Children’s Sunflower Hour Program Had a Successful First Season

onion harvestEvery Saturday since June, children have been attending a reading and garden/craft program in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens we called the Sunflower Hour. Today was the last session of the season.

It has been wonderful with dozens of children coming over the summer to hear stories told by Faye Mihuta, a retired teacher, and experience life in the garden. Children sat in the sunflower house, which is just now beginning bloom and listened to books being read.

Over the last eight weeks the crafts they made with artist Jess Clauser included a fluttering butterfly, bee bracelets, and cards made with vegetable stamps. Other weeks, the children learned about sowing flower seeds, how vegetables grow, the importance of honeybees and the butterfly habitat we have to support Monarch butterflies. Jay Epstein came one Saturday to talk about worms and the children made worm farms from recycled bottles to take home.cly2

Today,  the project was to make a clay medallion by pressing the leaf of the herb sage into wet clay. The clay was trimmed with a round cookie cutter and set out to dry.  Once dry, they can be painted. Each one was very pretty and the children were please to take home several each.

onionfayeNext, we harvested onions. Each child had a chance to pull the onions from the ground and take one home.

Afterwards, we all tasted zucchini bread and basil lemonade. Both were delicious.

It was a great morning in the garden.

Special thank you to Faye and Jess for all the effort put into making Sunflower Hour a memorable experience for young community members.  You are deeply appreciated.



The Children’s Library House is Installed

Thank you Simon Ouderkirk for installing the children’s library house next to the Gardener’s Shed. Simon is one of our community gardeners and graciously offered to securely attach the little house to the shed.

It looks terrific. And, it is just the right height for children to access. Perfect.

Thank you also to Anne Curtin for donating the house and to Heather VonAllmen for the whimsical painting.

While I was there this afternoon, I put about a dozen books inside for children to enjoy.

Speaking of books, this Saturday is the first day of our Sunflower Reading and Gardening activities for children.  Faye Mihuta will read books starting at 9:30 and Jess Clauser will lead an art or gardening program beginning at 10 a.m. There is no charge for the reading program. For the art program, a donation of $5 is suggested.

Let’s us know if you plan to attend.

Thank you, NatalieScreen Shot 2018-06-04 at 5.39.40 PM.png

So what are you up to on this very rainy day?

I’m listening to “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants” by Robin Wall Kimmerer on CD.

Her voice is soothing, strong and simply mesmerizing. There is a balance of spirit and science in her words. And with the pouring rain outside this is a good time to snuggle  in a comfy chair with a warm cup of tea.

Kimmerer is good company.

A Native American storyteller and a botanist, she manages to weave together both sources of knowledge with tenderness and power.  She explains how the essence of ancient legends is relevant today,  how there is an increasing need for ecological consciousness and the basic understanding of how all things are related.

This morning, I put in the first CD and went about doing inside chores. But very quickly, I put aside the vacuum cleaner and just listened.

I was captivated. This is one of those books I will have to buy in paperback so I can dog-ear pages and mark passages to read again and again.  It’s that good.

The CD copy I will pass along as this is a book to be shared with friends. If for no other reason than wanting to be able to say, “What did you think about …”

I thank Barbara, the friend who shared it with me.

“In some Native languages the term for plants translates to ‘those who take care of us.’”
– Robin Wall Kimmerer