impossibleway: (The Flower Picker)
The days are full of time outside right now.  After breakfast to before bedtime, folks are heading outside.  We're in for most meals, school time, and quiet time.  The weather really is perfect right now, the kind I always dream of for Autumn.   Rain comes every few days, it's not too hot, but you can also cool off easily.  Just so nice.

While the trees are mostly bare, all the Spring bulbs are putting on a show.  Tulips are starting to bloom and grape hyacinths are delivered to me with great regularity.  I have two vases overflowing right now, along with a full size hyacinth that Laurel picked (eek!).  It all smells so sweet.  It is a little strange to have all this blossoming life right now, several weeks ahead of what we are accustomed to, but I am trying to embrace it.  What else is there to do?

BouquetEveryone is sleeping a full eleven hours each night, and Laurel is still napping.  All the fresh air (and mud and sand) is doing wonders, I guess.  Willow has some sniffles, but they may be due to her nine year change.  I remember well the many complaints she had during the six year change, and I think this may be quite a lot like that.  A cold just a month after having had the last one is record-breaking for this at-home family.  We've got kefir and various other things to help us along, so it will pass and we'll feel thankful for the chance to slow down.

We got a new floor in the kitchen this week, wood-grain vinyl.  There's hardwood underneath all that, but we'll save that job for a time when there aren't galloping children in the house.  We'll probably be ready for a full-scale refinishing of all the floors then.  It is so nice to have a new floor--one without gouge marks and floral prints (as much as I love them on fabrics).  In this way, the kitchen got a good Spring clean, since it is such a hard-working space.  Mike put up a new mailbox, too, and I've got a ceiling fan waiting to go into the kitchen. I am hopeful it will make the Summer canning much more comfortable.

There is a lot to be hopeful about these days, with Spring in the air and all the waiting garden seeds.  I'm planning on building a hugelkultur bed or two with some of the rotten wood, leaves, straw and rocks we have.  While the stars have yet to align for us to have chickens (and I'm getting stage fright), this project seems to be a good fit.  I have all the supplies ready and waiting.  If any of you have done this, let me know.  I'd love to hear.  Carrie is working on her own beds, too.

School planning has been happening, as well, the third grade year writing itself out in my mind.  Gardening and fiber crafts are surely going to be at the heart of Willow's turn.  In that way, I suppose we'll get an early start.  It's going to be new terrain, in many ways, though some things will be revisited in a new way.  Enki covers some language arts skills that I see will come up in the materials from Christopherus next year.  I do like the idea of each child having their own experience of each grade.  Roan, I think, will do more building in grade three, though time will tell.

Well, I think folks are waking up, so it's time to mix up breakfast!
impossibleway: (Movingthe Soul with Color)
Christopherus Grade ThreeAfter a long February, I find myself with a little afternoon break.  The wind is strong today, steadily around 20 mph, but it is sunny.  March  weather at its most typical.  Three months left to the school year, I am settling in and refocusing old routines, and planning a new year.  As the first big shift in our homeschooling, our Christopherus materials arrived earlier this week.  I'm reading through them and feeling pleased with what I see.  Just like our choice of Enki, this one also relied heavily on my intuition.  I spent time on the phone with both Live Education and Christopherus, getting a feel for their methods.  It felt good and comfortable to choose Christopherus as our next step, having exhausted the current Enki materials.

I'll admit that I like very much the idea of having the whole year laid out for me.  Enki did this, to some degree, but left a lot in the hands of the teacher.  While I do love being able to choose from many materials, I also find comfort in trusting that it is all put before me.  Enki was my teacher training, truly, and I am going forth in faith and freedom now.  I am so excited about third grade, practical person that I am.  A year of creation stories, native peoples, and life skills will be so fun, I think.  The way that we have handled religion has meant that Willow's steps into such stories have been gentle, which may not suit everyone.  But, for us, and for her temperament and tendencies, it has been right.  She will be ready to take hold of Bible stories at just the right time.

For now, we are still moving along with second grade.  Onto the Jewish tradition, we are reading trickster tales about a fellow named Herschele and the many times he avoids trouble (or makes his own!).  The children always enjoy these stories so much and they are welcome right now, when the weather seems just as fickle as our emotions.  We need to hear what our friend Herschele is up to for some lightness in our days.  The Baal Shem Tov is the sage we're studying this time around, and it will be completely new for all of us, excepting maybe Mike.  Our final sage will be St. Francis, which I think will please the children.  Sweet memories, these are, even when the day-to-day can be so challenging.

