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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, January 25, 2012

The tale of the tail feather

Today was full of glory moments ... moments were each of the children were in their full glory.

The first little face I saw was Jyra's when she arrived with Tessa.  Jyra didn't stop delighting all day.   Then Oli with a big hug and smooch for me.  Lastly in walked Anna, giving me the nod that she was accompanied by two people I didn't know.

Next a boy walked out looking mighty puffed up and pleased with himself.   I asked who he was and he told me in deep tones, 'Chuck' ... apparently a spy!

Next thing out from under the hat popped a little head, who opened his mouth and pulled a grape from inside each cheek out of his mouth and there stood Harvey in all his glory, cracking up laughing that he'd fooled me ... especially by filling out his cheeks with grapes.  Now if that wasn't a sign that things would be good today, I don't know what was.

'Chuck', was followed by Samson alias, another spy!

An animated conversation was soon underway and each time we decided what to do and where to go, someone would be distracted and we'd end up looking at a chicken and forgetting out intent to start exploring.

This wasn't really a problem ... it lead us in the end to the guinea pig house.  Samson, Oli and Harvey were really please to cuddle and hold the guinea pigs.  Jyra decided to play hostess and took my hand so we could find some fresh grass to feed them.   She was super gorgeous handing picking it and showing me and just as gorgeous handing it to each of the boys and receiving their thank you's ... which were abundantly given.

At one point Oli announced that his guinea pig wouldn't eat.  I looked to see him gently trying to push some grass at the wrong end of the guinea pig!  Oli's solution ... 'Well turn it round, turn it round danella!'

Harvey and Honey

Jyra, Samson and Oli all warming up with each other ...

Guinea pigs over and we went to see Heather the cow get milked. 

Harvey milking

Samsons turn

From here we headed to visit the pigs.  Greta's 'babies' are more like 5 year olds (relatively speaking) ... and how I came to that conclusion was listening to how they sounded when Greta walked off each time they wanted to suckle.

Our destination after this was none other than The Witches Garden.  That place has become so special that it's like entering into a whole other space where time alters a little and many other worlds open to us ... the children are pulled towards that magical experience so strongly.

The children quickly wanted a picnic and if you look at the little faces in these shots, you'll feel some sense of the mood.  They were totally enjoying each other and the gentle joy of picnicking too ...

Harvey went water divining and soon started to dig ... Jyra joined him and he was so gentle and loving and in his welcome for her to join such a wonderful experience with him.   A lot of quiet love flowed between these two.

Jyra later got some gumleaves and started to show me how she could make things with them and it wasn't long before ...

She placed one in a button hole in my shirt twisted it back on itself and made a little hole so it could stay there for me ... she was very gentle and when she began, looked into my face asking with her eyes more than anything if it was ok to put a leaf there ... while at the same time I could sense her  little mind tick over as she was making up what she was doing as she was going ...

Samson and Oli, just kept playing and playing and playing ... in the bushes up the trees, talking with the goats, feeding them banana skin ... a lot of energy and enthusiasm was expended here ... and all four of the children would join in things along the way too.

Our next stop was the horse corale.  The day had gone from cool to slowly warming by now and in a short space of time it got plain hot.  I was helping Jyra make a cubby with a stand used to help riders mount the horses and our picnic blanket.  We soon had a little space made and in no time at all ... all four children were in it.   No more that 2m x 1m  I think they played there in harmony for a good hour to an hour and a half.   It was amazing to witness so intimately this tiny space used so creatively, cooperatively and harmoniously for such a time.  Best thing of all, we were outdoors with the sun shining and had created our own shade so the children could continue to enjoy the sand.

The day was not over yet, though I feel this next part of the adventure almost deserves it's own heading.   I'll call it 'chapter 2' in case anyone needs to go make a cuppa or grab a glass of wine ...

Chapter 2

Our play in the sand came to it's own natural close and we moved under the awning on the stables to picnic once more and to play on.

