In Expectation: Finding Joy in Your Own Neighborhood

Ferns 1 2 6 10

I always go outside with the expectation that there will be something interesting.

Sometimes you have to look harder to find it than other times.

Nature study has made me more of a positive person…I expect to find something outdoors to make me joyful. I expect that there will be something that we can observe and notice.

There is just so much to see and learn about, but we need to train our eyes and hearts to be open to the opportunities that arise.

The simple truth is that everyone has something special and unique to explore in their own backyard or neighborhood.

Here are a few things from our hikes this week.

Yellow Fungus 2
Wow! Look at the color of this fungi? We think it is called Witches Butter.

Cools Seeds 2 6 10
I am amazed by these seeds. As many times as we have hiked down this same path, by this same plant, I have never noticed these really great seeds but there they are.

Critter Hole
There were lots of fresh critter holes along the trail this week. This one was especially large. We see signs of lots of mammals as we walk and holes are some of the most intriguing signs that we are not alone.

Ferns 3 2 6 10
The ferns are growing right now like crazy. Every day there are more and more to enjoy.

Keep your senses open to any opportunities and you may be surprised what you find to be interested in along with your children.

I got to thinking about all of the simple things we have in our own backyard that we have noticed over the years.

Trees: leaves, bark, twigs, roots, flowers, cones, needles, seeds, pods, nests, birds
Patch of weeds: leaves, roots, bugs, flowers perhaps
Dirt: worms, gravel, stones, seeds, mud
Sky: clouds, sun, moon, stars
Air: temperature, wind, smells, breath on a cold morning
Birds: flying, pecking, eating, chirping, hopping, shapes and colors, beaks, wings, tails, feet
Sounds: wind, frogs, rain, leaves, crickets, bees, fly buzzing, mosquitoes
Weather: rain, clouds, temperature, snow, ice, dew, wind
Flowers (garden or in a pot): petals, pollen, roots, leaves, stem, fragrance, shapes, colors, seeds

What can you put on your list?

Above all, have fun and be joyful!
Barb-Harmony Art Mom


  1. Ha! I came by to leave a comment on your robin post but will share my excitement here…

    Just got back from an afternoon walk–I heard the first robins of the season!!!

    I walked over a mile from my home and heard them where I’ve first heard them the past two years, in the same woodlot on a particular neighbor’s property. Since I was walking in the afternoon, I didn’t identify them by their dawn songs like I’ve heard the previous two years but by their “yeep” calls.

    I was so excited when I got home, my kids knew what I had discovered before I said a word.

    So now, February is one-third over and the robins are back. Talk about joy…;)

    I love the pictures of your fungi, Barb. That will be a new area we study more of this year after seeing so many interesting types last fall.


  2. I enjoyed reading this! Great pictures too – especially that fungi! Wow!

  3. Sarah,

    I am really happy that you were able to see and hear your spring robins today! It always feels so good to know that it won’t be long until we have longer, warmer days and it all starts with the robins.

    Thanks for letting me know.

    I am really glad that everyone has enjoyed my fungi photo…it is so strikingly beautiful in person. :)


  4. I love looking at fungi. There is such a diversity of shapes and colors.

    This morning I noticed that a wall near our tunnel was covered with vibrant green moss. I’ve walked past it so many times and never really noticed before.

  5. We had the same experience several months ago (you can about here: What a joy it is to “find” something right in front of us all along!

    On another note, I have been inspired by both of your blogs to be more consistent and dig a little deeper in our CM education. Thank you!!

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