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 ...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dancing peacocks, dirt and each other ...

First thing friday morning,  Dakota and Jyra and I had ten minutes to ourselves before Ted and Magnus joined us.

We got to enjoy the spectacle of the peacocks dancing and the rare site of the largest male dancing for an actual peahen.   The farm peacocks are re-knowned for strutting their stuff for anything with feathers or two legs ... least often an actual peahen.

As I got down beside both girls, Jyra was oohing and aahing and I could feel how much she wanted to express what she was feeling.  It was quite magnificent and at Jyra's height, a peacock with it's tale up is enormous.  'Oh, ah ... ' she went with a little thrill running through her body and finally she looked at me and said with immense passion for the beauty she was beholding, 'It's very big!'

A 'teenage' peacock, with only one long tail feather to show, doing his best dance for two very disinterested ducks.

Magnus began the day on friday like this ...

'Nella I want to tell you something.'  He then held his hands up in front of his face, palms towards himself and the backs of his hands to me and said with great enthusiasm, 'My sister Sienna painted my toenails pink!'

Then things got pretty cute ... everyone sort of snuggled in with each other and then sat on the seat in the sun taking turns at 'being in the middle' ... all just because it felt really good to be together.  The sense of belonging and love amongst this little crew is large and lush.

Later in the Witches Garden, everyone started to dig in the dirt.  Dakota led the way announcing, 'I'm going to dig.'  Magnus watched and joined in follwed by Ted and then Jyra.   As things got underway, they all got really happy about just being able to dig.  Animated conversations were happening and sticks for digging were being sorted.  Dakota and Magnus decided they needed an extra stick for Ari who was away for the day.   It was like they were marking his place among us.   Ted grabbed the stick for Ari and things got a little heated.  Ted hadn't quite realised what was happening and Magnus was trying to explain.  As things heated up, Jyra stood up, looked at everyone and said, 'What you fighting for?'   She kept watching, got no answer and said quite firmly, 'Stop fighting.'  All heads went up in her direction ... everyone took her in, the heat died down and on the digging went.  

One by one, over and over, each of the children came to me and had something to say ... 'I'm digging'  ... 'I'm digging dirt' ... 'I'm making a big hole with my digging'  They were all in sheer delight at having hands in mother earth and the freedom just to dig.

Another treat for us all was a trip to the vege garden.  We picked heaps of spinach to feed the chickens and some carrots and beetroot to eat. 

So good ...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sharing the love and warming hearts ...

Mm .. mmm today looked like this ...

... and it only takes a day or two of weather like that after a bout of cold for the blossoms to start appearing on the fruit trees ...

We wandered into the vege garden today to collect some spinach from my plot to feed the chickens.  We also found some good things to eat ...

Dan thought the carrot was pretty good ...

... and while we rested in the sun for a bit ... Archie dreamily munched his way through some of the fresh spinach we'd picked for the chickens!

Mieka was being super sweet with the chickens as Dan watched on ..

... and was soon joined by Archie

The guinea pigs were visited twice and Mac was total Mr. Chillout ... when other folk came in ... they took one look at Mac and melted.

Love abounded throughout the day and the hearts of many were touched by moments the children shared theirs with each other ...

The end of a very long hug between Mieka and Archie that stole the attention of a picnicking family nearby ... they all stopped eating and oohed and aahed as they took in the love being shared ...

Dan and Mac wandered along brothers in arms for ages ... stern faces melted and smiles widened as they innocently walked along ...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The things you see at the farm ...

Sitting down in the Witches Garden last friday, Ari was talking quite animatedly to me when he suddenly stopped for a moment.  He looked over my shoulder with big excited eyes and exclaimed, 'Look a giraffe!'

I turned to see what it was that he was looking at and this is what I saw ...

Indeed ... a giraffe it was!

... and Romy came to play

We have a new friend in our little thursday gang ... Romy.

She was welcomed today by Daisy (who she already knows), Milana, Alessia and Anna ...

... and as we walked in the rain, played with the lambs, splashed in the puddles and mooched through the gardens ... we all enjoyed getting to know Romy some along the way.

Milana and Romy sneeking up on a peacock with it's tail on display ...

Anna and Romy in the garden ...

Romy spying on a little lamb ...

... and a slide show of us all at play throughout the day ...

Tender moments ...

Anna and Snugglepot connecting with love ...

Anna and Pebbles in tender embrace ...

Anna and Daisy ... sharing the love

Passports please ...

So there we were playing away in the Witches Garden where a couple of favourite long branches, low to the ground are great to straddle and fly on.

Dakota announced to Ted at one point that he'd have to show his passport if he wanted to come fly with her.  Ted looked a little perplexed and said, 'I haven't got one of those.'  Dakota replied with, 'Well you'll have to get one.'

Ted took a moment and came to me.

'Danella, Dakota said I have to have a passport.  I haven't got one of those.'  I offered to help him make one.  I talked about how a passport was something that could help when you wanted to go to another country, it has a photo and tells people who you are and where you come from.

Ted and I found a big leaf.  I 'took a photo' and 'stuck' it on.  Ted was pleased as could be ... and off he went again to see the passport officer.

Dakota said, 'Well have you got a passport Ted?'

'Yep, I have', said Ted and he gave it to Dakota.

Her reply, 'I'll have to see the photo.'

She held it at arms length, looked at Ted and then the passport and with the air of great authority said, 'No, that's not the right one.'

Ted was floored.  He came back to me and said, 'Danella, Dakota said it's not the right one.'