A little magpie lark came to visit.   Very curious and showing no fear, it came up close and looked at each of us.   Harvey watched it quite intently and announced.   'I've always wanted to catch a bird and eat it.'   Like some ancient memory in him was stirring and he almost felt compelled to see if he could live it.

Harvey being Harvey, kept watching the bird, drank some water ... noticed his bottle was empty and took the lid off to look inside.   He started to fill it with sand and seemed distracted from the bird and now engrossed with something else.   After a while he had the bottle filled with sand and little pebbles and some hay and he came over and asked if I'd help him get the lid on, which I did.  Triumphantly he stood up, eyes immediately on the bird again and I asked, 'What are you going to with the bottle Harvey?'  He said, 'Swing it round and round my head and then see if I can let it go and it will get the bird and I can catch it.'  

He had all the while been alight with his desire to catch the bird.

I asked, 'Do you know what will happened if you do that Harvey?'  He replied, 'I might catch it.'  I said, 'That's true, though if you hit it, you might kill it or hurt it really badly.'   Harvey though for a moment and then said, 'Oh ... ' looked slightly lost for a moment and then said, 'Well if I could just get close, I could put the bottle on it's feet to hold it still  ... and then I could catch it and it won't get hurt or killed.' 

'Harvey that's true and you've have such good ideas.  The best thing is that we don't hurt or kill the bird as this farm is a place where we don't kill or hurt any of the animals.   None of the animals here are for eating, only the plants and fruit and veges.'

Then I asked Harvey if he wanted to be a warrior ... to which he replied with wide eyes and great enthusiasm, 'Yeah!'   and I offered, 'Well can I tell you a story about how some native people from America taught there warriors how to get close to a bird without killing or hurting them and that doing that was part of how the boys became young men and warriors?'  Harvey was at my feet and all ears ... the three other children with him.

I simple told a story I'd once heard of how a tribe in America, used to set a task for the boys to gather an eagle feather from a bird in the wild and how the journey they took was a warriors journey and a sign that they were now a man.  I talked with Harvey and how the boys were taught to use their bodies, their minds, their wills, their hearts and their spirits to take this journey.  I told him how they'd have to climb to high rocky places to find the eagles nest and that they were so focused and strong that they knew how to move silently and they'd learn to be patient enough to wait until the could lie near the nest, reach in a pull a feather from the eagles tail and that they could then go back to their tribe with the feather and wear it proudly for it was a sign that they were now a warrior.

All the children loved the story which was told simple, with all their questions and so fitting for not squashing what was stirring in Harvey and giving him something exciting to strive for.

When we'd finished, I told Harvey that they reason they were taught to go for a tail feather was because it wouldn't hurt the animal.  Then I asked Harvey, 'Do you think you have enough skill to be so silent that you can get close to the magpie lark without it flying away?'

Harvey was up in a flash and moving with great stealth and skill immediately.

He was off to get  his tail feather.

The most awesome thing happened .. as we moved around the stables and across the paddock, the magpie lark stayed with us as if it too were locked in this dance with Harvey and us all.

Finally down by the river as the day came to a close, we all watched as Harvey took his silent steps with enormous focus and attention and got so close that he touched the birds tail before it moved ... and then it only took a couple of steps away.

The thrill that run through us all could have powered Melbourne for a week.  Harvey was now on  a mission to feel himself  become a warrior and we ... his little tribe were really happy for him.

Each of the other children had added their patience, love, encouragement and support while all this happened and had simultaneously continued their own threads of play and adventure too.

At the end of the day, I said to Harvey as he left, 'Harvey don't forget to tell mum about what happened with the bird.'   To which Harvey turned to Anna and said, 'Mum when I get a feather from a tail of a bird, you have to ring danella up!'

While it would have been so easy to say, 'Harvey you can't catch a bird and eat it here.' It was so much more worthwhile to take the time to find out more ... I know Harvey well enough to know that his heart is in the right place ... and reasoning with him knowing that, turned out to be quite a journey full of pleasure for us all!

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