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Begin With Nature ... Small Wonders

What's that floating? Apples?


Nature is full of surprises. If we look very closely, amazing action is always taking place. While out on a bike ride I saw an unusual sight, apples floating down the stream. I wondered what the ducks, frogs, fish and heron would think of apples parading down their stream. "Aha," I said. "What fun this could be." And, not long after that bike ride, I was writing A FISHING SURPRISE.


Of course, that was not the title I first gave my story, but it was a perfect fit when I had finished. Often, I first title my story something very simple just to make connections and open the door to going back to work on it. Give your titles some thought when you are finished. You will want your title to invite the reader inside your story.

What goes on down by the stream? You, too, can get acquainted with the plants, animals, and insects that make the water their home. Take an adult with you to enjoy the watching and waiting by the waterside.


Did you know that half of all the insects in the world live in or near fresh water? Head to the library and check out an insect handbook and identify the ones near your waterside.


Start a researcher's kit made from an old satchel or backpack. Fill it with a notebook, sketch paper, pencils, and leave a little room to add that library book to help answer questions that are sure to spring out your wondering.



While we are on the subject of getting wet, do you know your water safety rules?


Let a responsible adult know when your are playing near the water.


Always swim with a buddy.


Never dive into the water if you do not know what is beneath the surface.


Life jackets save lifes. Wear one. 


Swimming lessons are a terrific way to get started swimming safely. 



Illustrated by Eric Groff.



 A story for all time, and for anyone who has ever loved a tree.


Lizzie tells this "moment in time" story in first person as she, two brothers, and her parents hike up the well-worn trail to visit Granny. The forest is aflame with fall color and the path is carpeted with forest confetti on the day following a fierce and worrisome storm. A celebration cake swings along in mom's traveling basket, and Nick packs trail mix to share with the wild forest inhabitants. Little brother, Sam, finds a great deal to sing about as he echoes "the chat" on the way to Granny's.

(Party today, far away. Confetti, spaghetti, party all ready …)

The inspiration for this story comes from years of family hikes up the trails in a hilly and forested watershed near our home in northwest Washington. I am hoping that you will have a chance to read GRAN, GRAN, GRANNY real soon. Order now from Clear Fork Publishing.

Introducing the real GRANNY of my inspirations.
A visit to the real Granny. Time for a hug!
Celebrating trees ... thank you students from our school visit.
How many kinds of trees can you draw?
Make a wish for nature. Here is a leaf form that I made.
Find the biggest leaf you can. Trace around it on a sheet of paper.
Write your own wish for trees, the earth, the littlest bug. You decide who to shower your good wishes on.
Trace a big leaf or draw one of your own. 
Catch a leaf in autumn and make a wish to keep or share.
GRAN, GRAN, GRANNY makes a first school visit.  
Thank you for sharing story, art, and ideas with Rae.