Thursday, July 9, 2009

No Place for Kids

Joanne Jacobs has a post about a Montana mom who was charged with endangerment after dropping 5 kids off at the mall. Two were 12 and supposed to be responsible for the three younger ones. Full story is here, Endangered at the Mall.

There used to be a time when this would not have been unusual. There are many cultures where this would not be viewed as unusual. Where 12 year olds were seen as sufficiently responsible and mature to look after younger children. Where unaccompanied children were welcomed as part of the community. Not here in North America apparently.

So if not here, could it be that despite all our chatter we really don't value children as we should? After all, if children were really as precious as we pretend, wouldn't we build communities that didn't exclude them? That didn't view a group of teenagers with hositlity or didn't make us fear for the safety of a lone 6 year old biking to a local store?

Maybe the Montana mom exposed the fact that for all our bluster about child safety we have no real intention of making out world a safe and welcome place for children to live in. We'd much rather pin responsibility on a scapegoat.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tomatoes and Bird of Prey

Sometimes, life is just too cool.

Yesterday I was getting supper ready and I grabbed a tomato and began slicing it up. I only managed to get as far as the first slice however because when the slice fell away I saw what looked like maggots inside the tomato. Thankfully, having a daughter who thought "baby flies" were cute when she was younger has done away with my fear and recoil reflex when faced with the little larva so I just took a closer look. They weren't moving after all.

They weren't maggots. They were sprouts! The seeds in the tomato had all sprouted and had not just a good bit of root but tiny leaves. How cool is that? I called the kids in and we examined them.

Today we looked at them again and talked about how they would have sprouted. The tomatoes came from my mother's house where she doesn't put tomatoes that she's buys in the fridge but sets them in the fruit bowl in her warm and sunny kitchen. We held the tomatoes up to the light and discovered they were translucent. The hypothesis is that in that environment, not cold from a fridge and with plenty of sunlight availible to the seeds ("and," added Catherine, "a rich source of nutrients - the tomato.") they sprouted. Later we'll be taking some down and planting them in some potting soil. We'll leave a few in a tomato slice as well and see how well each batch grows.

But what about the bird of prey? Well, we were outside on the front porch this morning (although it's a bit chilly today it's the first relatively sunny day that we've had in a week) and I heard a splash. I looked over at the pond and saw a great black bird just coming up from the water. The first thought, ridiculous as it was, was that a crow had fallen in the pond. But then I noticed the flash of white on the head and the white underbelly as it soared up into the sky. Osprey!

Now I know everybody and their dogs love Bald Eagles. I admit, they're pretty fierce looking birds but where I live they're a rather common sight and, well, they're as much scavengers as anything else. But an Osprey! Drop dead gorgeous and a real, honest-to-goodness hunters. They apparently occur worldwide but as a single species with some wonderfully unique features. AND they're our provincial bird.

Anyhow, once I realized what it was I told the kids and we all watched as it circled the pond for about 5 minutes looking for another fish. And then it dived, splashed and came up with one of our little speckled trout in it's talons. The kids were thrilled! We watched it fly off and hoped he'd decide this was a great place to fish.

Too cool.