Summer Thoughts of Snow

With a summer filled with days that are either super soggy or super hot and humid it is fun to take a moment and dig into the archives to remember a cool and creative winter wonderland P.L.A.Y. day in which all the rainbow Capkins lined up to feel the love in the soft seasonal snow.

Wishing you and yours cool moments on your P.L.A.Y. adventures whatever the season may be!

A Silly Summer of Rain or Shine

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.

Tadpoles + Summer Storms + P.L.A.Y.

Tadpoles at the river’s edge in the summer sunshine.

What happens to the toad tadpoles when summer storms rain down and the river momentarily rages with white rapids?

For a few years now I’ve visited this same river location on our community property and witnessed the before and after tadpole populations and patterns. Typically I will see large pockets of tadpole groupings at specific spots when they all hatch out of the egg casings. Then over time they begin to redistribute and spread out just a bit along the river’s edge or they get caught up in a current and are brought down river just a little ways if there is a gentle rain and slight rising in the water levels.

What I hadn’t done yet was actually go down to the river during a full on storm to observe first hand what was happing at the river’s edge. Recently I had the opportunity to do just this as fate would have it Mother Nature provided a gap in a series of storms so I could skip the torrential down pours or threat of thunder and lightening.

What I discovered was that most of the tadpoles actually stay in place! Serendipitous!

The water levels rise and the river turns into rapids, however the river also widens and the tadpoles end up gently rocking in the river grasses where the water remains only a few inches deep. I’m sure there are some that get redistributed down stream as the populations in pockets do seem to alter after a storm. However, not as many as I had originally thought.

I was so relieved to discover that not all the tadpoles were being tossed about every time a storm came through and now I have this sweet image in my mind of them being gently rocked amongst the river grasses and weathering the storm together.


BONUS


It is fascinating to me that after five summers of observing this process of the life cycle of the American Toad, here in my neck-of-the-woods, that there is still so much to learn and observe. Exciting and grounding at the same time.

Truly every season simply has so many opportunities to put P.L.A.Y. into action, connecting to nature and my own curious nature too. Love it!

I hope you are taking a moment to make your own P.L.A.Y. discoveries and tap into your curious nature too. Perhaps it is a bird’s nest in a bush outside your front door, walking in a local garden, hiking the same trail at a nearby nature center, or watching cloud and weather patterns right out your window.

Wishing you and yours many P.L.A.Y. days throughout this summer and the seasons ahead!

Next question of the day – Did the rock dam hold up or will we need to rebuild? Stay tuned!

P.L.A.Y. – Pass it on!

Family Gardening – Butterfly Garden Early Summer – Year 2

The butterfly garden at our home is very much up and running for a second year in a row with my daughter at the helm. Yay!

And being that it is year two there are some new strategies the family has put into action to help this garden thrive for the benefit of all.

First and foremost a garden of this size requires helpers for weeding, mowing, and watering while the gardener keeps adding and adjusting plants as needed and making sure they all compliment one another both in the timing of their bloom and providing the space required in addition to monitoring the health of the overall garden.

For me and my brown thumb this means I get to assist ONLY when my daughter has identified the specific plants she considers weeds and then I get to hunker down for a session of plucking and chucking. Pointing out exactly what needs to go is especially important since her butterfly garden has many plants that may be considered “weeds” by some and yet they are actually beneficial plants to butterflies and other pollinators. In this regard I am very happy to be “told what to do”. Typically it takes a few 2 hour sessions a week, preferably in the cool morning or cooler days, to keep the weeds from getting out of control. It is time well spent as I soak up all the sights and sounds of nature around me and enjoy viewing the garden from my bedroom windows and every time we step out our front door.

Meanwhile, the mowing of the pathways has been happening every one to two weeks during the spring while everything is super green and growing. As we head into summer mode the mowing begins to trail off a bit and the watering becomes a focal point again IF mother nature hasn’t provided enough rain showers to keep the plants thirst quenched (which for now we are unusually dry and in a heat wave – water please!).


More P.L.A.Y. in Place Family Gardening HERE


This P.L.A.Y. series is for everyone!

