Palo Alto Tender Tracks Thursday April 17, 2014 Day 58

Waning Gibbous Moon
Huddart Park

Serena is still on her holiday.
What a fine and fun day today we had as we made our way to Huddart Park to make a fire, boil water, put onion skins, cut up beets and black tea bags into three pots of water, let them boil for 30 min., cool them down and dye eggs.
The children went on a search for dried grass to use for our “nest” to start the fire.   The grass it turned out was still a bit too damp and lighting the fire took a while until after Jill and I got out the dried cattail down.  Before that though each one of the children had a go at lighting a match.  Juliette and Finn had success and the rest will continue to work at it.
Finn was the most delighted I think with this as well as just being with the fire.  He and Juliette really worked at fluffing up for fire starter a rope that someone found.  It was perfect for shredding and fluffing.  It worked too!   The children worked together to get the pots filled with water and I was quite impressed with how they were able to carry such heavy loads.
We finally put in the dye material and while it boiled they played and played in Nature’s playground of Redwood trees, Earth and hills.  Also, Juliette, Ridham, Zara, Zac and Eden found the ongoing little sparkly treasures, that look like they come from past parties.   Ridham was so engrossed in this that when we were all at the table dying our eggs I said “Where is Ridham?”  And there he was behind the Redwood tree, on the ground, absolutely delighted with the treasures that he was finding.   When invited again to do the Egg dying he was quite content to stop his excavations and join the rest of the group.
They each got two eggs, we put their initials on them and then I showed them what each color would look like on the eggs.   The beets did not turn out well at all so we added the Redwood cones dye that Jill brought from collecting the cones and soaking them earlier in the year. A gentle pink appeared.
We discovered that the most beautiful and amazing dye was the onion skins that were soaked in the dye that had boiled in a cast iron pot.  I had completely forgotten that rust and metal are great mordants.  The longer they kept their eggs in this one the more of a deep and beautiful chocolate brown they got.  I had also brought some soaked onion skins and the color was defintely lighter. So, boiling in cast iron was a wonderful thing for our success in natural dyes.
The children spent a great deal of time with this having a grand bit of fun.  At the end there was  not time to go on our wonderful hunt for them so, we all went down to the creek and played down there.  Finn found a wonderful small salamander that he played with the entire time with giggles and joy.  All the way back he was looking in one of the Golden Guides of Reptiles to figure out who it was.
Unfortunately we had little time down in the creek and when it was time to go words such as “Why do we have to go” resounded throughout.  It really was such a beautiful and fun day.

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