Saturday, December 17, 2016

Time Marches On:

In 1980, we bought a woodlot, sight unseen.  We were living in Yellowknife at the time and I asked my father to check it out for us.  This photo was taken in 1953 probably not long after someone gave up trying to farm it.  You can see some treed areas but a lot of open space.

During all the following years of road building, stone moving, and harvesting wood, it didn't look like the property was really changing all that much.  Other than observing the progress of the pine seedlings we planted with our children in the '80's, we didn't really see much growth.

However, when I checked out a satellite image of the property recently, it was astonishing to see the change.  Although much of the area is made up of young trees, the canopy is closing in and we now have a forest.  In spite of our activities, Mother Nature has continued working and we have deer, turkey and grouse at the same time as we've harvested countless cords of firewood and thousands of board feet of lumber.  You can have a working woodlot and still maintain biodiversity, create wildlife habitat, sequester carbon, purify air and water and beautify the province.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Real Life Learning:

Both my wife and I grew up on farms, and so we gravitated towards the rural lifestyle.  Our children were approaching their teenage years when we finally moved out to the old farm where we still live today.
Now, when they come to visit us, I like to show their children our garden, and the pond and, when we still had them, the chickens.  There's nothing quite like the look on a child's face when they meet a baby chick for the first time.

It's through their interaction with little creatures that children learn about gentleness and care.  And by observation, they begin to understand that there is a larger world around them.

They absorb that sense of accomplishment, and of being part of a team, which comes from sharing a chore with the adults.

The greatest joy for a grandparent is to watch them grow into builders and bird watchers, and to feel that you were a small part of it.

If you want to read a good book about the importance of the outdoors in a child's development, I recommend "Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv.