September 18, 2018
Waxing Gibbous Moon
Lake Lagunitas

Today felt like our first truly official Tender Tracks day. It was just the seven children, Ruby and I, no parents. The Sun was warm, cool in the morning, warm out from under the trees, coat worthy under the trees. The Redwood Cones continue to drop and Luna still LOVES to gather, so, that happened.

Theo is warming in and settling to the rhythm of the day. Josie, though she did not want to let go of Mom at first, did SPLENDIDLY!!!throughout the day. She played with all the girls with absolute delight. Eamon wound up holding Ruby’s hand on the way back at the end of the day and Holden held mine. This has not happened before. The boys played with each other throughout the day with, what looked like, a great deal of fun and happiness. Any difficulties they communicated through it. And, I know, as is the way with humans, that things will arise, obstacles will show up, and opportunities to learn how to move through them will present themselves. Ellie, really enjoyed playing with Josie and Uma. All the girls just simply had fun with each other creating homes, running away from the boys, playing chase, and building a home during the last half of the day in a Redwood grove. But, oh yes, Ellie gets very scared when the boys chase her and cries and comes to us. Eamon in particular is incredibly kind and stops IMMEDIATELY, when asked with a kind and gentle heart and words. Josie we thought liked being chased because she smiled so much with it. Yet, later in the day she said no, that was not the case so, we asked the boys to not chase the girls unless they say yes and they all agreed to this. 🙂

The day began where the boys ran over the creek and to the other side of the creek where the rocks to climb are. They figured out how to get up and into the spillway but, alas, we are not allowed to climb up there so, they came down and carried on in other places.
Josie and Uma ran to the log to climb across the creek to get to the other side while Ellie and Luna helped me set up circle and Ruby was busy tending to something in the bus.

Then they all wound up together where the boys were discovering things like Banana Slugs and such in and around the water. I called them in and they made their way. It was more challenging for Josie as she got herself up the rocks and had a harder time getting down. Ruby was there the whole time and they finally made it over to us.

We had a story called “A House with No Doors, No Windows and a Star Inside.” This came with apples where we FOUND stars inside. We got to eat those, sing our songs and have a sweet circle. They then played, gathered more cones, ran around until we got our packs and made our way to a new place.

Up the big stone stairs we went, all together. When we got to the top we took off our layers to cool down then kept going. The children heard of the many ways to find our way back and to notice the landmarks to help us get to where we are going as well as find our way back. They also learned a bit about what to do when you are lost.

Earlier Luna and Ellie thought that they were lost. I told and shared what to do if you really do get lost and from that point on all the children began to practice. Right before we got to where we landed for the afternoon, I looked back and they were all huddled together trying to hit rocks together, yell Help, Help, Help and use their whistles. It was a beautiful site to see them ALL working together and practicing what to do if they did indeed get lost.
For your FYI: the universal signal if you are lost is three claps, yells, rocks hit together, anything that you can make three sounds, then stop, wait, then do it again, and again and again. Also, and particularly for children, stay exactly where you are or find a near by tree and stay right there.

When they all arrived at our spot they fanned out and began to play near the creek, build in the Redwood “homes” and explore, explore, explore. It was lunchtime soon afterward so we all gathered and ate up. Some, more than others. They know now what to do at the end of lunch: put all your food away, drink water in our end of lunch “drinking party” and to say “May I please be excused” when they wish to go play.

There was much face painting with rocks that I think Ruby found, and a pooping party for one as I took Luna out to the woods to do so. The girls and I built a fun little house, they all figured out how to slide down a part of this smooth Redwood bark.

Theo got his foot wet and we could not find him for a small bit as he was very sad about this. We found him behind a tree. We changed his sock and, all was well. Phew!

When we had to leave they all happily found their way back, into the bus, and really wanting to have Ruby draw the picture of the day. We remembered the Deers we saw, the Crawdad tail they found, the little birds and more. At the beginning of the day they listed the many things they wanted to see and kept noticing how they did not see them. Well, here is a partial list: Dinosaurs, Bear Sloths, cub bears, Unicorns, pink birds….. And so another beauty filled day happened and, oh yes, We now have a Weather watcher stick, a stick with a string with a feather attached to it. We noticed the wind on the stick and we put three notices on the stick for three days that we have been together.

September 20, 2018
Waxing Gibbous Moon
Sorich Ranch Park

Today we needed to go to a different place due to the concern by the Water District of potential fires. We had wanted to go to Sorich just not this soon in the year.
Our focus has been to create stability in one place for the two new students at the beginning of the year. Ah well, off we went and, all turned out just fine!

