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September 13, 2012
Waning Crescent Moon
Hidden Villa Ranch
Day 4

Four days together already and such a continuing beautiful group. Before circle they checked the grass to see if it was wet or not and ran and ran all around. Evan is actually the biggest runner.  He has a great deal of energy that he just loves to move with!
At circle we had our rituals and Alice had come in right as we were beginning to sing.  She looked  a bit sad so I offered for any who wished to go and greet her and invite her into the circle.  Emme and Gieselle went to greet her . She wasn’t really ready to receive them yet had a slight turn of the head with a smile given so I knew she was actually happy for their welcoming.  They came back to circle and she, after a time. But first off  with her Mom and brother she went. After they left she ever so slowly found her way into circle and then, completely ready to be apart of the day with others.  Emme did not come back to circle straight away and found some quiet time for herself until she found her way back.  We then had our freshly made Oatmeal, story and then off we went.

We were all excited to go to Hidden Villa and only half of them it seemed had ever been there.  When we got there though it was time for most to eat lunch so we ate right there at the Hidden Villa’s natural play ground.  We contended with the Yellow Jackets who are in mass this year though they seem gentler to me this year than years past. Therefore, no one received the fire of sting from these formidable friends.

We finally packed up and made our way along the path until we came to the garden.  Oh my what fun we had in there!!!  Immediately there was the  tunnel for small travelers to crawl through that led them straight  into the garden. Then there was a GREAT plant tunnel to go through. I became some kind of monster, I was deemed, and began chasing them all around. Most LOVED this and when we had to leave Miu was not pleased.  She wanted to stay and stay and chase and play. However, if we were to see the animals we had to carry on.  So, off to the pigs, and chickens we went.  We walked over the bridge and found no water yet were able to pick a few left over Blackberries from the substantial bushes there.  We went through a magical arch way and made it to the chickens and the pigs.  There we found wonderful little pigs that really were so sweet and delightful to observe.  I was able to catch a couple chickens for them to pet though Kaden did not want to pet them.  The children just loved playing and playing here and we had our second lunch with the chickens coming up to us to eat some food.  We shared with them the vegetable and fruit part of some of our lunches and learned how to shew them away. This became a great game as the children would pretend that they were chickens that I was gently shewing away. Miu and Kaden loved this game best and I was inticed to shew them and shew them on.
We checked on the piggies one more time and also had fun observing the GREAT BIG PIGS there as well.
Walking, running, skipping, singing back to the bus was our delight.  And oh yes, earlier we went through a grand touching and smelling garden and got to feel such soft plants, Lambs ear for one.  We spent time with the cows and sheep too and did our best to talk with them.  In the morning we were practicing using Crow language too.

September 11, 2012
Waning Crescent Moon
Embarcadero Duck Pond
Day 3

What a very, very beautiful day.  How delightful, imaginative, inclusive, friendly, alive and vibrant, to use a few descriptive words, your children are!!!  Truly!   They began the day with many games and fun before circle time.  They played on the Laying Down tree, the Redwood Stump and ran about.  I invited them to do races on the lawn and to see if there was dew upon it because:  When dew is on the grass the ran will pass. When the grass is dry, rain will come nigh.  So, we checked the grass, it was wet, and then running and running took place until they finally ran to circle.

Emme and Alice were filled with far too many dog and animal sounds to take part in circle so they went off to play with Jill for a time.  They finally came back with wings of birds yet ready to join the circle time in the human forms.   (Unfortunately, to sing our songs at this time of year it is so very hard to do so in Doggy language.  We will save that for a future date when this will be most delightful!)  We also had some competition from a beautiful Guardian of the Park who was dumping more compost.  Evan was MOST intrigued and focused on this so we wound up singing him some of our songs and then waved him joyfully good bye as he left. I almost finished cleaning up our stick that we gathered last Thursday and put the feather we found on it.  We then counted how many days we have been together and watched the Wind Children blow, just a little, the feather around.  We then had our snack and Alice and Evan really like to put out, ALREADY!  the Thank You plate/snack on a leaf as an offering of gratitude.  And, part of the snack was a give from Evan and his Mom: Apples from their Apple tree.
Miu does not, so far, like to sit on her own mat but to sit right in between Gieselle and Aoife, and this is just fine.  We had a bit of a long story about Earth Namer, you can find it in the library.  It is about the beginning of all things and how it all got to be here. One of the biggest things I focus on in this telling is of singing things Welcoming songs.  In the story there was a Welcoming song to the Sun and then to the  Moon.  Eventually we will have a very “advanced” welcoming song to the directions/North, South, East , West, Above, Below and The Heart that Holds It All Together.  But that, as I said, will come later.

