We’ve had quite the odd summer so far here in New England. It has been either full on hot sunshine or full on rain for most of this season thus far. There hasn’t been too many days with clear and moderate temperatures.
We began with super dry conditions and wondering if we would ever get the chance to enjoy building a campfire in the fire pit out in our community meadow. The garden seedlings needed constant tending to with frequent watering and folks adding mulch or wood chips to help retain the moisture.
There were very hot days that clustered together to make a heat wave more than once in both May and June.
Then the rains came in and everyone gave thanks for the assistance in watering the gardens and had much gratitude for the green lushness that naturally arrived too.
And now we are in the opposite situation where we are having day, after day, after day of rain. And the rain comes in quantities that have been raising the water levels in both the brook (seen above/below) and in the river adjoining our community property. A gain of 7 inches of rain was recorded in our personal gauge in just the span of a few days.
The gardens are now well watered naturally and the hoses sit all curled up wondering when they will ever get used again. The forest has mushrooms that are not typically seen at this time of year and the red efts have been seen in larger numbers on top of the leaf litter on my walks in the woods.
My daughters 6 year old goats, who are not known to thrive in rainy conditions due to hoof rot and other ailments, are tired of being penned up at the barn and eagerly await a dry day to be back out in the meadow munching on all that greenery that has been growing “like weeds”!
And that fire pit, well it has been mowed during one brief reprieve in the rain and now it sits all soggy waiting to dry out just enough to welcome our community to circle up and sit on the benches and share stories, roast marshmallows, and return to summer P.L.A.Y. time traditions.
May you and yours be taking the moment to soak in both the sun and the rain and being present for all the P.L.A.Y. nature moments in your neck-of-the-woods this summer.
Sharing a note I wrote this morning in response to receiving a “Happy Mother’s Day” wish from a family friend.
Good Morning Dear Oma,
Your “Happy Mother’s Day” wish has found me in a contemplative moment as I sit here at the computer keyboard checking emails this morning.
For the past 7 years I have found Mother’s Day to be so very bittersweet.
I stand in that space between what has passed and what is present.
I think of my mom and her passing on May 13, 2014 and the great loss I have felt ever since. I think of all the Mother’s Day celebrations she hosted for her own mother and sisters for so many years and reflect on how everything has changed so much since she has been gone. I miss her so very much.
I think of my own journey from “mothering” all of those young cherubs I babysat in my teens, and then the oodles of hours spent in my 5th grade classroom from year-to-year nurturing all those kiddos, and then moving on to birthing my own two children and raising them amongst the many homeschooling families we met all along the way (including my much loved sister-friend in motherhood your dear Lisa & E & A & T).
“Mother’s Day“ is an odd notion to me, for truly every day is mother’s day – tending to our loved ones and letting them know how very much they are seen, heard, valued, and understood. This is the way of mothering daily. This is what I do and what I know best. It is how I am in the world – every hour, minute, year – always.
What actually makes me happy in this present moment, Oma, is to say how much I love being connected to you, your family, and to let you know how very glad I am you became a mother so very long ago. It has made all the difference in my life.
Sending love and a smile to help light the way,
PS –The sun is now up and the flowers are stretching towards the light. I think that is how I will spend my day and I hope you do too. Outside soaking up nature’s beauty. Time to P.L.A.Y.
❤ ❤ ❤
This is a CAPKIN.
Capkins are curious & creative and are happiest outdoors on
P.L.A.Y. nature adventures with you!
❤ ❤ ❤
This is how you make a CAPKIN in 5 simple steps.
1. Draw a cone shape, that roughly fits in a 2 inch square like above, on a piece of paper.
2. Cut this template out and roll into a cone shape to see if you like the size.
3. Then place the paper pattern on red felt to cut out your cone.
4. Sew the cone up the back seam with roughly 15+ stitches.
5. Then add two wiggly (or felt) eyes with hot glue.
*Young children must be assisted in this craft due to sewing needles and hot glue usage.
**Children 3 and under must be supervised when playing with Capkins due to small parts choking hazard.
That’s it – all done!
Time for a P.L.A.Y. nature adventure!
❤ ❤ ❤
Red Capkins appear most often as they can be seen both near and far.
Rainbow colored Capkins appear
for special seasonal & magical moments.
❤ ❤ ❤ Origin of Capkins ❤ ❤ ❤
Capkins were originally created by Karen beginning in 2016 for her own outdoor P.L.A.Y. nature adventures.
She has carried them with her every day on her nature walks and is so very glad to share them with you.
You are invited to make your own Capkins and encouraged to bring them on your adventures with friends and family.
Capkins like to be handmade and put into this world with loving kindness. ❤
They are not sold or found for sale in any stores, rather they are given away freely.
Please be mindful of this practice and be willing to make a few extra Capkins and pass them forward to new P.L.A.Y.-ers.
❤ ❤ ❤ KAREN ❤ ❤ ❤
❤ ❤ ❤
I’d love to see your Capkin on an outdoor adventure!
