Sunday, February 5, 2017

And we're back! January 30th

"Groundhog in your hole so deep. 
Lift your head and take a peek, 
If your shadow makes you LEAP! 
Curl back up and go to sleep!"

A funny name and an important task. Groundhog day marks the middle of winter. It is halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox, a day assures us the light is returning soon. Some signify this turning point celebrating Candlemas, a day to gather the beeswax stubs of candles burned through darkest winter and with them create new ones. I can certainly feel the light returning and even the stirrings of spring...Robins sing and sunsets linger. 
With this, we gain a whole new gratitude for winter in all its frozen beauty. Let us play with it while it is still in our grasp! 

Finally back together after a restful winter break, teachers and students were so happy to be reunited. What better way to ring in semester 2 than with 2 amazing and huge hornets nests. Samantha brought one from her house, and Wyatt brought the other...what a coincidence! 

 We decided that Samantha's nest would be devoted to science. So she got to work with a pair of shears and we all waited to see what the inside looked like. We saw eggs, larvae, and many dead hornets. Samantha had done her research and learned that as soon as the first hard frost hits the queen leaves the nest and all of the remaining wasps die. 
 The first thing we noticed was the smell! Phew...we soon figured out that the source of the stink was probably the dead wasps and larvae left in the nest. 
 A bald faced hornet, killed by the frost. 
A closer look....

 With all the wintry weather we used our senses to observe and explore ice. Frozen water balloons created an egg like ball with a watery yolk inside that gave us a chance to feel and see the different stages of ice as it freezes. We compared these to the huge icicles on the chains of the green roof of the eco lodge. Samantha brought bubble wands and soap to create ice bubbles. While we were never successful in making an ice bubble, probably a bit too warm and windy, we noticed how cool it was to watch the solution freeze in the wand. One crystal formed and delicate icy film was spun across the ring. 

 The delicate crystals forming. Even a breath could break the "glass"!
 We discovered a skating rink at the bottom of the sledding hill! The children became zambonies, clearing the snow from the smooth ice with their arms and legs. 
 Sliding around our rink was a lot of fun. 

 A very big universe, indeed. 
At the end of the day we went on a walk about the land that we had been missing. We checked on the places that we planted our bulbs and dreamed of what it might look like when they finally bloom. Our last stop was to the bean teepee. Another reminder of what is soon to come. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

November 21st

Snow, Snow, Snow!! 

Our first really snowy day at Wren's Nest! 
Samantha brought in games made by a friend of hers. We had fun playing her beautiful board game (kind of like "Sorry!") and using her giant puzzle pieces. We took off our shoes and socks so that we could feel all of the different textures on the puzzle pieces. Bumpy, smooth, prickly, soft, scratchy...
We were also busy sewing our bird mail boxes for our Winter Tea invitations. 

Today was an especially exciting day to check the weather! 

We noticed all of the snow which we learned is also called Precipitation (our word of the day) and set our our cup to measure how much fell while we played. 

And off to the hill! We were so happy that so many friends brought sleds and shovels. Yippee!!

Rock & Roll! 

The beautiful snowy views from Common Ground. 

After hours of snowy fun we warmed up inside with stories and finishing some of our projects. 

When we went back out at the end of the day, we checked our measuring cup for precipitation. We got a full inch of snow during Wren's Nest!

And it continued to fall...pray for more!! 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Ancestor Day! November 14th

Today we had our Ancestor celebration, a day to honor and celebrate the people, things, and ideas that came before us. An ancestor can be truly be anything that is no longer here with us, a grand parent or great grandparent, a family pet, or even an old maple tree in your front yard. In this season of fading light it helps to remember those that helped to carve the way for us. 
And what celebration is complete without something tasty?! Samantha helped us to make little ancestor cakes as we arrived in the morning. 

 Before we went out to decorate our ancestor tree in the forest we gathered around to share a little bit about the ancestor we chose to celebrate. We had grandparents, relatives, pets and items that reminded of a special time or person. Everyone had a twinkle of love in their eye when they shared their offering. 

 The muffins are done and they smell delicious! 

 We were so excited to get our celebration under way that we packed up our snack and stopped on the way to the ancestor tree! The pink rock was a perfect sunny place to enjoy some bits & bites. 

 We of course had to stop to say good morning to the chickens, farmers, & spud the dog at Footprint Farm. 

 Our Ancestor tree(s) may be little and a spindly but they are perfect for decorating and just right for us! Many of us were excited to get busy decorating the tree. Everything was thoughtfully and eagerly place and our dear little tree got many hugs throughout the process. 

 We used beads, our watercolors, and ribbons to make garlands and ornaments. We all loved the way it looked it all decked out and stopped to admire it while we played. The ephemeral woods were beautiful and sunlit, with lots of crunchy leaves and a huge pile of sticks to build with. 

 The start of the kitty nest. 

 The final product of the kitty nest! 

 After we played we went back for lunch which we just had to eat outside. The sky was clear and blue and the sun was so warm. Such a treat to picnic mid November. After lunch Samantha told us the AMAZING story about her mom finding her long lost dog in a truck on the highway. We all got the shivers, you should ask Samantha!

Now time to head back to our beautiful Ancestor Tree and celebrate! We were so excited for our party we couldn't resist skipping and holding hands :)...
 Jackson brought his very cool drum. We marched to the beat on our way to the Ancestor Tree and he let a few of us play it. 

 Everyone hung their offering on the tree and said a little thank you to our Ancestors. 

The sun was shining its last rays on us as we lit candles and enjoyed our delicious ancestor muffins! 

We left a few cakes for any forest visitors and wondered what our tree might look like when we come back next week. It was a lovely celebration indeed!