Thursday, October 18, 2012

Magnificent Mums

If you follow my blog, you know that I'm not an "annual person." And it's not because I don't like them, I'm just no good at keeping things watered. But when I saw these massive, half-bushel mums at my plant supplier, I had to have one. And, I'll be making them available to my local customers next year.

These mums are HUGE! Mine is about 36 inches in diameter, and makes such a bold statement in the front yard gardens when not much else is blooming.

Technically, these garden mums are not annuals, they are perennials. However, it's tough to get your hands on them early enough in the year to get them planted and established before winter. If I were to plant this one in the ground now, it would be very unlikely to return, since it is using most of it's energy on blooming, not on producing roots. So I'll enjoy it for the season, then will plant it just for the heck of it. If we get another winter as mild as the last, I may see it again in spring!

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Fall Walk, and Photography With Kids

While her little brother is in preschool, and before she goes to kindergarten in the afternoon, my five-year-old and I have a few hours alone, and I like to spend it focusing on art. We often go to parks to draw, take photos, or collect pieces of nature for collages.

She has a flair for art, loves to draw, and can really see the beauty in the everyday. She really loves photography, and I like to let her use "the big camera" because it focuses easily for her. I was surprised to see the files from a recent walk around Lake Foxcroft in Glen Ellyn; it's fun to see the world through her eyes. She sees things that I don't, in ways that I don't.

When teaching her how to use the camera, we really only focus on one aspect, and today is was working with zoom. This park is filled with geese, so we took shots from far away, and zoomed in close. I struggled with being patient as she took about 500 pictures of said geese, but I think it's important to let her experiement with how the camera works. Afterward, we came home and looked at the files and picked our favorites to share.




More resources on photography with kids:
13 Lessons to Teach Your Child About Digital Photography
How to Teach Photography to Children
How to Teach Your Kids Photography (and Learn Something Too)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Out and About: Peck Farm Interpretive Center

A couple of weeks ago, while the weather was still warm, I brought the kids to Geneva Park District's Peck Farm Interpretive Center (4038 Kaneville Road, Geneva IL 60134 (630) 262-8244). We'd been there earlier in the year following a visit to Johnson's Mound, but it was March, and it was cold, and the exhibit I really wanted them to see was not yet open.

The Butterfly House is definitely worth a visit. It was thrilling to see about 15 different species of butterflies so close up. I'm now convinced that every home needs a honesuckle shrub. The butterflies were gaga over it.

At Peck Farm, you can also take a walk through a native plant prairie down to a pond, climb up into a silo, and have a picnic. A nice, inexpensive way to spend an afternoon.