Pitchfork, Calorie-Burn, and Big Fat Dirt-Eaters

Dirt Girls!

To me, that is just pure fun.

As we girls get back to playing in the dirt for the season, another compost pile gets ‘flipped’ to ready the area for planting. Nutrients are all there and accounted for. Moisture level is perfect — not too wet, not too dry, juuuuust right. No additional inputs are necessary via herbicides or fertilizers. It’s all right there, bio-ready. Ready for plants or seeds.

There are dozens of 7-to-8-inch long wriggly earthworms and several other decomposers like the the giant ox beetle grub. This is a sign of healthy soil and though I don’t see them I know they’re there:  trillions of other living beings like fungi, bacteria, nematodes. They are doing the heavy lifting free of charge. They guarantee the successful growing seasons.

Why I Steal Trash

Lasagna gardening or, as I like to call it, lazy gardening, is my way. Why bring the compost to the plant when you can plant right into the compost?

Earth — the soil under my dirty toes — is alive. The only ‘tools’ needed to work it are a pitchfork or a screwdriver or perhaps a dull-bladed shovel. Why destroy what is so perfectly designed by Mother Nature with mechanical methods? With muscle, sweat and a few calories, I gently and purposefully turn the soil, enriching it with oxygen and carefully removing competing plants (grasses, etc.) from within. I know what I plant will do just fine without me, converting minerals in the soil into nutrients for my body.

A little love put by me into the Earth is in turn a whole lot of love put right back into me.

Ox Beetle Grub
Mo, the Ox Beetle Grub

Coming! A composting-building and bed-layering exercise.

Oh, How I Missed the Frogs!

Gray Tree Frog

They’re back! Listening to this at night from the inside with the windows open is just the best for sweet dreams. These little buddies are so loud, they drown out the automobile noises that continue throughout the night on the nearby parkway.

Next time, I should get a longer recording. Perfect white noise for camping. Hm…

Live. Bird. Recharge. Repeat.

Selfie on the Trail

Aaaaahh. So nice to be back!

The simple pleasure of mountain hiking and birding for me is just what this girl needs to continue the home stretch with the school at home and the Spring Marathon that is the yard for the next few weeks. The kids were contented to stay back in Texas with their cousins, so Mr. and Mrs. Dirt could hit the trail.

Continue reading Live. Bird. Recharge. Repeat.

Mish Mash Monday – March 16

Robber Fly


“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” ~ Maya Angelou

The West – Find Your Way Back To My Heart

Mike Bizeau is a favorite photography blogger who keeps me longing for a trip to Yellowstone in the winter. Ever since Scott and I watched Christmas in Yellowstone, we knew it would be a vacation destination in the future for us in the months of December and January — when the kids are older or (better) with none at all. Until then, I will live vicariously through others. Isn’t that the real reason we follow other blogs?

As for Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks, we will be getting our National Park passport stamps as a family very soon. Click the photo to be taken to the post.

Courtesy of Nature Has No Boss Blog

American Priorities — Not Exactly ‘Dirt’

You don’t see Soil’ or ‘Dirt’ ever appearing on the WordPress Explore Topics page. I’d fall over backwards if I ever did.

Of all the tags listed below, a few of them really stand out.


  • FTW (sports)- 12,810 posts
  • High School Sports – 10,582 posts
  • Sports – 6,943 posts
  • US Today Sports – 88,375 posts

The whole ‘Nature’ Tag has slightly more than 2,000 posts in comparison. Ha! It’s so fun being the oddball.

I check out the ‘Nature’ Tag occasionally and even look to see who’s among the Recommended Blogs for ‘Science and Nature.’ Tag surfing, I like to call it, is really fun. I’ve found like-minded bloggers who sometimes help seed (no pun) content destined to become a blog post, even spawning some lasting virtual relationships.

Running into dirt people who might also be birders who happen to be vegans is like finding a needle in a haystack. It took me all of three years to find onejust one, and he’s not even here in America. *sad face*(Thank you, Christy.)

At DirtNKids, the love is spread pretty evenly among Birds, Education, Soil and Veganism with lots of ‘Entertainment’ (by my standard!) snugged into the words in between.


But No ‘Sports’

[Note to New Followers: The ‘Tag Cloud’ is visible from any of DirtNKids’ Home pages. Click on any Tag link for a list of posts categorized there, or use the search box at the top instead. I’ve also linked top posts by year in the About Me page for quick-gets.]

Chickens Are People Too

Thank you, Violet, for this fun and animated poem! Violet’s work is amazing. And she’s a vegan ta boot.

This past week, the girls and I have been caring for a friends ‘zoo’ while they were away for spring break. Of the four dogs, three chickens and two parakeets, I must say the chickens were my favorite. Every day, they waited for me right there at the door, not for food handouts like the others, but for idle chat and social hour with a fellow two-legger. Such lovely, chatty ladies!

If you are considering becoming vegetarian (but not vegan), consider giving up eggs and dairy before giving up flesh. The torture and conditions of egg layers and dairy cows (think ‘disposable male babies’ and ‘reproductive slavery’) are far worse than those raised for their flesh alone.

Click the photo to be taken to the post; be sure to read her delightful poem as you enjoy her illustrations.


Courtesy of Veg*n e-Comics Blog

A Year Ago: We were getting the garden ready.

Two Years Ago: We watched and video’d a bald eagle dining at the creek.

Have a Happy Spring Break 2015!

