In addition to growing our own food, we certainly appreciate what nature has provided. Last fall we hunted both deer and squirrel, and have had many meals provided as a result of our good fortune. Yesterday we found the first, of hopefully many, morel mushrooms. Later this year we will collect black raspberries and walnuts that grow naturally on the property.
In addition to appreciating the nature that is edible, we also appreciate the beauty and diversity of nature as entertainment. We are blessed with seeing great blue heron and red tail hawks and hearing mourning doves and screech owls. When we mushroom hunt, we teach our children about the plants we see growing. I don't know if there is a good use for trillium or jack in the pulpit, but they sure are pretty. I have a couple framed pictures I took while walking the property.
This past weekend we were doing some spring cleaning chores outdoors. One of those was to move an old bale of hay from the farmhouse crawlspace entrance. This picture is what we found underneath. We believe, thanks to Aunt Linda and Uncle John who were here for a visit, that it is a Yellow Spotted Salamander.
My daughter Grace wanted to keep it. We explained to her that they are sensitive animals and keeping it may shorten it's life span. We wanted to give it a natural life, so we found a wet covered place and let it go about it's business the next day.
My hope is that we continue to teach our children about living not only off the land, but with the land. Composting, recycling, and reusing are common themes in our house. It certainly adds to the workload of daily living, but in the end it seems worth it to me. I many only save small amounts of energy or landfill space, but I rest easy knowing I am doing my part.