sowing seeds of life and love

this born-and-bred suburban girl's heart belongs to the city.

third floor walk-ups, fire escape-only access, slumlords?  count me in, as long as we could ride bikes to a wilco show, order curry, wat, or pho in the neighborhood, and walk to our friend's gallery opening.

our family's semi-rural life today looks nothing like our newlywed years in pittsburgh, but i love the view and tastes from here, too.  it is said that palates change with age, and i know hearts must as well.

this will be our third year gardening, and we're thrilled to be partnering with another family and growing heirloom seeds together for the first time.  we've got tomatoes, herbs, and eggplant growing in the kitchen; lettuces, carrots, rapini, swiss chard and more sprouting outside; and big plans for bean forts for our three babes.

we're learning as we go.  mice ate every single pepper sprout right out of our friends' kitchen, and we didn't know broccoli and cauliflower needed heat lamps until after their stems grew up weak and flopsy.  we'll know better next year.

this summer is the first i'll not be pregnant or tending a newborn. i'm thrilled that we'll all be more involved in growing food together, with friends to make even hard work sweet.

the kids love being outdoors, exploring and digging up worms, and i'm so thankful for wide open spaces for them to relish.  here they don't need anything to entertain them beyond a push on the swing or a fistful of sidewalk chalk.

it's different outside.  i recognize it with each first breath and see it in their wonder-filled eyes as they bring me treasures found and stuff pockets brim-ful with rocks.

we take off shoes to feel the cool grass beneath our feet.


dylan and james both gobbled vegetables as babies and turn their noses up now.  frozen winter veggies are not the same, and looking forward to vine ripe tomatoes and fresh picked peas, still-warm from the sun, i know we can convert them back.

spring is the season of sudden storms, unreal green, and mushrooms growing wild.  jim found these morels, and we spent time yesterday picking dandelion greens for a saute.  the kids didn't eat either, but when our friend brought us fresh picked poke (wild asparagus), james surprised us all by enthusiastically eating it dipped in spicy chimichurri.

all things considered, both kids are bigger fans of our maple syrup than foraged greens, but who could blame them?  between fresh eggs and syrup, we do a lot of breakfasts-for-dinner, and in this season of life (and the year), that's more than ok for us.

we have another fun project in the works this spring:

(click through to view video if viewing rss feed.)

the chicks are staying with neighbors until they're old enough to hold their own with the hens we have now, and they should be mature and laying eggs by the early fall.

i never envisioned life like this but love it for my little ones.  this summer, when i'm cutting greens for salads and the children run about chasing chickens in the yard, i know that there is no place i'd rather be.

