Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Snapshot

Haven't done one of these in a while so here it goes.
It is gorgeous outside today! I refilled the bird feeders and weeded. I was pleased to see some flowers opening up in my front yard.
The gorgeous painting my brother did for me this Christmas. I find it so soothing, I just LOVE the colors.
Some pieces that I'm working on with my cello. The Prelude is really challenging.
The sticky buns Jon was making this afternoon. Can't wait to taste them when they come out of the oven.
My amaryllis is finally blooming. It took almost 4 months but it is really pretty.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Parenting Part 1

This is a tough post for me to write because I am not a parent. However I do plan to be and I like to think about parenting as though I am preparing for a test. I want to learn as much as I can and be prepared to make the best choices I can. As most of you probably know I work in childcare and in the past 6 months I have been able to observe some very interesting bits of parenting. Even though these are just glimpses into these peoples lives, it helps to remind me of what my expectations of parenting really are.
Everyone will have their own goals from parenting, their own expectations of their children. For me, parenting is about guiding more than ruling. As a parent you want to guide your children towards happiness and a fulfilling life. I want my children to be safe but still have the opportunity to learn from experiences so they can make choices for themselves. I also don't want to get hung up on my children growing up how I want them to, I want my children to grow up and do things that they want to, the things that will make them happy and fulfilled.
However for me the line of letting them determine what they need is drawn where their behavior negatively affects others. My class is filled with children that hit, pinch, bite, spit, kick and push each other if they don't get their way. While they are only five and haven't had a lot of years to learn from experience, I am disheartened by children whose parents don't feel the need to help their children learn. For them it is get disciplined or get away with it. There isn't really any interest from the parents of why did my child hurt someone else? or do they understand why they shouldn't kick or punch? They simply go to punishment.
How confusing it must be for the children. To have parents that don't talk to you and explain things or ask why you feel how you do. To have orders barked at you instead of talking with you. A friend of mine encouraged me to read a book on non-violent communication. I thought is was fabulous and have been trying to use it in all aspects of my life (though some habits are hard to break), especially with the children. The website describes NVC as a way to create human connections that empower compassionate giving and receiving. Sometimes NVC is referred to a compassionate communication. I try to use NVC as a way to understand the children better so I can form a better bond with them. At first many of them didn't respond well to the method and were frustrated with me but recently they have been able to talk to me more, use more "I feel" statements instead of the typical tattling statements that they were using before.
I feel that a huge part of parenting is effective communication with your children. If you can communicate well, there is more trust, more opportunities for learning and ultimately more love. If you are already a parent, take a moment and consider the way you communicate with your children (and with your spouse). If you are not a parent, how do you communicate with those around you? Is this how you would want to communicate with your children (or just others around you)?  If you are interesting in learning more about non-violent communication you can visit .
For me communication is one of the most important parts of parenting. I hope that in my small way as a part-time caregiver for these children, I can help them learn to communicate with others in a way that maybe their parents will appreciate as their children begin to communicate more with them.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Goldstream Park

We did this hike a while ago, I just forgot to post it. Goldstream Park is somewhere I've been visiting almost my whole life. When I was in elementary school we would go on field trips to Goldstream to watch the salmon run or come when the salmon have died after mating and watch the eagles try to get some carcasses. Goldstream is good place to not only watch for eagles but also for owls. I did a night-time owl walk when I was a child. I think we only saw one owl but then again 8 year olds are exactly quiet. You can also camp in the park and watch for owls.

On this day, it was sunny until we got to the park and then it poured. We were wearing our most waterproof things we own but still got soaked. We did the hike up behind the falls to the tressel and then to the old gold mine. The trail up to the tressel was very steep and was a real challenge because of how wet the trail was. The trail was almost a waterfall itself because of the rain.
We made it though and it was pretty cool up there. As we walked the trail to the old gold mine we were stalked by a Golden Eagle. I've never seen one stalk people but it just kept flying from tree to tree following us down the trail. We stopped and watched it for a while and I guess it got bored and flew away.
The old gold mine was kind of creepy and it was starting to get dark so we decided that we had had enough of the rain and we decided to head back to the car. If we thought the hike up was a challenge, man was it hard not to make the entire decent down the mountain on your bum. I slipped quite a few times but lucky didn't injure myself.
I would like to do the hike again but on a nicer day. It was hard for me to see everything because I wear glasses and at times it was like trying to look at things through a fishtank. We were soaked.
The park itself is a great place to visit as a family. The stream is really pretty and it is interesting to see all the wildlife that calls the park home. There is a nature house that has maps and educational displays as well as really knowledgeable staff. The hike up to the tressel is tough but the walk down Goldstream is easy and relaxing. For more information visit .

