Celebrating the art of making a home
  • Inspiration Wall
  • Who’s Martha?
  • Who are we?
  • Archives
  • Categories
  • Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

    A few of my favorite things

    Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

    Fresh produce. We recently discovered a tiny farm with a produce stand close to our home, and I love stopping by for fresh, yummy goodness. Today we got squash, plums, tomatoes, strawberries… it doesn’t get better than that.

    Fun blogs about doing art with kids. These two are my current favorites- SO inspiring!  Filth Wizardry (best name EVER!)  and The Artful Parent.

    Books about butterflies. We’re obsessed with them around here recently. A World Of Butterflies is stunningly gorgeous- an art book more than an identification guide. We found Butterflies & Moths (Smithsonian Handbooks) to be much more helpful in that regard.

    Pruning back our flowers. I don’t even know if pruning is the right word- basically just taking all the dead brown yucky bits off. (We had some casualties around here during the couple day heat wave.) There’s just something wonderful about pulling off all of the deadness to reveal the green beneath… I think there’s a potential post in that, so I’ll leave it for now. :)

    Finding a fun new recipe. I discovered what looks to be a delicious one for curry chicken salad. If it turns out as wonderful as it looks, I’ll share tomorrow!

    What’s one of your favorite things today? Do share!

    Outdoor Challenge Day 6

    Saturday, April 17th, 2010

    Posting a day late. Yesterday was filled with a new park, friends, too much sun, a little sunburn, lots of running, and lots of fun. No time to post when you’ve got that much going on! :) Are you getting outside  this weekend?  I hope so!

    Outdoor Challenge Day 5

    Thursday, April 15th, 2010

    Today’s outdoor adventures ended up being all about birds. First we saw this:

    As we walked we noticed the flock of little birds flying above, but when they were joined by the HUGE hawk, all 3 of us gasped.  Truly gorgeous.

    Later, when we stopped for lunch, we decided to eat outside. While we ate, some birds decided to wait around to see if we’d drop anything, and we noticed the varied calls the different birds used.

    My lesson learned today? In both instances it would have been so easy to miss both of these experiences. If we’d been too distracted to look up, or too busy rushing through eating to stop and listen to the birds, we wouldn’t have noticed them at all.

    Outdoor Challenge Day 4

    Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

    Sometimes you just need to borrow someone else’s outside.

    PS. The problem with comments is fixed. So please leave some, so I can be secure in my illusion that we weren’t getting comments solely because they were broken. :)

    Outdoor Challenge Day 3

    Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

    A whole wonderful field of muddy fun

    A makeshift “tree house”

    A found the one puddle left to splash in.

    Have you ever tried to take a picture of a hummingbird??

    PS. A plea : I’ve been getting reports that people aren’t able to leave comments. If you got here from Facebook could you  please try leaving a comment, and if you get an error report, leave a comment on Facebook letting me know? Thank you!

    Outdoor Challenge day 2

    Monday, April 12th, 2010

    Did you get outside today? We did, even though it was raining torrentially throughout the day. We didn’t let that stop us, it just meant there were puddles to jump in, and worms and snails to meet!

    If you’re taking part in the Outdoor Challenge and posting pictures, let us know so we can check them out! If you’re not taking pictures but just getting outside, tell us about your adventures!

    Getting outside

    Sunday, April 11th, 2010

    A number of factors have been conspiring to get me off my duff and get my kids outside. Now, I’m a huge proponent of getting kids outside and into nature; there was a time that friends who lived near me knew that they’d find Z and me out on a walk for a good portion of the day. But life has kind of gotten away from me, and it took some reminding recently (from Calm and Compassionate Children: A Handbook) to convince me that we needed to make it priority again.

    So beginning this week, we’ve moved our schedule around to get out for a walk first thing after breakfast- before the madness of the day begins. It’s been wonderful! The girls have been mellower, and we even met a lovely little caterpillar friend.

    So imagine my amusement when I discovered that this month is “Children and Nature Awareness Month”. How fitting! And to celebrate, this blog has issued a challenge: go outside everyday, rain or shine; then take a picture each day, for the rest of April, of your children outdoors and post it. Just a single picture will do; words aren’t even necessary.