Trickster TaleWe spent February learning about place value and experiencing a thousand through jewel-colored base ten blocks.  Willow really enjoyed filling bowls with ten units and then bars of ten and so on.  It is interesting to me the things that children think are not exhausting or boring.  We moved on to a short block on "The Helpful Elf," the ways an "e" at the end of a word changes it into something else.  Teaching phonics has not been a strong point for me, so this was a help.  Reading is moving along for Willow--she is able to read much of what is before her, with some struggle on words that don't make much sense.  Handwriting is a challenge, but so is form drawing.  We spend some time with that each week and she is improving.

I guess all of this is a report card, of sorts, on where we've come from in the past couple months.  In that mood, I can see Roan growing, too.  He can draw almost anything he wants now, which is a big shift from the start of the year when he made simple head and limb people.  He is happy to copy letters to make a short phrase for his pictures.  I don't ask him to do this, but I don't turn down his requests, either.  He has drawn many recurring images--trains on trestles, himself playing in the snow, himself as a cowboy,  horses, houses with woodsheds.  The ladder (or train track) is strong in his work, the single image that could capture his sixth year in its essence. I can find it carved into the wood on my sewing cabinet and it makes me smile at his mischief.  He recently duplicated a chalkboard drawing I did of a leprechaun under a rainbow by a tree house.  It is so dear to see.

Well, time to get it together around here and prepare to welcome the windswept family home.  Happy Friday!

March

Mar. 1st, 2017 04:59 pm
impossibleway: (Warning)
The spring arrives with music, and flowers intertwine. ~ Enki Festival Songs


I guess March came in like a lion today. This morning was cold, but sweetly pleasant as it went on. The children collected periwinkle blooms and puttered around with old pots and bricks and stones. Willow loves that kind of play so much, so it was good to see them all so deeply playing.  By lunch time, the sky had darkened and brough strong storms, which continue even now.  I am glad for the rain, since half of our state is still in a drought.  Our precious mountains are wet enough, but the warm weather has been hard on the rest of the state.  Some fruit trees and ornamentals are blooming now, though Winter comes roaring back tomorrow.

All this aside, it was a good tday to shift to Spring things, with it feeling much more proper than when I took down the insulated curtains in February.  So, Spring napkins in the drawer and Spring pictures on the walls.  The nature table tells of the state of things outside--daffodils in a vase and a card with a man at the plow.  I've been going through drawers, finding quite the pile to discard or donate, which is a constant task.  We have been very blessed to get many things from folks who don't need them any more.  It does mean sorting through quite a lot of things, but it's been a huge savings in many ways.  The morning was so bright and cheery with the windows open.

We had vegetable soup from the freezer and this hearty bread for lunch.  It had been awhile since I made it, but I think I will try to make it more often.  I have had mixed results from my favorite bread recipe lately, so it's time for a change.  I think it will do the children good to get used to a crusty loaf, and Willow compared it to "Green Valley bread."  I am thinking now about nature school tomorrow and how I will work it out.  I'm thinking of stopping by a greenhouse for some pro-mix and then driving over to Beartree Recreation Area.  I think some soup and bread might be just the thing to knock the chill off of lunch in the woods.
impossibleway: (Movingthe Soul with Color)
FablesI suppose we are at the midpoint of the school year, or just past it.  The Enki materials say that this can be a challenging time of year to bring in new subjects or tackle things the require a certain focus.  I can agree with this.  So, we've been spending time with fables.  Having never read them outside of interpretations in children's books, I was suprised how short they are.  They're not too taxing, but there are plenty, and so we've filled our January school days with them.

January has been a more flexible month for us, though we've still held tightly to our routines.  I think it's been a time of refocus, with the understanding that we all have the occasional wide swing to the outside edges of "normal."  Some stories and ideas are winners, and some are not.  I am starting to get a feel for Roan's strengths and challenges, which are quite different from Willow's.  I can see now that his version of school years may very well take up the things we left out of Willow's.  The upside of this is that we'll all be present for it all, so things should come full circle.  Or, as full as it can come with us humans involved.

I've been trying more extra things this year than I did the past two.  I have more confidence with the materials, in part, and because there are just so many wonderful ideas out there.  Largely, I draw my inspiration from books and from what I think will engage the children.  Roan is dreamier, so we've done more puppet plays and I've tried my hand at telling some stories, instead of just reading them.  We've also learned a few of the Wynstones songs that go with the Grimm's tales.  We're going to learn a game from The Singing Game that acts out the story of "Briar Rose."

