Counting My Blessings

I am wondering if the flowers were as beautiful last year. This year, I seem to have focused more on them. Maybe because my family is trying hard to stay put and life seems a bit simpler. Maybe I have had more time to be able to walk about the grounds when usually I am worried about transporting my kids in different directions. Whatever the reason, I am grateful that in the midst of all that is going on in 2020 that I have been blessed with an opportunity to slow down in so many ways, to appreciate my surroundings and to have more time with my children. Yes, it gets crazy when I am trying to work, homeschool and be a mom, but I appreciate that I have had a better work/life balance without my commute. And, with a small baby at home, it is wonderful to be able to nurse her rather than pumping. I never would have been able to be home with her this long if it weren’t for the uniqueness of this year. I know this year has been hard, and I want to make sure not to minimize the tragedy around us. But for me, I have been blessed with a chance to be deep in thought, to reassess my priorities and to reimagine how I work, what I do and to respond to that. For that I am grateful.

I mentioned how beautiful the grounds of our house are. Throughout the spring and summer it feels like there is a continuous show of beauty in different plant blooming. First we have the gorgeous flowering ornamental crab apple trees that appear gloriously every other year. They are followed by the lilac bushes, and the tree in front of our house. I have no idea what that tree is…but it is phenomenal when it is in bloom. There are a myriad of other plants and flowers that show up. Some of them I recognize like peonies, hostas and bleeding hearts and others I have absolutely no idea what they are called. Here are some pictures from a few weeks ago that show some of the natural splendor around us.

Connecting to School Through the Dirt

My 5 year old son’s preschool teachers sent him some seeds. Marigold seeds. I hear marigolds are hearty– kind of like my little guy. He is full of personality, runs and does not seem to know how to walk anywhere and enjoys getting dirty and playing the mud. Marigolds are the perfect thing for him to plant. So we started our science lesson with learning about how plants grow and planting marigolds. We even threw in a little information about the water cycle. We planted about 20 cups of marigolds. We threw a bunch of seeds in each cup hoping that at least one would sprout and grow. Successful plan for a fun afternoon of teaching, learning and hands on science.

This picture is a few days after the marigolds were planted. As you can see quite a success. When they get a little bigger we will transplant them outside!

Uprooting Life

So I have been reading all about plants. I figure if I am going to be a gardener and figure out how to live off the land, or just grow a tomato, I am going to have to learn something about plants in general. We have lots of hastas and lillies on our property. So I started there, watching videos about them. So I learned that they multiply each year and it turns out I was probably supposed to cut them back a bit so they don’t get out of control. Whoops, mental note for next year. Apparently, one can divide them in half and they will still grow. So, I tried an experiment. There was one lily growing in an odd spot. I took a garden hoe and dug it up and cut the entire thing in half and planted each in a pot in the front of my door. I understand it likely won’t come up year after year, but I thought it would be cool to see if it worked. And, bonus, I wouldn’t have to buy two plants for the outside of my house. So here is a picture of the potted plant. I added a little bit of extra soil and watered the really well and so far so good.

It reminds me of how we all uprooted our lives on the East Coast and came here to Minnesota. In doing so, my parents have been able to be this amazing fixture in my children’s lives and my children had the opportunity to meet and get to know their great grandmother and to be exposed to an individual with serious dementia. All in all despite the ups and downs and learning curve of living in a household with many generations, our transplant has worked well. I hope this one does too.

We shall see if it works and they bloom. In the meanwhile, I am feeling quite accomplished with my newly found green thumb!

This picture is about a month after they were planted outside the house. As you can see the flowers bloomed beautifully and look nice and full in the pots! Success!

Easing Into the Dirt

I have a background in academics and I know nothing about growing things. But I am bound and determined to learn. So we started simple. No actual growing of things. We made faerie gardens for the deck! I found tons of cute little faeries and gnomes for the garden back when we were not in the midst of pandemic (at the local dollar store) and let my kids design what they wanted. It was a whole afternoon of fun and since then, they have been playing “a game called faeries and gnomes” every time they go outside!

What a simple way to celebrate a beautiful afternoon outside. I used old pots from plants that didn’t make it from last year and pulled up some moss growing on the ground and helped them plant a few seeds in the event that they might get a small flower forest in their pots. All and all a huge success for a lovely outdoor creative afternoon.

The Accidental Gardener

I live on 4 acres of beautiful property with about 6 or more seriously beautiful gardens. They are the kind of gardens that just pop up every spring. For the last few years while I have been busy with kids I haven’ done much with them except to clean them out at the beginning of fall and watch them grow in spring.

This year, I decided that I want to learn a bit more about gardening. After all, we are in the midst of a pandemic and any time I can grow something rather than go to the store, I figure I am helping with the stay-at-home situation. But here is the trouble. I have no idea what I am doing.

Zoo House

Welcome to my blog. I am a mother, wife, daughter, new gardener, storyteller, youth minister, non-profit worker, sometimes successful chef who resides in Minnesota. My three-generation household consists of three spirited children, my husband and parents. We live in 4 acres of land and we really have no idea what we are doing. Having grown up in Brooklyn, New York, where I had a concrete yard, and spent more than half of my life in academics, I am learning to love gardening, baking and all things nature. With the support of my extended family we have decided to home-school our children this next year and that should be an experience! Read my blog to find out more about things that interest me! I started writing children’s books when I was in elementary school and continued through the years. I finally decided to try my hand at publishing.

I called my blog Zoo House because it is the name my brother gave to our house. When we moved to Minnesota there were four generations that lived here. My grandmother who passed away this past March at 101 lived with us here for 5 years. It always has been busy here at Zoo house and that is how it affectionately received it’s name.