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Earth Day

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Happy Earth Day 2012!

April 22, 2012
It’s Earth Day once again! Though we should be kind to our Earth and appreciate her every day, it is nice to have a dedicated day for us to slow down and contemplate how we can live gently with her all year round.

© Qtrix | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Do you have any special plans? To be honest, we don’t have anything big going on. I’ve been working and travelling a lot and this is my first day off since two Mondays ago, so I’m mostly looking forward to tidying up the house and relaxing with my boys. If it warms up a little this afternoon we may go for a nature walk and see how many different kinds of birds and animals we can see. And I hope to get to the garden centre with Little Boo to pick up some soil as well as some bird seed to get our feeders filled and welcoming. The cardinals were yelling at me earlier this week that I had nothing out for them. Oops!

Many businesses and municipalities sponsored neighbourhood clean-ups on Friday and/or Saturday this week. These clean-ups are an important way we can help the Earth and keep our environments pleasant and litter-free. It is the perfect time of year to get out there and see what has appeared in the gutters and corners and trapped in fences after the winter thaw (that is, if you had winter this year). Snow covers a plethora of sins and when it goes the mess left behind can be really gross.

I went over our property and the road and sidewalk immediately in front of us two weeks ago, and I completely filled a big garbage bag with other people’s trash. Yuck. But it looks so much better now, and I feel better that little kids aren’t walking by and being tempted to pick up shiny garbage that looks like a treasure to them. I got Little Boo to help me. He wore his gardening gloves and pointed out things to me to be picked up. I took the opportunity to talk with him about the importance of not littering. We also talked about recycling and what goes in our green bin, but he’s pretty well-versed in that already. He always asks if he isn’t sure which bin to use. (I’m so proud!)

We also started seeds that same weekend, and talked about plans for our garden, what vegetables he wanted to grow. Harvesting and enjoying our own home-grown produce is a wonderful experience. Plus, fresh from the garden always tastes better.

Did you know that Earth Day in Canada has its own website? I had no idea, but you can visit to find out more information, eco-trivia, and events to enjoy with your family. Here is the listing for Ontario Earth Day events. The Toronto Zoo for one is hosting their Party for the Planet today, with events running until 4:00pm. And you can buy a rain barrel there until 4:30pm ($50 for pre-registered Zoo members, $55 for general public and walk-ins). Rain barrels are a great way to conserve water and keep your garden healthy.

So, I hope you enjoy your day. I’d love to hear how you are spending it, and what ideas you have for sharing Earth Day and its message with our kids. Please leave a comment below!  I’m also going to leave you with a link to an old post of mine, because it is such an easy, fun, and helpful activity for today. See if you can make some pine cone bird feeders of your own!

Gardening

Earth Day in the Garden

My brother and I started gardening with our grandmother as toddlers, and I’ve been actively involving Little Boo in my gardening from the time he could toddle out into the yard himself. Kids love to watch things grow. And they love to feel helpful and involved. We find this to be a fabulous activity for us to enjoy together.
Today being Earth Day I wanted to do a small project with Little Boo to mark the occasion.  So last week we went to the dollar store and he helped me pick out peat pots, a bag of soil, and some seeds. I think this was a total of $3 plus tax. Cheap fun!

I put the peat pots into an old cake pan to keep them from leaking all over the house. Little Boo used my old trowel to fill the pots. (He has his own gardening tools, but I’ll be damned if I could find them in the shed today.)

He chose the pumpkin seeds to sow first. (Like his Spongebob gardening gloves? Zellers on clearance for $2. Love!)

 

Golden wax beans. He said they looked like they had chocolate on them. And, on the topic of Earth Day, do these seed packets really need to be so big??

Little Boo placed the seeds into the pots and I covered them with more soil and tamped them down. He watered them, and then I covered the pots with plastic wrap and placed them in indirect light near the front window. (The plastic wrap is to keep them moist and warm. Once the seedlings come up enough to touch it, it comes off.)

Now we wait and see if they germinate. I explained to Little Boo how the peat pots will break down in the garden, and how this is is helpful as we won’t have to disturb the plants’ roots when we put them out. I also explained (a couple of times) that we have to wait before they can go in the garden because it is still too early and cold. He is pretty eager to see the sprouting. Hence the beans. Beans and peas are always a good option for kids, because they germinate really quickly and they tend to be pretty hardy. Another good option is radishes – in my experience these veggies will grow on a rock. Ok, slight exaggeration, but they are incredibly easy to grow even in poor soil conditions. An easy way for a kid to find some success in gardening.

We’ll do some more seeds later and will be planting a variety of veggies from the garden centre once the weather warms and I get the beds in shape. For now Little Boo is keeping busy with creatively displaying his rock collection:

Pretty good hey? 🙂

Did you do anything to mark Earth Day today? I’d love to hear about it!!