Willow and I are reading a few stories of Brigid this week, both of her as a saint and as a figure in Irish mythology.  I hope to have gathered more stories by the time that Laurel is in second grade.  Enki falls short in some areas on second grade, or offfers materials that are too challenging for younger ears to hear.  Editing the stories didn't seem appealing to me, and I didn't always feel a connection with them, so I shifted to Live Ed or stories I found on my own.  All that said, the Enki materials are still lively and complete.  I plan to use them for everyone.

Well, I think I've run out of words and it's time for breakfast.  We've all had a little quiet time since Laurel is sleeping in today.  Happy Thursday!
impossibleway: (Sunset)
Here's my little snow lantern from earlier in the week.  It was tricky to make, but this snow was so hard form into snowballs.  I had taken to analyzing which parts of the yard would provide me with suitable snow.  Call me a snow-ologist.  Anyway, it just goes to show that we really, really got the mileage out of the snow.  Apart from little bits on the sides of roads and the big piles in parking lots, the snow is gone now.  I hope it will return, of course, since snow play is my very favorite kind.  It makes a big difference when the children can mostly dress themselves.  Willow went out five times the day it was fifteen degrees.  Never mind that it will be sixty today.

Snow LanternThis past Advent season taught me even more about the importance for routine to help children feel right about things.  Many things were turned upside down with Mike traveling less and all the excitement of the season.  It was really hard on Willow and a little difficult for Roan.  She was plagued by nightmares and fear and he was struggling with too much energy.  The main thing that seemed to help in those few days we took off from school was movement.  Simple things like taking walks and riding bikes and just getting out of the house were so big and healing.  There are times in parenting that issues seem especially baffling (like hives!) and then the fix is so simple.

Last week was a little bumpy as we settled back into our school routine, though I know that we are all glad to be back to normal tasks.  I did some experimentation with a separate movement time for grade two, but decided to keep it all together.  That gave too much temptation for mediocre participation.  I can't explain sensory integration activities to children--it just wouldn't work.  Sometimes, I do say that the movements help us to feel good and do our work.  Really, it works best when we stick mainly with Enki materials or I find something in the Wynstones book that really captures the imagination.  We had a sleigh-riding circle last year that the children just adored.  I might have to revive it for February.

With a child in the grades now, we get to do bean bags and copper rods, along with poetry and songs from the culture we are studying.  That adds enough variety to keep the routine fun and a little challenging.  Laurel gets upset that she doesn't have her own copper rod, but there are some things that I just have to be really strict about--they bend easily and they hurt if you drop them on your toe!  She seems to be doing a lot better lately, too, and more agreeable to participate in things with all of us.  I really hope I can keep up my stamina to keep that going.

I've gotten us back on a good routine with some chores, too.  While setting the table is something where the tasks are always divided and done, dish-washing has been a little harder.  Now, as in the past, each person has a meal where they help me with the dishes.  Laurel does breakfast, Roan does lunch, and Willow does supper.  Roan is the most willing helper.  I'm trying to get this all set in our daily rhythms now so that I can avoid trouble later.  I hope.  I can hope, right?

It seems people are waking up now.  I wish I could have everyone sleep a little later, but I suppose that will come with the lengthening days.  I can hardly keep my eyes open after 7:30 each night!  Well, time to make some Swedish Cardamom Coffee Bread into French toast!

Winter Walk

Jan. 7th, 2017 06:28 am
impossibleway: (Winter Fields)
Rose red is the evening sky,
Milk white is the snow.

Hemlock Cones

Let’s go on our evening walk,
Do, do let us go.

Sledding

Tomorrow the sky may be dull and gray,
Tomorrow the snow may be gone.

Snowy Goldenrod

So let us go on our evening walk
In the last rays of the sun.


~Enki Grade Two Movement

Holly


Just one day later, Epiphany found snow in the air. There's more this morning, but there was just enough yesterday to soften the edges and send the children squealing down the hill on sleds. It's going to be terrifically cold this weekend, single digits for the lows and highs in the teens.
impossibleway: (Wilson Bentley)
Christmas Star

In soft morning light,
The stars fade away.
The sun is awake,
This is a new day.

Awake! Awake!
Rise like the sun.
Awake! Awake!
The night is now gone.


Candle

The journeys of night,
They end with the day.
Angels guide us home,
For work and for play.

