This is a great time of year to take a child for a walk. There are bees in the blossoms. Huge fluffy white clouds that look like all kinds of things from garbage trucks to gorillas, ducks to dinosaurs.
Great hawks are dueling for territory—they all want to nest in the oak forest and range over the river and organic orchards—but alas, only the dominate male and his lady get this prime real estate.
We have some really tough lookin feral cats earning a living off orchard rodents that can sit still as a statue by a gopher mound, or leap way up in the air to pounce down on movement in the grass. It’s like our own miniature Serengeti out here.
But more than that, children notice really little things at their level like tiny wild flowers and bugs; this seems to be the week for lady bugs to come out of hibernation and go off to seek their fortunes. Cutter ants marching single file from their underground apartments to the mowing fields and back.
A 100-yard trek could pretty much constitute a journey with lots to talk about—not to mention bouquets to vase—when you get home.
Now should you make it to the chicken house, that’s good for at least a half hour of catching and naming; observing and holding. You could do the exact same thing again tomorrow and it would be even better; as long as it all ends with a session of trampoline jumping.
We use descriptors like awesome and amazing too easily. Truly being amazed, observing in awe is not only the key to a youthful outlook, it’s the key to happiness. Try it out! Find something to hold in awe and try to be pessimistic at the same time, you won’t be able to do it.
We’ve become a bunch of unhappy grumblers to the exact extent we’ve lost our sense of awe, and we grow old in our perspectives for the same reason. Awe restoration is critically needed as is outdoor non-technological experiences! But have no fear, uncle Vern is here!
First, get a seed catalogue. Thumbing through all the kinds of melons and flowers and vegetables is guaranteed to foster optimism, especially if you order some.
Once they’re ordered, you’ll have to start prepping your garden spot. There’s nothing like aerobic shoveling and rototilling to guarantee a good night’s sleep. Be sure to have an irrigation plan, we’re not in Kansas anymore Toto.
Finally, when the garden spot’s ready, seed-bed is prepped, and you have your seeds you are going to need to locate a mentor of awe and wonder. Being mentored in this area is crucial to gardening success.
Most any child in the 4 to 10-year-old group will do, but here’s a few additional tips: **Plant a few radishes for relatively instant gratification (2-3 weeks) **Mark what you planted where. **Rejoice exuberantly along with your mentor when the 1st cotyledon poke through. Often ice cream is appropriate for these occasions. **Be sure to plant enough to share with friends, family, teachers… Zucchini is an especially shareable choice. Sharing something you worked to produce is one of the greatest joys of life. Your mentor will coach you on these finer points. This is a great time of year to take a child for a walk!