April 2008

Climbing Gym

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Ok, after all my talk about natural playscapes, we got a climbing gym.  Although I must say that this piece of play equipment has been in the Arapahoe Acres neighborhood since the 60’s so it seems only proper to carry on the tradition.

So far India loves it.  She is able to jump and swing from several bars, like a little gymnast.  She calls it the climbing sculpture.  Zach calls it the rocket ship and is trying to get Ezra to call it that too.   We’ll see which sticks for him.

I’m just glad there is an official kid-thing in the yard that is more like a sculpture, less like a log cabin (as our neighbor, Ron, called the more standard options).  I am so grateful to our neighbors, Ron and Suzanne, for passing this along to us.  This is really how things ought to be acquired, second hand.

Sadly, the branch house was taken down… but it hasn’t been missed.  Once we hear about it again from the kids, we’ll build it up in another spot.  That apple tree wants to live and can’t with all those branches covering it.  Although the little house was much prettier then that crooked tree.

Dance Co.

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Thursday I photographed The Movement Dance Co.’s rehearsal.  Then Saturday India and I went to see the performance. This dance company is pretty unique, at least to me. They are an inter-faith group that strives to, among other things, invoke thoughtful inspiration in their audience. This last performance had a lot to do with woman and the need for self worth. Very cool.

These woman have a passion for dance, it is obvious through their art. India and I both wished we could get up and dance with them!

This is India and I on our way to the performance. To add to the excitement of the night, India and I got dressed up and even put on a bit of makeup. It was girls’ night out after all.

Happy Earth Day

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This week has been filled with all sorts of outdoor activities, just what would be expected for Earth Day week. Yesterday we visited the Botanic Garden and saw all the new growth, daffodils, tulips and even a gardener tagging the plants in the kitchen garden. I had a little chat with him and he gave me some good ideas of what to plant in my garden. He said to take green onions, just the root part, and plant them in the soil. Within a week we should have new growth. Sounds like this would be worth trying.
Monday afternoon a friend came to play. While the kids played outside I began pruning our crab-apple tree. While I was high in the branches the girls began to sort the fallen limbs into usable, blossom, and fix-it piles. Each pile getting ready for the fort they wanted to build. Here is what they came up with… with only a little help from me:

If you look carefully you can see our bent apple tree under the tepee, right between the girls. This is what is holding up the branches.

Ezra got into the action too. All the kids tried and tried to knock it down. The wind was blowing strongly too. I even tried to blow it down, as the big bad wolf of course. It isn’t going anywhere.


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My first photography workshop is coming up. Imagine it: 2 whole hours working side-by-side a real photographer! It’s amazing!!!! hehe The class only has 8 seats (5 of which are already taken) so let me know quickly if you would like to join us.
This is a workshop for the beginner. We will touch on lots of things… if they will all fit in the 2 hours… we may have to go over a bit. Some of the main points are:
1. Turn off your flash… how to use your camera and the super cheap light from the sun.
2. Get them to laugh, or at least look natural.
3. Composition. How to make your images really sing.
4. Display. Learn to hang and preserve your prints.

I am excited to help a few people out there start taking more beautiful photographs and think outside the box. Join the fun. Simply email me or comment here to get involved.

Date: Saturday May 3rd
Time: 4-6pm
Place: My house.
Cost: $50
If you can’t make this workshop, there may be more in the future so let me know you’re interested!

Our Garden

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This is the first year in my life that I feel like our garden is ours. Well, I guess the year in Baltimore I tried to garden is the summer I broke my foot. No gardening after that. Our tomato plants produced 2 tomatoes, but the basil grew like a weed. I think Baltimore is an easier place to garden, though. So much rain, and the trees are HUGE! Here there aren’t as many huge trees. Our neighbor says trees grow very slowly here because of the altitude. Another neighbor told us that most the trees in the city died from some bug or fungus about 15 years ago. And have you heard that all the pines in the mountains of CO are going to die-off within the next 10 years? Crazy. I guess it is in part because fires are not allowed to burn, so an insect is going unchecked. This is all second hand knowledge. I’m sure someone else would be a more reliable source of this kind of information.
In any case, I would like to share with you a few ideas that I have found to make our yard more interesting for the kids… without having a giant, ugly play structure. I found a few awesome sites dedicated to natural playground design. Most the companies do school design. I found one that shows a residence. Oh, you have to check it out… it is so cool.
We aren’t doing anything quite so fancy, but I would like to embed a slide into our little hill out back. In the mean time, as I sell the idea to Zach, I have spent a small amount of dough on other things… the most expensive being the copper chimes. Don’t get me started on that. The kids better play with them! So far, the most popular thing in the yard has been the dirt. But the dirt is our soon to be garden bed. We have already planted the broccoli and cauliflower seedlings, spinach, swiss chard and some mesculin salad seedlings. Oh and seeds for the salad along with chamomile seeds.
Now for some photos:

The infamous chimes.  They look nice.  The kids do like to bang on them especially when friends are over.

These are the infamous wind chimes. Although they only make sound when the kids strike them. I think they look pretty great in the landscape. Using vinegar, I was able to patina them a bit. Not yet green, but at least not shiny copper.

These logs will become a balance beam These will be free for the kids to move around and make whatever they like
These logs will become a balance beam. These thinner ones will be free for the kids to move where they want.
These will eventually have peas growing over them.  We just have to keep Ezra from pulling them out of the ground.
These will eventually have peas growing over them, creating an edible tunnel. We just have to keep Ezra from pulling them out of the ground.