Sun Setting On Our Field, by Rainer

Did the rose
Ever open its heart

And give this world
All its

It felt the encouragement of light
Against its

We all remain




Monday, July 6, 2015

June flowers in our yard!

"They are so pretty and some are even edible!"-Frida

Monday, February 23, 2015

Half-Full Spring

First flowers, daffodils, bud stage. We're seeing it half-way here.

 Jasmine, now in bloom. And finally the unstoppable vine we knew it would become!

 Giant Sequoia, taking over a section of the yard. Fun fact via Rainer: "Redwoods make their own rain by holding onto fog and it drips down onto the ground below it."

Cherry tree.

 Ok, wildness and equilibrium. Living with it. Thatch ants were marching into our outdoor living space. We had to do something. Us or them kind of situation. So in defense from the wild ants, we are seriously disrupting their expectations. No poison, but some boiling water and a forced redirection of their expansionist goals.
"i don`t want to hurt the ants, but i`ve been bit by them several times, and we have three nests in our
yard. i can`t even use the sprinkler!"-Frida

 Three documentaries we watched as we decided on a strategy to battle the ants in our yard:

Just a side thought:

At the edge of our wilderness, the little free library stands in good shape. Lots of neighbors are adding and taking books. What a rewarding project this has been. Below is a picture of a random day recently. There are a wide variety of books in there: children's, sci-fi, recent fiction, non-fiction. The notepad says, "This is an amazing resource you provide for your neighborhood. Thank you for the experience. Sincerely [scribbled signature]". Thank you, neighbor! 

Some generous, thoughtful, anonymous library user gave us the book
about "the adventures of an urban wildlife lover who turned his yard into habitat and learned to live with it." Just like us! How cool that this unknown local reader connected with us.

 That book reminds me of another gift to our family about this same theme of starting small and without much knowledge:
Thanks, Aunt Patricia!
Thanks, Shelley, for the apt Hafiz poem.
Adding all these resources and more to our blog's list, which is what we do here at Sequoiadendron Homeschool Academy. The list begins to document more than ten years of homeschooling for our family. What fun we have been having!

"i was nailing nails into a board. i nailed it onto our swing platform, and realized i could
hang my coat onto it. it was not a coat rack on purpose. "-Frida


Blueberry bushes blooming!

 We are trying for a small catnip farm, maybe a non-profit.

"oddly, the cats aren't going for the catnip...maybe it needs less cat, more nip, if you know what I mean," says Rainer.
"i love eating sourgrass... it is sprouting in the back and in the front. the only problem is,
3 cats hang around our yard, and some of them might have marked their territory around the sourgrass!"-Frida
All are amazed by the green growth these days, and the shapes of leaves.

"i was barefoot once, and mom told me to be careful of that sharp plant, and i said ok, and then i
stepped in one and screamed!"-Frida

Ecium bush/huge hedge.
Video coverage of the frog sanctuary:
 Frogs thrive here.

"i feed our two bunnies, hodge-podge and sherbert, treats. i sometimes grab a handful of
grass and get a long blade of grass to tie the other grass together. i call them 
'grass ghosties'."-Frida

"i started a new garden. i churn the soil up every week so it gets rich.
it now has 4 plants. my boots are covered in mud now. it is filthy rich!"-Frida

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Winding Up For Winter

We grew this food!

Just decorated these:

Went to Ashland, OR, to see the Shakespeare Festival, and fall colors like this:

And saw the tame deer in Lithia park:

So we all pledged to memorize this passage from The Tempest:

And cherish our moments at the shore...

 ...celebrating life with friends (Lesl Sleeth-Keppler).
 Frida is 9 now and Rainer is 14. So we sometimes go up to the roof to gain perspective.

 We are lucky.

We are grateful for our gifts. (Hey, thanks for the boat, Andy!!)
We can look at all the species and understand the role every creature plays, even if they scare us half to death or have a cute name, like "pumpkin spider".

We are noticing that something is always in bloom, no matter what the calender says.
Trusty borage!

Mexican sage, exploding once again with no help from us!

The incredible ever-bearing raspberries just want to please people, just want to keep going!

And the unstoppable Calla Lily, getting started at the end of October!

It all makes a person love being an animal. Like, say, a cat named Garfield, or a Four-Armed Goat Man Who Brews the Best Potions.

And you just sing your annoying goat song until no one can take it anymore! Because you can't help but be you.

And that's how we know everything is alright here.

See you next time for an update on our unschooling journey.
Happy fall, friends and family!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Phenologically and metamorphically speaking...

We're back here at the blog. Happy spring everybody!

The ants are back, too, with green plants growing all over their nest. They are adapting to the change very well.

So much sunshine here and flowers everywhere!

We're busy in the yard with several projects.

There is a research group guiding citizen scientists to record phenological observations:
Phenology: key seasonal changes in plants and animals from year to year—such as flowering, emergence of insects and migration of birds—especially their timing and relationship with weather and climate. We didn't know what the word meant before this project.

We're observing the minute changes to three plant species: common lilac, Himalayan blackberry and California poppy. In our region we're having another warm, dry spring. Are the plant cycles coming on earlier? It sorta feels like it. We'll see as we get the hard data. Here is the common lilac with a breaking leaf bud, from Jan. 31, 2014:

Same plant on March 11, 2014:

Rainer's frog project continues. He's collected a few egg sacs from abundant habitats in McKinleyville and Arcata. 

Seems like the tadpoles emerging in this pond will be salamanders. A new species introduced to this wild back yard!

And the main frog city, functioning well, and loud:

Nice shot, Rainer! This is a great view of the back yard looking east from the top of an alder tree that is close to the house. So much space still could be cultivated. Growing more food is a big goal this summer.

Frida has a great little bed on the side of the house, in a very sunny spot. We separated the overgrown strawberries, reconditioned the soil with our bunny fertilizer and rich compost, and replanted many strawberries, plus added chives in between.

We've planted a lot more willows along all the fence lines, all from cuttings from older willows, which were cuttings from friend's gardens, or harvested by us from along the banks of the Mad River.

We planted the willow close to these baby redwoods, hoping a little shade would relieve the stark conditions for the moisture-loving redwoods. They are really stunted, but at least they are surviving.

Raspberries are growing well and need an occasional clipping to maintain a row to walk through. Thanks for the help, Rainer.

Redwood burl Rainer's got growing on the deck are so interesting. They sprout multiple new trees from the smallest little chunk of burl.

The coyote bush rocked out in January! So many flowers bloomed in January.

Twenty more feet for these eciums to be full-grown.

What is this huge specimen? We couldn't figure it out exactly with our books. We need better books.


We added a blog to the list of resources: Down on the Garm: Adventures in the Dirt, written by our neighbor Colin. He's making a sustainable garden/farm in his yard, doing a more precise job than we are, and he lives down the street! We couldn't be more excited to learn from someone who is as meticulous and conscientious as Colin.

What fun to babysit our neighbor's chickens recently! They just started laying again as the light changes.

Frida was so inspired she sewed a little chicken coop, a hen and a rooster for the one-year-old boy named Leo who lives there.

 So long for now, family and friends! See you next time for an update on the wildness, the art, the science and the ants!