May 3, 2011

Celebrating Easter & the Earth

We had a beautiful Easter weekend. 
Saturday we were supposed to have a baseball tournament.  It was canceled due to weather, so we had a fantastic family day at home instead.
Lilly had been patiently waiting all week to color Easter eggs.  This year we skipped the dye & went with non-toxic acrylic paints.  I don't know the specs on how "food safe" this method is.   None of the paint was consumed, though, or bled through the shell as dyes tend to, so I felt good about it.

Johnathan, Lilly & Beau were focused, happy egg artists.  
(Mason & Eric were playing baseball outside, they ate their six eggs scrambled the night before.)
Hard boiled eggs are a hit with the younger crowd here at our house.  They couldn't wait to gobble some up.   
As I cleaned up paintbrushes, the dreary clouds that canceled baseball parted, and the late day turned beautiful.
Johnathan had been patiently waiting all week to do the annual trash clean-up on our road.  
Friday was earth day, there had been no school, and he seemed really concerned that we hadn't done something special to commemorate it yet.   For the record, we celebrate earth day every day and encourage our friends to do the same.   But for the past ten years, we've cleaned the litter from the length of our road each spring, usually close to earth day.  Johnathan was eager, asking me every half hour, "Are we going to pick up garbage?"   He sees it as a dutiful family adventure.
The sun's timing was super, it was a perfect evening for picking up trash.

Heading out... recycle bins in tow.   
You wouldn't believe the trash that gets tossed on our quiet little road.   We filled up four trash cans of mostly recyclables.  There were some bulk miscellaneous items like carpet, and several bags of mystery stuff..  but this year was actually the best we've ever seen! 
Last year I was pretty fed up after our road clean-up, having a solid hunch that the dozens of plastic beef jerky wrappers, and the dozens of styrofoam coffee cups, and the dozens of pepsi bottles, were from the road grader that passes through our road dozens of times a year.  We often saw him in his cab up there on the grader, chewing on beef jerky, or drinking coffee,  and we often saw these exact items littered on freshly graded dirt with no new tracks.  (Literally, these things were found left & right every couple of feet up & down our road.)
I like to think I'm a fair person in not assuming too much, or jumping to unjust conclusions.  But the evidence here was several trash bags strong, a couple of years in a row.  
I was bothered at the bulk of what our just-turned-three-year-old toddler had cleaned up.  I was bothered at the lack of respect for the land & the people who live here.    
So, I took a few minutes and did something.  I called the department that oversees our county road maintenance, explained that for the past decade we'd been cleaning up our road, that we'd sensed a pattern & could probably guess what Mr. Road Grader had for breakfast on his work mornings.  And I politely asked if he could maybe carry a bag with him to keep his trash in.
The man I spoke with was very nice, told us we should be getting credit with one of those "adopt a road" programs, free trash bags & safety vests & such, and said, "OH, I can't believe one of OUR guys would do that, but I'll be sure to mention it."

Well, I (common, ordinary old me)  possibly made a difference!!  
This year, we picked up NOT ONE Jack's Links jumbo beef jerky wrapper, nor styrofoam java express cup, nor mass quantity of pepsi bottles.  
Coincidence or not, hooray for less litter!   :)
I'm proud of our kids for caring & keeping the land clean.  They really get into the clean-up effort & do a thorough job.    
But it is my hope that some day children won't have to pick up trash from their surroundings dumped by careless others.  It really, truly is.         
Mission complete.  Nice & clean.  It's a good feeling.  
Sunday morning the birds were singing.
We sat in the sun & watched the kids search high & low for Easter eggs around the yard. 
How we keep from putting all our eggs in one (or two, or three) baskets, with kids spanning 9 years of age:  We color code them.   Mason & Eric get to search for a certain color hidden at a challenging level.   Johnathan & Lilly are assigned a pair of colors at a nice medium level.   And Beau's eggs are blue, silly & fairly spottable.   It's great fun to watch. 
I think they got them all, but we usually find one more by fall.
Later we headed to Granny & Grampa's house for food & more fun.  
Granny puts on quite a clever Easter egg hunt of her own.  All the cousins enjoyed finding their baskets.  

Then we flew kites.   It was a great day.  A perfect weekend.


  1. love the kite flying picture. I am definately going to do color coding from now on! what a great idea.

    we don't have much trash on our road/area since all the uncaring ppl just toss their stuff in the creek and it flows away--which i think is worse. I often see the weirdest things floating down our creek like refrigerators! for several years it was too polluted to swim in and was declared toxic by our county. Supposedly the ban has been lifted now. I hope it is true that it is no longer toxic. good for you for cleaning up. I think earth day should be everyday too.

  2. Easter was fun, I always enjoy it. As for the habits of people, I would have thought that we all were long past the "littering our world" stage. I'd think that everybody knows better. Good for you guys and everyone who does know better!

  3. Love your easter eggs! love the fact that your kids were so eager to clean up the trash! great job!