Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Celebrating Earth Day with my Daughter

I'm having a quiet day at home with my daughter Moira today Celebrating Earth Day. I do whatever I can to encourage her in the way of organic gardening, so that she can learn to grow food thereby cutting down on our carbon foot print from importing foods. We just made a stepping stone for our garden project today. Large stones are great in the garden. They are fun to move every once in a while in the company of our resident chickens, who love to feast on the insects hiding beneath them. Part of our organic gardening learning process has been through our volunteer work at the Fair Share Garden in Daytona, where Joel Tippens has started an urban garden to grow food for low income families in need and teaching people how to grow food for themselves. At five years old Moira now knows that peanut shells and banana peels don't go in the trash, she will take them and put them in the compost pile. She is already a teacher, explaining to neighbors that the raised bed we built is for growing plants. When it comes to foraging, although she herself prefers the taste of the omega rich weed Purslane for a garden snack, she is still able to direct her best friend, a 6 year old girl, to a fresh leafy snack from the protein, vitamin and mineral rich Moringa trees that are just coming back from the winter freeze.

This weekend Moira received two new baby hens for her birthday, so we are also spending time with these little peeps today. These two hens will be added to our small flock of 3 hens. Our chickens are an important part of our garden, providing a rich source of nutrients for our compost pile. I'm so happy that Moira has learned the process of raising chickens; she received our first baby chicks last year for her fourth birthday and even as a very active energetic child she was able to care for them successfully. For me as an adult it took a few years of dreaming and building up the courage to give chicken raising a try. I trust for Moira it will be very simple for her as an adult to raise hens if she wishes and teach others to do so. She is a great helper for collecting eggs. The new little peeps are a really neat new hybrid breed called Black Stars. They are progeny from crosses of Rhode Island or New Hampshire Red Roosters with Barred Rock hens. This specific cross generates chicks that are easily identifiable by their foliage, so there is no danger of ending up with a rooster instead of a hen. This is a really important trait when choosing chickens for children if roosters are not desired. These hens are also good layers of dark brown eggs.

Moira and I also pulled out one of our cooperative educational games today too. The name of the game is "A Beautiful Place" and it teaches children 4 years old and up important concepts about taking care of the earth and good deeds, for example turning off lights and water, throwing away trash, planting a garden, and recycling. We got this game from, where it is actually on sale right now for 50% off. Progressive Kid has a number of games for teaching Earth friendly concepts.

If you are in the Volusia County area, why not join us at our Earth Day Celebration at the Fair Share Garden on Saturday April 25th from 9-1:30. We will have a number of free gardening workshops for adults, and I will be teaching an introduction to gardening class for children. For more information and to register fro the class visit my etsy shop.
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