Welcome ...
This blog has been created to allow family and friends to share in and become part of the experience of 'Down at the Farm'.
Enjoy the children, their love for each other and their open hearted wonder and excitement.
Over time you will get to know the farm through their eyes and will see how they spend their day with each other in a very rich, organic way.
Each vignette is a snapshot in time. Follow from one to another, then on to more and you can share in our unfoldment and journey.
Enjoy your visit ...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Some things are just too good to be true ... or are they?

Over the last weeks, we've watched as some work started happening near the worm farm.  The compost was shifted, diggers came in, dirt was lifted and something was happening... ...but what?!

We watched and wondered... ...a sand pit, a swimming pool, a lake, a new house for the farmers... ...or even just a big hole.

Lo and behold, this week we found out.  A big slab of cement! 

Well, some things as they say are too good to be true.  None of what we imagined ended up there.

Don't despair though, over the next while, more will be going on as a shed is erected.  A great big farm shed. We'll get to watch all the comings and goings for that to happen as well as everything being moved into it. 

Now that might just be another adventure of sorts... ...watching what the big cement slab turns into.

Farm 31.03.10 and 24.03.10

Friday, March 26, 2010

The convent gardens, jumping carp and a wandering possum ...

Peppercorn, Harvey and Omkara had a chance to bond on wednesday this week as Finn and Agnes were away ~ our collage gives just a peek of the mood for that day, and check out the change of mood the sunglasses we found created for a moment on the day.  Those natural faces without them are my favourite look.

From Collages
Thursday saw the farm closed for the day as a cement floor was being poured and there was much truck traffic and safety concerns.

For the five little angels who spent that day together, we explored the wonder of the convent gardens.  Dakota, Willow, Farrah, Ava and Milana amongst the magic and majesty of this place was a site to behold. 

Milana give a moment of sheer delight when we entered the convent bakery for some water to drink.  With her little glass in hand she lent forward to say something and promptly spilt a little on the floor.  With a little, 'Oh' she bent down to wipe it up with her hand and in the process spilt some more, by this time the staff were engaged and Helen who works there offered her a cloth, she spilt some more and wiped away to the delight of many and Ava who quietly watched on, suddenly 'got it' and tipped her glass over to spill a little on the floor too.  So innocent, so funny and such delight.

Little Ava was taken by every flower and rock and piece of nature that was new on the day.  You can also see her entranced by a painting we encountered in a space at the convent that displays art by the resident artists.  On her haunches and totally emersed.

Dakota and Willow loved the WHOLE place and Farrah was... ...well Farrah.  She has such character and strength and a really bright sense of humour and is also very interested in everyone and everything.

The first photos in the album from this day are from last thursday and show Nina, Winston and Dakota in front of a huge puzzled they figured out how to do together.

farm 25.03.10

Friday was a beautiful day and Daisy, Dawn and Jock explored the farm together.  The farm was warm early and we started our day down by the river.  Mash the cat, most vocal of all cats I've ever known came and joine in our play.  She was teased by a Willy Wagtail, boldly dancing and singing out of reach while she lay ready to pounce.

The river was still and slow and our play was interspersed by the sound of large splashes with only ripples on the water as clues to what might be making the sound.

Jock was first to see a big Carp jumping from the water and her let us all know with great excitement so we all got to see this magnificent sight.

During the morning we played in water with Dawn and Daisy using feathers to paint.  Daisy painting each post round the old bath tub with fine brush strokes and after each post was done, throwing her arms open with a big 'Ta-dah', before doing the next.

Dawn came and 'painted my face with great attention and fourish, announcing I was a ladybird and telling me to open my eyes and see how beautiful a ladybird I was!

We also got to see a possum in the barn, climbing up the wall, onto the rafters, across he rooftop and in around the chimney on top of the fire place ~ now that was a rare treat from this nocturnal creature.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I can do it myself!

Well after weeks of persisting with the desire to be able to climb into the Peppercorn tree, Dawn finally made it ... ... ALL BY HERSELF!

The best thing being, she has had Elodie for inspiration, who has bounded up the tree each week and then turned and offered her hand and her words of encouragement for Dawn so that she could get there too.

This has added depth to a friendship bond, Elodie encouraging and Dawn really reaching out to her friend for help...strength meeting strength and both so good for each other.

Having stopped giving the girls any help a month to 6 weeks ago as it was obvious they needed only my faith, encouragement and patience for their efforts more than anything, it was the best in terms of sense of her own acheivement that Dawn could have had.
Dawn's 'acceptance' speech, (well spontaneous proclamation while realising what she had done)...

'I got up by myself.  That's because I'm not a baby anymore.  Babies grow up to be children and children grow up to be adults and when they are adults, they get to do adult things.'

Elodies response...

'Hey, I'm coming too Dawn-ee.'

From Collages

Magnus in the guinea pig house this morning after a long gentle cuddle noticed flies and looks up at me and says, 'Ella put my guinea pig back, I'm going to catch flies.'

As I took his little friend, he bounced off the seat and went straight into fly catching mode.  Very funny.

Daisy now calls me what sounds from a distance like 'A-yay-a' and when I'm up close, 'A-un-ya' and tells me all through the day what her next move is or what she is asking of another, she smiles from the tips of her toes upwards until it's all over her face.

Jock cruised through the day like our resident grandfather, he has such a steady way about him.  He's like the wise one with a gentle word here and a kind word there, very soothing presence to have round.

