Palo Alto Tender Tracks Sept. 26, 2013

Day 8
Waning Moon
Huddart Park

What a gloriously fun day.  Our intention of the day was to make soup for the beginning of Fall.  Each child brought some sort of root vegetable from either their garden, grandmas’s garden or somewhere else.  They were all excited.   We did our usual bus routine to go on our way and then, off we went!
When we got there out they went and scattered they did and exploring and enjoying commenced.  There was much to take out of the bus so, I did mostly, while Jill was with the children.   After they had gotten a good stretching of legs and orienting/getting to know the area, we gathered for a small circle of songs, story song and snack that was their lunch!  I told them it was a bit of a backwards day; they had their lunch for snack and our snack would be our lunch!!  They laughed and laughed about that.
The story was a song about a Great Big Carrot( root vegetable, hence the reason for a root vegetable) that grew in the ground that Grandpa, after planting it and tending it, just couldn’t pull it out!   The hope is that next week we will play this story game together.  This day I had little figurines to be all the characters in the story and Trilly Truly, Trippy Troopy and Grandmother Spider listened  on the side as it was told.
After all of this some kept sitting and kept eating while others were far too excited and ran off to explore and play.  Some of the Riekes Center nature studies folks came by to say hello and they “set up camp” not far from us so, we had neighbors!
Juliet and Serena were finding small magical treasures on the ground all day and Juliet was showing them to others throughout the day.
The children were asked to gather a certain size stick for the fire. They did and then we all gathered around to put the fire together and light it with the intention of making the fire good enough with the driest of materials so that it could be a one match fire.
And, IT WAS!! On this day though I did not have the children help a lot once the fire was going.  I was laying a foundation of safety and observation.  After this there will be more and more participation as I see each one show their safety awareness abilities.  Some of them were already able and some needed a little more support, hence, slow and steady!
When the fire got going really well they all took hold of the pot, went to the water spout and figured out how to work together to bring the pot full of water over.  First time, big spill, second time, grand success!
I showed them how to cover the bottom and sides of the pot with soap to protect it from all the black from the fire that will then wash off with ease.    Then, we all got to chopping.  Serena and Ridham just wanted to watch, and so they did, Liam really wanted to cut in a way that looked like a way he has seen adults do it. It was  not quite safe enough for his skill level. He was encouraged to do it another way but he was not so keen on that so, he went off to play for a bit and maybe try again latter.   The rest of them were really having a very good time cutting with their child size knives and their small little “cutting boards,” plastic fold up cups laid flat.  There was a true learning curve with these knives and the hard root vegetables to be had though. Jill mainly tended the fire, as they learned that the fire ALWAYS must be tended to, yet we took turns aiding the children and caring for the fire and the pot of vegetables. The children would cut and then bring over what they cut to Jill who then put it all in the pot.   We also were given some fresh mint from Serenas garden.  We were cooking that too for our lunch for tea.
After they were all finished cutting they went off to play.  And then, Liam, Ridham and Zac set the table with bowls, cups and spoons all set out so beautifully.  The children all came to lunch and all tried the soup and tea accept Juliet.   Liam, Zac and Julian ate the most too.  This was the best year for soup with Tender Tracks EVER!!  And it really was so very, very, very yummy!
The children were having fun and then of course, time to go play some more.
During the day we found incredible little caterpillars that were turning into chrysalis’.  Eden, Zara, sometimes Liam and sometimes Serena, were playing in an empty fire pit where a lot of these creatures were.  Zara was squishing them because they were where she wanted to play house and Eden was taking small sticks and building pretend fires.   I encourage Zara to leave these treasures there and we spent some time really looking at them.
We found a lot more Bay Nut babies, and, they found a great place down where we were, the dry creek bed, to play until the end of the day.   Jill went with most of them down there while I packed things up.  The day flew by and I wanted them to explore so much more.  As has been the case, no one really wanted to leave but alas, we needed to and so , we did.  And now we have truly begun Fall!

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