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes

{Elizabeth Barrett Browning}

***Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama
Welcome to the May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Growing in the Outdoors. Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting. Please take time to read the submissions by the other participants:
  • Get Out!Momma Jorje gives reasons she doesn't think she gets outside enough and asks for your suggestions on making time for the outdoors.
  • How Does Your Garden Grow?The ArtsyMama shares her love of nature photography.
  • We Go Outside — Amy at Peace 4 Parents describes her family's simple, experiential approach to encouraging appreciation of nature.
  • My Not-So-Green Thumb — Wolfmother confesses to her lack of gardening skills but expresses hope in learning alongside her son at Fabulous Mama Chronicles.
  • Enjoying Outdoors — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine describes how her children enjoy the nature.
  • Five Ideas to Encourage the Reluctant Junior Gardener — For the rare little ones who don't like to get their hands dirty, Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers tips for encouraging an early love of dirt (despite the mess).
  • Connecting to NatureMamapoekie shares how growing your own vegetable patch connects your child to nature and urges them to not take anything for granted.
  • The Farmer's Market Classroom — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction shares how the Farmer's Market has become her son's classroom.
  • Seeds — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment's hubby Ken shares his perspective on why gardening with their kiddos is so important . . . and enjoyable!
  • Toddlers in the Garden — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares her excitement as she continues to introduce her toddler and new baby to the joys of fresh veggies, straight from the garden.
  • Nature's Weave — MJ at Wander Wonder Discover explains how nature weaves its way into our lives naturally, magnetically, experientially, and spiritually.
  • Becoming Green — Kristina at Hey Red celebrates and nurtures her daughter's blossoming love of the outdoors.
  • Little Gardener — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis looks forward to introducing her baby girl to gardening and exploring home grown foods for the first time.
  • Cultivating Abundance — You can never be poor if you have a garden! Lucy at Dreaming Aloud reflects on what she cultivates in her garden . . . and finds it's a lot more than seeds!
  • Growing in the Outdoors: Plants and People — Luschka at Diary of a First Child reflects on how she is growing while teaching her daughter to appreciate nature, the origins of food, and the many benefits of eating home-grown.
  • How Not to Grow — Anna at Wild Parenting discusses why growing vegetables fills her with fear.
  • Growing in the Outdoors — Lily at Witch Mom Blog talks about how connecting to the natural world is a matter of theology for her family and the ways that they do it.
  • A Garden Made of Straw — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares tips on making a straw bale garden.
  • The Tradition of Gardening — Carrie at Love Notes Mama reflects on the gifts that come with the tradition of gardening.
  • Gardening Smells Like Home — Bethy at Bounce Me to the Moon hopes that her son will associate home grown food and lovely flowers with home.
  • The New Normal — Patti at Jazzy Mama writes about how she hopes that growing vegetables in a big city will become totally normal for her children's generation.
  • Outside, With You — Amy at Anktangle writes a letter to her son, a snapshot of a moment in the garden together.
  • Farmer Boy — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares how her son Joshua helps to grow and raise their family's food.
  • Growing Kids in the Garden — Lisa at Granola Catholic shares easy ways to get your kids involved in the garden.
  • Growing Food Without a Garden — Don't have a garden? "You can still grow food!" says Mrs Green of Little Green Blog. Whatever the size of your plot, she shows you how.
  • Growing Things — Liz at Garden Variety Mama shares her reasons for gardening with her kids, even though she has no idea what she's doing.
  • MomentsUK Mummy Blogger explains how the great outdoors provides a backdrop for her family to reconnect.
  • Condo Kid Turns Composter and Plastic Police — Jessica from Cloth Diapering Mama has discovered that her young son is a true earth lover despite living in a condo with no land to call their own.
  • Gardening with Baby — Sheila at A Gift Universe shows us how her garden and her son are growing.
  • Why to Choose Your Local Farmer's MarketNaturally Nena shares why she believes it's important to teach our children the value of local farmers.
  • Unfolding into Nature — At Crunchy-Chewy Mama, Jessica Claire shares her desire to cultivate a reverence for nature through gardening, buying local food, and just looking out the window.
  • Urban Gardening With Kids — Lauren at Hobo Mama shares her strategies for city gardening with little helpers — without a yard but with a whole lot of enthusiasm.
  • Mama Doesn't Garden — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life is glad her husband is there to instill the joys of gardening in their children, while all she has to do is sit back and eat homegrown tomato sandwiches.
  • Why We Make this Organic Garden Grow — Brenna at Almost All The Truth shares her reasons for gardening with her three small children.
  • 5 Ways to Help Your Baby Develop a Love of the Natural World — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama believes it's never too early to foster a love of the natural world in your little one.
  • April Showers Bring May PRODUCE — Erika at NaMammaSte discusses her plans for raising a little gardener.
  • Growing Outside — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers how to get her kids outside after weeks of spring rain.
  • Eating Healthier — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey talks about how she learns to eat healthier and encourages her children to do the same.
  • The Beauty of Earth and Heavens — Inspired by Charlotte Mason, Erica at ChildOrganics discovers nature in her own front yard.
  • Seeing the Garden Through the Weeds — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro talks about the challenges of gardening with two small children.
  • Creating a Living Playhouse: Our Bean Teepee! — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings shares how her family creates a living playhouse "bean teepee" and includes tips of how to involve kids in gardening projects.
  • Grooming a Tree-Hugger: Introducing the Outdoors — Ana at Pandamoly shares some of her planned strategies for making this spring and summer memorable and productive for her pre-toddler in the Outdoors.
  • Sowing Seeds of Life and Love — Suzannah at ShoutLaughLove celebrates the simple joys of baby chicks, community gardening, and a semi-charmed country life.
  • Experiencing Nature and Growing Plants Outdoors Without a Garden — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares some of her favorite ways her family discovered to fully experience nature wherever they lived.
  • Garden Day — Melissa at The New Mommy Files is thankful to be part of community of families, some of whom can even garden!
  • Teaching Garden Ettiquette to the Locusts — Tashmica from Mother Flippin' (guest posting at Natural Parents Network) allows her children to ravage her garden every year in the hopes of teaching them a greater lesson about how to treat the world.
  • Why I Play with Worms. — Megan of Megadoula, Megamom and Megatired shares why growing a garden and raising her children go hand in hand.
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