Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Migrating Monarchs

We are fortunate to live within walking distance to miles of wooded trails.  On the very edge of a city with 300,00 people, we are lucky enough to enjoy the feeling that we live in the country.  One reason for this is that our home is close to a lake that is protected from development.  As one of the city's water reservoirs, swimming and large motor boats are prohibited.  Which makes it ideal for quiet activities like bird watching, hiking and kayaking.  I know that living in this location has had a major influence on Elliot, who is still committed to his ideal of one day studying wildlife biology as a profession.  It's a great place to explore, observe the seasonal changes and wildlife.  Last spring, we read about the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly and visited a farm where they are encouraged to reproduce. We learned that Monarchs depend on perennial milkweed and how vital this plant is for their survival.  This week, to our great surprise and delight, we found large patches of milkweed growing in a clearing between the woods.  And along with the milkweed, a great number of fall generation Monarchs on their way to Mexico.
This book is an amazing read. 

Milkweed blooms

While we were walking and enjoying the beauty around us, one butterfly discovered Elliot and was so curious that it circled him at least twenty times!

In addition to us having some warm sunny days, I've also had a great rush of customers in the shop.  The strange thing is that I never intended for my items to be Halloween costume accessories.  The initial plan was to make plush knee pads and little paws for those preschoolers who liked to crawl around pretending to be dogs.  But since Etsy allows customers to directly communicate with sellers, I started filling requests for ears to go along with the paws.  Then, they asked for tails.  Then came requests like, "can you do a unicorn?"  Or monkey? And on until suddenly the whole thing is different from my original plan.  Strangely, I've been able to let go and adapt, without too many hurt feelings that my original idea seems to be buried among an abundance of other people's ideas.      

I sometimes wish I had more time to make practical things that my family and I can actually use.  I've recently learned to make hats and slippers.  Elliot has requested a pair of gloves with non slip grips on the fingers so he can climb trees in the winter...

Perhaps the best bit of news is that we're in the process of developing a new family friendship.  Through Tae Kwon Do, we've met another family who are in the same stage of homeschooling.  It has been a blessing to have another mom who understands the great insecurity that goes along with the first year of home education.  Elliot is delighted with his new friends and so am I.

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