Awake! Awake!
Rise like the sun.
Awake! Awake!
The night is now gone.


~Enki Grade Two Transitions

Snow Outside

We began yesterday with a couple inches of snow and a power outage. Our little street, with its seven houses, doesn't have enough electricity running to it when the weather is extremely cold or hot. So, the circuit trips and we're in the dark. Here, of course, there are legions of candles.  Things were quickly put to rights again, though we kept the fire on the hearth.  We spent the evening reading Fireside Stories and lighting more candles.
impossibleway: (God Jul)
Willow and Roan woke extra early yesterday morning, in anticipation of St. Nicholas Day.  Roan made certain to leave out a carrot for his donkey.  Sure enough, the gold coins were there, just like always.  I never had St. Nicholas when I was a child, so this is all fun for me, too.  The children insist that Santa Claus is a game that adults play to make children be good, but St. Nicholas coming down from heaven is absolutely real.  There are several sweet stories in the Winter Wynstones book that tell of that idea, if you are looking for some.

Slippers with Coins

The big surprise of the morning was the Christmas pyramid, the one that Roan had admired for so long.  A word of warning: don't use it when the furnace is blasting--I nearly set it on fire!  Don't tell the children.  One candle just burned down too far and scorched its base.  Otherwise, it was a moment full of wonder when the children discovered it on the darkened dining room table.

Pyramid!

And here are our school books for the next few weeks.  In the same pattern as the Enki sages, we are studying the Christmas Saints, as I like to call them.  We'll continue to let the stories sleep and then do pictures and summaries.  St. Nicholas is up first and we are reading the book by Jakob Streit, which has stories from this babyhood to his legacy.  The children are really enjoying these and there are only a few things that I may edit out as we go along.  We'll do Lucia next, using some stories from books and several from Christine Natale.  Roan will be doing fairy tales like The Elves and the Shoemaker, Mother Holle, and the Star Money, along with some of the stories from Winter.

School Plans

Our December movement circle is taken from Enki and Wynstones.  We're doing a combination of some quiet Winter movements, some shepherd action verses and songs, songs about Mother Mary, and a couple about the plants and seeds sleeping under the snow.  I am hoping we'll find some quiet afternoons to do some puppet plays using our Mary marionette and the verses we've been working on.  We'll swap shepherds for kings in early January and then move to Winter after that.  I'm more than ready for a good snow!
impossibleway: (Mike Panorama)
Heavy Rain

You, whose day it is,
Make it beautiful.
Get out your rainbow colors,
So it will be beautiful.


~Nuu-chah-nulth :: Enki Multicultural Poems

 
impossibleway: (Children of the Forest)

It's been awhile since I've done a school update, so here's a little one.  After dragging my feet about form drawing for a long time, I decided it's really time to jump in and do our best at it. We did some last year, but I ran out of steam.  I really feel that Willow would benefit from doing them on a regular basis.  Here are some "alphabet 8's" that we did last week.  This is a simple form, but it has been challenging for Willow.  In it, you make the figure eight shape over and over and then get a letter out of it.  This works for practicing: a, b, d, e, g, j, o, p, and q.  I suppose you could get c out of it, too.  You can tell by this early picture that it needs work.

Alphabet Eights

On the other hand, math comes very, very naturally for Willow.  She often does mutliplication and addition in her head during the course of the day.  I think I was similar, in some ways, though later on.  Below is a simple number finding puzzle from Enki.  The goal is to find all the ways that you can make a total of ten.  Then you count by tens and see how that adds up.  Base ten blocks are suppose to be a part of this year, but I have not gotten any yet.  I'm not sure that I will this time around.

Number Search

Here's Willow working her puzzle.  It was fun to do and there are many other such math games in the materials.  We have touched only the tip of the iceberg for math games.  Luckily, the materials repeatedly remind the teacher that trying to use everything is not good for teacher health!  That takes pressure off when life feels full enough and I'm feeling a little critical of myself.  The truth is that learning in this way is holistic for us, and the school day is just woven in with all the other learning we do.

Working

Willow continues to make progress in her reading, and she's doing it rather independently.  She asks for help with words now and then, but she figures out many on her own.  She is starting to read the many picture books that we have.  I'll admit that I have been against the early readers that are so widely produced, in favor of just learning to read what books one already has.  We did have Dick and Jane and those stories are sweet and funny.  Others seem to lack substance or seem to be too moralistic for my preferences.  It's a personal choice and I know that I may have to take a different approach when Roan learns to read.

