Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gardening in Mandarin

by June

When the days grow long, and the flowers bloom, and the peas swell, and the sun shines through every color making it even more that color, we are out of this house. We are out with the flowers and peas and the nesting swallows right there on our garden post.

Which doesn't mean that we stop studying Mandarin. For the last few years, we've made our garden tags using ready-to-color Chinese flash cards drawn by local artist and my dear friend Betsy Thompson, who also homeschools two of Blossom's and Fern's nearest and dearest. (You can see more of Betsy's lovely work here.)
We photocopy the cards onto card stock and cut them out. Blossom and Fern color the vegetables according to whim. Then we laminate and punch a hole in each one. Finally, we hang them by garden ties onto the swaths of chicken wire that guard against the ground hog families who share our land (and our vegetables too, if given any opening).

All summer, we water and weed and harvest our wan dou, xi hong shi, and huang gua. We learn our Chinese and eat it too.