    Isn’t that a great challenge? I’m going to participate, and I’d love to know if you’re going to too. If you don’t have kids, get outside and take a picture anyway!

    Here’s some pictures to start:

    It’s raining, it’s pouring

    Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

    Is it raining where you are? We’re in the midst of a torrential downpour here. It was seriously scary to drive today, which meant we were inside for most of the day.  Luckily we have wonderful friends who braved the crazy roads and came to relieve us of the ensuing boredom of being stuck inside all day. After they left and the girls were down for a nap, I got thinking about rainy days when I was a child.

    I’ve always loved the rain. I love the different sounds it makes, love watching it from the warm side of a window.  I remember recesses full of “Heads Up 7-up” and board games in the cafeteria at lunch time. I remember grilled cheese sandwiches and soup for dinner while the raindrops pinged off of the tin roof of the deck.  I love being outside in the rain, feeling it on my face, seeing it bead up on my raincoat. I love the splash of a good puddle.  I remember going out hiking almost every rainy Saturday of my childhood (I’m sure it wasn’t EVERY one, but I remember it that way), spying animals running free under the assumption that all the humans were far away.  I remember the invigorating weight of being soaked to the skin, and the joy of changing into warm clothes. Those are some of my very favorite memories.

    So I got to thinking- what traditions will I set up around rainy days for my girls? It’s supposed to rain all week, so I’m planning a flexible schedule of making cupcakes, painting, eating grilled cheese sandwiches, maybe watching a special movie,  and, of course,  getting out  in the middle of the downpour.  Those puddles won’t splash themselves, you know.

    Do you have traditions around rainy days? Any wonderful memories? Do share!


    Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

    The balcony garden has returned! After the mass death of our annuals, (and a tearful discussion about the life cycle of plants), we cleared out all the plant corpses and hit the plant store.


    The tomato managed to survive, as did the Kalanchoe, which is thriving. We added Nagoya Rose,  Lithodora, Panda Plant, and Purple Scallops.  The last two are also types of Kalanchoe, which hopefully bodes well for their survival rate.

    Z chose all of the plants, and has the responsibility of watering and singing to them.  (It’s her own honed technique, I’m not gonna mess with it.)

    My favorites are the Panda plant:

    100_6449the leaves are fuzzy! And the brown spots look like panda eyes! (Z chose it because the leaves? petals? protrusions? look blue in person.)

    and the Nagoya Rose:


    It’s a kind of kale, and is really gorgeous.

    It’s wonderful having living things in the view out the window again.  I love having a very visual reminder of small and simple daily growth and progression. The girls have already spent significantly more time playing out there, despite the cold.

    Long live the balcony garden!


    Sunday, September 27th, 2009

    3 years ago my mother-in-law (who I adore) had a potted plant delivered to me on Mother’s Day. It was a lovely gesture, and a lovely plant. I had no idea what kind of plant it was (still don’t), but it sprouted pretty pink flowers.

    I figured it would be dead within weeks.

    I don’t have a very good history of keeping plants alive, you see. My instinct seems to always be wrong, and I overwater or underwater or give too much sun or too little. So I figured this little guy had no chance.

    I was wrong.

    Despite long periods of no watering, cold weather, inconsistent sun, being knocked over, this little plant held on. Sometimes it looked pretty sad, but it held on nonetheless.

    Back in May when we began our balcony garden, I started giving it more consistent care. This is what it looked like then.


    Still in the pot it was delivered in, it was living, but not thriving so much.  A month or so later I thought that maybe if I transferred it to a larger pot, it might do better. Breaking just about every rule about repotting plants, I moved it to its new home.

    It didn’t grow.

    For months it didn’t grow, and I was afraid I’d seriously damaged it, messing with its roots as I had.

    But then…..

    This picture was taken tonight.


    Bigger, happier! Not just living, thriving!

    And if you take a closer look at the right side of the pot:


    Two little shoots! I don’t know how this happened, maybe someone with more plant knowledge than I do can shed light? (I know you’re out there.)

    But not just two little shoots….


    MUSHROOMS??? How did a veritable fairy garden start growing in this pot? (Sorry for the blurriness of the picture, the lighting was not being friendly, and I know about as much about photography as I do about plants.)

    There’s an obvious metaphor here for my life- but how do you experience regrowth?