Speaking of Roan, he's making his own progress lately, though I have no pictures.  He went from just drawing people and ladders (railroad tracks) to drawing houses and trees, which is a wonderful place for him to be right now.  With Willow's help, he has learned the pattern of numbers to count to one hundred, and she also helps him with copying letters.  My own time with him is still devoted to movement, artistic expression and stories.  I have no real feeling of whether first grade would be appropriate next year or a more in-depth version of kindergarten with some letter stories.  It's something I'm considering very carefully, for sure.

With that, it's time to get going on my day.  Mike's headed out for a few days before Thanksgiving and there are pumpkins to roast (still more!) and loose ends to tie up.  We're reading An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving lately.  I'll have to get some pictures of that sweet book.

impossibleway: (Tulip Tree in the Hemlock)
Golden light is turning grey,
Mist begins to rule the day.
Bare their leaves, the branches lift.
Clouds of dead leaves earthward drift.
Deep below, deep below,
New life will spring!

~Enki Grade One Movement

There's been a big change in the woods since I was there on Sunday afternoon.  The treetops are no longer golden, as most of the leaves have fallen and those that remain are brown.  There's a new feeling in the air, even if it was unseasonably warm this week.  It's in the mid-sixties today, so that's much better!

Mushroom in the Leaves

We went back to Hurricane yesterday and took a walk on the Comers Creek Trail.
Arriving at the campground, the gate was locked and the place was empty!
Halloween is closing day for many things in our national forest.

Pine Needles

Never mind--a little extra walking was good for us!
We saw a very quiet Wilson's snipe and a very loud ruffed grouse.
Our sights were set on a bouncy fallen tree, having visited it last Autumn.

Trio on a Tree

I took photos of the stick gnomes (shop update Monday!), while the children played a little.
The last of the leaves to hang on are mainly these beech leaves.
They'll stay on until Spring, becoming ghosts of leaves over the Winter.

Beech Leaves

We walked a good ways, picking our way over the creek that is the trail.
Even with the dry weather, it was still plenty wet.  All those trees do a lot of sheltering.
I think the children enjoyed the challenge.  We are starting to become more adventurous.

Falling Leaves

This last picture has some falling leaves in it. It's so hard to capture them as they go; they are a treasure that must be seen in person.  You can see a change in the light in this picture.  I am so ready for cold, dark evenings!
impossibleway: (Trillium Pin)

Those really are the words that describe this past week's makings.  I really want to curl up in our little house and hibernate these days, though the weather is still fair and dry.  We've been reading stories of animals spending the Winter in a pumpkin home, so I made one from the Fall 2008 Living Crafts that Susan sent me when I was pregnant with Willow.  There's a story in there about a family of hedgehogs who help with the harvest and end up with a fine and tasty home.  It's so sweet.  Enki also has a story called "Mischief Mouse" about a little mouse who travels too far from home and finds a cozy Jack O'Lantern to keep him safe and warm (and fed!).

Pumpkin House

This is fairly simply made.  Crumple a few paper towels into a ball and wrap tightly in peach roving.  Wrap again in orange roving, mixing shades if you like.  Felt in place with a felting needle.  This works very well, though it may cost you a needle.  I was lucky to find I had another!  I've added some grooves in the pumpkin, like a real one, but it's hard to see in the photo.  After a bit, use your fingers to separate the fibers and make a little hole for your animal.  Needle felt the edges to make it sturdy.  My wool is pretty thick and that helps.

Hedgie in the House

I made the stem by wrapping it aroung a knight's spear, but any other small stick would do.  I felted it together and then needled felted it to the top of the pumpkin.  It could be sewn on.  I felted a leaf on my foam felting pad and then added some Corriedale tendrils.  I truly love this little pumpkin!  It is one of my favorite creations.  It gets me thinking more about my etsy shop.  I've got a big update in the works, with some good variety on the items.

Moss Baby and Her Bed

Lastly, here are our gifts for our next birthday girl.  We bought her an unfinished Little Colorado cradle and Roan polished it with beeswax polish.  We use the recipe from Wee Folk Art.  Next, I made a mattress using several layers of cotton batting and the never ending white flannel sheet.  I added some baffles to hold the cotton in place when it's washed (by hand).  Willow sewed a pillow from the same sheet and I made a pillow case to go over it.  We have lots of dolls quilts and blankets, so we know whomever sleeps in the cradle will be very warm.  It may be that Willow will get the urge to sew a quilt for it later on.

