Lego Rocks

We were so excited to find out that our local (FREE!) museum was hosting a Lego exhibition. We love LEGO! So today we went along and had a bit of a play with some friends and just for the fun of it, I figured I’d share it with you. 🙂

It was a hair raising experience! :)
It was a hair raising experience! 🙂
Boys and Lego!
The boys particularly liked looking at the special sets on display.
We were surprised that there were no large displays of giant Lego sculptures. Other than a few models in the display cabinet, the rest was really more like Lego Art: large pictures made out of tiny lego blocks to create really interesting artworks (you can see some in the background). Whilst it was initially disappointing, I think it may inspire a whole new way to play with Lego. And the three giant construction tables filled with Lego blocks were certainly an attraction!
On the tables there were a few pre-constructed Lego designs. I’m not sure if these were intentionally placed there or created by other visitors. But they certainly served as an inspiration!
Copying the design required lots of focussed concentration
… and soon drew the others in for some Lego fun too. I love watching the way home ed kids tend to play without age divisions; playing and interacting together out of a common interest or shared experience, not dependent on which “class” they’re in.
Lego Lego Lego!
When’s the last time you played with Lego? 🙂

Horsing Around

horsingaround

After thinking this day would never come, we finally ended up back at horse riding again!! The weather was….. well, not very accommodating, and we thought the horses might be a bit silly like they can tend to be in that kind of weather, but all was good.

C..c..c..cold!!!
The moment of reuniting with Selwyn was really lovely
But it wasn’t long before the effects of the wind gusts had the sawdust blowing up into eyeballs, which was far from pleasant. Even “nerf” goggles borrowed from a friend didn’t really solve the problem. In view of the cost of the lesson and the fact that she’d been so looking forward to coming back, it was tempting to try to convince her to just put up with it “like the other kids”, assuming that she would end up coping and having a good time. But I chose instead to honour her discomfort and respect her desire to sit out for awhile. Before the lesson ended, she decided completely on her own to bravely face it once again (see below!) and I was so glad that I’d listened to her.
Learning to remove the saddle is all part of the experience
There’s always time for some nature appreciation on the way back to the car, enjoying a peaceful moment before an afternoon filled with friends, friends and more fun….

Horsey Heaven

horseyheaven

Molly has a desperate desire to live on a farm. It may have something to do with having been birthed during our “Bourke Days” (when we were living in the Australian Outback) but for whatever reason, farm life is in her blood. She dreams of living in the country, owning a horse, a ute, and at least one dog. Our current living situation has us living near great friends in a lovely beachside city, and at this time it isn’t going to work for us to move to the country, so I seek ways to fulfil her love of animals and farming by taking her to places where she gets to experience some farming thrills. We recently went for a visit to a great little place near us called Oakvale Farm, taking the opportunity to make the most of some cheap vouchers we’d bought. One of Molly’s friends came with us, and they had the best time playing with all the animals, especially the baby goats. So I guess I could say the kids really enjoyed the kids? 🙂

Fun at Oakvale Farm

But today was the ultimate experience: HORSE RIDING LESSONS!

Together with about 30 other home ed kids, we descended on a local equestrian centre and had us some horsey fun! Molly was grinning from ear to ear the whole time, and she is already dreaming about next Friday. She didn’t get to ride the horse she had really wanted to ride, but she fell in love with her designated steed nonetheless. His name is Selwyn and I believe he has definitely won his way into Molly’s heart. She had to wait quite awhile until it was her turn to ride, but it was still interesting to watch the other group while we waited. The instructor could have been better in some ways, but I’m fairly confident she did a much better job than I could have done! 🙂

Finally it was Molly’s turn and it was UP…..
….. UP…..
…. and AWAY!!!
It brought a big smile to MY face to see her enjoying this moment so much!
Just another example of all that “lack of socialising” those poor home ed kids have to put up with 🙂
It was fun to ride in the open air, after being in the big shed for the lesson
Home again, home again, jiggety jig
Feeding and unsaddling the horse in the stable was almost as much fun as riding!
Goodbye until next time Selwyn!

