I had actually planned a whole other post for today, but as always with children, plans change. Today I wanted to do the first “Make it Monday” project, and in a way we did… it just wasn’t what I had expected.
Instead of making art, or creating a special concoction in the kitchen, or some other crafty goodness, we made some memories. Moments. I stopped worrying about mess and let them be the wild, barefooted, nature children they love to be…
muddy boy feet,
muddy boy hands,
not as muddy boy hands for my sensory defensive child,
very muddy girl feet,
getting muddier by the minute,
picking our red raspberries, ripe ones I hope,
showing off the jeweled treasure,
before enjoying the fruits of her labor,
sneaking behind bushes with mouth full of sweetness,
oh to be a little one free, surrounded and covered by dirt, mud, green, and raspberries.
And a grateful mama that we understand the importance of keeping chemicals out of the backyard and off their playthings. I always want to make sure that we can pick raspberries right off the bush and eat them. I want to make sure that my kids can run around barefoot with no worries except for hot feet and pokey barkdust. I want to make sure that they can make a mud pit and I don’t have to worry if hands go in the mouth.
What are some alternatives we use instead of chemicals? We are by far from the expert gardeners, but there are a few simple steps that even we can take to prevent using potentially toxic chemicals!
- Slugs. Keep slugs out of the garden by taking them out by hand or put containers, just above ground level, filled with beer near the garden.
- Dandelions and other weeds. Prevent the problem by not letting plant go to seed. Get rid of them by weeding by hand, getting as much root as you can, and then spot treat with boiling water. Or just enjoy them like the kids do.
- Preventing pests in garden. Practice companion planting. We have often used marigolds. Attract and/or purchase beneficial insects like ladybugs. Then for my husband’s prized hops, he even uses a spray bottle with water to knock the aphids off if those ladybugs aren’t getting the whole job done.
- Ward off mosquitoes. Keep the mosquito population down by attracting bats with a bat house, access to water, and night blooming flowers if possible. I have to admit that this one was not done by us, but by our neighbor. We just take advantage! Bats eat 500+ mosquitoes per hour. Nothing else will be that effective and safe.