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 ...

Friday, April 29, 2011

A day full of adventure

Our adventures started with a walk down the bike path to say hello to Stumpy Joe the pony and Mickey the donkey. A picnic was in order after our big walk and the real adventures started, after we were all fed …

Off we went down past the pig sty’s onto the dragon hill, where Dan started singing Jack and Jill went up the hill.  Everyone joined in taking it in turns to be Jack and fall down the hill. We even collected other children that couldn’t resist joining in the fun.

After that we went down to the small paddock known as the Witches Garden. Here Mac took us on a big red boat across the seas to a B.B.Q were he cooked some B.B.Q for us all and warned us all it was very hot. After that Minnie and Freya took us on the train, CHOO CHOO to a party were Freya built us a birthday cake (obviously her birthday last Friday had an impact) and we sang happy birthday. All off a sudden all four of them stood on the birthday cake and started cacking themselves laughing.

I feel like we all had a really lovely day.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What do you do .. ?

What do you do when you are eating a sandwich and a chicken gets a bit too close for comfort with it's eye on what you're eating .. ?

make sure your sandwich is as far away from the chooks beak as you can get it ..

.. and when that isn't enough and it comes back again .. ?
Do the same thing from a higher vantage point ..

Look at these little faces and the ones in the sideshow below ..

Just like me ...

So there we were this morning at the chicken coops.  Oliver, Frankie, Samson and I, when I knew I needed a toilet detour on our way back to the barn.

'I need to go to the toilet on the way back, would you all mind walking up there with me?' I asked.

'Why?' asked Oliver.
'I need to go to the toilet.' I replied.
'Why?' asked Oliver
'I need to wee.' I answered.
'Why?' asked Oliver.
' .. because if I don't I might wet my pants.' I answered.

Well Oliver laughed so hard at that he fell flat on his bottom in front of me.  Picking himself up while still laughing he came right up to me and looked into my face and said, 'danella, that's just like me!'

Oliver munching on a carrot we'd picked from the vege patch

Frankie came along today dressed from head to toe in pink ... and mighty proud or her satorial elegance.  At one point in the day I said, 'Your like a little chicken Frankie.' To which she replied without a seconds delay, 'No I'm not, I'm a pink sheep.'

Frankie milking Heather the cow

How's that for a spinach leaf to feed the chickens with?

Samson spent the whole day beaming love on us all, mostly quietly, he was  like little walking UV lamp.  Very happy and content, one look from him, little eyes twinkling, crinkly smile and you'd warm from head to toe.  At one point I said, 'Samson, your big blue eyes are so full of love.' He took a moment and said, 'They're not blue.'  I asked, 'What are they then?'  He took a moment and said, 'Well I don't know, they're just not blue.'

Our day continued ...

What do you do when you stumble across some work men, a pile of sand, a hose, a tumbler (cement mixer) on a sunny day?  Well throw down your picnic blanket and watch what they get up to of course ...

Oliver loves the windmill and today he stood on the shadow while he watched the mill turn, fascinated by the shadown turning as well.  Quite a magical little interaction and fascinating to witness.

The aim is to get up to the hill so you can enjoy the thrill of running down, both things in action here ...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Stop Press !

So here we have some shots from recent days that didn't make it to press on time .. enjoy.

Frankie and Mika embracing

Cosmos in the garden picked up some grass and placed just so and said, 'Grass hair.'

Delight and joy abound with Milana

Dear Daisy

Is that mischief twinkling in those eyes? .. most likely!

It's written all over my face ..

Oliver and Frankie loved the guinea pig cuddles and loved chatting with each other as well ...

Frankie keeping everything quiet while Mika gets up close with Oompalah.

Tom .. gorgeous boy and we all loved the t-shirt

Now little Miss Daisy made cakes in the sand and got so immersed in what she was doing she ate one .. oh, Oh .. suddenly she realised what she' just done and she wasn't tasting cake, just sand ..

Play ...

Here some snippets on play from members of 'Touch The Future' and 'The National Institute for Play Science' ..

 .. Play is the courage to practice kindness and safety in all situations.

.. When a nurturing and loving parent is in a spontaneous encounter with their well-fed and safe infant child, they radiate contagious mutual joy.

This hard-wired contagious response is the cornerstone for the child's developing feelings of safety and intimacy. On close inspection - and scientific measurement - we see that this encounter indicates a state of play for child and parent.

Continuing to access this state, as it becomes more complex and culturally sculpted, is a pre-requisite for the capacity for intimacy throughout life.

 .. 5 elements of play ..

* In play there is no competition

* Play is manifested by a sequenced pattern of touch that begins with the extremities (hands and feet) and moves up and in on the body. The last place that touch occurs in play is the face and top of the head.

