Monday, September 23, 2013

Watching Them Grow

Three seeds, two experiments, lots of growth. Way back in the middle of the summer, the kids and I planted yellow squash, marigold and bean seeds in egg shells and egg cartons. We also tried a bean experiment to see which way the bean sprouts would grow.  Both experiments were fun and after the sprouts started growing we planted them in the garden.  

After that we mostly just watched them grow,

and grow,

and grow.  

Of course we watered them and added compost once in a while, but there was a lot of just watching. Watching and being amazed at how beautiful they are,

how tall they got, 

how fast they grew from tiny to huge, 

how clever they are.

It reminds me of my kids, obviously I water them and feed them (hmmm, maybe Jasper would eat compost?) 

I try as hard as I can every day to nurture them and not get frustrated. I fail often. I hope for sunny days to soak up the warmth and rainy ones to splash in puddles, a good balance of both. But a lot of the time, I'm just watching. 

Watching them grow.

We sent Lily off to kindergarten this month and I'm amazed for all of these reasons.  

How fast she's growing, 

how beautiful she is, 

how clever, 

how fragile yet resilient, 

and how hard and amazing at the same time it is for me to just let her go (grow!)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Amazing Spiders!

It's that time of year again, spiders are everywhere!  

Outside, their sticky webs are waiting every morning, in the doorway, strung from zucchini to sunflower, nestled around my tomato plants and beautifully attached to old anemone buds.

Inside it's like they're haunting me, appearing in the bathtub in the morning before I can barely see straight. A HUGE one racing across my bedroom floor as I turned on the light the other night.  Waiting for me in the bathroom at 2 am. Am I embarrassed to say I've screamed for Greg to come save me several times from them? Absolutely not!

I love spiders in the garden, their beautiful webs and their appetite for insects, but boy they are ginormous this time of year, all fattened up from all the eating they've been doing, but I really, really don't like sharing my house with them.  And, dang are they hard for me to photograph clearly!!

Lily and Jasper love to find spiders in the garden, and they love to find spiders who have trapped insects in their webs.  This weekend Greg and the kids and I were playing in the garden and there were webs everywhere. Greg thought it would be fun to find a bug and toss it into one of the webs and watch the spider in action.  Never gonna happen I thought to myself.  I never doubted that they would find a bug, after all, Jasper is my bug whisperer, but tossing one into the web seemed like it would never work.

It took Jasper, after tipping over a few potted plants, about one minute to find and grab an earwig.  Greg gently tossed it into the web and WOW! That bug stuck and that spider moved like lightning tearing apart bits of its own web to spin that earwig into submission while we watched from the sidelines.  So fast it was amazing!  (Off to the side is a trapped ladybug Lily wanted to save.  She said, "I'm going to go find a wood chip and knock that ladybug free." Greg replied, "I think it's too late for that darlin'.")

Turns out Greg really enjoys tossing earwigs into spiderwebs.  Tonight the kids found a roly poly they tossed into a web which fell off after a minute. A minute was all it took for me to capture it on camera.  Not the best photos I've ever taken, but they do a pretty good job.

But then Jasper fell onto an old wooden bird feeder, broke it apart and discovered families and families of earwigs inside. Eeeeew!  Greg gathered a whole cupful and while the kids ran around the yard chasing Dizzy, Greg had fun throwing earwig after earwig into a web trying to get one to stick.  I could tell he was way too into it because whenever he missed he kept saying, "I can't get it into the net!"  But the hockey player persevered and, finally, GOAL!!!  One landed and stuck and Greg and I watched again while a spider secured its prey.  I'm making us out to look like bug assassins, but really, our organic garden is crawling with them.  And to be perfectly honest I can't stand earwigs. Plus watching a spider dart over and grab its prey and use its web to bind the prey up faster than you can say gin and tonic is pretty fascinating to watch!

I'm telling you, there is never a dull moment around here!!