Winterfest, Take 2

This time two years ago, I took my two youngest children to Winterfest in Sydney, our first medieval fayre. This year we made the trip again, partly because we had so much fun last time and partly because our friends, Tim and Ruth, had an awesome stall there, selling their beautiful wooden swords, surprise puzzles, castles and other things. We always love seeing their stall in action! And of course the  yummy food, fighting re-enactments, jousting, birds of prey and all sorts of other medieval delights!

I had some very strange people accompanying me to Winterfest this year! :)
I had some very strange people accompanying me to Winterfest this year! 🙂
And they weren't particularly friendly either!
And they weren’t particularly friendly either!
See what I mean?
See what I mean?
But really, underneath all that metal, they're actually very friendly
But really, underneath all that metal, they’re actually very friendly
And they're very good at fencing!
And they’re very good at fencing!
See what I mean?
See what I mean?
The smile of success!
The smile of success!
The mock fighting was VERY loud and good for a laugh, too!
The mock fighting was VERY loud and good for a laugh, too!
The warriors were pretty friendly when they weren't fighting. They didn't even eat the kids!
The warriors were pretty friendly when they weren’t fighting. They didn’t even eat the kids!
A knight on horse back getting ready for jousting - always an amazing spectacle!
A knight on horse back getting ready for jousting – always an amazing spectacle!
The competition! (Does anyone else find themselves thinking of "A Knight's Tale" whenever they see jousting? We LOVE that movie!)
The competition! (Does anyone else find themselves thinking of “A Knight’s Tale” whenever they see jousting? We LOVE that movie!)
JOUSTING! Yeah!!
JOUSTING! Yeah!!
The jousting assistant dude was hysterical
The jousting assistant dude was hysterical
The "Birds of Prey" demonstration was informative and really fun! They're a conservation group, so it was good to know they look after the birds well.
The “Birds of Prey” demonstration was informative and really fun! They’re a conservation group, so it was good to know they look after the birds well.
Owls, as it turns out, don't seem particularly "wise" at all!
Owls, as it turns out, don’t seem particularly “wise” at all!
The mighty falcon!
The mighty falcon!

Just before we left the Fayre, I discovered the most amazing book at “The Medieval Shoppe”. It’s a book all about Viking costumes and even includes patterns. Both of my kids who were with me are super keen to help me make some clothes and although the book wasn’t cheap, it will hopefully save us lots of money in the long run, because buying the clothes is very expensive too. The man holding the book had met the author, Nille Glaesel, when he was holidaying in Norway. Nille has spent years creating reconstructions for museums and re-enactments. She had just published the book to share her love of the costumes, and some of her patterns, and was shocked that he was keen to distribute it in Australia. She had no idea that any sort of re-enactment societies and fayres exist here! He ended up getting to spend some time living in a Viking Long House in the far north of Norway, that had been built by the author’s son. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of him with the book! I love being able to purchase a product that has a story attached to it! Now to get around to making something out of it! 😉

From Jitters to Joy

JITTERS – nervousness; a feeling of fright or uneasiness
JOY – the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation

Molly. Sweet, sensitive, compassionate, yet also proud to be a gutsy girl (not a girly girl, she will confidently tell you!). She dreams of being a famous actress and singer (and an animal rescuer, thinking that maybe her fame could help save more animals, so she can tick both boxes). She recently did an 8 week drama workshop with some other home educated kids. She was SO excited! However, after the first week she was unsure about returning to classes because she was the oldest and tallest, and had felt that the class was a bit “babyish” for her. I communicated her thoughts with the drama coach, who listened with understanding and compassion, and responded with a helpful strategy to use Molly as a bit of a leader in the group.

