Beautiful Minds

I looked out the window and saw my children all huddled around the slide on the swing set peering at it. I continued cooking supper and would steal glances every now and then. All of them stayed put in their places and every once in a while someone would throw their arms in the air and say “Yes!” or “Go, Go, Go!”

Curiosity filled me but I was intent on getting the meal ready.

Soon, my husband arrived home from work. I saw him walk across the yard and approach the children. He entered the house shortly after and announced, “Please make sure those kids wash their hands good before supper.” When I asked why, he informed me the kids were having slug races.

Slug races? What is a slug race? I had to run out and see for myself.

The kids having slug races

The kids having slug races

Apparently my 6 year old son discovered 3 slugs and everyone decided they wanted to enter them in a race to see who could get down the slide first. Surprisingly, even at a downward incline, slugs move at a very slow pace. My kids had engaged in this activity for over an hour and it probably could have entertained them much longer as the slugs had only completed half of their course when I called them in for dinner.

The racers

The racers

There are days that I lose faith that children remember how to play. As they grow older their imaginations wane as they are introduced to technology and television. The phrase of “I’m bored” is added to their daily language. The simple things they used to find enjoyment in are now babyish.

And then something like slug races comes along.

It restores my hope that they do know how to be creative. They can find pleasure in nature. They are satisfied with the simple joys that this world has to offer. They don’t always need something blinking and beeping to keep them entertained. They don’t need something that has come in a colorful box and found on a toy store shelf.

They just need their beautiful minds.

And they just need to wash their hands good before supper.

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It Wasn’t a Nut

My 5 year old son, Bency, is a collector of things. Really he is a scavenger of sorts.

I can relate to this. I have been doing this since I was a young child as well. One of my earliest memories is trying to get the biggest toad collection in the world. I would spend all day in search of these creatures and put them in mayonnaise jars. Later I would put the sealed jar in my windowsill. I soon learned that animals needed air to breathe and would bake to a fine crisp in the hot sun.

Bency’s collections usually come from his extraordinary finds on his walk home from school. I am quite certain we have one of the biggest acorn piles in our ownership, despite the fact that we have nary an oak tree in our yard. He thinks he is nearly a millionaire with his growing “jewel” collection. In actuality, they are just sequins that have fallen off some girls dress. During the warmer months, at the height of bug season, you will find many containers and buckets located on our porch of Bency’s growing insect tribes.

The other day, Bency arrived home from school with yet another magnificent find. It was a white marble. I noticed both children were quite wet, muddy and carrying quite a stench mixed with sweat and another putrid odor that I couldn’t put my finger on. I put the white marble on the counter and questioned them about their day and walk home.

As the children walked out of the room to put their school things away, I noticed the smell didn’t leave with them. I began frantically searching their boots and coats to track down the culprit of the thing that was annihilating my nose.

I finally discovered that every time I went near the counter where the white marble was, the smell became more obnoxious. That was when I examined the white marble more closely and found that it was a moth ball.

I quickly put an axe to Bency collecting any more “white marbles.”

Yesterday, the kids and I spent the day at my parent’s house. The kids went down to the woods to play.

After a bit, the kids returned to the house excitedly! They had filled some plastic bags with wonderful treasures.

They showed me the pine cones they found, turkey feathers, pheasant feathers, a stick and then Bency pulled out a very interesting nut and asked me what kind it was.

I examined it carefully. It was unlike any nut I had ever seen so I asked my Mom if she knew what kind it was.

It wasn’t a nut at all.

It was a turkey turd.

I laughed and told him he should bring it for Show and Tell at school. He didn’t find this humorous at all. He was slightly perturbed that his scavenger hunt had produced poop.

In life, there are lessons all around us. I learned at an early age that everything needs air to breathe. Bency has learned that some things aren’t as they appear….not everything is a marble or a nut.

This was a day out in the woods last Fall! I would have included a picture of the turkey turd but we forgot it at Grandma's yesterday!

This was a day out in the woods last Fall! I would have included a picture of the turkey turd but we forgot it at Grandma’s yesterday!

