Plant Maintenance

Earlier this summer I wrote about the bonsai class I took and how we’re trying to make taking care of these trees a family activity. So far it’s been going great. When I first went with Grace to the Bonsai House to choose a plant and a pot, she was excited. Together we repotted ficus…

Perseids Meteor Shower

Every August that I was up north as a kid, we were allowed to stay up late to watch the Perseids meteor shower. It always fell near my grandmother’s birthday, which is how hers is one of the only birthdays I can remember beyond immediate family. We’d set up lawn chairs in the sand crest…

Teaching Kids About Fire

My friend Rob once said guys like to smoke pipes simply for the pleasure of lighting and maintaining a small fire in their hand. I didn’t need Grace asking me if she could “light all the candles [referring a box of wooden matches]” to know that people seem to have an innate attraction to fire….

Discovering Nature at the Zoo

Looking back over what we’ve done as a family since last summer, I was surprised to find that we’ve made it to three different zoos within the past nine months. Zoos come in all shapes and sizes, but when it comes to zoos in large urban areas, you might expect them all to be pretty…

Teaching Your Kid to Ride a Bike

I want to write some thoughts about teaching ones child to ride a bike. For one thing, it is sort of the quintessential outdoor activity of children. For another, Ive been riding a bike with some sort of intentionality since 1983. Racing BMX, riding road bikes, mountain biking. Through some fluke, I even finished 3rd…

“It’s Pronounced BONE-sigh”

Other kids beg their parents for a puppy or a kitten. Not Gracie (well, usually not). My adorable daughter sees saplings on our walks and asks if she can take them home because “little trees are sooooo cute!” This passion of hers corresponds nicely with my newest hobby and brings the whole family together to…

Teaching Kids to Give a Hoot

I saw a beautiful white egret sitting on a shopping cart in the North River this morning. Isnt that litter in a nutshell? The purity of nature faced with the ridiculous detritus of our society? It sums up for me what irritates me so much about litter. It is so unnecessary, so selfish, and so…

Gimme Shelter: Nest-Building for Fun and Education

In his book, Field Guide to Wilderness Survival, Tom Brown says that kids have a special instinct for survival and often do better when lost in the woods than adults. Grown-ups have heard all the stories, and this gives them even more reason to panic or give in to despair. They also have years of…

A Quick Look Around

I will admit, the relentless rain has turned our plans for outdoor fun into so much mud. That’s not to say we haven’t gotten outside on the chance dryish afternoon. A couple of days ago we had a dry hour. While the kids played in the yard, I did some work in the garage. Then…