After snack they went right off to play with one another.  Miu asked Paul if he would come and play with her on the Laying Down tree and he said yes, while the others, lead by Alice, played “Family” on the Redwood Stump.  Emme was ready to go so into the bus we went followed by the ritual of passing out stuffies, and then looking at our Moon Board at the head of the Bus.

We were greeted at the Duck Pond with the worse smell I have EVER smelled at the Duck Pond. Usually it is stinky but this was absolutely AWFUL. Luckily it was pretty much just where the bus was so we moved to a place I take the children any way and then that was fine.  They ate, or some, played, ran, and we gathered feathers to make a Feathered rope like in the story from today.  There are many, many feathers there at the Duck pond so easy to gather.  Evan was scared yet drawn to the Geese and the ducks. He, Miu and Kaden went exploring around a bit of the pond to find and look at the ducks.  Miu and Giselle and sometimes Emme would sit at times just starring at the ducks. PERFECT!!!   Paul was very familiar with this place and was not troubled about going inside the Bush house that was there but some others discovered Ants all over and were less enthrawlled so they came out.   They climbed and played on the wonderful uneven stumps that are at the pond just for children to test their balancing skills and then, we packed up to go on a grand adventure for the day.

I brought them through the  Fennel, Mugwort and Starthistle forests.  This was quite the challenge as the trail was thin and the brambles in the way at times large.  But they did it with great bravery and style.  We wound up on a trail where there was a beautiful flowing water run that went under a bridge.  We began following this so that we could make it to the Magickal and old ruin of a CASLTLE!!!!  “Are princesses there?” asked Emme”  “Are there princess clothes?”  “Are their Knights there”  asked the boys. All along the trail we walked until, we made it there with the Guardians holes all around.  Guardians being: Ground Squirrels!!!

This “Magickal Castle” is actually some kind of arrangement of old concrete bricks that I have never understood nor found anyone to explain to me how they actually got there so SURELY it must be the ruins of a mightly and wonderful CASTLE!! Wouldn’t you agree???

They had a very good time playing there creating all manner of games.  There are a great deal of small rocks that make up a lot of the land around there as ground cover. Aoife was the first to discover this and had a GREAT time making Angels in the small stones.
I don’t actually know how she did it because to lay on them they were so very, very hot!  She seemed to be just fine.   I took off my shoes and dug under to find the cool stones and Emme and Gieselle joined us.  Then Jill and Kadan.  But Kadan wanted a great and mighty sword so we went searching all around the Coyote Brush that was surrounding the entire land mass!   He was fine for a while but, Paul had a BETTER sword then he so we went on another search and sure enough found one.  But in the end it was not as strong as Paul’s and he was a bit unhappy about this.

Before the day ended all came with me to the waters edge at the dock there to explore and play accept Emme and Paul who stayed with Jill at the Castle.  Those of us who went to the water took off our shoes and played Splash and Keep the Boat, we pretended we were on, afloat.  Miu really didn’t want to leave and wanted the day to be much longer. However, we had to leave and packed up we got and off we went.

We really were a bit late so Kaden, Evan and I raced to the bus, got in and went to pick up the rest of the children at the other parking space then back to the park we came. Oh but oh yes, Alice said she could not find her waterbottle so Jill ran back to find it but alas, it was no where to be seen.  In someone else’s back pack maybe?  We can only hope!!!!

A beautiful and very pleasant day.

Day 2
Wanning Gibeous Moon
Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve

We had our first day on Tuesday with all the parents and what a beautiful day that was!  Jill, our Tuesday assistant, was there, the bright Sun shone it’s face upon us and we explored the woods of Denis Martin’s Creek with delight and curiosity.
Thank you parents for your radiance and involvement!

Now, our second day came, parents allowed their children to be in the loving arms of me and our Thursday assistant, Audrey.
She and the children wasted no time in getting to know each other and all seemed well on that front.  And, they and I continued our journey of getting to know each other more.  The Sun was still shining though, considering the day before which left us in question about this occurance and smiles were all around as our day began.

They all appeared to take to circle with ease and as if they had been doing this at Tender Tracks for quite sometime.  They are moving their hands to the songs and joining in with the rituals of hand washing, passing around snack, Fire Fairies ,Story of the Day and more.  Playing together seems to come with such ease for them and their love of the bus is quite delightful and more than the norm for Tender Trackers.