This Is What I Would Give Them

I’m sure we all grew up having our parents tell us how good we have it compared to how they grew up.

Neither of my parents had a television set until they were of preteen age and then it was only 1 or 2 channels depending on the weather.

My father grew up in a house with no indoor plumbing.

My mom, well my mom actually didn’t have a lot to complain about. Her parents owned the general store in town. I often refer to my mom as Nellie Oleson (from Little House on the Prairie). My mom brought a bottle of Coca-Cola and a candy bar to school everyday for her lunch. Her Dad drove her to school and they had indoor plumbing! Still, she was born in the 1940’s and the world wasn’t equipped with the luxuries my generation had.

Soon, I too will take the right of passage of every parent, and begin to bestow unto my children the stories of how good they truly have it compared to what I had to deal with growing up.

This is me talking on our olive green rotary phone when I was 5 years old

Take for instance, the rotary phone, stuck to wall no less! I can barely have a conversation on the phone now with a cellphone. I can’t imagine being tethered to the wall! My children will have no idea how much better their teenage years will be, compared to what mine were!

Here I am typing away and proficient with a typewriter at 6 years old!

I began typing at 6 years old and used a typewriter all the way up to my senior year in high school. The horror of it all, thinking back on it now. The amount of time it took was unbelievable. I went through many bottles of white-out. My children will have no idea how much easier writing their essays for school will be, compared to what I went through.

My backyard growing up

I however had something my children may never have. This is the backyard I grew up with. This is where my parents still live. My children are growing up on a small lot in the city. From an early age I spent most of my days playing outside with the freedom to roam and run at my leisure. I had few playmates except for many pets. My sister and brother were much older than me so I was usually alone exploring and going on adventures through the woods.

The shed on our land

There was 2 1/2 acres filled with fruit trees, pine trees, a field, vegetable gardens and an old shed. My imagination was a vital element in my everyday life. I don’t remember ever being bored.

This is me at 2 1/2 years old….King of the World!

So yes, in many respects my children will have an easier life than I, due to modern conveniences and technology. However, they may never have this piece of serenity that I knew. They may never know what it’s like to wake up with an adventure everyday, just outside your door.

This is the childhood I wish I could give them.

The Magical Forest Wonderland

I would like to share a little beauty from my corner of the world with everyone that I experienced this weekend. My family and I went to our local Botanical Gardens. This name does not do it justice. It is indeed botanical and a garden but if I was given the honor of naming it, I would have called it The Magical Forest Wonderland or something equally as fascinating as it really is!

This was the perfect place for kids. They could run, explore and not have to worry about breaking anything. The only minor incident that occurred was when our 5 year old Bency stepped into the koi pond. I told him he could stand on the edge and look in and apparently he heard, “step into the pond and become one with the koi.” He was slightly disturbed with his wet socks and shoes and a bit flabbergasted that I didn’t have an extra set on me but he soon got over it and began running and playing in all the beautiful glory!

The kids were disappointed to leave on Saturday so with Sunday being Grandparent’s Day I invited my Mom who has never been there to join us in one more day of nature’s beautiful splendor all encapsulated in one wonderful place!

Enjoy and have a wonderful and beautiful week!

Iris, Bency and Cesar excited to start their adventure!

Having fun running around

Foxgloves

morning dew on the ground cover

Beautiful!

 

 

 

The kids climbing a huge hill

The kids getting water from the rain barrels to water the animal topiaries

Bency water the bunny topiary

The dragonfly bridge

Cesar and Dad

Bency disgruntled with his wet shoes and socks after going into the pond

Iris on butterfly bench

The kids love the stars on the walking path

Beautiful garden art everywhere

Mr. McGregor’s garden from The Tales of Peter Rabbit

A huge maze for the kids!

a beautiful view from the tower in the children’s garden

The rainbow garden

 

Iris posing in the stone structure

 

The kids crossing a stream

The kids having so much fun running around

This is the bathroom!

 

another beautiful view from a different tower

The roof of one of the towers

The fairy garden

The kids waiting for the fairies to move

Nature’s artwork

Grandma spending the day with me and the kids

A door knocker on the English cottage