About Us

There are four of Them: three girls and one boy, little stair-steps all. There are two of Us: best friends, co-parents and truly in love. The Six of us have epic adventures full of laughter and love, occasionally containing tears, but always together.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mother Nature Comes to Call

(A picture of our watermelon/pepper enclosure.)
This summer, for the first time, we planted three different kinds of food bearing plants. It was really a grand experiment. I really expected nothing but some green plants that were fun to look at. The way I saw it, if they actually bore fruit (or veggies) it would be an added bonus. So we planted tomatoes, green peppers and watermelons. I am happy to report that all three types of plant have given us fantastic dividends. Not only have we been able to eat (well, we've eaten peppers and tomatoes, the watermelons are still growing) but we've also witnessed some very interesting insect life. But first some pictures of our harvest/current growth: These are the munchkins we grew. Didn't they turn out nicely? Okay, okay, it's the peppers that are hiding in the munchkins' hands that are of interest. And the pepper plant is still producing. The green peppers are delicious and the kids LOVE to eat them for snack. Elie got to use a sharp knife and cut one up, all by herself, the other day. Sometimes I forget how big she is and how she needs to start learning about doing these things. Anyhoo, on to more pictures.
This is a picture of our *big* watermelon. It is about the size of a cantaloupe. We are VERY excited and I get daily reports from the children about its size. Actually, what I get are reports of its existence. They charge up to the screen door and yell, "Mom, you HAVE to come here RIGHT NOW and look at this!!!!!" Then we all march out to the watermelon enclosure and peek at our watermelon. One of the children will ask if it is ripe yet and I'll shake my head and say, "I don't think so." This happens at least once every other day or so. There is one other watermelon and it is about the size of a largish grapefruit. That one also gets the same attention and excitement. I find it difficult not to be excited when I see how excited they are about the whole situation. Growing food is just sooooo cool and tons of fun!

It can also be quite educational. Last week I noticed a green tomato had been nibbled on. I was a little bummed, but we all realized that we share the planet and so we could stand to share some unripe tomatoes. Then I found something that I identified as excrement, but I couldn't identify what type of living being it came from. Finally, a few days ago we noticed this guy, hanging out and devouring our tomato plant:
This is a tomato horn worm. His head is at the bottom and from his bottom there is a large horn. Tomato horn worms DEVOUR tomato plants. However, Mother Nature does have a sense of justice. The white tubes on the back of the worm are pupa - wasp larva to be exact. When the wasps hatch, they then devour the horn worm. Cool, eh? Thank goodness for google, it made giving that entomology lesson much, MUCH easier.

In addition to finding interesting bugs on our plants, we've found some really cool animals in the backyard. After mowing the other day we found this beautiful turtle:

He was hanging out chewing the freshly mown grass. The kids came out and touched him, which was really cool. Then the next week we found a snake! Actually, Elie found the snake. She was swinging in the backyard and then I heard her scream bloody murder and then she was on the deck, hollering and screaming about how she had seen a snake. I was doubtful that was what she had seen, but I headed out in to the backyard (after/while being admonished to be VERY careful and not touch the snake by my safety officers aka children) to check it out. There it was, gliding along in the grass, a bright green snake. It was wholly uninterested in me and so I called all the kids out to look at it closer. We then went inside and googled it to discover it was a smooth green snake (yes, really, couldn't they have come up w/a better name??) and that it is non-poisonous and eats insects. We haven't seen it since, but there are lots of holes in the trees and yard where it could be living. I hope we see it again, it'd be nice to let the kids see it again.

It's really nice to be able to give the kids a backyard to explore, nature to see and experience and fresh fruit and veggies that we grew. Mother Nature is welcome here anytime!!!

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