A week at the cabin gives us so much time to just be present. Granted, our day-to-day life is spent mostly in a state of presence, but here at home we have toys. And abundant art supplies. And the distraction of friends. At the cabin it's just us and the woods and the river.
Lupine and I took a long walk with a big basket looking for… something. We found lots of labrador tea to harvest and dry for winter and plenty of red raspberry leaf (also to be dried for tea). We picked a bouquet of black eyed susans and brought back a few leaves to find in various field guides.
As we turned back toward the cabin on the dead end road we were on Lupine and I noticed a magical expanse of moss beneath some trees. We dropped to our knees and laid on our bellies and sat in amazement of this miniature forest.
Then I remembered a project I had seen somewhere (Where, I can not say. A quick Google search found several terrarium tutorials but not the one I had seen a few weeks ago.) Lupine and I gently wiggled our fingers down into the sandy soil and lifed up a few small pads of moss and other miniature plants. We placed them in our basket and headed down the road.
At the cabin we found a few empty jars in the pantry. Sage joined us and we set to work. There are many ways to make terrariums. Here is how we made ours.
1. Gather your moss. The holes you leave in the moss landscape will quickly refill as moss spreads from nearby plants, but do be conscientious of how much you take. Just enough please.
2. Dig a bit of soil. Moss prefers sandy soil but isn't fussy. Use what you find.
3. Mound a few pinches of soil in the lid of your jar. It need not be much as moss is shallow rooting. Scrape the soil away from the edge of the jar lid so that you can close your jar in a few minutes.
4. Place the moss on top of the soil, pushing as needed away from the threads. You may want to add sculptural elements like shells, crystals, sticks, or stones.
5. When you are satisfied with your project give the moss a sprinkle of water. You need not soak it, but this is all the moisture that your terrarium will have, so moisten it until it feels soft but not muddy.
6. Gently nudge the moss away from the threads once more and screw on your jar. It will make a terrible sand-on-glass scratching noise. Normal. Don't fret. Crank that jar and marvel at your work.
Alternatively you can use a bottle as the base of your terrarium. The "jungle bottle" that Sage made is my favorite terrarium of the five we made. He followed the procedure here but laid everything out with the bottle on its side instead of in the lid He used his fingers and a stick to arrange everything the way he wanted it.
The terrariums steam up and look magical withing minutes and by morning we could see trails in the steam from some tiny insects living in the moss.
That's my kind of project.