Monday, November 30, 2009

Feeding the Hungry

THE weather's getting colder. In our driveway, we had hundreds of acorns fallen, but now we only have the caps. Same with dogwood berries. They're all gone. And when we went out for a walk, we tried to find some really big acorns for crafts, but also only found the caps. Well of course - they have all been snapped up by hard working little animals building up their winter stores. This might seem obvious, but I have never noticed them disappearing before.

While it's not quite a snow-covered wasteland (food wise), it must be getting harder for all the animals to find food. We hung up bird seed and filled our coconut shell feeder with fruit peels. I found some old popcorn that never got popped. I wonder if the birds and squirrels will like that?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Squirrel's Thanksgiving

THANKS to a little friend called Carmen, I learned something new the other day. We got fresh pecan nuts from our farmer's market and wanted to take them along as a snack to the park. But I didn't have a nutcracker. On the way to the park we scoured three shops looking for a cheap nutcracker but didn't find one. Recounting this to our friends, they just laughed and Carmen demonstrated how to crack them. Oh. In my defense they were not the store-bought kind that you can crack with your hands. They did need to be crushed with a stone. But still - no nutcracker was required.

So when making pecan pie for Thanksgiving Dinner, we decided to have a little squirrel celebration. Emma and I spread out a large sheet and covered it in all our nuts. Then we made tails and pretended to be squirrels. We had a fine time singing autumn songs and telling squirrel stories. And all the nuts got cracked with no nutcracker!

Monday, November 16, 2009

St. Martin, St. Martin

MARTINMAS commemorates the life of St. Martin, a knight who is best remembered for sharing his warm cloak with a beggar on a cold night. It is also the first of many festivals of light celebrated at this time of year. With our Waldorf group, we remembered St. Martin's deeds through song and theatre then shared light through the neighbourhood on a lantern walk. In the cold, dark evening, there was something magical about the sound of children singing and a penny whistle, and a parade of little lights walking through the streets.
Photo: Jodie Mesler

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Home for a Gnome

THIS Autumn's nature table has - as always - been a work in progress. We like for our table to be a living part of our family life rather than something to be looked at only, and it is played with every day. But as the 'treasures' threatened to turn our living room into a wild, unbridled forest, the nature table gnomes visited more and more frequently at night for a little clean up.

Then, one of them decided to stay. He is a little fellow with a felted head, chubby acorn body and a golden cloak. He lives in a house of bark, next to the squirrel's giant leaf, the rabbit's burrow and the lizard's log pile. Each of them has their own store of food for the winter and they have a different adventure each day.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What Did You Learn Today?

OUR morning didn't pan out quite how I planned it today. While searching for a snack, Emma declared with zeal (and hopefully a little exaggeration): "We need to clean the fridge, Mama. It's filthy!" She proceeded to empty all the jars and bottles from the door sections and her toddler brother made a beeline for the chocolate syrup. Trying to look beyond impending mayhem, I played along.

Forty five minutes later Emma was still engaged with the fridge (the door was closed in between). The door shelves had been scrubbed and polished, and the contents had been sorted and labelled in every which way. In lines on the floor according to size and family position (Papa bottle, Mama, cousin, Auntie and everyone down to the dog). Grouped on the square floor tiles by colour. By container - jars, glass bottles, plastic bottles. They were rolled on the floor and Emma noticed that some things roll straight (round jars), some roll in circles (bottles with a neck) and some don't roll at all (square or other shapes). She had asked me what certain things are called in German. And finally, everything was put back in the fridge grouped by flavour and her perception of the things different family members like to eat - the jams, maple syrup and lemon juice went on "Emma's shelf"; various oils and nut butters on "Mama's shelf" and most of the things that didn't look so good to her ended up on Papa's shelf. (Ha!)

Once again I was in awe at the power of small children to learn from e v e r y t h i n g.