January 11, 2019
Waxing Crescent Moon
Lake Lagunitas

A wet and wonderful day was had by all at Lake Lagunitas! We revisited the spot with the water trough, which we hadn’t been to since the warmer days of fall. The children noticed how full it was and Charlie stuck her hand in the water and declared it “so so cold.” Despite the water temperature, we splashed rocks and sticks into the trough and stirred it up. We were also on the lookout for other changes that were brought about by the rain.

Many children noticed that there are various mushrooms growing on the land in the wet soil and that observation prompted a mushroom hunt. We embarked on an adventure in search of mushrooms and found large brown ones, very yellow ones, teeny tiny white round ones, and even pink ones! We also followed deer tracks to a spot with great puddles for walking and splashing through. We saw more tracks from people and dogs, and made some tracks of our own in the mud.

While exploring out into the woods, it began to rain even more, so we went to the covered picnic spot for a yummy cereal bar snack that Wendolyn made especially for us. We closed our eyes to better taste all the different flavors in our snack; crunchy rice, dried cherries, maple syrup, and even a topping of sunbutter. Ruby told us a story of Little Tommy Tiddlemouse and his search for the perfect home in the grass and all the friends that came to visit him.

After snack, Charlie, Miles, Rohan and Blake found a deep puddle to wade in and splash through. They used sticks to make a stream flow faster out of the puddle, then they worked together to build a dam where the water was escaping. With all the wet and cold, we decided it would be a fantastic time to build a fire to get warm. The children helped carry supplies to the fire pit and sought out the perfect dry sticks (collected in those dry, warm days of autumn) to build a fire fairy home. We had a story about How Coyote Stole Fire From the Sun and even had our lunch while sitting around the fire!

A silly chase game was underway after lunch where the children caught each other and would ‘toast’ and ‘eat’ their giggling captive. Chasing and puddle play filled our afternoon and then Margot, Siena, Charlie and Rohan all warmed up by the fire together before Miles and Charlie, Blake and Margot filled buckets in the creek to put out our fire.

We got even warmer once aboard Juniper Rose and cuddled up under blankets – so cozy! The children shared all of their gratitudes from the day while Ruby and I drew their memories and gratitudes for the wonderful wet day. We sang our goodbye song and made our way back to our friends and family (and toasty cars) at Peri Park.

A pink mushroom!

December 21, 2018
Winter Solstice
Waxing Moon (almost full!)
Deer Park

We had a misty, magical morning at Deer Park. The children helped carry all of the day’s important supplies from the bus, working in pairs and trios to carry crates and bags together. After settling in with a backpack spot and finding places for all of our gear, everyone was off to play. Some amongst the Redwood Fairy Rings and Miles, Blake, and Charlie went in the creek bed to climb the rocks to the other side. Violet found so many mushrooms of different sizes and colors and called out “mushroom! mushroom! MUSHROOM!” for all her friends to see her discoveries. Rohan turned into a Banana Slug, sometimes sleeping and sometimes dead. And Margot and Siena were Forest Princesses among the trees of their kingdom. Ruby and I finished the handles for the children’s lanterns they worked on last Friday.

At snack time, we shared a deliciously sweet treat of chocolate and raspberry cupcakes, made especially for us by Wendolyn. We also had some coconut nog which most children tried and some even liked. Ruby shared a story of gnomes and stones and brightly lit lanterns. After snack, we watched the wax melt on the camp stove and learned how to dip the candles for our lanterns. We had to dip into the wax, down and up, let the wax drip off and then dunk it in the cold water. The children marched from wax to water chanting the instructions of ‘dip, drip, dunk’ as their candles grew and grew with each new coat of wax. They were also fascinated by how the water in the jar made their candles look even bigger when viewed from underwater.

When the candles were big enough, Ruby and I set them in the lanterns with some wax to secure them. The children sang to invite the fire fairies and we lit each lantern. Our lanterns illuminated our journey as we explored the circles of Redwood trees and found a special treasure: the gnomes from our story with a mysterious rock tucked beside them! The children used hammers to crack open their rocks to find the sparkling crystals inside, and it was such a joyful discovery to share!

Grandpa Sun started peeking through the clouds and we were lucky again to have a sunshine lunch. As we ate, we chatted about our plans for the break and the many adventures and holiday fun we would have. Grandpa Sun kept warming us and the forest, and then we could hear all the birdsongs as they sang their appreciation for the bright, warm sun.

Ruby shared that her Mom lives very close to Deer Park and all the children got excited to gather some forest gifts to leave on her doorstep. We all found some lovely forest things; moss, lichen, branches, and leaves to bring on our walk. A beautiful offering was left on her doorstep as a solstice surprise for when she returned home.

Back at the Deer Park bridge, we turned into the fastest animals to run and retrieve our backpacks and treasures and all met at Juniper Rose for our cozy ride home. We had many gratitudes for the day and our picture was so full of wonderful things we saw and appreciated. Thank you all for a lovely 2018 and we are so excited to see you in 2019!

December 14, 2018
Waxing Moon
Lake Lagunitas

With rain in the forecast, we were all suited up and prepared for a wet day and puddle play. When Juniper Rose arrived at Lake Lagunitas, the wind was whipping leaves off the trees and Margot exclaimed, “it’s really picking up!” The children were undeterred by the winds and leaves swirling and headed over to the Raccoon Home tree to begin preparing their house for the coming storm. They all worked together to add sticks and logs to reinforce the space.

A banana slug came out to see what was going on and we stopped to spend some time with it, some children even crawled on the ground beside it. Soon there were raindrops falling and we found some coverage under the picnic structure for snack time. We invited the fire fairies in their lantern home to light up a story from Trippy Troopy and Trilly Truly who shared an adventure all about their own first encounter with a gnomes and lanterns! Inspired by our story, the children were outfitted with hammers and nails to tap-tap-tap like the gnomes and make holes in our lanterns to let the light shine through. We all persevered with our hammering through the cans frozen full of ice, and then hammered at the ice that broke free.

The children returned to their Raccoon Family play, running up the slope to the tree home and back down again across the small creek while Ruby and I spent some time making handles for the children’s lanterns. Violent, Siena, Margot and Charlie found some fantastic shelf mushrooms growing from the side of a tree and spend some time exploring with them. Some were as big as the children’s hands and some were even bigger! They were white and had frilly ribs underneath them and were smooth on top. They grew up on the tree even taller than the children, but not taller than Ruby or I.

Grandfather Sun came out for a time and warmed up the grassy meadow near the climbing Redwood tree. A group of children ran up the spillway steps with Ruby to see if the next storm was coming quickly. They were all weather watchers to see if we could have lunch in the sunshine and returned triumphantly to announce that we could, indeed, have a sunshine lunch. We had a special birthday celebration for Siena during lunch and heard a unique story all about her life. She brought some sweet treats to share, which we all enjoyed in addition to our own lunches.

Almost as soon as we finished lunch, the clouds came in darker and the winds swept up. As the first raindrops began to fall, our play returned to the Raccoon Family Tree and the picnic structure. Many children also turned into puppies and kitties that were very cute and nice to pet! There was also plenty of running around and some rolling in the dirt and stick play with friends. As we headed towards Juniper Rose, the raindrops got bigger and came faster and soon we were cozy, warm and dry and ending our day with gratitude for rain play, banana slugs, and birthday fun!