RSSCategory: Backyard Living

Learning Goes Both Ways

Learning Goes Both Ways

As soon as children begin verbal communication they learn to divide the world into categories. Things with wheels are automobiles. Things with four legs and wagging tails are dogs. Children’s books and programming focus on the importance of recognizing opposites. Things are hard or soft, hot and cold, big or little, open or closed. Those […]

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February 1, 2017 | By More
Lessons of the Jalapeno Flower

Lessons of the Jalapeno Flower

The breeze chilled my skin as the sun dipped just below the tips of the pines. Only 4 p.m., I still protested the shorter days and longer nights. The first frost of the season, despite our warmer than average fall, would come right on time. I headed toward the garden to harvest the last of […]

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December 1, 2016 | By More
The Beauty of Mustard Greens

The Beauty of Mustard Greens

It’s mustard green season, and these cool weather vegetables are popping up in gardens all around the region. Cultivated throughout the South, these leafy greens are related to both collard greens and kale and were first grown in the Himalayan region of India. Today they are cultivated all across Asia, South America, and throughout the […]

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November 1, 2016 | By More
In Defense of Boredom

In Defense of Boredom

“I’m bored, Mom.” It’s the phrase from my 9-year-old akin to fingernails on a chalkboard. But I can’t use that analogy with him since chalkboards, in his mind, have a place in the antiquities along with the typewriter. Instead I tried another approach. “Did you know, son, that when I was your age, I didn’t […]

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October 1, 2016 | By More
Story Plants

Story Plants

We started our McElroy House pollinator garden during a workday back in the fall of last year. We put down cardboard across a square of the front yard bordering Second and Green Streets. It wasn’t much, but kept down the weeds and served as a marker throughout the winter, reminding us of the spring commitment […]

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September 1, 2016 | By More
It’s Home

It’s Home

High tassels of corn sway in the wind; bean leaves towering up the trellis flutter. I sit back in my lounge chair and linger, my eyes soaking in the view. I love this view atop the deck my husband built last year. I breathe a sigh of thanks to him for all the labor he […]

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August 1, 2016 | By More
Sowing seeds of a family legacy

Sowing seeds of a family legacy

It was one of the last weekly lunches I remember sharing with my mom before her fight with cancer took a downward turn. Sitting together in the City Mall, I ate my egg roll salad and Mom nibbled at her chicken salad sandwich from Nothing Fancy. Conversation buzzed all around us but, as it was […]

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June 1, 2016 | By More
Stuck

Stuck

One of my daughter’s first words was “stuck.” She used it to mean “this thing won’t work” or “this block is too big for this box” or “I really want to climb up in this chair and I need your help.” It was particularly helpful for when she accidentally wedged herself between the couch and […]

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May 1, 2016 | By More
The Possibilities are Endless

The Possibilities are Endless

“Mom, look! That’s the red carrot!” Alyssa’s eyes widened. “There’s a black carrot, too, and purple… oh! And here’s a yellow one!” My 5-year-old put down the seed catalog long enough to grab a pen. Studying each page meticulously, she circled varieties that caught her eye. She did make it clear she wasn’t promising to eat […]

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April 1, 2016 | By More
Tougher and a Tiny Bit Braver

Tougher and a Tiny Bit Braver

My father recently gave me an envelope full of my mother’s old photos. Inside I discovered an image of a twelve-year-old me reaching out to pet our recently born colt. I’m wearing wranglers, an embossed leather belt, and my long hair hangs down the length of my back. In the background sits heavily wooded Spring […]

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March 1, 2016 | By More