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bear Hill

Last weekend we decided to do the Bear Hill hike in Saanich. It was a nice day but the trail conditions weren't the best. As you can see from the picture below, we spent most of our time walking in a stream.

The hike is short but has some stunning views of Saanich and the Juan De Fuca Strait. We packed a lunch so we could sit at the summit and enjoy the views while snacking on cheese and fruit.

Even though the view from the summit was stunning my favorite part was looking down on the farm land below and dreaming of my own farm someday and all the wonderful things I could do with property like that.

It was a really nice day so the hill kind of glowed an emerald green color. It was so calming. Even though we didn't see much in the way of wildlife, we heard quite a few frogs. We tried to track one down but they stop croaking as soon as you get near them. It was neat though to listen to them "sing".

Bear Hill is located in Central Saanich near Hamsterly Beach. It is about 1 hour up and down (less if you don't spend anytime at the top, which is hard to resist). It makes for a really nice afternoon hike. But remember, if it rained the day before the trail is probably still quite wet and hazardous so wear appropriate footwear.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Prepping for the Garden

Oh man I am sooo excited about the garden this year. I've already been out getting the beds ready. We are planning to dig out two new beds, mostly for squashes. I wanted to have separate beds for the viney things so they don't take over the main garden.

I've drawn out a little diagram of how I would like it to look but I think I order more seeds than are on here so I'm going to have to some squishing. I've also added to this particular drawing the plants that are already in the ground that will still be there is April.
Side note on the winter garden. It's doing OK but not good. The garlic is starting to come up and the parsnips may start growing in the coming months but most of the other stuff is gone. It was really disappointing. So this year I'm doing way more planning for the fall/winter garden.

The diagram for fall/winter is here. It will also probably change based on how many more cold covers we get built by then.
I'm splitting the seeds with a friend of mine because it is more cost effective and last year I just didn't seem to use all the seeds in the package and it felt like a real waste. Hopefully the seeds will be arriving in the next couple weeks because the onions and some of my herbs need to be started indoors in February.
In the mean time I have a lot of clearing in the garden to do. The new beds need to be dug out and the mulch and rye needs to be turned under. There are also some patches of weeds to be cleared and the back of the garden plot needs to be developed a bit more. We are also going to try to put a real walkway between the greenhouse and the garden. Additionally we are planting at least 2 new fruit trees and 2 new blueberry bushes to I need to prep for those as well. It seems like a lot but I'm excited to do it. The garden was such a joy last year and I think this year will be even better because I already have some knowledge of what works and what doesn't.
If you are interested in what the codes on the diagrams mean. They are the item code for the seed type at West Coast Seeds. They have a great catalog. You can get one free online.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ahh Nature

It seems nature is trying to remind me I need to spend more time with it. Everytime we've gone for a hike we have come across something uber-cool. This is a video I took in Mount Doug Park of a woodpecker just doing his thing. We don't normally get to see them in action, we can hear them but rarely see them. This is a pileated woodpecker. (I know the video is on its side and I don't know how to fix it but you get the idea)

Last weekend we did a hike in Goldstream Park and were stalked by an eagle. It looked like a golden eagle to me. It was just following us, flying tree to tree to keep us in its sight. Until we turned on the camera. The stupid on noise scared it away.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010

Happy new year everyone! Here's hoping this year is full of good health, good harvests, plenty of love, new discoveries, new experiences, and overflowing with happiness. I hope 2010 is the best year for you all and full of everything you hope for.