Friday, May 31, 2013

Snapping Turtle Laying Eggs at Little Acorn Learning

This morning I woke up and had a cup of coffee. I thought about what to blog. Maybe I'll update you all on the Roselette Top progress or more about my recent career decisions. Eh.
Sometimes the universe gives me a little helping hand with my writer's block.

This beautiful Mother Turtle came across the street to our front yard and was very sweet and pleasant. She was not afraid of us and did not seem to get aggravated by my girls "ooohing" and "ahhhing" at her. She took a walk down my path and a peek at my garden near the daycare door.

After putting the girls on the bus, my daycare children arrived and we noticed that she had dug a hole. I quickly realized she unbelievably decided to lay her eggs in our yard.

How wonderful!

It took quite awhile... she made many digging movements and movements similar to labor. I wasn't sure she was really laying anything as I kept looking but could not see eggs.  I later found out that they carefully cover each and every egg with a bit of dirt after laying.

A bit later she walked off. We went to go see her nest and were disappointed not to see any eggs. I gently removed some dirt from the top of the area and still nothing.
I figured that we scared her off. But then I decided to go a bit deeper just in case.  And much, much deeper we discovered her amazing eggs!  I couldn't believe how packed the dirt was and how deep they were.  It was like she was never there.

I want to give these little turtles the best chance I can to survive. I normally do not agree with messing around with nature but I somehow feel part of the process this time.  I struggled with whether or not to intervene.  Our front yard is not a very safe place. Our cat, dogs and local racoons and coyotes frequent the area.

After a lot of online research, I decided to carefully transfer her eggs into a bucket filled with soil, peat moss and wet paper towels. Each egg must be handled with the utmost care and not turned upside down or the turtles may not make it. I gently transferred between 30-35 amazing white turtle eggs to their new incubator one by one as the children sat quietly and watched.  One little girl kept asking where the mommy went.  Snapping Turtles do not care for their young at all.  They lay their eggs and go back to their home.  I explained that the mommy went home and we will take good care of her babies.

We covered the eggs with some soil and placed the bucket in our fenced in garden and will cover it with a screen for safety. Animals are unable to get in our garden which is good.  We may even move it into our home in the evenings to ensure they survive.  We'll see.
The eggs are supposed to hatch within 50-100 days. I will be sure to post photos of their birth and release into the wild if it all works out ok.

Such a very exciting day. I have a rush. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I am so grateful this sweet creature chose my home today.

I wonder if it is some sort of a spiritual sign after my recent difficult decision.

"A tortoise at the back door of a house or in the backyard by a pond is said to attract good fortune and many blessings."  hmmmm what's the spiritual significance of a snapping turtle laying eggs in your front yard?


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Breathing Out and Letting Go

For the last year or so, I've struggled with finding balance between my home and family, my childcare and my publishing business.  I've stayed up into the wee hours of the night to get things done.  I leave my house a wreck each morning as I rush to get downstairs to open up daycare after getting my three youngest girls fed, dressed and on the bus... and I find myself torn into threes with each task that I approach.
My problem is that I love all of my jobs.  I love spending my days with little children and helping guide them and teach them in a natural and gentle way.
I love writing down my ideas and creating curriculum to share with others who are doing the same work as me.  And, of course, my first love is my family and my home and caring for them.  All too often, I find myself having little left to give them and its not fair.

My husband has also launched a new business while still working at his current position and he now needs some of my help.

There is just not enough of me to go around and something has to give.

This weekend I made the painstaking decision not to reopen my childcare this coming Fall.  It is something I have gone back and forth with in my mind for a long time.  I even found a wonderful assistant to hire with the hope of doing it all somehow.  But when I sat down and looked at all of the details on paper, my head was already spinning.  It just wasn't working. It hasn't been working for awhile and I needed to finally allow myself to let go.

It really isn't easy.