Mish Mash Monday – March 9


Photo credit: Vadim Trunov

“I’m not an animal lover if that means you think things are nice if you can pat them, but I am intoxicated by animals.” ~ David Attenborough

My Pick: Heart-warming. A Girl And Her Crows.

Given our own love and respect for all beings two-legged and feathered, we totally get how easy it is to love them with feeders and bird baths. Did you know that birds can love you back? Read this wonderful story about a girl whose kindness is repaid by the birds she feeds — through all the trinkets they bring to her. Amazing!

Courtesy of Joan Larsen, Forming the Thread Blog

Electro-magnetism Explained. In Less Than 5 Minutes. Wow.

Where was Veritasium when I was taking EM classes for an engineering degree so many years ago?  All I needed was one positively charged cat and the right reference point, apparently, juding from this clip from their ‘Minute Physics’ series. If this piques your interest for more (as it did mine), you might also want to view the follow-on, why magnets work. This is so thoughtful, even my middle-schooler understood it.

Kid Pick: A Squirrel And His Balls. Er, uh, Nuts. Never Mind.

This was just too cute not to pass on. You won’t want to miss out on the other photos taken of this playful duo; the photographer lured them to his camera by hiding nuts inside of mini-snowballs. What he captured in personalities is just priceless!

Hey! Catch! Photo Credit: Vadim Trunov

Courtesy of Animals Deserve to Live Blog

Dirt! The Movie. Our First Ever Giveaway!

DirtifiedI would like to thank Elizabeth at Benenson Productions for kindly offering up (unsolicited) three more videos for promotion here and for sharing it on their Facbook page. Thank you so much for your generosity!

There were officially seven contestants, a nearly 50% chance of winning. That’s better odds than the Texas Lottery! My copy — which I bought for this purpose — was worth every cent I paid to pass it on to someone else. Dirt! The Movie remains to be one of mine and my kids’ favorite documentaries, first watched streaming on Netflix, finally in my DVD library. It expresses best who I am and what we’re about here.

Thank you to all who participated and commented and liked. We are always glad to have you here; feel free to come back at any time.

The winners of last week’s Dirt! The Movie Giveaway(s) are (in no particular order):

Julie of ChocolateChipsAndChaos Blog

NovaScotiaRoots Blog

Steve R (My Cousin!)

Peg of Peg-o-Leg’s Ramblings

Congratulations! I will be in touch via email to get you your loot.

Teen Training, Exploring Wild Urban Spaces

Crab Apple Blossoms

Never Too Young To Build Work Experience

This week, my oldest — officially a teen — began exploring community service opportunities with another classmate. It’s never too early to start building that education resumé not only to potentially earn some income through high school, but also to be distinguished among all the other hundreds of college applicants when the time comes.

All of my kids are hard workers. When a ‘free day’ is at stake, there is little pushing by me to complete 5-day’s lessons in only four, so that Friday can be a relished day off. Since John’s interview would be at a park location in Houston, we decided to just stay and explore there for a while instead of rushing back home. We would only need to beat rush hour traffic. No problem.

Continue reading Teen Training, Exploring Wild Urban Spaces

Wacky Weather, Bunny Colic, and Everything’s Coming Up Onions

Sick Bunny Heals Up

Mordecai has emerged from the woods, and life with four kids and three bunnies is back to normal again. It was touch-and-go there for a few days, as we were concerned when he stopped eating, drinking, pooing. We knew something was up when he turned his nose to carrots and kibble. He was just sleeping all the time, even more than the usual 15 hours per day.

You’ve heard me say (read me write?) that bunnies are just like little horses. What the vet told me last week confirmed my conclusion. Unlike a horse, however, a bunny will typically recover from colic no worse for the wear with a bit of forced-feeding, laxative, and an intestinal lubricant — to the tune of $300 (yikes!). A horse, on the other hand, might very well lie down and die no matter how much money you throw at it. You can’t possibly force-feed a horse enough to sustain him, and once he lies down…well, it’s pretty much all over then.

Poor little horsie bunny. He did not take well to the week-long forced-feeding program.

Continue reading Wacky Weather, Bunny Colic, and Everything’s Coming Up Onions

Evening Rush Hour

White Ibis

“It is nice finding that place where you can just go and relax.” ~ Moises Arias

Sitting out by the creek watching the birds come home to roost for the night is a daily pleasure. On this particular evening, through the steady din of motor vehicles themselves fighting to get their pilots safely back home, I completely get how life can be so simple as a favorite roosting tree. And I am thankful that I work and relax in the same wonderful space — no transportation save my feet to get there every day.

The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are a regular for evening fly-by’s, leading the way with their noisy ‘whistles’ to other small groupings like them that it’s time to move on. The White Ibis may be a quieter bunch, but they are most beautiful contrasted against the rosy sky.

Continue reading Evening Rush Hour

Don’t Worry. Even My Mom Missed It.

DirtifiedDid you miss the part in yesterday’s post about the great giveaway? My own mother — who reads all my posts like a good mommy should — certainly did. I buried it good, so maybe you did too.

Don’t miss your chance this week to enter for a FREE copy of Dirt! The Movie on DVD provided by moi. And guess what? The good people at Benenson Productions have been kind enough to offer three more copies to help promote this awesome award-winning documentary to spread the word about healthy soil and how we are linked to it. Such nice wonderfully dirty people, they must be.

So…what are you waiting for? Read the rules then leave a comment to win –>

Come on…Get Dirty!