Speaking from personal experience, my own family's relationships have been nourished over the years through shared experiences in nature—from sharing our toddler's wonder upon turning over a rock and discovering a magnificent bug the size of a mouse, to paddling our old canoe down a nearby creek during the children's school years, to hiking the mountains.
It's finally happened: the boys are at the age to rebel against what their parents want, and for us now that means going camping. Sigh. They actually just grumbled a bit about going and of course had a great time once we set off. That was a couple of hours later than we had hoped/planned; we weren't all packed and ready to go till about 5:30. The drive is about two and a half hours without traffic, and we also had to stop for some groceries and dinner on the way. Traffic getting out of the city wasn't too terrible, but we didn't stop until after 8, somewhere between Islip and Patchogue.
The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature is a book I'm sure I will reread or at least dip into again and again. It is beautifully written and packed with fascinating information about the ecology of the eastern forest.
The Tarpmaster said he wanted to go on a hike for Fathers' Day, so we planned an excursion with his parents. I did some research into places to go and settled on Conetquot River State Park, in Suffolk County. I figured my father-in-law wouldn't want to spend the whole day driving, and the park is only about 45 minutes from their house. It's kind of surprising that after 20 years living with a native of Long Island, I haven't seen more of its natural areas.
At the zoo yesterday I noticed these mud wasp nests built into the lettering on the facade of the "Animals in our Lives" building. Celebrate Urban Birds has a Funky Nests in Funky Places photo sharing page, but I don't know of anything like that for insects.
I've written another article for my Brooklyn Wildlife Examiner column, describing a few common butterflies seen in the city.
I've joined my children at my mother's house in Maine. (I took the bus from NYC yesterday.) They've been up here a week already.
While visiting family in Westchester, the Tarpmaster and I went for a short walk along the Amawalk reservoir and dam. They are part of the Croton Aqueduct section of the New York City water supply, which is now used mainly as backup to the Catskills system, and also for a small part of Queens, if I remember right.