He and Magnus were a delight with their little exploration and bug discovery... ...both so proud to have found such fascinating little creature for us all to see.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How to say I love you ... and ... Happy Birthday Finn

Harvey in a moment of absolute love and adoration for Agnes this morning burst forth with 'Agnes ... (little pause) ... you're fantAgnes'

Couldn't have said it better and adore each other they do.

It was also Finn's fifth birthday and after a rough night and not feeling too well, Sue organised for him to come along just to share his birthday cake and a pass the parcel. 

This had been Finn's simple birthday dream.  To share both these things with his friends at the farm.

The other children talked about him all morning. 'played with him in absentia', I guess you'd call it and then we sat and shared his birthday moment together...

farm 17.03.10

Have a peek and look to see Ella and Charlie, new faces that are part of Kari's group.  Of course alongside the other little farmers they'll be with too...

Farm 10.03.10 and 17.03.10k

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Kindness and a chocolate pond...

Wednesday was a bleak and changeable day weather wise. We had rain and it was cool, a storm brewed and it even cleared for a bit.

It was also the day that Omkara really came into the heart space of the group in a new way through his strong fresh spirit and Finn's kindness and care.

Over the weeks previous, I had been encouraging the children to be patient with trying to understand Omkara who speaks a mix of Spanish and English. 

It was fascinating to see that at first to their ears, there was no difference, they just listened expecting to understand.  Next, it became obvious there were things they didn't understand and they didn't know why. Finally, and it was Finn who really twigged to this, patience and a willingness to engage and ask again started happening and a new understanding opened up between the children. 

On wednesday, Finn who had really taken to listening to understand Omkara, piped up wanting to take Omkara for a special walk. 

As I talked with him, I found out that he knew Omkara hadn't been there the week before when we took a long detour in our play, via the back of the convent gardens to find our way back to the farm.  Finn wanted Omkara to have this experience for himself, so we set off, down the bike path to the wonderful tree that makes a cubby house... ...and it's neighbour who is great to climb and then wandered up into the back of the convent to find our way back.

If you haven't walked this way before, as you enter the convent grounds, you are met with a high long hedge and you need to walk to find an entrance........so like a secret garden that opens before your eyes as you enter in through the opening in the hedge.

The gardeners were tending with loving care and as we got there, the sky darkenend and rain threatened.  I noticed the lights on in the art gallery and headed up there with the children.

I opened the door and in walked four little folk, who the sight of left the gallery director a little taken aback then followed by me.

farm 10.03.10

The children were just gorgeous and really interested in what was there to see. 

The first installation was a big projected set of changing images with some sound and music. All the children loved this and Agnes showed herself to be a party on the inside in front of this.  As soon as she looked up  and saw the image and heard the music, she burst into dance and smiled as she said simply, "Music". 

I have seen this love expressed by her on many occasions at the farm.  'Neighbours', was filmed over a few days last year in the back paddock and they set up an outdoor party for their filming.  Agnes burst into dance on the spot with the first sound of the music even though the back paddock was closed... ...Agnes asked each time it started if we could go back to the music.  On any occasion where there is music at the farm, that is where Agnes will be drawn, to dance! 

I think Simon and Helene may have one party loving teenager in the making :)


Thursday morning saw five little girls, mostly enjoying themselves in each others company.

On friday morning down by the river.  Magnus climbed up to peek over the fence, his little hands folded under his chin as a head rest as he quietly gazed out over the incredibly still water.


The other children played together behind him as he held his reverie and then all of a sudden, he turned and called, 'Hey 'Ulla, look at the chocolate pond'.

Afters years of seeing the river in many moods and expression, for the first time, I too saw something new, the Yarra River in front of us as a chocolate pond.

Mean while, Elodie trooped along in the best of moods, collected feathers like fine couture, (and promptly lost them) and shared as much love as she could with Dawn and vice versa, including sitting in Dawn's hair salon and letting herself have her hair done.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Who's who and how do they do it ...

When you take the time to look at the photos, what shows itself for all to see is the unique flavour of each little group.  Sometimes there is a recurring theme or place of discovery, sometimes there is a mood or timbre to the day that speaks to us through the photos and belongs only to that unique little combination of people.

Here are Lola, Monique, Ali, Angus and Natalie enjoying the farm in their unique way as they do each week with Kari ... ...
Farm 24.02.10 and 03.03.10k

Monday, March 1, 2010

Listen with all your senses ...

Last week, when I first saw Monique on Wednesday, she was peeking out from under her sun hat when I said hello and she shyly and demurely said, 'Hello'.  At the same time, she held up her left hand near her shoulder with four fingers in the air.  While we said our hellos, the four fingers stayed there and she couldn't help but smile when I noticed.  She was swinging her skirt and smiling away and kind nudging my attention in the direction of her hand.  I got it.  Those four little fingers in the air were saying, 'Hey danella, remember how you told you about my birthday... ...and how I'm four... ...and how exciting it's been to know each day from Mum that I'm still four... ... ...well it gets even better.  I'm still four today!!!' 

To me, Monique was instinctively counting on me to have really meant it when in a few moments in earlier weeks, I'd shared my excitement for her milestone... ...and counting on me to have remembered, four fingers and a big smile was all that was needed.

If we really listen with all our senses and our hearts, it's easy to hear what children are saying.  The more you get to know the unique gem that each one is, the easier it gets.