AND I made over Snowflake Baby from 2014 into Moss Baby.  Admittedly, her sweater body was not sturdy enough to hold up to being carried by the arms.  It stretched and just looked sad.  She was also stuffed much too firmly to be really cuddly.  She sat for a long time and then I got this lovely green velour, just a scrap.  She got a new hat and less firm body and a little trim to her hair.  I did a gathering stitch on just her front and just through the velour, so her arms come forward to hug you.  I just adore her now.  If only I had more velour.  I could make babies like this all the time.

The almost birthday girl may be awake soon and there's tidying to do.  I know she'll love her gifts and the cradle we all worked on will be a treasure forever.

For more crafting, visit Frontier Dreams.

impossibleway: (Tulip Tree in the Hemlock)
Red leaves and orange,
Golden and brown,
Leaves in the Autumn
Come tumbling down.

~Enki Kindergarten Movement

Red Leaves

The world is like a giant stained glass window these bright October days.  We've taken numerous trips through the mountains, with our guests and alone.  There have been quiet moments of wonder.  Every leaf really, really is a work of art, as trite as it may sound.  They feel especially glowing this year, even though we have been so dry here and the streams are so low.  I took another hike with Katherine yesterday and it was so nice, rather like a therapy session for both of us.  We find our common ground, mull over our differing situations, and ask reflective questions.  It is nice to do that, to have someone who is glad to put energy into relationship.  All my friends are so good to me and so dear.  Phone calls and walks and sweet e-mails are a wonderful way to refresh and renew.

It's been really full around here lately, too full for my comfort. I don't like going places all the time or running lots of errands. The children don't much like it, either.  While some people might say that it's simply the way the world works, I choose to disagree.  It doesn't have to be.  Though there are many things in life that cannot be helped and many concessions we must make, we're still well in charge of what we do with our time.  Here, we keep things slow and fairly quiet.  I feel the special need to really do that right now and as we move into Advent in four weeks.  We've had (and are having soon!) a lot of guests lately and it's worn on everyone.  We love these people, but developmentally, we need some space and time.  There's always some sort of skill to hone or hump to get over and it's so hard to do it with an audience.  I'm looking forward to some quiet--it really nourishes me and I feel so pleased that my children enjoy it, too.

I was doing some Advent reading last night, as I was too awake to fall asleep with Laurel.  Roan and Willow are on a rare night away, so I wasn't quiet so sleepy. ;-)  It was nice to get into a reflective mood and really consider what I want the next eight weeks to be.  Last year felt a little irreverent at times, honestly, and I had to just keep on with our family rituals, not feeling very sure anyone was following along.  I can see now that they were, that those are part of the collective memory of our traditions.  I am ready for this year to be very, very deliberate and a bit private.  We're already turning our thoughts to Christmas, with the few catalogs we get and by making some gifts.  The holly berries are red now, so there is the feeling that something of Christmas is already afoot.

Well, I suppose the day will start soon.  It's Halloween, so there's going to be some excitement today--pumpkins to carve, costumes to put on (even Mike and me!), a dark night to navigate.  And tomorrow?  A new month, a new mood, and a new movement circle that needs me to finalize it!  I wish you all a happy day!

Gold Leaves
impossibleway: (Club Moss in the Leaves)
Over branches without rest,
Runs the squirrel to her nest.
Gathering acorns every day,
Safe for winter, stored away!

~Enki Kindergarten Movement

Nature School this past week was Willow's pick, since it fell on her birthday. She wanted to go to the Snail Place, of course, so we went and worked on the den they are building.  It's time to get ready for Winter, especially if you go with the old idea of Winter beginning after Halloween.  The trees are losing lots of leaves now, so this was perfect for adding nice insulating siding to the walls.  Willow had the idea to put the leaves on and then hold them in place with more sticks, and we did just that.  The weather was cool, in the fifties and breezy, with intermittent rain.

Willow working in the den

Here, she was working on a carpet of leaves inside.

Gathering Leaves

This girl, she is a hoot.  So sweet and so wild.  So much perseverance.

Brother and Sister

The joy of siblings.

Acorns

I helped gather leaves, but I also picked up many acorns.
Bury me with a handful of acorns.

Birthday Girl

Birthday portrait.