Josie, however, did take quite a while to acclimate, adjust and then move out and into the group. When she did, however, she was FULLY on board, in the mix, smiling a great deal and very involved.

When our day was beginning on the bus we asked the children from last year to introduce Josie and Theo to the big rock and the area. Holden and Eamon chimed in with GLEE to do so for and with them! When we got there, we all came out and began to explore. Our typical circle spot and place to put backpacks was too filled with Dog Poop so we moved down below to the shade. Over the last year, I have noticed a lot more dog poop and people picking it up far less frequently:(
As we walked down to a different circle spot we came upon the bushes where the children LOVED to hide and play in last year but now it was CUT WAY BACK!! No more hidding spot for a while until it all grows back again. They were very easy going about it and then we moved on to set up our circle, see if the Fig trees had figs, bounce on the bouncy tree and climb up the big rock.

I saw Theo just sitting up there alone. I asked how he was doing and he said he really liked the view up there and, that he had been to this place before. Ruby found a great deal of figs for us as she could reach and climber higher than myself, as I tried earlier without success. Oh, how, most of us, loved eating these delectable treats, and in particular, Eamon! We guided them to the other tree to check out if there were any viable figs there but I do not believe there were. We, of course, will need to come back again to harvest more!

Today I recapped the story of Tues, A House with No Doors, No Windows and a Star inside and then went on to elaborate on the tale and the children in the story. In the story the children wound up taking the baby seeds/pips from their “House/apple”and planted them.
And so, later on, that is exactly what WE did! Josie and Uma did not want to partake so they did not come home with little containers of soil and apple seeds from our snacks. No problem…. yet the other children had a great deal of fun with their little pots, soil, seeds and spray bottle.

After our circle and play we packed up and made the sweet and gentle walk to the farm very nearby. There we met the farmer and his dog. Luna was very sweet and with great clarity when she said to the farmer ” I don’t care for dogs” as she tucked herself away from this large and rambunctious canine.

At the farm, the children scampered with delight over to the chickens. How they LOVED feeding them tomatoes that they were given permission to pick and the Mallow that I showed them. Eamon must have eaten 40 of those little cherry tomatoes and Ellie loved learning which Mallow is the best to eat, and she then ATE them up! Uma, Luna and Josie had a grand time with the chickens and running up and down the garden rows while Eamon, Theo and Holden gathered tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes.

When we left we gave sweet gratitude to the farmer and then made our way back to the bus. We had a bit of extra time so, we got out some of the Redwood Cones that we had gathered, put clear water in a bucket, then the Redwood Cones we put in and watched the water change color!! We will dye material with these soon enough.

Then, back in the bus to draw pictures of the day, sing our goodbye song and share gratitudes.

September 13, 2018
Waxing Moon
Lake Lagunitas

All the children were here and Josie’s Mother stayed with us all day. Yeah!
What a glorious second and for some, first day. The weather was sunny yet cool and the children’s spirits were high, sweet and present.

As Ruby and I reflected over the day it was a delight to see the children from last year have such ease and comfort. They really did take in so much of the rhythm and ways of Tender Tracks.

Theo was taken in beautifully by Holden and Eamon with a little help. The beauty with which he was welcomed into their world was tender to behold. Josie played with Uma, whom she already knows, and Ellie and Luna really wanted to play with her, which they did too.

The day was easy with a gentle flow from one playful movement to the next. Our circle was intact, and the last of the mats and extra clothing bags were found by Uma, Josie and Holden, the three that were absent on Tuesday.
A great deal more Redwood cones were gathered by Ruby, Uma, Luna, and Ellie. The boys were very involved in a Storm Trooper game. Theo knew exactly how to and how not to use tools of such characters AKA sticks and when the boys got too rambunctious with the play and using the girls to chase they would very easily stop when asked. Phew! Well done parents!!

We went to the top of the stone stairs and there we stayed for the rest of the day going up and down and up and down and up and down and round the hill and area. We gathered material and began to make a large home and paint and pencils to draw with on wood, madrone bark and madrone leaves. Ruby caught three frogs for us to see and feel and we got to see SO MANY FROGS!

Back in the bus pictures were drawn of all the many things that we saw in nature and then we sang our goodbye song.

This was just a sweet, sweet and kind first week back to Tender Tracks. Ruby and I are so very excited for this year to come.