A Mushroomy Day

Today was a golden day.  The spend all day outside walking about golden honey warm sort of day where everything glows.  The sit by the creek and play with leaves, make fairy homes with twigs, hickory shells, acorns and moss kind of day that comes out of the blue sky as surprising as the unexpected chirrrr of Kingfisher flying over the pond in search of fish.  The kind of day that mushrooms and the next thing you know there’s mushrooms popping out everywhere, some edible, some really pretty in an intoxicating way best left to brownies and gnomes who know best what to do with them during their festivities gathered around in rings.  Today was a day where the trees didn’t speak much nor did the wind sing, but the earth was wreathed with smiles and cushiony places to sit and share in her graces.  Today was a golden day evoking wonder and gratitude.

 

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Fresh Rose petals minced into pancake batter, flecking and infusing the bread with red. Fresh Rose petals chopped and sprinkled over honey cakes, eat love hot from the griddle where Jasper liberally drops flakes of butter around the sizzling batter while he sings and burbles and the pancakes chatter. Continue reading

Play Is Work

A year of learning through play.  The woods are home to a number of snares and no less than three ‘hideouts’, all built in different shapes and sharing sticks, twigs, pine needles, grasses, and logs in common.  One has a fire pit with a propped window to direct the smoke.  Another has walls and a roof of cloth.  These home building skills were put to use this summer when we built a cabin, now to be used as our schoolhouse.  Little Man drilled in no less than 250 screws and assisted with the construction every step of he way, sawing rafters, handing out screws of different lengths, and climbing the posts, beams, and rafters to sit in his favorite spot: up on the roof: while taking a break.  Much counting, adding, multiplying, and number work was applied.

A good month must have been spent frog and toad catching.  The edges of the pond and creek have been stalked and frogs of different types, as well as tadpoles, were caught and examined for days on end. Toads were found under the cardboard pathways in the garden and compared with the frogs.  Homes of rock were made for them in the garden.  It’s amazing to witness the focus and concentration that surfaces during these activities.  A box turtle was found and brought home, and watched closely for a day.  He stayed in his shell all day long.  A house was built for him in a cardboard box with grasses, rocks, and mosses.  Berries were gathered to feed him with, and the next morning shouts of surprise when the turtle was found in a corner walking about, berries eaten up.  He visited with us for a while, fully emerged and mobile for a few days before he was  returned home to the woods where he was found.

Tenderfoot and Little Man have learned how to swim in the river, the frogs and tadpoles were their teachers.  The other two splish and splash happily in the currents, learning the art of balance from the slippery rocks.  Tenderfoot spends hours in the woods, singing, dancing, and coming back with hickory nuts, grasses, and tales of spirit folk that she communes with.  Stormy has a keen eye for herbs and a great love of stories, so there have been many new tales told on wildcrafting walks.  Yarrow has become her plant ally and she can be found in the garden often, munching on basil or dill while Little Bird picks flowers for the vase.

And in between the outside activity, hatching out chicks under a mama hen, beekeeping attempts, and mushroom hunting, we’ve managed to find the time to do a few lessons in books too.  Tenderfoot and Little Man both enjoy illustrating stories, as well as form drawing, so we focused on those doing math as it comes about during the course of the day.  Tenderfoot reads with great appetite,and writes lots of notes and facts out of them in her assorted journals.  Little Man knows all his letters, and sounds out most words in books, asking what they say, even recognizing some later.  He especially enjoys writing, and is very eager, as we all are, to begin learning in the schoolhouse that he helped build 🙂

The Gift of Rain

Well it’s been raining a lot all summer and that has sent the zucchini, squash, and tomatoes into the compost heap; a bit sooner than expected.  Pulled out all the onions before they joined their friends in the compost . . . . . . .  they are now drying nicely in the shed.  Then we walked down the driveway to check the mail, and sharp little eyes spotted cinnamon chanterelles growing on the creek bank.  Whooot!  So we got the mail and made a paper bag with the junk mail to gather a few of the mushrooms in.  Walked home, left the mail there, and followed the creek into the woods to look for more, and more we found.  To our delight, we discovered that the rain has left behind a gift:  chanterelle’s that are fruiting prolifically and laccaria ochropurpurea a.k.a purple-gilled laccaria.  We all prefer the mushrooms over what went into the compost, so one door closes and the other opens, making for new morsels to taste, as the wheel turns.