Backyard July 30 2012

BonBon Break

GARDEN TO CONNECT :::  Rowan & Oak

I garden to connect. To connect to the earth and the seasons and the plants. To connect to the process of nourishing bodies directly from dirt to table. But also to connect to the people around me. When I was growing up, my grandparents gardened and their neighbor was a master gardener. I remember my Grandma chatting with him when he brought over extra zucchini and kohlrabi to share with us. I spent many happy hours in my Grandma’s kitchen watching and helping her prepare berries and fruit and then sitting around their long table talking and eating and laughing with my family.

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About Amber:  Amber Nelsen is an herbalist and mother to two who enjoys teaching others how to grow, identify, and wild-harvest plants for food and medicine. Amber and her family maintain a large permaculture garden full of herbs, fruit, vegetables, and medicinal mushrooms. She blogs about herbalism and her family’s hand-crafted, place-based life at Rowan and Oak.

Find Amber on Facebook and Pinterest.

PLAY IS NOT A 4-LETTER WORD :::: The Grass Stain Guru

Why is it that most adults have such a problem with play? Even the word seems to make many people uncomfortable.

Play, while made up of four letters, is not a 4 letter word — but many of us treat it as if it were.

Play: a range of voluntary, intrinsically motivated activities that are normally associated with pleasure and enjoyment. (Garvey, 1990)

Recreation: from Latin recreatio restoration to health, fromrecreare to create anew, restore, refresh. (Webster)

What delicious thoughts! Intrinsically motivated. Pleasure. Restoration. Refresh.

Um, yes please!

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About Bethe: Bethe Almeras, The Grass Stain Guru, is an award-winning author, web producer, and eLearning designer. Bethe is the Center Director  for Head Start Body Start National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play. Co-founder of the National Wildlife Federation’s Green Hour®, she has been connecting people with play and nature for many years. A gifted speaker and trainer, Bethe also specializes in inclusive education and accessibility issues for individuals with disabilities. Bethe also blogs at The Body Smart Blog.

Follow Bethe on Twitter or Pinterest.


For a year-and-a-half I felt terrible guilt that I was ignoring my daughter. Reasonable observers would assure me that I was not neglecting her, but in my heart I knew that the attention lavished on her had diminished markedly since the birth of our son.

You see, our daughter was a home-schooled only-child for six-and-a-half years. She got all we had: all our attention, all our patience, all our consistency. She also got all our unreasonable expectations, all our parental inexperience and all the inner-child neuroses we were working through.

On the whole, I think she did pretty well. We had a good thing going, she and I, with lots of head space for everyone. We were tight. If anything, we were too tight: a little too sensitive to each others moods and feelings.

And then we all had to skooch over and make room for the new little boy…

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About Erica: What happens when a professional chef turns into a gardening fanatic? Can ‘homemaker’ be a political statement? How self-sufficiant can a family be on one-third of an acre in suburban Seattle? Where is the right balance between living cheap and living well? Can one ever have too many rutabagas? How much lawn do growing kids really need when there are fruit trees to be planted? Erica blogs about gardening, cooking, urban homesteading and living slow-ish in the Maritime Northwest.

Join the conversation at Northwest Edible Life and at the NW Edible Facebook PageTwitter and Pinterest.


As a family, we spend most of our time outdoors and have chosen to make outdoor exploration a priority for our children. On most weekends we can be found hiking, camping, taking a nature walk, playing at the park or canoeing down the river. As a result, our kids often need little motivation to go on a hike. In our family, hiking is a way of life. But as they become older, I worry that it might take some level of motivation to compete with all the new activities and interests that will come into their focus. I have thought about the things we already do to keep hikes fun for the kids, and maybe they will bring you some inspiration as well. If you happen to be a parent to a special needs child, make sure to check out my post on hiking and the special needs child (also applies to all children, really!)

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About Lauren: I’m a lover of nature, an avid hiker, a former biochemist and a mama to two boys adopted from across the globe, one who happens to have significant special needs.

I use this blog to chronicle all of our adventures and to also connect with others in the adoption and special needs communities. I love to write and you can see all the other places I write for here. In my spare time I can be found teaching college chemistry and even sometimes never cleaning my house. At the end of the day, if the kids are happy and healthy, mama’s happy too.

On this blog you will see that we love to hike, camp, canoe, kayak, SCUBA dive, cave and explore new places. Most of all, we just love doing life together as a family.  Follow Lauren on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Previously seen in the Backyard: