Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Nature Table

Fall nature table

Creating a nature table is a natural extension of our time spent out doors. Each treasure we find reminds us of the remarkable beauty in nature: the forms, colors, smells, and tastes. When a fascinating specimen is found, we gently carry it to the house to place reverently on our nature table.

We've had a nature table in some form since the Boy was born. Originally, it was a little plate on the center of our dining table, where he would put little stones or flowers. As we spent more time in nature, among the amazing flowers and trees, splashing in the creeks and puddles, clambering over rocky trails, that plate soon proved to be way too small.

The Boy loves to collect rocks and feathers, seeds and twigs, pine cones and bird's nests. And now they all make their way to our designated nature table. (Much better than in his pocketses.)

All of our summer and early fall treasure, abundantly overflowing their boundaries!
At the beginning of each seasonal change, the table is nice and tidy. We change the cloth, rearrange piles of things we want to keep, create a blank slate. Oh, but by season's end, it is crowded! So many little treasure that need to be moved to some other place.

Some disintegrate, like fern leaves and herbs. Others the kitty knocks to the floor, amusing herself. Those are easy to dispose to the compost pile. Some are too special to just toss back outside. I actually get a little anxious thinking about how I can get rid of these finds without seeming callous. I think we came up with a great solution.
The fairy house.

This morning we decided that with our fall to winter change we'd build a fairy house with our nature treasures. After a full geometry lesson, we packed up the contents of the table and trekked outside to find the perfect place...meaning protected from the puppy and the chickens.

An hour spent in the sunshine and fresh air, building a quaint little cottage scene under a forsythia. Plus cleaning off the nature table in a gentle way.

The late fall/winter table. Look at all the clean space!

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