I love the children so much.  I will miss them.  I love the time I have spent being a teacher.  I feel guilt knowing that the families will now have to find another caregiver for their child.  Some of these families have become dear friends of mine.  But, it is time to admit I can't do it all and open up some space in my life.  Hopefully this decision will feel better after some time has passed because right now it feels hard.
I plan on still offering my nature club programs and camps to children in the community.  I hope to take the Little Acorn Learning guides to a new level as I have so many ideas but just no time to write them down.  I will go into the office of our new business a few mornings per week and hopefully, there will be some time left still for my home, my garden, my husband, my four girls and myself.

For now I will just practice breathing out and letting go until it feels natural.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Summer Sun

Great is the sun, and wide he goes
Through empty heaven with repose;
And in the blue and glowing days
More thick than rain he showers his rays.
Though closer still the blinds we pull
To keep the shady parlour cool,
Yet he will find a chink or two
To slip his golden fingers through. 
The dusty attic spider-clad
He, through the keyhole, maketh glad;
And through the broken edge of tiles
Into the laddered hay-loft smiles.
Meantime his golden face around
He bares to all the garden ground,
And sheds a warm and glittering look
Among the ivy's inmost nook.
Above the hills, along the blue,
Round the bright air with footing true,
To please the child, to paint the rose,
The gardener of the World, he goes.
- Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, May 27, 2013

It Takes a Village

The weekend was chilly but fun.  We spent time yesterday like we do every year watching our town's Memorial Day parade.  It was the first year the girls had to wear coats but we enjoyed it all the same!
I feel so grateful to be in such a wonderful and tight-knit town.  So many familiar faces and common experiences as we strive to raise our children together in peace and with love.  Living right next door to Sandy Hook has shaken our small town.  Many of our friends knew children who were murdered that day.  We did not but our hearts will forever be scarred as we realize that it could have just as easily been one of our schools.  Newtown is part of our community here and I think the entire event has made us even more determined to stand together and work for a better world.

Keira marched in her band playing the bells this year.  She was so excited to be at the very front of her line. As I looked for her at first I didn't even recognize her.  She has gotten so tall and her childish features have faded away recently.  She is turning into a young woman and I am finding it harder and harder to see the baby she once was in her face.

One piece of advice I give to anyone wishing to help create true change is to get involved in your community as much as possible.  Know your neighbors, volunteer at the schools, run programs in your town, shop locally and get to know the owners on a first name basis, volunteer at your library, become a part of a spiritual church family if it fits within your beliefs - these are the things I work hard to do and it has made such a difference in our lives.  It has given us a sense of "family" outside of our own home and we get such comfort knowing that we have a network of others to rely upon.  We have lost so much of the village mentality in this day and age and it is time that we claim it back whether we live in a small suburb in Connecticut or on a city block in Detroit.  We need one another... we need to come out of our homes and gather together, get to know one another and work together to raise our families properly.  We need to help each other and show our children the true importance of community.  True community.  Only then will we be able to spread our love beyond our own streets and further into the world around us.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Nature Club Discoveries

This morning in Nature Club we had so much fun together.  We enjoyed a nice long hike up to the field and went on a wildflower hunt together.  These sweet boys wanted to pick buttercups for their moms on our way and spent such a long time finding just the right ones.
I love fostering gentleness and kindness in young boys.  My hope is that will stay with them as they grown into men.  Picking flowers is just as special for little boys as it is for girls and it is important that we allow our boys to feel secure in enjoying all of these wonderful things without labeling them as "girl things".  I feel just as strongly about that for girls in the opposite way.  

 We learned about Food Chains today and also decided to spend some time cleaning up the woods.  Each child helped pick up litter and we filled an entire bag.  It is so sad to me that people come here and throw garbage all over the place without a second thought.

Today was one of those days where I felt so sure of what I am supposed to be doing with my life.  This is what I am meant to do.  It is my path.  I want to dedicate my life to teaching children to cherish the natural world around them.  I'm so grateful to have found my way out of cut-throat corporate America and into this beautiful way of making a living and life for myself and my family.