Wednesday, March 31

Books for the full moon

A quick sharing of a couple of books that we have long loved to read in celebration of the full moon:

When the Moon Is Full is one we have loved for many years. It gives each month a two-page spread depicting a verse and an illustration related to a traditional moon name.

 Here, for example, is April's "Frog Moon". The illustrations are colorful block prints by Mary Azarian.

Here is the page for beautiful.

Here is another of my very favorite books about the moon:

The Dancing Tiger

The Dancing Tiger
Written by Doyle Malachy, pictures by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher.

The illustrations in this beautiful book capture perfectly what it is like to be out under the light of the moon. 

The story is simple, gentle, and carries the reader through the tugs at one's heart.

We have many books about the moon...these are just a couple. I hope to share others with you as the months roll on.
One of the other things we sometimes do at our "moon parties" is to make our evening meal mirror the full moon in appearance somehow. We've had moon feasts centered around quesadillas, shepherd's pie, pot pie, quiches, pizzas, and round bowls of potato soup, among other things. Tonight we made a big round pan of enchiladas and had a cheesecake for dessert!

Happy Moon!

Tuesday, March 30

Spring babies!!

A couple of years ago, my parents (recently retired school teachers, both) bought 50 acres of land on which to start a little hobby farm. Their building and dabbling and cultivating has resulted in a cozy, hilltop house, a tidy garden, a wood full of trails, a meadow full of sheep and goats, a pond full of ducks, and a yard full of chickens...and they are less than 1 hour away from my own home. How lucky is the child whose grandparents provide them this kind of escape...this kind of opportunity to go back to the land be close to it? Really, really lucky, if you ask me!

We visited the farm this weekend to welcome all the new babies:

(Cocoa and her new little one)

(Mado snuggling Cocoa's lamb)

(Me and Sodie with two of the Orpington hens... Josephine and Bernadette. Sodie's been fearlessly wrangling chickens since she was 2 years old)

(Toucie and my mama cuddle the new chicks)

(Naya and Sodie with newborn goat's impossible to say which twins are cuter)

Thanks Mom and Dad, for making this place where we can plop right down in the middle of new life and Spring beauty!

Monday, March 29

Walking softly

Recently, at one of our most familiar wild spots, Toucie and I discovered an unfamiliar path. We looked at each other in silent agreement and without a word veered away from our regular trail to explore this new, strange one.

The day was grey and drizzly, and we were all alone in the forest, but the vivid greens of springtime illuminated the woods and the air was fragrant and crisp. We were both awed into hushed whispers as we walked along, eyes wide.

Everywhere we looked we saw brilliant green moss, ferns, and the earliest of the native wildflowers.


Toucie found a spring bubbling out of the hillside...she bathed her face like a little racoon.

Our trail followed the curve of the river and lead to an inlet of sorts, with a rocky beach where Toucie tossed pebbles and searched for fossils.
I almost always find one of these when I'm on the banks of the Harpeth river:

They say if you look through a holey-stone you can see the "little people"....we looked for them on our hike back through the woods. We didn't see any wee folk, but we imagined that they might live in places like these:

I'm feeling very grateful for this corner of the world where my family's made it's home. I hope your surroundings are bringing you great joy as well this season!

Thursday, March 25

More crafting for Spring...

A bowl.

Can you tell that we are into tissue paper crafts around here? This one involves the use of  porcelain bowl as a mold for sort of papier-mache bowl done with tissue strips. This is a multi-day project as there are several points along the way where one must wait for the whole thing to dry before proceeding. I think projects like this cultivate a child's ability to be patient and see something through to its finish.

We took inspiration for this project from a library book called The Jumbo Book of Paper Crafts , by Amanda Lewis.

( about cultivating patience...we had to start all over)

 One of the first steps is coating the bowl heavily with petroleum jelly ... important step! Too light of a coating results in a porcelain bowl with a coating of hard tissue that won't come off!

So here are the steps in a nutshell:
- Cut tissue paper into manageable strips (about 1" x 3" or so) ...ours had glitter in it...extra zesty!
- Find a smooth-bottomed bowl to use as a mold and apply a thick coating of petroleum jelly to its outer surface.
- It helped us to prop the bowl upside down on a canister to give Toucie better access to it.
-For the first layer, gently dip strips of tissue into water and apply to outside of bowl. Allow this to dry.
-Begin applying layers of tissue strips with a paintbrush dipped in a blend of 1 part water to 1 part white glue.
(We strayed from the book's directions in our method for applying the strips. They call for you to brush glue on the strips , then apply them to the bowl. Toucie brushed glue on the bowl and then applied the strips to the wet surface. If any corners needed smoothing down, she just brushed them with her glue-y brush until they behaved.)
-Try to build up several layers of tissue...we made it to around 10 layers, which worked fine....I think the book recommended going for 20 (!!)
-Allow this to dry overnight.

- When bowl is dry, gently remove it from the mold and wipe out any excess jelly from inside.
- Apply at least one layer of strips to the inside of your bowl (with your thinned glue and brush) and make the rim nice and neat.
- Allow to dry.
- The book recommends using a product like Mod-Podge to seal and harden the bowl, but we didn't. Ours is sturdy enough to be a usable vessel, but delicate enough to require that Toucie is mindful and gentle when she handles it. I like everything about it...the way it looks, the practical job it has, and the lessons it imparted :)

Wednesday, March 24

You go, girls!

Naya and Sodie just received word of their acceptance into their top-choice college with a full ride scholarship plus a stipend!!!!! I am crazy proud of them! Here they are enjoying celebratory ice cream and doing a happy dance in the front yard (with plenty of support from Mado and Toucie). I love these awesome kids!!!

Tuesday, March 23

From my long list of favorite illustrators....

Do you recognize the artwork of this talented, but little-praised illustrator?

 This is an image from Lunch with Milly, illustrated by Robin Spowart and written by his wife, Jeanne Modesitt. It is the first book of Spowart's that I a thrift store bin. What a prize.

These illustrations feel like the beautiful crayon art that one readily associates with Waldorf, but never have I seen Spowart's name listed as a resource or suggested reading on any Waldorf-y list. I think it should be!

Look at this lovely:
This one is titled Sometimes I Feel Like a Mouse and the illustrations depict different emotions as represented by animals

 So very pretty.

This one is my favorite right now...

The Star is by Christine Widman and tells the story of a little shepherd whose sheep can't resist leaping into the sky to graze on stars. The boy must follow and bring them safely back home.

The illustrations are luminous and dreamy and, well...just stunning. My senses soar when I look at them.

Toucie and I have lately been thinking alot about the sheep in our lives (at my mom and dad's farm). It is their season of celebrity after all! We are expecting to meet lambs soon and are also anticipating wool-shearing time. This slim little book is just right for us in this moment.

I hope you will love these glimpses of Robin Spowart's work enough to get your hands on a real live piece of it for your own. There are many, many others...possibly largely out of print. I have To Rabbittown and The Night Call   on the way...I watch my mailbox like a hawk! 

I want every mama and child to see these pretty pictures and read some of these lovely stories. I think Spowart's illustrations would be right at home on any young child's Waldorf bookshelf, don't you?