Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Winter Outdoor Time

It is infinitely well worth of the mother's while to take some pains every day to secure, in the first place, that her children spend hours daily amongst rural and natural objects; and, in the second place, to infuse into them, or rather to cherish in them, the love of investigation. "I say it deliberately," says Kingsley, "as a student of society and of history: power will pass more and more into the hands of scientific men. They will rule, and they will act––cautiously, we may hope, and modestly, and charitably––because in learning true knowledge they will have learnt also their own ignorance, and the vastness, the complexity, the mystery of Nature. But they will also be able to rule, they will be able to act, because they have taken the trouble to learn the facts and the laws of Nature."

CM Vol. 1, pg. 71

Even though we have had our share of bone-chilling cold this winter, the moisture level has been very low. And while we haven't gotten outside nearly as much as we should have (I don't like being cold!) We have had some fun. Here's just a few pics of our outdoors time in the last couple of months.

On our way the bridge and creek

Emi and Ali getting up close

On the way up or down

Wes and Will dropping rocks

Thomas wanting to go across the crik.

Mothers and Teachers should know about Nature. - The mother cannot devote herself too much to this kind of reading, not only that she may read tit-bits to her children about matters they have come across, but that she may be able to answer their queries and direct their observations. And not only the mother, but any woman, who is likely ever

to spend an hour or two in the society of children, should make herself mistress of this sort of information; the children will adore her for knowing what they want to know, and who knows but she may give its bent for life to some young mind designed to do great things for the world. CM Vol. 1 pg.64-65

Our "find" on the way home. We cut off a small branch to research when we got home and thanks to the book "Discover Nature in Winter" we found out that this is a bagworm moth.

"Bagworm moths spend the winter as eggs in cocoonlike sacks that dangle from evergreen shrubs and trees by silken threads. Collect a few bags and open them. The cocoon of a female bagworm will hold hundreds of yellow eggs. The larvae that make the bags are not easily seen; they live in the ground, where they thrive on grass or roots."

Discover Nature in Winter pg. 137-138

We got to go trail hiking at our visit to the nearby aboretum. We didn't see a whole bunch of birds mostly because the kids were too excited to be very quiet:)

Hiking the whole 1 mile wasn't possible on this day because Will tuckered out and mom was pretty much done for too! I do need to figure out something for bathroom use though, not for the kids because they can go in the grass if necessary but for this pregnant mom's squashed bladder!

Before our hike we had a nice picnic lunch and then snacked with a friendly bee after our hike.

Meals out of Doors.––People who live in the country know the value of fresh air very well, and their children live out of doors, with intervals within for sleeping and eating. As to the latter, even country people do not make full use of their opportunities. On fine days when it is warm enough to sit out with wraps, why should not tea and breakfast, everything but a hot dinner, be served out of doors? For we are an overwrought generation, running to nerves as a cabbage runs to seed; and every hour spent in the open is a clear gain, tending to the increase of brain power and bodily vigour, and to the lengthening of life itself. They who know what it is to have fevered skin and throbbing brain deliciously soothed by the cool touch of the air are inclined to make a new rule of life, Never be within doors when you can rightly be without.

Besides, the gain of an hour or two in the open air, there is this to be considered: meals taken al fresco are usually joyous, and there is nothing like gladness for converting meat and drink into healthy

blood and tissue. All the time, too, the children are storing up memories of a happy childhood. Fifty years hence they will see the shadows of the boughs making patterns on the white tablecloth; and sunshine, children's laughter, hum of bees, and scent of flowers are being bottled up for after refreshment. CM Vol

Starting out - the weather this day was in the upper 60's!

Possibilities of a Day in the Open.––I make a point, says a judicious mother, of sending my children out, weather permitting, for an hour in the winter, and two hours a day in the summer months. That is well; but it is not enough. In the first place, do not send them; if it is anyway possible, take them; for, although the children should be left much to themselves, there is a great deal to be done and a great deal to be prevented during these long hours in the open air. And long hours they should be; not two, but four, five, or six hours they should have on every tolerably fine day, from April till October. Impossible! Says an overwrought mother who sees her way to no more for her children than a daily hour or so on the pavements of the neighbouring London squares. Let me repeat, that I venture to suggest, not what is practicable in any household, but what seems to me absolutely best for the children; and that, in the faith that mothers work wonders once they are convinced that wonders are demanded of them. A journey of twenty minutes by rail or omnibus, and a luncheon basket, will make a day in the country possible to most town dwellers; and if one day, why not many, even every suitable day? CM Vol. 1 pg. 44-45

Will taking a break and exploring a stump.

Intimacy with Nature makes for Personal Well-being.––But to enable them to swim with the stream is the least of the benefits this early training should confer on the children; a love of Nature, implanted so early that it will seem to them hereafter to have been born in them, will enrich their lives with pure interests, absorbing pursuits, health, and good humour. "I have seen," says the same writer, "the young man of fierce passions and uncontrollable daring expend healthily that energy which threatened daily to plunge him into recklessness, if not into sin, upon hunting out and collecting, through rock and bog, snow and tempest, every bird and egg of the neighbouring forest . . . I have seen the young London beauty, amid all the excitement and temptation of luxury and flattery, with her heart pure, and her mind occupied in a boudoir full of shells and fossils, flowers and seaweeds, keeping herself unspotted from the world, by considering the lilies of the fields of the field, how they grow." CM Vol. 1, pg. 71-72

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