Centipede Segments

The children discovered these segments of a centipede, I think, and they were fascinating. We always return home feeling right again and ready for lunch. I look forward to seeing what nature school will look like in the Winter. I envision lots of thermoses of hot chocolate and wonderful memories.
impossibleway: (Berries)

Come celebrate with joy and with spirit
Come celebrate this land
We have ploughed the fields and have planted grain, we’ll reap a mighty harvest
For the warmth of sunshine, for the summer rain
For the bounty of the earth, raise your voice and sing!

~Enki Festival Songs


Thanksgiving


We had a sort of family thanksgiving meal last night, made up of foods that we have put together over the Summer and Fall.  We had such a good year in the garden, and I spent a godo part of yesterday roasting and pureeing pumpkins for the freezer.

We all worked on our feast together, sort of like Little House Day from Martin and Sylvia.  We had the October beans that we grew in the garden annex, seasoned with bacon and onions.  I made biscuits with buttermilk I made and Carrie's lard she rendered.  Speaking of buttermilk--I made butter this week using local raw milk, two gallons.  If anyone ever tells you to churn raw milk without separating the cream first, run away.  Or say a prayer over your blender and set to work.  This was not a job for the beautiful Dazey hand cranked churn I got recently.  Anyway, I got the job done and we do have some nice butter.

There was raspberry and peach jam for the biscuits, with homegrown raspberries and peaches from the orchard.  I made blackberry cobbler from more of the buttermilk and the annex blackberries.  The cornbread was also made with the buttermilk.  You get the idea--buttermilk and quick breads and beans.  The food was largely free--the raw milk, the berries, the beans, the lard.  All that was paid was with our time and a few seeds.  It was the perfect meal for the big shift in weather that we seem to be having lately.  It was thirty-nine degrees this morning and I think our first frost is not far off.  We've got a wind advisory for today, just right for making the Molasses Festival a chilly affair.  Well, we won't be caught without hats, mittens, and coats today!

Biscuits and Jam

impossibleway: (Autumn Fern)

We just finished our first sage block of grade two and it was so nice.  With Enki, the block begins with trickster tales from the culture of the sage.  These are light and lively stories, ones that are fun to tell and fun to draw.  Willow really enjoyed hearing about the misadventures, and occasional triumphs, of the fox and his brother.  The stories were told with the mood and brogue of Scotland.

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Next, we moved to the story of our sage, John Muir.  We heard of his playful and mischievous beginnings in Dunbar, Scotland, and of his family's move to America.  The children have pretended they were climbing Dunbar Castle, just as Johnnie did.  When he had to leave his beloved Grandfather behind, I cried, honestly.  Good stories do that to me.  We followed his family to Wisconsin, where Johnnie helped to break the sod and plant crops.  He always had his eyes and ears on the woodland surrounding the farm.  Part of his special skills were the ability to hear the call of nature.  After all, the mountains called him and he went!

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We found him in his little cabin in the Yosemite Valley, where he slept in a hammock and a stream flowed inside. Enki shows him as being alone during this time, though some books like Squirrel and John Muir show him closely tied to the Hutchings family.  I'll admit that I like Enki's take better.  We heard the story of John riding the avalanche after a snow storm and Willow really enjoyed that one.  We left John Muir as he had discovered the Big Trees and worked tirelessly to save them from logging.

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It was a wonderful story that really left me wanting more!  But, I think Enki got it right in keeping it succinct.  I've considered showing some of the Muir segments from The National Parks to Willow, but I may wait a few years.  The children found him to be so fun and reverent and I'd like to keep that mood, though I did share with them that he climbed a big tree in a thunderstorm to see what it felt like to be one!

We'll continue with our immersion in Scottish culture through the end of October.  We're learning "My Heart is in the Highlands," Scottich dances significant to that time period, and folk songs.  We've had a really good time with the songs, especially, and I'm quite thankful Enki provides video for the dances and games of the cultures studied.

My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.

Farewell to the mountains, high covered with snow;
Fairwell to the straths and green valleys below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods;
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.

My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.


~Robert Burns

impossibleway: (Autumn Fern)
We took a supper picnic yesterday, opting to stay home for the morning and quiet time.  As I've been in the mood to tie up loose ends with my sewing and knitting, the children have felt similarly.  They spent part of the morning cleaning their closet (yes!) and organizing their treasures.  You know, weed eater line, ring pop rings, Nancy Drew books, and postcards.  While my sewing was not accomplished, we did have a nice day and ended it in the woods at Elk Garden.  I considered what to call this place.  The marriage place, the place with big rocks, the cow place, the sap tapping place.  It has many identities in our memories, but it really is The Favorite Place.