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She ended up enjoying being a bit of a leader amongst the younger (and definitely SHORTER!) kids

The “showcase” at the end of the 8 week program soon crept up, and the nerves set in! She was very adept at explaining to me just how she felt: that strange mix of excitement and terror! Yet she bravely got up there, threw herself into it, and had an absolute ball!

The part of the showcase she had been most nervous about was a two-person skit called “Petter Popperkosh and the Mean, Ugly Troll”, mainly because it was her first time ever performing on stage where she had to say individual lines out loud. She had actually wanted to play the part of the troll! At first, when she found out she was “Petty Popperkosh” she was bitterly disappointed (and very worried she’d have to wear a dress!), but she soon embraced the reality that being in a production doesn’t always equal getting the exact role you want, and she gave the character her own “tough chick” spin.

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She got to stand up to a “mean and ugly troll” with gutsy girl power 🙂

It was so lovely to see her blossom and grow in confidence through this experience, and to make new friends, even though they were younger than her. I do love the way that home ed kids happily play with such a mixed age group of friends. Just like most adults do!

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They did some made up plays and improvisation as well, and basically had perhaps more fun than the audience did!
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There’s some of that fun I was talking about!
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And ended up, of course, with the all important certificate of achievement. Personally, I think the classes themselves and, of course, the performance, were a great achievement in themselves.

Inaugural NSW Unschoolers’ Camp

It can be a lonely path at times, this unschooling life. It is certainly the road less travelled, and it can be hard to find like-minded souls to share the journey with. Let’s face it, the majority of parents send their children to school (which is totally cool – to each their own!). And of the minority that choose homeschooling, a smaller minority deschool themselves to the extent that they can let go of schoolish thoughts, practices and expectations, actively embracing the freedom of unschooling. This isn’t to say that unschoolers are superior. We all do what we believe is best for our own families. But the reality is: unschoolers are a rare breed!!

In the past couple of years the online connections between Australian unschoolers have been growing, including a Facebook group for NSW Unschoolers, out of which grew a desire for a casual camp. S0 in April, I had the privilege of being part of  what I think is the first ever Unschoolers’ Camp in our State! There may have been one in the past that I’m not aware of, and if so, please enlighten me, but as far as I know, this is the first one. And it rocked! It really did. For me, it was a dream come true.

The two Australian Unschooling Conferences I went to were great. A big marquee, keynote speakers from faraway places, organised activities, and LOTS of miles to get there. All good! But some of us also wanted a more low-key gathering. Organic. Down to earth and relaxed. A celebration of our connectedness to each other as a community of unschoolers. Sharing and learning from one another.

And so the NSW Unschoolers’ Camp was born. Much kerfuffle went on trying to work out the details, but eventually we were off and running. Excitement built up online (we love you Facebook), and eventually we packed up our camping gear, knitting needles (yes – truly), cameras, sporting supplies, a huge assortment of food, the all-important laptop (yes – that too) and headed off to beautiful Port Stephens.

We all revelled in the opportunity to hang out, in real life, with other unschooling families. There was never a shortage of conversations or cups of tea on offer. The only structure we had was a daily “circle time”, for anyone who wanted to gather together for some shared conversation. It was a good way to move beyond the natural connections that were happening in smaller groups, and to include those that might be too shy to turn up at someone’s tent for a casual cuppa. A couple of times we managed to have one person talking at a time, but inevitably it would turn into a raucous, roudy rabble of simultaneous, exciting conversations, so we quickly worked out that the multitude of words begging to be spoken over-ruled any possibility of decorum! 🙂 Don’t ya just love it when a group of women get together? Especially women with much in common and much to say, and infrequent opportunities to talk together!

More Circle Time
Circle time was definitely a highlight of each day. And yes, there really is a real live man in this photo! Only a couple of dads were able to come to the camp, but it was SO great to have them there, even if only for some of the time.

It was so lovely being able to linger over conversations, and get to know these wonderful women in real life. Initially we had laughingly entertained the idea of wearing name tags with our Facebook profile picture on them, so we could work out who we all were! It was lovely having some of the mums share their interests and skills with others, from crochet, knitting and chai tea, to belly dancing!

