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    Because the Water is Flowing

    April 30, 2010 by Brandy Vencel

    My son was shocked this morning when I told him we had “done school.” He insisted that we hadn’t. After all, he spent almost two hours with his friends digging on the shore of the river {and being yelled at by two nervous mothers: “Get back! You are too close to the canal!”}. How in the world digging in dirt counted as school was what he wanted to know.

    Our budding naturalist did not realize that such a morning was exactly what Charlotte Mason prescribed for children seven and under in her masterpiece Home Education.

    My friend and I enjoyed it all, too, as did all the other children. The sound of water running in our river bed, something that hasn’t happened in quite a while {as Northern California only believes in allowing water to flow with its permission; isn’t it amazing how the Green religion forgets that down the river are indigenous trees and wildlife that–gasp!–need water, too?}, was so relaxing that I’d have been tempted to skip lunch and go straight to nap if I didn’t think I’d have a mutiny on my hands.

    Why, oh why, can I not believe in eating out? Our frugality in regard to food is the bane of my existence, I tell you.

    So. Wildlife. Flowing water, digging for clams, identifying birds, and generally enjoying our unseasonably cool weather. That, my friends, is a pretty good day of school.

    But really I can’t say we’ve been all that nature deprived, thanks to daughter A.

    One of my informants {who generally ignores the fact that I do not allow tattling unless someone is in mortal danger and/or bleeding} had already told me that she was torturing carrying around frogs. I was still shocked, however, when she walked into my office. It was mainly the size of the frogs that did it. These guys were a handful and a half, only looking vaguely related to the little guys we feed to our ducks when we find them. {Have you ever seen a duck eat a frog? They look like they are dying, a la Grandfather Frog and Thornton Burgess, but then they are so happy afterwards.} One was particularly uncomfortable and noisily complaining.

    And then he hopped down and jumped under my desk.

    So that was fun.

    Today, just now actually, she came in exclaiming, “Look mom! Babies!” Well, I turned around expecting tiny froggies, but no. She was carrying a handful of infant mice. They were about an inch-and-a-half to two inches long, hairless, eyes still closed, and to be honest they looked cold.

    I don’t like mice, but I just can’t bring myself to do harm to a baby anything, so I told her to put them back where she found them and then wash her hands 773 times due to my unnatural fear of bubonic plague and the Black Death {is that the same thing?} and also some guy named the Pied Piper.

    I think I may need that kitten they offered me at the feed store after all.

    So this nature moment has been brought to you by the letter A and the number 7.

    Now I am going to grudgingly make some lunch while wearing my apron, the pockets of which, incidentally, are full of body parts belonging to a certain Mr. Potato Head. My baby has a death wish, and if I find him choking on eyeballs or ear lobes one more time, the potato is going to be evicted.

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  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts May 14, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Elizabeth, It is okay! I actually felt guilty when I wrote that comment because I thought I probably should have checked on you sooner than I did. I’m glad you got it. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Elizabeth May 14, 2010 at 10:25 am

    I did get the Bible. Sorry I didn’t let you know.

  • Reply Kristy May 1, 2010 at 2:50 am

    Hilarious. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts April 30, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Elizabeth: Did you get the Bible? I keep meaning to email you to make sure it got there okay. Let me know if you had a problem.

  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts April 30, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Funny. I thought about feeding them to the ducks, but they looked so helpless and innocent that I couldn’t bear it, even though I will despise them when they are grown. I am too soft! Maybe I’ll just encourage some free ranging in that part of the yard tomorrow. Hmmm…If I don’t see it, I won’t feel guilty.

    The cat (kitten) in question is being raised by a purported good mouser, but my husband just said NO. πŸ™ Something about not wanting to pay for the food. Apparently, he believes in their ability so much that he knows they will run out of mice! πŸ™‚

    Thank you for your cat advice, though. I will keep in in mind in the event that he reconsiders!

  • Reply Elizabeth April 30, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Chickens eat mice, so I would think ducks would too.

    If you do get a cat for hunting mice, you should get one that has a mother that is really good at mouse hunting. And not too young, because hunting is something that animals learn from their mothers.

  • Reply Mystie April 30, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    A good day of school, indeed. πŸ™‚ Mice, though — ick! We had a little scurrying mouse a few months ago that thankfully the trap caught within 2 days. *Shudder*

    Do ducks eat baby mice, too? πŸ™‚

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