Enjoying nature brings questions to mind

With summer-like temperatures we are spending more time outdoors.  Can’t wait to get our gardens in but with the crazy weather I’m not taking any chances on another frost.

The days are moving at a leisurely pace, just like the summer months are supposed to be, but of course this is just the beginning of May.

We have purchased a few things and gotten them started.  More neighbors have been coming out and offering a hand in the field to reclaim it.  We are finding that we each have favorite activities and talents, but combining them we are getting more done much more efficiently.   Here’s our lilac bush we just got and will be planting this evening.

Plantings are started

We’ve also added two dwarf apple trees, a Gala and a Cortland.  We have been researching and learned the “experts” suggest mixing the types for better pollination.  Anyone know if this is true or not?  I would love some advice from someone who has some experience with apple trees.

Here they are before being planted, of course it was too dark to get a picture once they were in the ground, just my luck.

One neighbor came out to tell us he is a retired landscaper and has offered to help with any work we have as he still has his tools and mowers.

Spotting the landscapers next door at the local Medical Center cutting the lawn (and knowing they put no chemicals on them) I stopped over to see if they would be kind enough to let us have their grass clippings for mulch.  Much to my surprise they were happy to do so and thanked me for asking.  Not only were we given the clippings, but they delivered them right to our garden area.  We have been offered all the clippings we want as that saves them from having to haul them away to dump in the garbage.  So while we were trying to be thrifty and save having to buy mulching materials, we are saving the landfills too.

I learned yard waste, such as grass clippings, makes up 20% of all materials sent to landfills.  I’ve never understood the practice of bagging up grass and autumn leaves when they can be mulched and left where they fall promoting a healthier lawn.

Watching the enjoyment as nature becomes entertainment

I took my grand children out to the field to play yesterday.  It’s been a while since my children were small and some days I forget how much enjoyment we can get from just watching their imaginations at work.  My grand daughter found a couple of dishpans that were left out over night by a neighbor and spotting some weeds (I have no idea what these are) with little yellow flowers on them decided to use the pans filled with water from a thunderstorm to “make my friend some butter”.  She carefully picked the flowers and found a stick to stir it as she “cooked” her butter.  Of course once her brother joined in the butter had green leaves in it as well.

Now for living nature

Of course her “butter” was quickly forgotten when she found her first ever caterpillar.

Her parents and I have taught both her and her brother that nature is to be valued and respected since they were  little.  Her gentleness with her new-found friend was a joy to watch.

My grandson is a stitch, he wanted to hold the caterpillar, but its walking on his skin tickled so much that he would drop it.

The caterpillar received it’s first gift of a toy (which was a rock for it to climb on) and was treated to fresh green leaves to eat. For three years old I think she did well.

Roles in nature

We have been spending time showing the kids where food comes from and the roles that various wildlife has in providing us with that food.  Working in the gardens the children have found plenty of worms and now know we need them to not only aerate the soil but to breakdown our compost which makes the soil even healthier.   My son wanted the children to know where all their food came from until his daughter aghast to learn her meat came from the animals she loves and began crying. He’s backed off on telling her her food comes from anything that walks or swims till she’s a little older,  I personally  think we have a budding vegetarian on the way.  With the demise of so many family farms and the vast amount of processed food available the only way to teach our children to make healthier choices is to set the example at home.  Our family isn’t the only one. Many are finding ways to introduce the subject into their family’s experiences.

Realizing the harm we do

Earlier today I went out to run a few errands, the day was beautiful, even though thunderstorms had been predicted.  Not driving, nope I haven’t driven my car since I used it to visit my son and his family for Easter, I am getting to see a lot more than I have in the last few years.  Moving at a slower pace has been pleasant and I believe if I had a heavy amount of stress to deal with it would help to relieve it as well.  As it is my spirit lifts whenever I have spent time outdoors.

Which would you prefer a trip by car that can be fraught with road rage or just the stress of trying to navigate around construction or a stroll down a country road like this on your way somewhere?  I’m a country girl at heart, even though I was raised in the city, I would choose this road over a paved roadway filled with cars.

I am still meeting new people daily when I am out.  I  had almost forgotten how friendly people can be.  When the only contact you have with strangers is at work or out shopping you can often see people who are hurried and stressed.  But when out, you will find so many others who will greet you and strike up a conversation.

So my venture out started off great,  I avoided  a dragonfly which had planted itself on the sidewalk for a breather, and spotted many butterflies about.  But on my way to the grocery store for a few items I noticed the destruction our cars can do.  In less than a quarter of a mile from my home to the store I spotted one dead cat, a dead raccoon, a dead cat, and seven injured (beyond help) butterflies.

I began to think of all the bugs we wash off our windshields and realized that we are not only damaging the planet with our vehicles through the removal of oil to run them, the natural resources to make the car, all the chemicals we add to them to keep them running in peak performance such as anti-freeze and transmission fluid to name only two, but we are killing anything in our path that can’t get out of the way fast enough. One study done in the Netherlands has estimated we kill 2 insects for every 6.2 miles we drive. Just looking at American drivers that number is approximately 32.5 trillion insects per year

Do you think the day will come when we use  more public transportation which would also  ease the congestion on the streets, and use other means of getting around such as bikes or our own two feet?  I think I’d like to see that how about you?

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