  • If you are new to gardening this series is designed to encourage you and your family to take small steps towards growing foods and flowers of any kind and any amount.
  • If you’ve tinkered with gardening in the past and things didn’t always work out this series is here to encourage you to try again AND do it as a family focusing on each individuals strengths to help it all come together.
  • This series will offer up suggestions for basic leaping off points where you and your family can begin and choose to deep dive or keep it simple in the world of gardening.
  • Most of all this series will be a source of encouragement and hopefully an inspiration to simply get in the dirt (aka garden) and P.L.A.Y. and the rest will “bee what it will bee”.

P.L.A.Y. – Pass it on!

TOAD #17: Spring + Summer Curiosities

Where do the tails on these tadpoles go once they become toads?

Why do tadpoles all gather at the water’s edge and huddle so close?


 ~ ~ ~ BOOK LOOK ~ ~ ~


The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated):

A P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity Story Book 

by Karen L. Willard

Join Peter Rabbit and friends on adventures discovering all about Old Mr. Toad and his days spent in and out of the water!

See sample story pages + purchase HERE

More Tadpoles + Toads in motion at PINTEREST HERE.

Nature’s *P.L.A.Y.ground* is a Feast for Your Senses Throughout the Seasons


Let’s go P.L.A.Y. in nature’s playground and restore our sense of calm through connection to the great outdoors and engaging in curiosity together.


These are some of the top “sense-sational” experiences I’ve had P.L.A.Y.ing in 2020:

*Hearing the buzzing bees while soaking up the warm sunshine on my skin and taking in the scent of summer in bloom in the butterfly garden.

*Listening to the babbling brook as it cascades down the rocky pathway.

*Hearing the birds singing an early morning wake-up call and the owl’s calling out to one another as dusk sets in to say goodnight.

*Watching the young goat kids, only a few months old, butting heads and frolicking about or cuddling one of these newborn cuties up close.

*Feeling the warm sunshine on my back as I P.L.A.Y.ed pick-up-sticks in early spring to create a brush pile.

*Seeing the ducks peeking out between the grasses in the meadow as they gobble up grubs.

*Watching the clouds sail by and a storm roll in.

*Tasting the delicious newly ripened apples in the orchard and the last fresh greens from the gardens.

*Feeling the cold on my lips while tasting the sweet local maple syrup on freshly fallen snow.

*Smelling the apple wood scented smoke outdoors on a winter’s eve from a nearby home burning a fire in a wood stove.

*Breathing in the crisp cold air while walking in the bright light and shadows created under a full moon on a winter’s night.


Nature Noticing is for EVERYONE!


No special equipment or experience is required!

Just pack your senses (+Capkin),

step outdoors,

and

soon the smiles will appear!

🙂

❤ ❤ ❤

Dog, kids, partner, neighbor, friends, or solo – nature P.L.A.Y. is for ALL!

Time to step out your door and experience the magic that nature has in store for you and your family TODAY!

Family Gardening #13: Foraging and Full on Harvesting!


P.L.A.Y. in Place Projects


Beautiful and plentiful blackberries foraged by the quart daily by my son out in the meadows and the warm summer sun.

Bonus berry pie, made by my son and me, with both blackberries and strawberries and a dollop of coconut cream. Yummy!


Yay for continued berry-licious abundance!



Yay for green thumbs!


The harvest is coming in and we have quite a variety: summer squash, zucchini, sweet peppers, hot peppers, cabbages, tomatoes, eggplant, green beans, fresh flowers, and oodles of CUCUMBERS!

What do you do with oodles of cucumbers?

  1. Daily Fresh Juicing
  2. Refrigerator Pickles
  3. Canning Pickles
  4. Freeze Slices for future juicing
  5. Eat them fresh by the fist full
  6. Experiment: Dehydrate after tossing in vinegar and salt for a fun “chip” treat.
  7. SHARE with your friends, neighbors, and community

How about YOU? How’s it growing?


Butterfly garden bonus blooms!


