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Attracting Hummingbirds

We absolutely love hummingbirds. In our area there are Ruby-throated Hummingbirds that migrate up for breeding season during Spring and Summer.

A Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird at our feeder

Last year, we started trying to attract them a little late, but by the end of Summer and definitely by early Fall, we started to have consistent visits from a pair of hummingbirds. This is how we did it.

First, we went to our local greenhouse and got some red flowers. They were called Salvia Coccinea, or Scarlet Sage wildflowers. They looked perfect for hummingbirds, who love bright colors, because they had long tubular flowers lining the stems. We had the flowers out all summer and eventually they caught the hummingbird’s attention.

We also got a hummingbird feeder and found a recipe for homemade Hummingbird nectar on the Audubon website. I made sure to use the recommended sugar because, as Audubon warns, other sugars can cause problems for the hummingbirds and honey can result in dangerous fungal growth. Hummingbird nectar should be changed out regularly in order to ensure that there isn’t anything growing that will harm the birds.

Homemade Nectar

We love making our own nectar because the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds love it, it’s so easy to make, and it’s cost-effective. First thing this Spring, the Hummingbirds came straight to us!

Until next time, keep on birding <3 Kate

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Self Care

Self Care is definitely on the mind and hearts of many people these days. With four kids close together and as a homeschooler, a weekly or even monthly pedicure isn’t really a priority, and since the pandemic- my husband has cut my hair (and now that secret is out, although I know I’m not alone). My self care regimen for skin has been our Oarsman’s Friend Hand Salve and I do love a good Essential Oil, but other than that I’m VERY low maintenance.

I read the sweetest thing today that really captures my self-care and I wanted to share it:

“Out-of-door life takes the child afield and keeps him in the open air, which not only helps him physically and occupies his mind with sane subjects, but keeps him out of mischief. It is not only during childhood that this is true, for love nature counts much for sanity in later life. This is an age of nerve tension, and the relaxation which comes from the comforting companionship found in woods and fields is, without doubt, the best remedy for this condition.”

Anna Botsford Comstock, Handbook of Nature Study

Comstock later speaks to teachers specifically, and I think it should count to teachers and/or mothers in general. She asked,

“‘Did you ever try a vigorous walk in the open air in the open country every Saturday or Sunday of your teaching year?’ ‘Oh no!’ they exclaimed in despair of making me understand. ‘On Sunday we must go to church or see our friends and on Saturday we must do our shopping or our sewing. We must go to the dressmaker’s lest we go unclad, we must mend, and darn stockings; we need Saturday to catch up.’

Yes, catch up with more cares, more worries, more fatigue, but not with more growth, more strength, more vigor, and more courage for work. In my belief, there are two and only two occupations for Saturday afternoon or forenoon for a teacher. One is to be out-of-doors and the other is to lie in bed, and the first is best. Out in this, God’s beautiful world, there is everything waiting to heal lacerated nerves, to strengthen tired muscles, to please and content the soul that is torn to shreds with duty and care. To the teacher who turns to nature’s healing, nature-study in the schoolroom is not trouble; it is a sweet, fresh breath of air blown across the heat of radiators and the noisome odor of overcrowded small humanity. She who opens her eyes and her heart nature-ward even once a week finds nature-study in the schoolroom a delight and an abiding joy… She finds, first of all, companionship with her children; and second, she finds that without planning or going on a far voyage, she has found health and strength.”

On Sundays I truly do feel fed as we gather with the church and encourage one another in hymns, prayer, and the Word. And for the other days, as much as possible, I can take my little companions and explore the outdoors with them, and I am truly experiencing the delight of discovery and finding contentment with them. Hope you can get out for a little self care this week <3 Kate

Check out my favorite homeschool curriculum: A Gentle Feast.

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Picnics and Flowers

We love to have a picnic- it’s the perfect way to eat food as a family, do a little nature study, read a book, or just lay around enjoying the weather. It’s a privilege to have a picnic as the Spring flowers bloom around us, the trees start to bud, and we can observe the birds coming back up from their search for warmer weather and getting their nests ready. We love to look out from our little landing pad in order to observe everything around us.

I make our picnic blankets with waterproof backs for an important reason- how many times have I gone out for a picnic and had a hard time choosing a place to set up? So many. The conditions have to be perfect to lay down a blanket- then as soon as I pick it up, I want to wash it.

Our picnic blankets are cotton and soft on the picnic side, and made of oilcloth on the underside. Oilcloth can easily be wiped off and cleaned between washings. The dirt or mud on the ground doesn’t have to ruin your picnic time, and you can set up a picnic in more scenic spots without worry. It means we can go into the woods after the snow melts and the weather is changing, or the day after a rainstorm. What most people refer to as “inclement weather” is my favorite weather to explore in.

The Spring flowers blooming in the forest have been our favorite finds this season. It is amazing to go out in the forest each week or every few weeks to see what flowers are blooming next. The first time we went out in early Spring, we found patches of Snowdrops, Dutch Crocus, and Winter Aconites.

Three weeks later we ventured to the same woods and found Spring Beauty, Daffodils, and Siberian Squill.

As we have been studying about flowers this term in our Gentle Feast Curriculum, it really has been a pleasure to see them in person this Spring. Flowers like this bloom and then return the next year. Nature Study helps us to see, appreciate, and learn what is around us and is a big reason why I chose to implement the Charlotte Mason method in our homeschool. Our picnics help us to get out to enjoy nature and learn more from it.

If you are interested in our picnic blankets, you can find them here, along with our nature find bags for treasure collectors.

Until our next Spring Bloom report <3 Kate