Happy Earth Day! Before I get to my main topic, I’ve got some special offers to tell you about…
- First, instead of buying anything, check out the beautiful photographs in the Capture Conservation photo contest sponsored by the Student Conservation Association!
- UPDATE: The sale on PlanetBox stainless steel lunchboxes has ended, but check out our review of PlanetBox–Nicholas is now finishing fifth grade and still using the same PlanetBox he got at the beginning of kindergarten!
- Grove Collaborative is having a one-day sale on 42 different Earth-friendly cleaning and hygiene products. UPDATE: The sale is over, but if you’re new to Grove (formerly ePantry), you still can start your order here to get an additional $10 discount, and I’ll also get a bonus! Here’s my article explaining what Grove Collaborative is all about, with reviews of many of the fine products they carry.
- GreenLine Paper Company will donate ALL profits from today’s orders for paper products toward the planting of trees. UPDATE: That special is over, but still, check out their wide selection of office paper, household paper products, and janitorial paper products. Buy by the case and save! (If you live in Pennsylvania, like I do, or nearby, note that GreenLine is in York, PA, so the shipping distance is short–better for the environment than shipping a long distance.)
As spring settles in and you begin to spend more time outdoors, you may have access to some edible plants. It’s fun to graze on fresh food that happens to be growing right there in your yard! But if there’s a young child with you, doesn’t that set a bad example? You don’t want the kid to think that we can just grab parts off of random plants and eat them–he might eat some nightshade berries or poison ivy and get sick or poisoned or itchy!
Here’s my daughter Lydia on her first birthday, last spring. Our yard was at just about the stage it is now, with spearmint poking up through the mulch of autumn leaves as the tulips, lilacs, and dandelions are blooming. Lydia was very interested in all the new, colorful things, and once she had seen me break off some mint leaves and eat them, she wanted to do that, too!
I was surprised how easy it was to teach her that some plants are For Eating while other plants are Not For Eating. In our yard, spearmint, chives, sourgrass (yellow oxalis/wood sorrel), dill, and purslane come up every year. Lydia was very pleased with the mint and chives, which are abundant, and within a month was showing us that she recognized “mihtt” and “hifes” as she named them while picking them. She was rarely incorrect in her identifications, even at first. Apparently recognizing a particular leaf shape is not so difficult a skill as we might think.
Being able to recognize some plants that are For Eating didn’t stop her from wanting to experiment with others, though! We did have to watch her carefully and redirect her many times. It’s a lot like learning to stay out of the street–which has required surprisingly fewer reminders than I expected, actually.
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