*Categories or labels (such as girl, boy, whale, dolphin, elderly and special needs) are irrelevant in play

*There are no revenge responses in play

*Play is about letting go of fear and learning to trust

 .. There is no safety in such a fearful, contest world that leaves little or no room for living the miracle of love. When we thrive we feel loved and are able to give love. Fear may impel us to survive, but it is love that propels us to feel alive, sustains our vitality, and restores our humanity. We are seeking the experience of being alive. The difficulty is that for us to find it, we must not be afraid of life.

 .. Play's love has everything to do with a willingness to be vulnerable in an unconditional and fierce commitment to another's thriving. In a very real and practical sense this means that as Urie Bronfenbrenner (psychologist who developed ecological systems theory) said, "for a child to develop normally, somebody has to be irrationally crazy about that kid."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gaggling geese

We welcomed Ali back for a visit today (Henri’s sister, who came on Wednesdays last year).  She was having a school holiday visit with us.  I'm really glad she got to come and play, as she missed out on a day last week through being unwell.

We made our way around the farm today, even in the rain. Thankfully we all had a rain jacket to wear!

We all played hide and seek for a long time, with me trying to teach everyone how to play and not to point people out when they’d found a very good spot to hide. It is a little difficult, when you have five very excited children. But lots of giggles and “let’s do it again!”

A very gorgeous moment we had was following the geese down the path, my gaggle of geese and the real gaggle of geese! Then the kids stopped and so did the geese and we sat and kind of had a mini stare off. We were just simply checking each other out with just enough space in between. This kept everyone interested for quite some time!

The overall feel for the day was warm and lots of love to be shared!

Lovely to see Ali again!

Friday, April 15, 2011

A simple day ...

Not much is needed to entertain these wonderful five, Mac, Frieda, Minnie, Freya and Daniel. We simply played by the peppercorn tree for most of the day, making our one big move over to the pigs to play on the grass for a while.

This was very entertaining.  Mac found a piece of wood which started out as a pillow for everyone to go nigh-nighs on. From there it turned into a ship that all five were trying to sit on to go sailing. Mac then got everyone off and positioned his legs and said, 'I’m ridin on a stateboard.' (skateboard), and then 'I’m ridin on a tooda' (scooter). The others joined in and we all had a great laugh!

The children all played together with care and love, and I assisted them when needed. I had many parents around the farm admiring the sweetness between these children a lot today.  It was, gentle, loving and with a lot of creativity…

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A mighty down pour, Mr He and One horn

So we walked out of the witches garden after a play in there this morning.  Having just fed the goats in the paddock next door, Tom had a little chuckle to himself. 'Mr. He and One Horn', he said.

The two goats we'd been feeding were one large pushy one and a smaller one with one horn.  While it was obvious to anyone who knew, that teats underneath meant she not he.  The whole energy of the interaction had been of a more driven, masculine energy ... more physical, some pushing a bit dominant (I trust you read this as an energy thing not a statement about men and women).  It was like Tom was walking out feeling that and the quirk of the younger goat having only one horn, feeling the humour and he mentioned it too himself.

One of many moments that were very endearing in a pretty special day at the farm.

The day began with everything at saturation point.  It was bucketing down.  Flora and Matilda arrived first with Flora's mum Jill even wondering the wisdom of being at the farm ... as I imagine most mums did yesterday morning. I knew that the rain was only going to ad to the wonder of our day and one look at Flora's face and I could see there was no way she wasn't staying. 

A hearty welcome for Matilda, change of pants which were already waterlogged and Matilda was feeling great about staying too.  We had the fire to warm ourselves by, in the ambience of the barn, with the rain crashing down on the tin roof.  It doens't get better than that.  I also knew that this meant the farm would most likely be ours and ours alone for most of the day and in a city the size of Melbourne, it that is a pretty special thing too.

Tom and Archie arrived all waterproofed with a generous change of everything needed, so they were set and instantly delighted by the ducks splish splashing just outside the barn.

... and I wonder if the power of our enthusiasm to enjoy the day at the farm even effected the weather for after a good drenching the sky opened up, the people stayed away and we had a really wonderful day.

Matilda and Flora were in total delight of each other and the both knew Tom, so a ton of friendship exploded there.  Archie was very funny.  He has such a deep wit and earnest sense of humour.  At one point he said to me, 'Mummy animal'  eyeballing me as he said it.  I looked at him and said, 'Really Archie?  Is mummy an animal?'  He said, 'Yes.'  I asked, 'What about Daddy?'  He said, 'Daddy animal.'  I asked, 'What animal is daddy?'  He said totally dead pan, 'A Tow (that's T for C)' ... then smiled.  I asked, 'Well what' animal is mummy?'  He thought for a moment then said, 'Sheep' and smiled.  I asked, 'What about Tom? Is he an animal?'  Archie said, 'Yes ... ... a durkey (d for t) and smiled and smiled.