Please send a snapshot of your Capkin in nature and perhaps you’ll see it on a future P.L.A.Y. Postcard post and have it pinned on the P.L.A.Y. PINTEREST boards. See the how to steps below.
If you would like to share your Capkin nature adventures with the P.L.A.Y. viewers please send a nature photo postcard providing the following:
- Your curious Capkin must be in the photo – no humans or human structures.
- Your first name and your last name initial (example: Karen W.)
- The location you took the picture (example: Yellowstone National Park or Connecticut River or my backyard in Massachusetts,etc.)
- Please send in a JPG File format as an attachment.
- You must be a follower of P.L.A.Y. with your email already signed-in (see HOME page with box to enter your email).
Send to: Karen@passionatelearningallyear.com
By sending this photo postcard you are giving P.L.A.Y. permission to post it on this blog and on P.L.A.Y. PINTEREST page and any other public forum that aligns with the mission of P.L.A.Y.
THANKS SO MUCH FOR SHARING THE P.L.A.Y.-full JOURNEY!!!
Here is a summary of chapter links for:
The Burgess Animal Book for Children (Annotated) written by Thornton Burgess and revised by P.L.A.Y. for the 21st Century Family.
- Chapter 1 – Mother Nature Knows Best
- Chapter 2 – Peter Rabbit and Jumper the Hare
- Chapter 3 – More About Rabbits and Hares
- Chapter 4 – Red Squirrel and Gray Squirrel
- Chapter 5 – Squirrels of the Trees
- Chapter 6 – Striped Chipmunk and His Cousins
- Chapter 7 – The Woodchuck Family
- Chapter 8 – The Marmot Family
- Chapter 9 – Pika and Mountain Beaver
- Chapter 10 – Pocket Gopher
- Chapter 11 – Porcupine
- Chapter 12 – Beaver
- Chapter 13 – Muskrat and Brown Rat
- Chapter 14 – Wood Rat and Kangaroo Rat
- Chapter 15 – Wood Mouse and Meadow Mouse
- Chapter 16 – Brown Lemming and Jumping Mouse
- Chapter 17 – More Mice
- Chapter 18 – Pocket Mice and House Mouse
- Chapter 19 – Shrews
- Chapter 20 – Moles
- Chapter 21 – Bats
- Chapter 22 – Skunk
- Chapter 23 – Badger and Wolverine
- Chapter 24 – Weasel
- Chapter 25 – Mink and Otter
- Chapter 26 – Fisher
- Chapter 27 – Red Fox and Gray Fox
- Chapter 28 – Coyote and Wolf
- Chapter 29 – Bobcat
- Chapter 31 – Raccoon
- Chapter 32 – Black Bear
- Chapter 34 – Opossum
- Chapter 35 – Deer
- Chapter 36 – Moose
The Burgess Animal Story for Children, The Burgess Bird Story for Children, and The Adventures of __________ series (Paddy the Beaver, Lightfoot the Deer, Old Mr. Toad, etc.), are all originally authored by Thornton Burgess and are now available to you through P.L.A.Y.
P.L.A.Y. has provided new online versions of these updated and annotated 100+ year old public domain classics to:
- be suitable for the 21st century family by having the Thornton Burgess woodland characters evolve to model mindfulness and loving kindness
- highlight and bring awareness to the New England nature settings and offer an opportunity to learn more about the fields and forests through these animal story adventures
- create story extension moments through P.L.A.Y. suggested activities and investigations for making new nature connections generated by the reader’s own curiosity
- encourage families to keep their own nature notebooks for drawing, writing, painting, and recording their own local daily outdoor P.L.A.Y. adventures.
Hello Parents! Hello Kiddos!
What’s on your mind?
Better yet what’s on your heart? ❤
Parents and caretakers, kiddos and P.L.A.Y.-ers all, this is your opportunity to ask Karen, the creator of P.L.A.Y., any questions concerning your family’s learning journey.
How can I be of service?
Send your questions for FREE!
Whether you are homeschooling, unschooling, or a family that simply loves to spend time immersed in nature you’ve come to the right place!
The sky’s the limit – ASK “anything”!
This is your chance to ask the questions that keep bubbling up for you as you embark or continue to travel on this life learning journey.
ALL questions are valued.
ALL questions matter.
You matter. Period.
Just take this brief moment and send me what’s been a recent or reoccurring challenge or topic for you or your kiddos. Let’s see if we can noodle things through – together – and lighten the load!*
Love to hear from you! ❤
Be well, be safe, and simply bee!
*Note: Your email address will never be shared. Your contact with me via email (or snail mail) is a 1:1 correspondence. I’m here as an experienced mama bear and 20+year veteran homeschool visionista ready to pass forward what I’ve learned on the P.L.A.Y. journey to you and your cubs. I’m transparent and true to my word, it is as simple as that.
Happy Heart Day Everyone!
Time to step outdoors and go experience Nature’s Love All Around!
Open your eyes, and heart, to see the natural world through the lens of wonder without expectations and you will be amazed at what you will find. By taking daily walks you have the opportunity to experience the simple pleasures that the great outdoors has to offer. Mother Nature loves to put simple surprises in your path and you just need to be present to receive the gift.
