11.23.2009

backyard field guide



One of my favorite parts of Crossing to Safety is the description of how Charity's mother, Aunt Emily, orchestrated summer for her children when they'd go off into the woods for summer:

"Aunt Emily believes in the freedom of summer. She doesn't much care what the children do so long as they do something, and know what they are doing. It is idleness and randomness of mind that she cannot abide. When the children go on a hike, she packs bird and flower guides in their knapsacks, and quizzes them on their return to see if they have learned anything. When she accompanies them on an overnight camping trip, sleeping in her own worn pup tent, they can count on instructive fireside talks on the stars. And on rainy days such as this she sits like a confident spider in the midst of her web until boredom drives all the children on the Point to her porch, where she reads to them or teaches them French..."

So brilliant, and so how I wish I was more like as a mother - wish being the operative word in that sentence (I seem to spend my time engaged in activities like fishing gum from the jaws of the dog rather than reading Hiawatha to my children). But we did have a brief Aunt Emily moment yesterday afternoon, after I came across the idea on this great-but-now-defunct blog. The plan is to start with our small yard and then move on to our street. Then we will probably have lost all interest but hey, for now it's a fantastic plan and one that will keep us busy this Thanksgiving week.









Happy Thanksgiving!

22 comments:

Jess said...

How wonderful!

sew nancy said...

lovely idea
amy (angry chicken) had a post this summer in which you took paint chips and pasted them in a journal and then matched up flowers and other bits of nature while walking around your neighborhood.
kids love this sort of thing. my boy has been begging to go back to the woods since we took him a few days ago.
right now he is humming to himself and working on a puzzle. a good puzzle is such a wonderful toy
happy thanksgiving to you too

annie said...

I love it! We moved cross-country over the summer and my daughter is doing a field guide to Vermont (in water colors) as her holiday gift for grandparents back in California.

Shane and Becca said...

I really love this!

Barbara Brown said...

Very cute, I love stuff like that.

lynne said...

thanks! i LOVE the idea of the paint chip matching... that angry chicken is one smart mama.

and i'm sure the watercolor field guide will be lovely!!

Kate said...

Oh My Goodness... a reference to "Crossing to Safety!!" I thought I was the only one who loved that passage, and that book! What a lovely idea. Thanks for sharing.

melissa said...

Yes we too love Crossing to Safety and wish we could have more instructive, creative moments and less banal picking up moments. Maybe though it's the scarcity that makes these magic creative moments so special. I love your paintings. You have the magic touch on everything that you make!

Lauren said...

Love it. Even if you don't do this all the time if you photograph it your kids will remember:)

All of Us said...

This is a fabulous idea! What a wonderful way to teach children about the biodiversity that exists all around us.

eBirdie said...

Beautiful - scavenger hunts are also great fun!

Anonymous said...

I love this idea. It's beautiful.

My 9 yo daughter does something similar. She uses a nature journal guide and has a sketchbook & pencils. It's called "Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You". You can find it on Amazon.

Love this post!

Rubyellen said...

that is a beautiful book! such a keepsake!!!

Gillian said...

Your Backyard Guide looks wonderful - what a great idea. And thank you for introducing me to what looks like a really beautiful book - I had never heard of Crossing to Safety, but I followed your link and think I will definitely read it.

Audrey said...

I just finished reading this book (2nd time). I just love that you made a field guide to accompany it.

Joslyn said...

this is a genius, genius idea.

i'm with you...how is it that we let the day to day of parenting so often get in the way of the magic of parenting.

maybe that will be my goal for 2010...rekindle the magic of parenting.

xo

boots said...

what a great idea- beautiful.

Team Clechenko said...

that is my most favorite book of all time!

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