Lake Michigan

Since we moved here six years ago, we’ve let the trees in front of our house grow and grow. (Our neighbors think we’re crazy and call our land “the jungle.” And, well, maybe we are a little crazy.) Finally, this spring, Jeffrey and I convinced the girls to let us trim just some of the tallest trees, so we can see the lake again! Lake Michigan.

As a compromise, we’re making a waddle house out of the poplar trees and branches that came down. It has been an ongoing family project and I can’t wait to share photos soon!

Gousty Spring

Lessons in the Little House.
Gardening with Grandfather and Grandmommy.
Morel walks with Uncle Chris.
Dappled green light in the forest.
Holding hands with a toddler as he explores the world outside.

Spring at Gousty.

Chicks

Wallace is slightly in love with the chicks and slightly terrified of them. He runs over to their box saying “Chick! Chick!” and wants to hold one . . . until we put one in his lap and then he says, “Back! Back!” pointing urgently for us to put it in the box again.

Cousin Cora, on the other hand, is a born chick whisperer!

The French Lesson

We incorporate French into our days in a few different ways, but the girls have been asking to do more. We read French children’s books, sing songs and rhymes, and use French in our nature journals. Sometimes, if I’m feeling especially inspired, I will do a little “puppet show” with tiny animals who speak French.

I would love to meet other French-learning families out there. How do you teach and use French with your young children? What do your children find most engaging when it comes to learning a new language?

(Yesterday I found baby Wallace sitting in front of the doors with a picture book; just reading some French words to himself!)

p.s. Not pictured is the rest of the deconstructed house around him. Toddlers!

In the Orchard

My sister-in-law, Lara, has been painting in an aging orchard this year — a series of works in different sizes and different media — following the landscape over the course of the seasons. Seasons of weather; seasons of motherhood; and seasons of political change. I admire how she has stayed with her subject, looking at it in unexpected ways and sharing both her process and her finished pieces.

Seeing the landscape through her eyes this year has renewed my own interest in the intersection between a cultivated and wild world.

Challenge

One of the questions I’m living with right now is this:

“Is she being met with enough challenge?”

A wise mother friend suggested to me this week that I may not need to be responsible for bringing the challenge to her; instead, my daughter may actually seek it out.

She has crossed a certain threshold where her own bravery and strength will help her find what she needs to thrive.

“Side!”

Our little garden helper would be content to stay outside all day long. Whenever we come back in, he moans “Side! Side!” and points at the door.

When Jeffrey was about Wallace’s age, he said the same thing so often that his nickname became “Side”!