Hope your garden spaces are staying green and rainbow colors AND your family continues to stay engaged with harvesting the garden veggie goodies!


Notes:

  • This series will continue to follow the seasons and growing patterns according to living here in a Zone 5 northern New England climate and you’ll need to adjust accordingly.
  • The specific gardening needs you have can simply be answered using your favorite search engine online seeking DIY instructions as well as library eBooks and audiobooks (especially as we are all asked to continue to P.L.A.Y. in Place at the time of this posting).
  • P.L.A.Y. is here to encourage you and your family on your gardening journey simply by posting some of our experiences as inspiration and basic prompts to growing food and flowers.

More P.L.A.Y. in Place with a Plan Family Gardening HERE


This P.L.A.Y. series is for everyone! Pass it on!

  • If you are new to gardening this series is designed to encourage you and your family to take small steps towards growing foods and flowers of any kind and any amount.
  • If you’ve tinkered with gardening in the past and things didn’t always work out this series is here to encourage you to try again AND do it as a family focusing on each individuals strengths to help it all come together.
  • This series will offer up suggestions for basic leaping off points where you and your family can begin and choose to deep dive or keep it simple in the world of gardening.
  • Most of all this series will be a source of encouragement and hopefully an inspiration to simply get in the dirt (aka garden) and P.L.A.Y. and the rest will “bee what it will bee”.

Simply BEE!

Family Gardening #12: Beautiful Blooms + Berries


P.L.A.Y. in Place with a Plan


Beautiful blooms in the butterfly garden continue to share their colors, textures, and patterns and attract amazing winged wonders as summer unfolds.

Daily we have birds, butterflies, bees, and even bunnies entering this beautiful flower filled space that we get to watch from our bedroom windows as well as walk in while soaking up the sunshine.

All that work and dedication to getting the soil prepared, putting plants in the ground, and consistently watering and weeding is really paying off as the garden thrives.


Yay for berry-licious abundance!

Yay for green thumb generosity!


Our neighbor shared their raspberry bushes with our community as oodles of berries ripened all at once!

Wow did those raspberries make a difference in the strawberry rhubarb pie we shared over the holiday weekend. Yummy!

We are now freezing the rest and intend to share more of these treats by making another pie in the middle of winter to serve up with a nice hot cup of tea at one of our routine community meetings.

Oh how sweet it is to savor summer the whole year through!


How about YOU? How’s it growing?


Zucchini in progress!

Hope your garden spaces are staying green and your family continues to stay engaged as the best is yet to come as the harvesting of garden veggie goodies begins!


Notes:

  • This series will continue to follow the seasons and growing patterns according to living here in a Zone 5 northern New England climate and you’ll need to adjust accordingly.
  • The specific gardening needs you have can simply be answered using your favorite search engine online seeking DIY instructions as well as library eBooks and audiobooks (especially as we are all asked to continue to P.L.A.Y. in Place at the time of this posting).
  • P.L.A.Y. is here to encourage you and your family on your gardening journey simply by posting some of our experiences as inspiration and basic prompts to growing food and flowers.

More P.L.A.Y. in Place with a Plan Family Gardening HERE


This P.L.A.Y. series is for everyone! Pass it on!

  • If you are new to gardening this series is designed to encourage you and your family to take small steps towards growing foods and flowers of any kind and any amount.
  • If you’ve tinkered with gardening in the past and things didn’t always work out this series is here to encourage you to try again AND do it as a family focusing on each individuals strengths to help it all come together.
  • This series will offer up suggestions for basic leaping off points where you and your family can begin and choose to deep dive or keep it simple in the world of gardening.
  • Most of all this series will be a source of encouragement and hopefully an inspiration to simply get in the dirt (aka garden) and P.L.A.Y. and the rest will “bee what it will bee”.

Simply BEE!

Spring Color Sampler with Summer in View

Prepare for Summer P.L.A.Y.!

Nature Alliteration Adventures Summer Activity Book HERE


Spring Color Sampler with Capkins Matching Like Magic!



Summer is in view and you can join in with your Capkin on more adventures too!