... and on the game went.  Ted showed incredible tenacity in his quest to have the right document and Dakota was quite something else.  For a girl who plays most often in the gentlest of ways, she pulled a real authority figure out of the bag for this game ... and a relentless one at that.   Her travel experiences and all she'd taken in of the passport experience were there.  It was amazing to see how she'd taken on the demeanour and posture for this.  Also quite something to see how Ted was trusting her and what was needed and how he was not going to give up on his desire to fly with Dakota.

In the end, once the passport officer was satisfied, it was like Ted had crossed a magic golden line and under the branch he went ... off to fly with his gentle friend Dakota.





From Collages

Dear little dreamboat

If there was ever a boy who was meant to spend his days with a group of little girls and both love them and be loved back ... it had to be Cosmos.

He's such a little dreamboat.

From your gentle way with us all, to your sense of humour and fun, your love for each of your friends and also great love for the farm ... we've become more for having known you and having spent time with you.  Thank you Cosmos.

We all love you.

There's not one inch of the farm that we've travelled together that hasn't been more special because we've shared it with you ... or been funnier ... or just been enjoyed for what it is.

You've got mother nature in your heart Cossie and to see you all sunkissed and golden after your time at Ningaloo reef, coming back and 'seeing' what you'd experienced in your day at the farm with us was magic.  There was no boundary between where you'd been and being back with us.   You'd see something in a leaf, or in the dirt and say, 'Oh, a stingray' or 'Oh a dolphin'.  It had all become part of who you are and you brought back in your little heart and shared it in your spontaneous way with us.

Until the day comes that you can join us again ... we have to say farewell and send you off with love.

We'll miss you Cossie and you'll stay in our hearts as we travel.

Milana, Farah, Anna, Daisy and even for those few weeks, Alessia all loved you dearly and I know you loved them too.

Thank you for being a part of things with us all on Thursday. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Each can teach ...

With the air cool, the sky grey, fire blazing in the barn and the farm reasonably quite, Dan Archie, Mieka and I set off on a bit of a 'getting to know you' sort of day ... and of course some fun and adventure.

The three children were delightful all day long and enjoyed themselves and each other a lot.

Eggs were collected first thing and now with the new reception area at the front we found it's quite a hike to deliver the eggs we found to the farmers.  Two out of three made it though the broken ones are always great to feed the pigs.  We took our broken one there and it was gobbled up in a flash by new mum Moira.

Gotta smile in there Dan?

How precious ...

So early I'm feeling a bit shy ...

Dan was the teacher of how encouragement is a powerful thing when given with an intent for a child to feel their own strength and success.

He wanted to climb the Peppercorn tree yesterday, asked for help and told me he couldn't do it.  I sized Dan up and the climb he wanted to do and said, 'Dan, I think you can.  I know it's a big tree but you've got long legs, you are strong and I know it would feel great for you to do it yourself.'

I felt strongly that all I needed was to hold the intent and to encourage and that at the very least Dan would get a real strong sense of his own capability.  Such an empowering thing.

Dan gave a little try, not sure of himself yet and I added. 'I'm right here Dan, right behind you, you are safe, I won't let you fall and I bet you can do it.'

Well that was all he needed.  He placed his feet and reached high for somewhere to hold and pulled with a whole new attitude of 'I can and I will' ... he waivered a moment and his bottom dropped back and I put my hand out so he had that to 'sit' on for just a moment saying, 'I'm still here Dan, if you need a little push I can but I still think you can do this one.'

... an up he went.

He was really pleased with himself in the quitest and sweetest of ways.  Smiling a little coyly and shyly.  I looked and said, 'Well done Dan, you are strong and brave and you did it yourself.'  He just stood there in the fork of the tree taking it all in, feeling good about himself and basking in this sense of himself.   I took a photo and asked afte a bit, 'Would you like to see yourself up the tree?'  Which he did, and loved ... me adding, 'I'll put this on the computer so Mum and Dad can see Dan and maybe Mum will make a copy and put it near your bed so you can see it and remember how brave you are.'

That brought a huge smile from Dan and he hung out in that tree and contemplated some more while Mieka and Archie drew inspitation and had to try too ...

Then we had a dilemna to sort.

There are some cut off tree stumps under the Peppercorn tree.  They are hollowed out in the middle, great to climb on and hide in.  Once one person is in one, others can't help themselves.

Dan climbed in one, followed by Mieka and soon they were niggling at each other and Dan wanting Mieka out and Mieka insisting she was staying.

I asked what was wrong.  Together we all found out the real problem was not Dan or Mieka, but how to fit four feet comfortably in a small space.

Once that was sorted, Dan and Mieka sat in wonder and joy for a good 5 minutes just looking at how perfectly their feet fitted together.

Soon Archie joined in and having watched what just happened it was poetry in motion seeing how they figured out how to fit three people and six feet in so everyone was happy.  Children are a joy in this way, they learn so quickly and apply what feels good and right immediately.

Mieka checking the feet situation

Yay! We did it! .. all by ourselves with 6 feet to fit in.

Archie was the teacher of, 'I'm perfect in my own unique way'.  We were down the back playing in the sand, Mieka building with sand, Dan placing Witches hats and Archie interested in this yet also noticing all the tiny water puddles in the sand.  He kept joining in with Dan and Mieka and then walking to look at a puddle ... having a look at Dan and Mieka, then visiting a puddle.  Finally he let himself take a walk in the sand and to investigate all these tiny puddles because that's what he wanted to do most of all.

It's all happening here ...

Not bad Mieka

Calling Mieka

Archies land of magic and wonder ...