Fallen Orchard

They cut down the orchard. It wasn’t a surprise — but still a shock. This orchard is on the northern edge of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and it could remain in agriculture as long as the owners wanted to maintain it.

Having lost interest in the orchard, the owners sold the land back to the National Park (the girls and I counted 45 rings in a tree stump: well beyond the age of most productive cherry trees) — and so now this land will revert back to wild.

It’s a gift, in a way, because no more pesticides will be sprayed on this land, and many more creatures will come to live here over time. And yet, it’s still a deep shock to see this landscape, that my siblings and I grew up with, changed so dramatically overnight.

My sweet Amie sat on a fallen tree and cried. Wallace watched her, perplexed. I stood close by, feeling swallowed up in the mist around us.

Painting with Petals

It was so exciting to receive our May print issue of Wild + Free and see our piece on “painting” with petals — just in time for all the spring blooms. We were inspired by Bridget Beth Collins (Flora Forager) last year to make pictures with plant parts, and I loved writing about the process. The girls notice so many intricate details now when we gather flowers, work in the garden, and explore outside. The diversity in color, texture, and shape in plant life is truly amazing.

(This print issue contains a sample of a longer piece in the May Wild + Free bundle on Kinship, which you can find on their website. Wild + Free was started by homeschooling mothers, but — as friends have pointed out — it’s not just for homeschooling families, but for anyone who loves to learn with children and explore the outdoors.)

Book Stack

“Words make worlds.” — Krista Tippett

On my desk this week: Moby Dick (by Herman Melville), Workshops Work (by Patricia Zaballos), The Poetry Handbook (by Mary Oliver), The One-Straw Revolution (by Masanobu Fukuoka), Becoming Wise (by Krista Tippett, and Project-Based Homeschooling (by Lori Pickert). I’m reading bits and pieces of all of them — because that is how my reading happens right now: in little snippets of time in the midst of very full days.

I might be hiding upstairs in my room right now, taking one of these mini reading breaks . . .

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.