Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bird Bath Turned Nature Table

The previous owners of our home left a bird bath behind. It is very pretty, but it has been hanging out by the garage since we moved in more than two years ago. I always hoped we'd find a good use for it and then a few weeks ago I decided to paint the little bird perched on the edge. The screw holding the bird on was badly rusted and would have been difficult to remove so I slid some painters tape under and around the bird to protect the rest of the bird bath and went to town with some cheery yellow spray paint I had on hand. I still wasn't sure what purpose this bath would serve, but with the bird painted yellow I perched it by the front door where it would sit for two weeks begging to be useful.

Then one day last week we came back from a walk in the woods with buckets full of cool rocks, pine cones and other fabulous nature treasures. We placed our finds on the ground where we sorted, compared and marveled at the gems nature provides us. When we finished we set the items on the porch where they sat until what hadn't blown away was squished and broken and was returned to the woods in our back yard. That's when it dawned on me that the bird bath would make a perfect nature table. It sits right by the front door so it is a great drop off point for our goods before we enter the house and we can easily enjoy and change our nature table anytime. Miri at Here We Are Together has a great post about nature tables here.

With our nature table in mind we set off on another hike. This time we had some friends in tow. I gave them the mission to hunt for moss, which gave us a great opportunity to discuss the type of environment moss prefers and how it's absorbent quality made it a great choice for diapers for Native Americans. We had a great time gathering our goods and then headed home to sort it all out.

I love how orderly Lou is. He loves to line things up.

The kids were really excited to lay out their finds and show each other what they picked. We lined the table with moss and then the kids added items and organized and reorganized until they were happy with the layout. Our neighbor, Moie, particularly enjoyed reorganizing the table until it was just right.

It was a really fun afternoon and a nice segue into spring. We've been watering the moss and I'd love to think that it will live on indefinitely on our table, but our front porch gets direct sun all day long and it will probably take it's toll. But we'll enjoy it while it lasts and when it starts to wilt we'll take the opportunity to talk about why the moss didn't thrive and maybe look around the yard for a spot that might be a bit more moss-friendly.

Not sure what's up with the date on this photo.

I know that nature tables are usually inside as a way of bringing the outside in and staying connected to the natural world, but with a precocious 2-year-old it would just turn into a lot of extra cleaning and would lose the calming aspect. Maybe by the time we're changing our table for fall we'll give it a try inside - maybe.

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