I always try to have Little R outside as much as possible. But it’s never long enough for her. No matter how we try to bring her in, we generally end up carrying her inside kicking and screaming. She has never, ever, asked to go in. In fact, I think I was saying “She could stay out all day…” when I thought maybe I should plan a longer time out, and make a little thing out of it. I’ve been interested in those Forest Kindergartens and I thought I could try making sustained outdoor time a bit more of a routine for us. As I said, Little R is already totally comfortable outside for hours and happily follows the chickens or cat around and when there is a limit to how long we stay out it is always us adults – either because of things that need doing, meals that need making, plans/schedules or actually, I confess, just being bored! (an issue in the winter) So in a way, it is almost more about me committing to more outdoor time. (Ah yes, so often when we think of what we want for our children we come back to ourselves…) Fortunately it is now the season of outdoor work and there is much to be done, so I knew I could keep busy for a few hours.
We started out the morning with a good walk. Back home we tended to the chickens, rambled about and had a snack. Then I set to work building a fire pit and making a fire. I had planned to boil some water for tea but I couldn’t find our camping pots, or a grate for cooking. In the end, hot chocolate was offered and delivered to us from the house. Not quite fitting into my “everything outdoors” plan but let it never be said of me that I don’t know a good idea when I hear it. Or that I would turn down hot chocolate. Anyway, we’ll get ourselves sorted with an outdoor cooking set-up for next time. Exercise, fresh air, happy and independent child; it was pretty good! I wanted to be out for 4 hours, including lunch and heading in for nap at 1, but we came in shortly after 3 hours, again because of the lack of cooking possibilities and the need to make some lunch. Still, I’d call it a success and a promising start.
A little winter playscape for some sheep (and Little R).
For Little R’s increasing interest in drawing, a new little set up. Her increasing interest in sewing and my sewing machine making my “studio” off-limits (unless she is sewing with me) and therefore her previous desk is no longer convenient.
I have plans and schemes for an overhaul of Little R’s various corners but meanwhile….(oh “meanwhile”, it’s always meanwhile, isn’t it?) I’m trying to make things appealing and inspiring, even in just the tiniest ways.
Made with cornstarch clay and watercolour. She eagerly participated in every step; mixing the clay, rolling and cutting, adding texture and painting. I think we need to make some more! It was such fun to introduce her to the tradition of handmade gifts
Little R and I have been working to create a little play spot around an old plum tree on our property. The tree is badly affected with black rot, half dead, and partially hacked down. We’ve stamped down some dead undergrowth, done some raking and planted a few bulbs. A few small pieces of wood wedged in to various crooks in the tree make little platforms for setting things on and I’m plotting some kind of letter box. Lets be honest and say that I am probably enjoying this as much, if not more, than Little R.
We haven’t yet hit the cold weather, but it does take a little bit more effort to get out these days. In the summer and fall we could move almost seamlessly in and out but now more layers are required and the doors are closed tight, firmly defining inside from out. But I still want to get out there! I like to think getting out is the answer to everything and it is my standard go-to . There seems to be quite a correlation between a good day and a day with a chunk of time spent outside. So I am making in my goal to make sure Little R and I do just that, spend a chunk of time outside. Sometimes we are just hanging about at home with the chickens but other days I like to venture a bit further to take in the beautiful nature we have around here! Certainly, in the coming months it will be more of a challenge, but it can only help to make it habitual.
(Note that when we are doing all this “getting out” I’m rarely getting much done, except perhaps cleaning out the coop or tending the chickens when we are close to home, so I do like to remind myself how important it is.)
Carefully balanced pinecones.
Puddle encountered on a walk on the dykes.
Boots on the beach.