... and along with all these familiar faces we had a new little friend with us, dear little Polly.  What a gorgeous girl.  She was really brave with meeting us all and very generous with hellos to start the day and I'm so glad she came along.  She was the perfect fit on our wonderful day.

She's also a fine wit too, with real depth to her character.  At the end of the day, when we greeted mum at the front gate, she was standing behind a little shelf area in the fence that is like a shop window.  She asked me and her mum Amy what we would like to eat, made us some food and I went to get mine and pay.  I asked how much?' She said, '39.'  I broke some little twigs up and gave them to her.  She looked at them, then me and said, 'They're sticks.'  Then picked up two stones and put one in front of Amy and one in front of me and said, 'There's money.'  As if to say, 'Can you get real about this game, we all know sticks don't look anyting like money.'

What else did we do?  On a day when the river was racing and high ...

We walked, we played, we hugged guinea pigs, visited Mickey the Donkey and one of the horses who was very happy to be hand fed.  We visited the vege garden and ate cherry tomatoes and beans and tried figs straight from the tree.  We played uner the fig tree for ages.  It was a great place to rest and be.

We also found the most GI-Normous puddle ... thigh deep on Tom and Flora who didn't hold back on a huge splash through it.

Thanks to Matilda there was a spot of face painting too ...

We laughed and tumbled and played some more and did nothing less than enjoy the day we were blessed with and the blessing of each others company.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ring a ring a rosie ...

Within the first ten minutes of starting our day, Mika’s big heartedness allowed her to reach out to everyone and had everyone holding hands, smiling connected and singing 'Ringing around a rosie, rocka rocka rosie, all fall down' This was a glorious start to our day and it set the mood for the entire day.

Isabel had told us she would like to see the sheep, so that’s where we headed first.  The children ran through the garden all holding hands and laughing all the way to the sheep. We played in the goat and sheep paddock for a while and then found ourselves sitting on a bench making cakes and singing happy birthday to everyone.

An overwhelming feeling of love struck Isabel at this point and she was inviting everyone back to her place where she had presents for everyone. She was so excited that her hands went up to her mouth and she was shaking, almost like she was going to burst with love. Everyone embraced this and for most of the day there were cuddles, closeness and big loving feelings being shared. I can tell this was a magical day for Isabel.

It was a really nice dynamic with these four beautiful children, Frieda, Eden, Mika and Isabel. Great to see Eden and Mika together. They are twins and I usually only spend time with Eden. Being at the farm in different groups has given them both confidence and self-awareness to have their own autonomy. Today whilst always aware of the other and very loyal, there just seemed to be freedom for both of them. They were a delight to be with.

This day was also great for Frieda.  It was a long day for her, normally finishing at 1pm. It wasn’t until about 2:45 she said in a chirpy little voice 'Where’s mum?' I reminded her that it was a longer day and she told me that her mum had told her that ... then off she went to keep playing.

She was so content with different children to her usual group and at the same time, asking me were Dan, Mac, Freya and Minnie were (Frieda’s Friday group friends).

Here are some photos for you to enjoy from our day...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Easy does it

Today was gentle fun for the children.

Dakota, Jyra and I had the first hour together just the three of us.  That was lovely.  Both girls in delightful moods, very loving and happy even though their 'nonna' had a birthday on the weekend and they told me they were up late because of this.

We were joined by Gabriel and Alexandra, brother and sister who were new to the whole experience of 'Down at the Farm'.

We wandered down the back to play in the sand, only to find it was wet. This didn't matter though as there were logs to lift and horse jump stands to move and other children to talk to as well.

Gabriel was right up for this and Dakota in her own gentle way too.  Alexandra and Jyra stuck close to me, snuggling and singing together warmed them up for the day.

We played here for ages and then some horses were brought out into the arena.  WOW! Dakota especially was enthralled by this.

When we'd finally had our fill we headed off and picnicked for ages and then wandered down to the vege garden for ages as well.  Lots of people were tending their plots so we were greeted with lots of hellos and the chance to see much live food growing too.  I think there'll be plenty of seeds and things in some pockets at home tonight ... maybe even a squashed cherry tomatoe or two.

After we walked through the  garden plots, the children all said they were tired.  We found a seat at the top of the garden under a big fig tree.  What a delight unfolded here.  All four children sitting on the seat chatting for ages. A bit like old friends.  Enjoying each other, getting to know each other and settling into just being together in the easiest of ways.  It was very sweet and led to rock collecting and tree climbing and lots of fun and adventure. 

This was a lovely little gang to spend the day with as they gently got to know and enjoy each other over the day ...