Crochet seemed to be a popular hobby. I did actually take a crochet hook and wool, hoping to learn this great skill, but it stayed packed in my bag for another time. :)
Crochet seemed to be a popular hobby. I did actually take a crochet hook and wool, hoping to learn this great skill, but it stayed packed in my bag for another time. 🙂
One of the mums is a passionate belly dancer, having found it to be a vehicle for deep healing and joy in her own life. She ran a casual workshop for anyone who was interested, and even a couple of the little girls joined in! Later on she performed for us and it was really quite spectacular! Not that I can see myself taking it up anytime soon! :)
One of the mums is a passionate belly dancer, having found it to be a vehicle for deep healing and joy in her own life. She ran a casual workshop for anyone who was interested, and even a couple of the little girls joined in! Later on she performed for us and it was really quite spectacular! Not that I can see myself taking it up anytime soon! 🙂

Typical of home ed events, it was lovely watching the children play with a varied mix of ages. It didn’t matter what “grade” someone was in (because grading is not even on the unschooling radar). They were just a bunch of kids and teens having fun, and getting to know each other.

Helping a younger child with a helmet for a shared ride on one of the buggies
Helping a younger child with a helmet for a shared ride on one of the buggies
There were plenty of activities on offer including swimming, volleyball, pedal karts and so on, but sometimes the kids preferred to make their own fun.
There were plenty of activities on offer including swimming, volleyball, pedal karts and so on, but sometimes the kids preferred to make their own fun.
The majority of teens enjoyed the opportunity to hang out in a group, although some chose to play with just one child or spend time alone and that’s good too!
The majority of teens enjoyed the opportunity to hang out in a group, although some chose to play with just one child or spend time alone and that’s good too!
It really was a beautiful place to catch up with beautiful people. This was our final sunset.
It really was a beautiful place to catch up with beautiful people. This was our final sunset.
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After a week of sunny days, the heavens decided to open on the morning we packed up. What’s camping without rain, huh?
We had just put the very last thing in the car when it turned torrential, and then it was a case of quickly retrieving my child from her friend’s cabin, and huddling in the car with the heater full blast for the trip home!
We had just put the very last thing in the car when it turned torrential, and then it was a case of quickly retrieving my child from her friend’s cabin, and huddling in the car with the heater full blast for the trip home!

We came home on a high, and are eagerly looking forward to the next camp, knowing that it will be another chance to deepen these friendships and get to know new people. A few years ago I only knew one other unschooling family, and now here I am in this privileged place of being able to camp with about 20 other families, all either practising unschooling, or at least open to the idea. Feeling very blessed….

World Turtle Day 2012

Last week was World Turtle Day, did you know?

It's World Turtle Day!
It’s World Turtle Day!

Don’t worry, I didn’t either until my dear friend Ruth alerted me to it. It’s an initiative of The Wilderness Society as a way of raising community and government awareness of the importance of protecting our oceans so that these beautiful creatures can have a great habitat to live in. It was so easy to participate. We simply had to build a turtle sculpture out of sand, photograph it and send it in, so that the collected photos could be presented to the appropriate government body.

The great thing was, we had a lot of fun in the process AND we get to be part of sending a very important message to policy makers!

