The girls have been out in the woods all year but have been spending many more hours out there since the snow is gone and the temperatures are warmer. They are searching for edible wild plants. The ones that come up on their own where ever they want or need to come up. The ones the Indians used to use for medicine. The ones that take a trained eye to find. I myself know nothing about these sorts of plants. I remember as a child eating the mini pickles (as we used to call them). My daughters tell me that is Wood Sorrel and it is very good for you. They tell me there is Plantain, for cuts and burns. Violets and Dandelions for salads. Jewelweed (Spotted Touch Me Not) for treating Poison Ivy. Sumac for making a nice lemonade drink. There are many others. No one told them to study this. No one told them to check out the books and memorize facts. They are doing it because it interests them.
I could capture this interest and package it all up and create a ‘Unit Study’ on Medicinal Plants or Native American studies but I won’t. Experience has shown me that is the very thing that will turn them off from what they are doing. If I poke my nose into this and create a ‘learning moment’ it will back fire. What I do is listen to them. When they do ask questions I direct them to where they can find the answer. I encourage them with my interest (not too much) and my ignorance. It is quite fascinating to them that they are telling me things I don’t know.
I have been spending more time outside as well. It is that time of year that a lot of us are thinking about getting outside and getting into the dirt. I took a trip out to my hoop houses today and was happily surprised that my lettuce that I planted a couple of weeks ago is up! The Spinach is looking very healthy, enough to pick I dare say. The onions are up and thriving and there are broccoli plants doing very well after being dormant all winter long. The garlic is just starting to poke up through the soil. This is the time that I start to get excited. Things are happening out there!
Except for the lettuce all these vegetables were planted last fall. I cover them with my hoop houses and they ‘sleep’ until the sun starts to get higher and stay out longer.
Isn’t it amazing what can grow when you leave it alone? Gardens and children do need to be tended to but often both will more than thrive if you sit back and just let them do their thing.