I am sure the landscape near you is full of these magical moments too if you simply walk daily with a sense of wonder (with a heartfelt nod and much gratitude to Rachel Carson for her inspiration!)
Rachel Carson – The Sense of Wonder: A Celebration of Nature for Parents and Children
Take a look at more of the HEARTS I’ve discovered over the years on the landscape here at our hilltop home in New England.
P.L.A.Y. and Thornton Burgess:
Nature Storytellers Past + Present
Thornton W. Burgess (1874-1965), author and longtime resident of Massachusetts, is best known for his 50 years of writing about nature conservation through children’s literature. He wrote over 150 books and thousands of daily newspaper columns bringing the forest and fauna to life for families across the United States and around the world over 100 years ago.
In so many of his books about the Green Forest, often featuring Peter Rabbit as the reader’s guide, Burgess was able to share with great detail all the wonderful magical moments Mother Nature provided in his local New England landscape. Through his nature story telling he was able to weave in factual information and his own personal observations from time spent outdoors. This was beneficial by informing his audience, both parents and children, as to what they could find just by stepping out their own door and encouraging them to immerse in their own spot of nature. This has allowed his books to be timeless and of great value even to this day.
However over the past ten years I’ve been revisiting his story books, especially looking at how the characters interact and treat one another, and knowing in my heart as a mother and as a human walking this earth a change was needed.
So for the past few years P.L.A.Y. has taken on the task to reinvent Thornton Burgess’ works for the 21st century family. Many of his stories are readily available in the public domain to be used by creatives and artists and for general public use. P.L.A.Y. has maintained the intention to keep all of the wonder and value of his nature stories intact AND to replace some of his language with new phrasing to reflect the way we’d like to see people being and connecting in this world with a primary focus on loving-kindness and compassionate communication.
For the most part Thornton Burgess’ descriptions of plants, landscape features, and basic animal behaviors has not changed in the past 100+ years since he first wrote these works. What has, and continues to change, is what is considered acceptable language and behaviors for human interactions. And since Burgess used anthropomorphizing, attributing human characteristics or behaviors to animals, as a mechanism to get messages across to the reader it is important to take a closer look at how this was written in the past and see how it could be adjusted to still be relevant now and for future generations.
In the past Thornton Burgess often had his animal characters shame and blame one another as they went about their day in the Green Forest and Green Meadow. There were put downs, name calling, bullying, and derogatory remarks cast at one another. And sometimes a characters name or description would negatively label them, for example as a thief or robber, when they were simply acting on natural instinct. For me, this does not model the change we’d like to see in this world and certainly doesn’t represent the behaviors we’d like to experience with each other. And since the intended audience of these stories is primarily children and families I felt strongly that there needed to be a change.
One example of how P.L.A.Y. has adapted these stories for present day audiences is by applying compassionate communication principles in the dialog between characters so that you will no longer hear Peter Rabbit making fun of Old Man Toad or tossing put downs at Jumper the Hare and instead Peter Rabbit gets curious and asks questions whenever he becomes troubled or frustrated or afraid.
Another example of how P.L.A.Y. has modified these stories is by apply loving-kindness concepts such as “treat others how you’d like to be treated”. These values are all woven into the story in such a way to encourage the audience to put these into practice in their own lives with family, friends, and neighbors and to experience the positive ripple effects daily.
The P.L.A.Y. annotated versions of these Burgess stories also have added bonus content for curious minds including prompts and questions to explore ideas further, lists of topic resources, and photos from locations in New England reflecting the story landscape and animal habitats.
P.L.A.Y.‘s annotated series of Burgess’ stories include free versions found here online:
and they are linked all in one place FREE!
P.L.A.Y. intends to add future nature titles to this collection annually so be sure to check back often for more magical moments!
I have much gratitude for these century old writings created by Thornton Burgess and the focus on connecting families to nature through story telling. I also have much gratitude for the opportunity to bring this work forward with adaptations suitable for the next generation of families engaging both their curiosity for nature and connection to wholehearted living through encouraging compassionate communication and loving-kindness.
If you find the work and vision of P.L.A.Y. supports you and your family on the life learning path, please pass it forward to friends and neighbors as a Simple Gift that keeps on giving.
My husband grew purple cabbages this year and treated himself to the purchase of a new crock so that he could make his own sauerkraut for years to come.
After cutting, shredding, salting, and stuffing the crock full he had to wait for over 8 weeks before the product was ready to compliment our family meals.
During the waiting period he stored the crock full of cabbage in our cellar on a tray and whenever I passed by it to do the laundry I could hear the funny “burbling” sounds and see a purplish liquid gathering around the bottom. It truly seemed like a mysterious science experiment in progress!
He often had to feed it more water (he’s still not sure why) and is working on fine tuning the process for next year including a focus on what cabbages to grow.
All-in-all it was a great P.L.A.Y. garden project and the family is happily consuming the results.
GREAT JOB HUBBY!
Thanks for stocking our shelves with “Oh my, homemade goodness”!
More P.L.A.Y. garden series past posts and early Spring 2021 beginnings HERE!