First cab off the rank to construct a turtle (while waiting for friends) was Molly. Her passion to help the turtles was beautiful to see.
First cab off the rank to construct a turtle (while waiting for friends) was Molly. Her passion to help the turtles was beautiful to see.
It was a serious process requiring intense concentration, borne from her desire to really really help the turtles. Note the “Save the Whales” t-shirt. My little greenie.
It was a serious process requiring intense concentration, borne from her desire to really really help the turtles. Note the “Save the Whales” t-shirt. My little greenie.
Friends soon arrived to get in on the action and help the cause!
Friends soon arrived to get in on the action and help the cause!
And then more friends, all hard at work creating sand turtle sculptures
And then more friends, all hard at work creating sand turtle sculptures
And then more friends came....
And then more friends came….
The big boys decided more fun was to be had further up the beach.
The big boys decided more fun was to be had further up the beach.
Some of the kids made a “turtle family”, even though they knew that turtles don’t really stay in family groups like this. They just found the idea of building it too hard to resist! :)
Some of the kids made a “turtle family”, even though they knew that turtles don’t really stay in family groups like this. They just found the idea of building it too hard to resist! 🙂
It was amazing how long the children stayed focussed on the task of creating sculptures and getting photos taken to send in to The Wilderness Society
It was amazing how long the children stayed focussed on the task of creating sculptures and getting photos taken to send in to The Wilderness Society
These girls were remembering the day, about 5 years ago, when they were playing on this same fence, when the Pasha Bulker coal tanker had run aground at this beach during a violent storm. We had come down to the beach to look, and amongst the crowd was a film crew from an ABC children’s TV show called “Behind The News”. They were surprised to see children at the beach because it was “during school hours” and when they found out that our kids are all home educated, they decided to interview them. The final shot of the news story was of these 3 girls playing on this very fence.
These girls were remembering the day, about 5 years ago, when they were playing on this same fence, when the Pasha Bulker coal tanker had run aground at this beach during a violent storm. We had come down to the beach to look, and amongst the crowd was a film crew from an ABC children’s TV show called “Behind The News”. They were surprised to see children at the beach because it was “during school hours” and when they found out that our kids are all home educated, they decided to interview them. The final shot of the news story was of these 3 girls playing on this very fence.

I just love our interesting, varied, family-based learning lifestyle! And I love that we don’t spend all day every day staring at each other across the kitchen table. There are so many wonderful experiences out in the “big wide world”, and so much living to be done. And we get to share it with wonderful family friends. What a beautiful way to live!

Shark and Ray Centre

We recently had the awesome privilege of visiting a Shark and Ray Centre with a large number of home educating families. It was amazing to see the initial hesitation in the children as they first put their fingers in the water, and then their toes, and finally their whole bodies. The longer we were there, the more their confidence grew, and soon they were literally swimming around with the sharks and rays. It was such an incredible, sensory, intriguing experience for us all, and definitely one that we want to repeat!

At first the idea of being so close to sharks (even babies) was quite intimidating, and the children were hesitant to put even their fingers in the water.
At first the idea of being so close to sharks (even babies) was quite intimidating, and the children were hesitant to put even their fingers in the water.
Once their confidence increased, the toes went cautiously in…..
As their confidence increased, the toes went cautiously in…..
Gradually they immersed themselves into the pool. It felt weird at first, knowing that there really were sharks in the water!
Gradually they immersed themselves into the pool. It felt weird at first, knowing that there really were sharks in the water!
Safety in numbers!
Safety in numbers!
Hey, this is actually kinda fun! Yet still a wee bit creepy....
Hey, this is actually kinda fun! Yet still a wee bit creepy….
Hmmmm these sharks are getting friendly!
Hmmmm these sharks are getting friendly!
Maybe a little TOO friendly? :)
Maybe a little TOO friendly? 🙂
Maybe some (non human) food might be a good idea? And food on a stick is a very helpful way of keeping fingers out of their mouths! Especially for those who had decided they wanted to keep bodies out of the water at this stage!
Maybe some (non human) food might be a good idea? And food on a stick is a very helpful way of keeping fingers out of their mouths! Especially for those who had decided they wanted to keep bodies out of the water at this stage!
Hey, let me have some! Manta Rays get hungry too, ya know? Don't let the sharks have all the fun!
Hey, let me have some! Manta Rays get hungry too, ya know? Don’t let the sharks have all the fun!
It’s hard to see in the photo, but this is actually a manta ray that is about 3 times bigger than it looks here, coming up for a cuddle!
It’s hard to see in the photo, but this is actually a manta ray that is about 3 times bigger than it looks here, coming up for a cuddle!
I think this warrants a closer look....
I think this warrants a closer look….
A MUCH closer look!
A MUCH closer look!
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Now this one’s more my size!
Coooool!
Coooool!
Ummmmm these are definitely de-barbed aren’t they?
Ummmmm these are definitely de-barbed aren’t they?
Trapped!
Trapped!
Maybe not!
Maybe not!
That looks like fun!
That looks like fun!
It IS fun!
It IS fun!
Up close and personal!
Up close and personal!
comingthrough
Coming throoooough!
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Wanna play?
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Fine then, I’ll just play with the goggles! 🙂
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That was fun! Let’s come back again sometime!

