Three years ago, the girls and I started nature journaling. What this looks like, for us, is gathering natural objects from our garden and walks; laying them all out over the table; and sketching and watercolor painting in our journals. We also write the names of plants and creatures and other items in French when we are inspired. Nature journaling is definitely about the process for us. We did it regularly for about two years and then got out of practice. Today we gathered around the table again, and I was so happy . . . even when Wallace started painting blue stripes all over his arms. I hope we will make space to nature journal all summer and into the fall. There’s nothing quite like the meditative space it inspires.
watching him work with a spoon
in the emerging mud
layers of ice
ice once so hard,
impossible to break through.
Remember the morning we couldn’t leave,
couldn’t get into our car
covered in ice so thick, so cold
the doors frozen shut?
Remember the night we couldn’t speak
because there was so much frozen
When we cut them
down in the swamp
the fuzz was nearly invisible,
still tucked inside.
Two days in the house,
and here they are.
Warmth does that.
It’s so wintery outside today — the girls and I were inspired to go out and gather little bits of red and green to make candle wreaths for the dinner table. I love to watch the enthusiasm they bring to these little projects that we’ve been doing together since they were tiny and it was mostly me doing the crafting. Now, it is mostly them. And I’m just the photographer.
Bringing in the house plants that spent the summer outside; wondering at how much they’ve grown; getting soil all over the kitchen table and floor and counter . . .
The greenhouse seed babies are thriving and this little man has been busy making a mud pit full of “hot cocoa” just outside the door. I’m thinning and he’s brewing; so come on over for some cool microgreens and warm drinks! I love gardening in this giant terrarium on the cusp of autumn. It’s such a paradox to watch new life burst forth as everything else outside slows down and lets go.
Last fall I wrote a piece for Wild + Free on fermenting with children. It is one of my favorite articles I did for the magazine because everyone in our family helped with the photos, the recipes, and the fermentation! One year later, everyone is gathered around again, making a new ferment: Giardiniera. Jeffrey’s endless enthusiasm for fermentation experimentation is contagious. I think we are raising a whole brood of wildcraft makers and brewers.
After the Giardiniera project, we made wild grape soda: one of our September traditions and favorite ferments!