We brought out the sticks that you parents gathered from Tuesday in order to sort them into the sizes that are needed for the different stages of fire making.  We will need to use all of this wood come the cold and rainy days to come.   We then needed to find one long straight stick and they found several that we then had to choose from. Which we did.  We needed to find a feather too and quite rapidly Kaden found a beautiful crow feather not far from circle.  Yeah for that!  Now, all that needed to be done was for me to clean the stick up and use the string that we used to make our Naming Spider Web, to tie the feather on.   This stick will become our daily counting stick of our days together, counting the Moons fullness and Invisibility and our Weather/wind stick.
And so the year begins.

When we got to Rancho San Antonio they had no struggle with finding the landmarks of: bridge, sound of water, direction of water, Grandma Bay tree and a few others.  The Landmarks were used to aid them in finding our place of lunch and play for the rest of the day.  We took them to a great Bay grove that is like a wonderful house and world to play in.  Below is traditionally a creek, but this year, the first ever in my memory, there was no water at this time here.  No matter, games abounded along with much explorations of the area.

It was not long after we started to eat that Kaden noticed a Deer that stood up right across from where we were.  The deer had clearly been resting in a lay.  Evan went straight for it and it moved away but less quickly then I had expected.  It appeared that it was less inclined to dash away because soon after it moved a fawn came out too.  As the children walked more closely (they were on the otherside of the creek) the Deer and fawn made their way away.  The children were delighted by this experience and so were other people who were on the trail and came in to see this marvelous event.   I am gently bringing their observations into, “What do the animals do when you go straight towards them?”   There will be much more explorations with this theme throughout the year as they learn different ways to walk quietly and invisibly in order to see our animal friends more closely and without disruption of their world.

The boys seemed to rally together in games of swords and protection.  There appeared to be bad guys all about that we needed to be defended from so, off they went to defend our world!  Yeah for the heroic gestures and willingness to protect!
Emme and Alice were very involved with being Mom’s or sisters and creating house.  Alice at times brought Paul in to being Dad which he was more than willing to be.  Miu, Giselle and Aoife were apart of this too and all but Miu got quite involved in a story I told about the Gunny Wolf. Miu got a bit scared at the beginning of the story so she and Audrey went off on an adventure and played with rocks.  The Gunny Wolf story is about a little girl whose mother needed to go to town and told her daughter to stay in the house and the yard and not to go into the woods where the Gunny Wolf lived.   The little girl got carried away with gathering flowers for her mother and soon discovered that she was deep in the woods.  As she gathered flowers she was singing a sweet little song.  The Gunny wolf heard this and caught her saying” Little Girl, Little Girl, sing me that song.”  She sang him the song and he went fast asleep.  She then escaped.  This kept happening, he would catch her, have her sing, she would sing, he would fall asleep, she would escape until finally she did indeed make it home safe and sound.  The Gunny Wolf wanted her to come to his home and sing this song to his children and didn’t know how to ask sweetly and the girl never again went into the woods when her Mother asked her not to.  A beginning of the year cautionary tale to lay a ground work and was more inspired by their play that was taking place.

Alice REALLY liked this story as well as Kaden and they played this for quite a bit. She was the girl and he was the Gunny wolf. Then the boys got more involved in their protecting games and she got tired of the game and went off to play house with some of the girls.

I later brought 3/4 of them on a journey down the creek and through the bushes.  We then all found each other and played more with rocks and such.  Miu and Giselle were very involved in making a boat out of sticks and stones in the creek bed and Miu did not really want to leave this place due to this boat that she made and really liked.

We had fun throughout the day watching the ground squirrels run into  their holes, the bugs and banana slugs and the other creatures of the area.  Evan at times was  a bit nervous about his safety and wanted to know what animals here would hurt us.  There were none and it was he actually that wound up, unintentionally, hurting a Banana Slug.  We watched this dear creature in it’s suffering?( we didn’t know what kind of pain a Banana Slug truly feels as it squiggled around with a stick through it) but we gave it our love and it was clear that all the children watching and sending it love will be more careful with Banana Slugs and their habitat in the days to come.

We watched out for all the Poison Oak that was around us and discovered some Stinging Nettles which are GREAT and very medicinal plants yet not fun to touch.

Paul is just a delight to have back at Tender Tracks and see his maturity and it was a delight to see how well the three boys played with each other.   The girls are predominantly strong minded  and Aoife takes the crown for kind gentility.

A beautiful second day and beginning to our year.