Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

treasures of an autumn day

The rain let up Tuesday long enough for us to take a beautiful blustery hike in the woods with my sister and niece.  Hiking is not something they do much of at home, but they count on a hike or two when they're visiting us.  We are more than happy to oblige.
There were incredible treasures to be found in the woods...
 Quite by accident, Alissa uncovered a "cache", hidden to be found by "geo-cachers".  Geo-caching is like letterboxing, only you use a GPS system to play and instead of exchanging stamps, the finder chooses something to take away from the cache, and leaves something behind.
 I was thrilled when out of the leaves next to me crawled this beauty...she is a marbled orbweaver, and apparently they are very active at this time of year.

My sister's photos of the girls (taken with her I-phone) remind me so much of photos of us when we were their age.
 And she took this one of me, doing what I do when we're out in the woods, crawling around collecting souvenirs with my camera...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Some Cousin Love

Just a glimpse of our days with Lucy and my sister...all taken by my sister with her hipstomatic i-phone application (I think I got that right!) - aren't those cool colors??? More later...

Good Earth Farm & Nature Weavings

 It seems that "farm school" is all I post about these days! I have more to share, but it's taken me three days to get these photos to upload with blogger, for some reason, so I'm feeling a bit discouraged, without the time to get to the bottom of it.  My sister and my niece are here, so I have some lovely photos of hers to share, which will hopefully happen in the next day or so...Until then, another Friday at farm school, with minimal notation I think...

The day began with chatting around the fire, helping Farmer Dan peel garlic clove for planting.

The day's afternoon activity was nature weaving, so the morning walk included collecting grasses, leaves, sticks, seed pods, berries and flowers in their baskets.  I had done this project with my girls and my niece a year ago, and it is such a nice way to celebrate the changing of the season.
While they were on their walk, I tended the potatoes in the fire...
Lunch prep included chopping toppings for the potatoes, and making graham crackers for dessert.
Basella berries make for a wonderful edible dye for the crackers.  (I think basella is sometimes called malabar spinach. It's a new plant to me, and I hope to grow it in the spring.)
These sugar-coated graham crackers were unfortunately the second load of sugar for the day, after the caramel apple snack from a parent.  My sugar-sensitive older child found refuge after lunch away from the fort-making, up in a tree.  I was glad to see that she could figure out a way for her to take care of herself when she wasn't feeling up to interacting with all the other kids.  Eventually my co-facilitator, Molly, made her way up to join her, which was really really nice for Eliza.
Then on to the nature weavings! I had collected lots of "Y" sticks, so the kids all chose one and got down to winding the twine around the two arms of the "'Y". It was a little tricky, but we had a lot of grown-up help to hold sticks steady or help with the twining.
Once the sticks are strung, the weaving can begin, using the bits of nature from their baskets.
The farm held a fall festival on Saturday, so we wove the weavings into the fence to decorate.  This project was so successful for everyone - some of the kids kept at it long after we had started cleaning up, and a few of the adults managed to make their own with the leftover amaranth and grasses left lying about.  

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Doings

 Our week started with a lot of hula hooping; we made our own with friends at the park after choir Monday, and every morning since they've asked to go across the street to where the sun is to hula. It so happens that we live across from an elementary school, and I think it's kind of funny to watch them holler and hula down the hill from the kids in the little playground. We are so conspicuous where we live, that I have given up feeling self-conscious about what my kids are doing while hundreds of other kids are across the street spending their entire day inside. (for the record: I timed the recess the other day.  7 minutes.  I am hoping it was a "bonus" for good behavior, and not their regularly scheduled outside time.)
 Eliza's getting pretty good hooping around her neck, though it looks so uncomfortable to me!  She also spent time sitting on the hill drawing our house.  I wish we had purple windows and orange shades!
 We had a wacky day on Wednesday - Dan was home from school with a horrible cough and a thrown-out back, the girls and I had forty errands to run and another child to watch and then gymnastics and, and, and - but somehow we managed to turn an errand to the farm into a letterboxing excursion...that's the way to do it!
 the Wire Buffalo (which we've always called an armadillo)
 As I said, we were at the farm, and the statue that inspired the handmade stamp for this letterboxing site sits in the middle of the pasture.  Since we were there and since I hadn't seen them in so long, the girls tiptoed me across an empty cow pasture (warning me of the cow pies. Cow pies are HUGE, in case you didn't remember. HUGE.) to greet the pigs.
 Come on, now, making time for pigs makes a wonky day so much better...