Thursday, May 24, 2012

I don't know how it is for you, but summer just seems to evaporate for me.  For one thing we have a huge garden and we all try to spend two hours each morning working in it.  Some of my children think this is outrageous, but I think it is good for them.  There is the normal housework, which we try to do a little more thoroughly and diligently in the summer, actually changing sheets weekly, etc.  Then of course there are graduations, weddings, holidays and company that fills up many weekends.  A few years ago I realized that summer was slipping by without us finding time to have fun and relax together, so we began a tradition that if the children work hard and get their work done the first four days of the week we pack a picnic lunch and head to a park for the day Friday.  We take our camp chairs and nature notebooks, sometimes a good book and a picnic basket of food and enjoy relaxing together.  Looking forward to our outings turns out to be a good motivator for all that work that needs to be done early in the week and some of our best memories are made relaxing together. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Swimming Expedition

May 14, 2012 Sarah wrote today about our Saturday swimming outing to Farmer's Beach.

   "We're going swimming!" the kids shout excitedly.  We pack a picnic lunch, towels, sunscreen and swimming clothes and head off to Farmers Beach.
     When we arrive everyone grabs their stuff and runs down to the beach.  There is a cold wind blowing off the lake and when Anna feels the icy water she shivers and says, "I am NOT going swimming in that water!"  In the end I convince her and we slowly wade deeper into the water.  Ruthie, who has just emerged from a good dunk splashes us with water and I chase after her teasingly.  Oops, bad idea - I trip and fall landing face first in the freezing water.  I gasp as my mouth fills with water then come to the surface again.  "Well, at least I got that over with," I say with a grin.
     Anna soon dives under coming to the surface spluttering.  We swim for a while but soon Anna gets an earache and heads in.  I stay in a little while longer until I feel like I might catch hypothermia.  Then I also go in and lay down on a dry towel.  The wind whips and I shiver uncontrollably.  I grab my yellow hoodie and soak in the sun.
     Later we have our picnic lunch of pasta salad, chips and cold apple juice.  Then we pack up and head for home.  What an exciting afternoon!  

Saturday, May 12, 2012

First Swim of the Season

Farmer's Beach

It's really much to early for swimming in my opinion.  The dandelions have only been out for a couple weeks and the leaves are only half way budded out yet, but these are Minnesota grown kids - Northern Minnesota at that and they've been insisting that they needed to go swimming so today we packed a picnic lunch and headed to our favorite little township beach on Marquette Lake.  It's only about three miles from home so that makes it nice, too. 

 I was wearing a hoody and Rachael wrapped in a fleece blanket and Lizzy decided she was too old and wise for swimming in the Spring but the young ones put on swimming clothes and headed out into the frigid water.  "Do you think they'll get hypothermia?" Rachael asked, but I didn't think so, so they got to swim.
Anna and Sarah realized they were cold sooner than the other three who had to be called in to warm up in the sun.  John thought perhaps he had Pneumonia and he started to cry as he came up out of the water into the stiff breeze, but by the time he had dry clothes on and a plate of food, he was back to normal.

I hope this is just the first of many joyous summer outings.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fun with Turtles....

We found our first two turtles of the season.  The first is a nice sized painted turtle that we rescued on the highway near our home. It's new abode is a little turtle shaped sandbox that we used to make a home for it.  

It is still quite shy but I hope that over time it comes to look forward to the children's visits bringing it food.  So far we've fed it only lettuce, but we'll try some bits of raw meat and we also have turtle pellets left from pets we had last year.

Our second turtle is a tiny, just hatched painted turtle.  It still had it's egg tooth when we found it this morning on our driveway.  We have it in a tiny gold-fish aquarium. We surrounded a small plastic bowl with rocks and sand.  We filled the bowl with water and added a piece of driftwood for our little turtle to climb out on.  The book we read said to be sure that it's food was torn small enough to eat - you can see the little bits of lettuce in the aquarium.  Our turtle isn't sure he wants to live inside - he's still trying to get to the outside of the glass.  I hope he decides he likes it soon - we sure like him!  

Spring is such a fun time!  Ruthie found a frog hideout in the rafters of her playhouse so she gathered a couple of frogs to study and have for pets.  We'll have to get out our identification guide tomorrow and decide what kind they are.  Then we can add them to our nature notebooks.  
I'm not sure this frog wants to be petted,
But I guess no one asked him....

Sarah saw these Cowslips growing profusely down by the lake and collected a bouquet for our table.  The evening sun was shining on them and they glowed in the light.  They would be lovely to paint....  So many Spring things to enjoy.