Into the Woods

I packed soup, granola, raisins, cheese and pickles for us, and Willow packed for the dolls.  Roan insisted on carrying his pack basket, which was pretty heavily laden.  He seems up for taking on bigger tasks lately.

The Dolls' Picnic

Willow set up the dolls' picnic and I set up ours.  We all ate so contentedly and well.  The soup was potato, bean, and bacon soup from The Waldorf Book of Soups.  It's the best recipe in there, hands down, and it might be my new go-to for navy bean soup.  Willow just loved it, which is so rare.

Bouldering

After supper, it was time for bouldering.  There are plenty of them in the woods!  The children are becoming pretty good at it, I think, much more adventurous than me.  I had such a cautious childhood.

Golden Light

The sun was setting as we left.  How beautiful it was--the sun was so fiery and red, just perfect. It called this verse to mind, that I have shared before:

Little dark leaves, you are growing so old,
fading so gently from green to gold.
See how the sun in his splendor goes down,
and lovingly gilds you a glorious crown.


~Enki Spirals
impossibleway: (Goldenrod Trailhead)


Summer's leaving, light is weaving,
Through the shadows and the trees.


~Enki Grade Two


Roan and I spent time popping open the little seed pods for spotted jewel weed yesterday afternoon. Some of them were very ripe--just bumping them sent the seeds flying. When the seed pods have formed, Summer is over. It was a little bittersweet to have the children ask me if Summer was really done. Yes, it is. It's been a long one, and a hot one. We have had our trials by fiery sun and now we can take what we've learned into Autumn and Winter.
impossibleway: (Autumn Fern)
It's been four months since I've rounded up my links!  What a Summer it has been and now, it's just about gone.  Our little world is covered in a dense fog this morning and it is good to see the humidity return.  We had heavy rain yesterday morning (and the night before!) and we are all so thankful.  I had this lovely picture of the nature table and it just called for some clicks to go beside it.
Mike told me this weekend how much he loves the nature table.  Me, too.  I think way, way back to the early days and feel so glad for this quiet place of reflection.
impossibleway: (Movingthe Soul with Color)
We're one week in now and the new year is going well.  I think we've found a rhythm that should be sustainable for the whole nine months.  I've got a little built-in wiggle room that affords us the option to take the day off when needed, or to hold on to the pattern of days when that is most prudent.  Today, we'll take the day off and make preparations for Mike's birthday tomorrow.  Willow and I have planned a 35 mm camera cake for his big day and there are eggs to devil, beans to bake, and presents to buy.  For now, here are some scenes from yesterday's school work.

The Two Foxes

We're reading trickster tales from Scotland right now.  This fox: it's a wonder he ever gets anything to eat at all.  Someone always outwits him.  He and his brother hit the jackpot when they came upon a man with a pack basket full of fish, a head full of dreams, and a song on his lips.  One fox played dead to get into the basket while the other collected the loot!

Three Billy Goats Gruff

Roan is enjoying the kindergarten stories, hearing each one three times.  He really likes the repetition and enjoyed performing his own puppet show of the "Three Billy Goats Gruff."  A llama and two sheep were the goats and the sweet Tomten was the grumpy troll sleeping under the bridge.  I think the artistic digestion and work that is really his own is so nourishing to him.

Her Own Book

Laurel manages to be just what a toddler should be.  She scribbles along in her main lesson book, narrating her pictures, and makes little trains out of cuisenaire rods.  She is not always pleased with the attention shift, but it is clear she's absorbing everything around here.  She told the whole story, with the repetitive verse, of the billy goats while rocking to sleep on the porch swing.  And she kept saying "ker-flip, ker-flop" on our hike yesterday, the very sound the fish made as the fox threw them out of the pack basket!

Hanging Place

Me, well, I found a place that I hope is safe for storing the marionettes, both from rowdy hands and insect invaders.  If nothing else, we've given all our wooly toys a dose of lavender oil, which makes us humans more relaxed, either way.  There's one empty spot for another marionette that I hope to make before Christmas, one that represents Mary.  In other news, I'm working on learning the multicultural dances that Enki recommends and I'm practicing my flute quite a bit.  What a blessing it is to be able to read music!

And now, time's awastin' and I've got to get those eggs boiling and the bed made and the grocery list written.  It's going to be a full weekend here!

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