Wednesday, April 13, 2016

At the creek, why I think time in nature shapes my children, and fame for Marblemount Homestead

While some of you in other parts of the country were snowed in, we Pacific Northwesterners put on our bathing suits and went swimming.  I know, it's crazy, and I'm very, very, very sorry if you had to dress in hats and coats while we did this:

By "we" I mean my crazy children and their friend.  There's no way in hell I would jump into this glacier-fed water, but the kids did, and more power to them.

If you read my blog for a while you know that we live at the edge of the wilderness.  We live minutes away from wild creeks and rivers, and this is one of them.  The water is turquoise-green and magical, framed my moss covered rocks, waving ferns and towering cedars.  Surely, fairies and unicorns hang out here.

Every now and then, I question our choice to live so far out (literally speaking in terms of distance, and also in the sense of far out of the norms of society: home birthing, home schooling, our simple life style).  I worry if this is the best choice for our kids.  Shouldn't they be engaged in sports, in school, watching TV like their peers, hanging out at the mall?

Then I watch them interact with their many friends of all ages, my children happy, confident and comfortable in their own skins, entertaining themselves on their own terms, following their passions, nurturing their interests, and I know: Yes, we are doing the right thing.  They can do all of the "conventional" things when they are ready to leave the nest, but for now, they are doing just fine.

When we go to the creek, we pack lots and lots of snacks (how, I ask you, are you supposed to keep two ever-hungry preteen boys and a rapidly growing six-year-old fed?).  We don't bring anything else - no toys, electronic devices or books.  I might bring my knitting, but the kids keep themselves busy digging in sand and covering each other with it, jumping in the water, and performing circus tricks.

I hope that all this time my children spend in nature will shape them.  I know it shaped me, growing up in the beautiful countryside in Germany, where I spent hours outside hiking, biking or walking.  But living here in the Pacific Northwest wilderness takes this a step further: it's wild here, raw, drop-dead beautiful, and this must somehow seep into my kids' bones and shape them.  I hope so.

PS: I got featured on the website and blog "Overthrow the System - Women who Farm".  This is an INCREDIBLE honor, since these people have a beautiful vision and a huge audience.  My ears are burnin'!
Read the article here.


  1. It's OverGROWthe system. (They're sneaky in their innuendo.) But how cool! So nice that you're getting the recognition after all your hard work and dedication.

    And you're 100% right about kids. Their upbringing is similar to mine except we had conventional schooling. Otherwise we entertained ourselves indoors and outdoors and it was a very organic life. The only electronic was the telephone and the TV which we only watched on Saturday morning. Cartoons. We turned out OK. Anyway we didn't turn out messed up any more than "normal" so, yeah, I agree with you and your choice.

    1. Thanks, Renee!
      PS: I mailed your soap yesterday!

  2. Your kids are very lucky indeed. I sometimes wish we could homeschool ours too, but then I realize I would have no idea how!!
    It is illegal here anyway. The top brass wants docile and obedient citizens. That's how the people have been brought up here for generations; stand in line, do not criticize, do not ask offending questions and above all do not stand out!
    Nice to see you getting recognition!

    1. What? Homeschooling being illegal?
      The Germans are feisty, anarchistic antisocials compared to the folks over here. Well, I massively exaggerate, but you get the picture...


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