Kids, is gardening still a puzzle at times?  If so, explore this newly recommended site on flowers and gardens and start to put your gardening life back together again. 


Gardening made simple and inviting for kids who like to play video games and learn things online.  The Beginner's Guide to Gardening and Landscaping shows what can be done with colorful graphics and a fun sense of horticultural wonder.

New children's garden book: Tatty, the Lonely Monarch.  Many of us know the pleasure of gardening with small children.

     Seen through a child's eyes, gardens can be truly magical places, filled with rainbows of color, animal, bird and weather sounds, unfamiliar creatures and glorious scents.  

Is color already fading too fast from your favorite spring flowers, like lilacs? Then check here to remind yourself of the colorful, waking-up season, perhaps that windy, rainy early spring day you've almost forgotten. 

Wind, Kids, and Gardens.  Children love wind toys.  They're inexpensively available in stores like Hobby Lobby, including kites, wind socks, and propellers.  

      Adult gardeners have long ago discovered that the wind in one part of the garden might be quite different elsewhere.  Know thy garden means each sector.  A tree here or a wall there can make a difference in drying out plants, flattening them, and dispersing seeds.  Flags and other wind toys can provide animation to a garden that kids love.           

      A national wind flow site  says that "An invisible, ancient source of energy surrounds us—energy that powered the first explorations of the world, and that may be a key to the future. This map shows you the delicate tracery of wind flowing over the US."

Gardens are full of activity and observable changes at this time of the growing season. 
One super fun way to encourage the child in your life to become a GARDEN EXPLORER is to actually assemble and use an Explorer’s Kit!! Use it on Discovery Walks to provide you and a child with a delightful experience in the garden.

Start with a yard.  Yes, even a front yard will do.

Now, gather these items for the EXPLORER'S KIT... 

1. Magnifying Lens


  2.  Insect Jar  


3.  Tweezers

4.  Butterfly net

5.  Flashlight

6.  Throw-away camera--for a photo diary documenting interesting finds and plant growth and changes in the garden 

7.  Calendar--to record important garden dates and events

8.  Notebook or journal and colored pencils or markers--encourage the child to record garden finds and events with words or illustrations 

9.  Ruler, tape measure, or yardstick--measure plant growth from week to week, record on calendar or in notebook or journal


Use a bucket or bag to contain the items listed above and plan a Discovery Walk in the garden.  Discovery walks provide an opportunity to explore the garden with a child and can be done on a daily or weekly basis.  How about a Discovery Walk at night with a flashlight or by the light of the moon.  Take a walk on a sunny day, a rainy day, a snowy day to observe activity in the garden; what is the same and what is different.   Discover what is happening in the garden during each season of the year. Viewing your garden through the eyes of a child may offer you a whole new perspective.



In addition to the Explorer’s Kit and Discovery Walks, try some of these activities to enhance your child’s visit to the garden.  

1.  Compile a leaf collection from the plants available in the garden. 





2.  Do you remember doing leaf rubbings in elementary school?  Make a poster of leaf rubbings of the plants in your garden. 

3.  Find a flower blossom and take it apart.  Can you name the parts of the flower?  What is the function of the flower?


 4.   Place  a scoop of soil on a piece of white paper and examine with a magnifying lense.  What did you find?


5.  Enter something from your garden in the Central States Fair.


6.  Storytime in the garden using garden themed storybooks.


7.  Plan a garden party.

Gardens are full of activity and observable changes at this time of the growing season.

Assembling and using an Explorer’s Kit and using it on Discovery Walks will provide you and a child a delightful experience in the garden.

Bats are fun to study.  Black Hills kids, did you know this about bats?  Put up a bat house to encourage the presence of these shy animals. Bats consume 3,000 or more mosquitoes and other insects nightly,and bats are less likely to be rabid than dogs are. Need another reason? Bats are responsible for up to 95 percent of the seed dispersal essential to the regeneration of forests.  Read a book about bats from your neighborhood library.

















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Summer Food in Wintry February


16 Popular Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze

1. Garlic – You can freeze whole garlic, garlic cloves or chopped fresh garlic. Frozen garlic does lose some of its texture, but the flavor remains intact.

2. Corn – You can freeze fresh-picked corn on the cob for up to one year. Pack it in freezer bags — husk and silk and all. For store-bought corn, husk and blanch it before freezing.

3. Avocados – The bad news is that frozen avocados lose their consistency. The good news is that they do not lose their taste, so you can use them for guacamole or dressing. Wash and halve them before peeling. Freeze as halves, or puree them with lime or lemon juice and then store for up to eight months.

4. Mushrooms — You can freeze raw button, creminis and portabellas mushrooms for later use. Chop and slice mushrooms and then spread them on a cookie sheet. Freeze. Then transfer the pieces to bags or containers.

5. Onion – You can save chopping time – and tears – by freezing onion for cooking later. Store peeled, chopped onion in plastic freezer bags. The best part is you can just toss them into your recipes without thawing them first.

6. Hummus – Scoop your fresh hummus into plastic containers. Then drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on the top to keep it from drying out. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before mixing and serving.

more such winter gardening from Off the Grid News