows in wet places in the Northeast and Midwest and is known also as Cowslip.   A key characteristic is its thick, hollow stalk, up to two feet tall, which carries shiny green and heart-shaped leaves.  The many flowers are about one inch across and have five sepals.  The pistils are in a whorl and produce many seeds because insects have to climb all around to get at the several nectar glands.  It is well worth having in your wild garden.  You could cook the leaves for greens–if you must.”  Alfred Stefferud, in How to Know the Wildflowers

There is another photo here of it in bloom.

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Back at the chicken coop.

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I am still trying to positively identify these birds, they are making a nest under the eaves of the chicken coop.

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This fish was swimming around guarding a circular nest in the pond.

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“When I’m working in the barn or house I often think of all the errors I’ve made in my life. But then I quickly put that behind me and think of water lilies. They will always eradicate unpleasant thoughts. Or goslings are equally comforting in their own way.” ~Tasha Tudor

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I transplanted these wild violets from our yard into a flower garden last spring and they came back so healthy and pretty.

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I peered around our brick chimney to sneak a picture of a Blue Jay at the feeder.

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Arrow Leaved Violet

I love these wild flowers because although violets grow in abundance all over our property, this species is not as plenteous.  Deep dark purple blossoms, harry stems, and different shaped leaves make them unique.  I took this photo by the rock wall near our mailbox.

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The top book was written by Alfred Stefferud in 1950.  He was a great Dad, who took along his young daughter as they intently studied the native flowers that grew near them.  Here one of the first pages from the book:

We  Start  An  Adventure

This book began on Sunday afternoon when my young daughter Christine and I were hiking on Short Hill just behind our house
It was a springtime rediscovery of things we had missed in winter–the rabbits busy in the bushes, squirrels talking in the trees, Dogwoods trying out their first leaves.
In a damp spot near a runnel we delightedly sniffed the rare smell of Skunk-Cabbage.  Farther on we spied Bloodroots, their flowers still clasped in cylinders of leaves.  We greeted drifts of Trilliums and Violets as old friends.
But now and then we came across a plant we did not know.  One intrigued us because it grew in a clump of ferns, where we thought it should not be.  One had leaves like an Oak, only larger.  Another was definitely a Violet–but which one?  We were disturbed, because this close to home we had found strangers.
I went on looking at trees, which were my particular interest.  Christine resumed collecting moss and stones, which were hers.  She was humming a verse we had sung that morning in Sunday School, “All nature sings and round me rings, the music of the spheres.”
She stopped:  “Wouldn’t it be fun to know the plants that grow in our own backyard and everything about them?”
“Everything:?” I repeated.  “Why, everything even here would take a thousand lifetimes with ecology, taxonomy, paleobotany—”
“Now, Dad,” she scoffed.  “You’re trying to show off.  I don’t know a word you’re saying. I don’t care about that.  I’d just like to know the names of flower and who they are.”
“Who?”
“Yes, the same as people.  Where they live.  What they are.  Their families.  What they are good for–”
“And why there are so many?  Why some are red and others white?  But couldn’t you enjoy the flowers as much just seeing them here?  What difference if you call a Trillium a Trillium or Wake Robin or any name you make up, like ‘White Lady’?”
“Well, maybe.”  She thought a moment.  “But I would’t feel then that I really did know them.”
“Hm.  Very interesting,” I said.  Always a teacher because once a teacher, I continued:  “I feel the same.  What say we find out a detail or two about every group of wild flowers–enough so we can tell them apart and they become personalities to us?”
Chris liked the idea, and we started at once.   In the months that followed we derived great enjoyment from collecting names and facts in our heads and notebooks.  We did not collect the flowers themselves; we preferred to let them live.  When (often enough) we encountered something we did not know, we consulted a field guide or reference book–which we found to be most enjoyable and useful but sometimes too complex and cryptic in wording…….
Chris and I discovered, as we went along, that our adventure with wild flowers was giving us a deeper appreciation for everyday things….
 We added to our store of knowledge, which I think is always a good thing, no matter what the knowledge.  We unlocked a treasury of words.  We got new insight into the orderliness of nature and of men who work with nature.  Our wonder grew at the devices of plants for continuing their species.  We had a glimpse of several sciences that closely touch our lives.
We came to feel ourselves part of a vital conservation movement, so important that I call it patriotism-in-action.  Most of all we had fun and relaxation, Christine from her 6th grade books and I from other books that easily can be substitutes for living and finding out one’s self.  All this from a simple subject, a pleasant adventure just outside our door!

3 thoughts on “home routine and nature sightings

  1. It sounds like you’re adapting to your school days very well:) it IS a big change:) Ps. I watch ID DISCOVERY every day. I’m hooked!:)
    Pretty violets,and great quotes!:) Christina

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