Boys’ Bush Adventure

Late last year, Declan had the awesome privilege of attending a “Boys’ Bush Adventure”. It was a 5 day camp for boys, in the bush, learning survival skills, building wooden things using only hand tools, finding and making food, etc. It was organised by our good mate and home educating dad, Tim Schloss. They all got dirty, muddy, smelly, and exhausted. They also built and created things, bonded over shared challenges and adventures, created their own bases in the bush to sleep in, and basically just had a fantastic time. It was such a wonderful experience! Some of the mums, girls and younger children went up at the end to check it out and say g’day.

They were a motley crew, but totally in their element. Who doesn't love a camp fire, getting dirty and making stuff?
They were a motley crew, but totally in their element. Who doesn’t love a camp fire, getting dirty and making stuff?
Tim makes amazing wooden items from swords to furniture and toys, and really enjoyed showing the boys how to create great things out of basic timber and a few simple tools.
Tim makes amazing wooden items from swords to furniture and toys, and really enjoyed showing the boys how to create great things out of basic timber and a few simple tools.
They made some individual projects (Declan came home with a hand crafted wooden spoon!) and they also worked in teams to make some bush furniture – pretty cool huh!
They made some individual projects (Declan came home with a hand crafted wooden spoon!) and they also worked in teams to make some bush furniture – pretty cool huh!
Part of the adventure was learning some survival skills, too, which they really enjoyed!
Part of the adventure was learning some survival skills, too, which they really enjoyed!
Each team with their leader had to make their own base, prepare their own food with limited supplies, and basically "survive"!
Each team with their leader had to make their own base, prepare their own food with limited supplies, and basically “survive”!
It was great to see the various techniques they used to create their bush bases.
It was great to see the various techniques they used to create their bush bases.
I love the way they used what they could find in the bush to create their structures
I love the way they used what they could find in the bush to create their structures
The weather provided a few challenges
The weather provided a few challenges
A fire always helps though. As does a pit toilet! ;)
A fire always helps though. As does a pit toilet! 😉
One of the team challenges was to create a special meal for the leaders, using only certain foods coupled with a lot of creativity. Apparently it mostly tasted okay!
One of the team challenges was to create a special meal for the leaders, using only certain foods coupled with a lot of creativity. Apparently it mostly tasted okay!
Team work was an essential part of the whole experience
Team work was an essential part of the whole experience
It's not always easy, putting your trust in your team mates!
It’s not always easy, putting your trust in your team mates!
Sometimes they need to put their trust in you!
Sometimes they need to put their trust in you!
Even the leaders took a turn at trusting the kids, which is great I think!
Even the leaders took a turn at trusting the kids, which is great I think!
The place where the camp was held was so perfect for it. Plenty of bush (can’t have a boys’ BUSH adventure without that!), rocky outcrops, and even this cool wooden shed that was used for cooking and shelter (and yes, that's a girl in the picture, but I promise she wasn't there the whole time!)
The place where the camp was held was so perfect for it. Plenty of bush (can’t have a boys’ BUSH adventure without that!), rocky outcrops, and even this cool wooden shed that was used for cooking and shelter (and yes, that’s a girl in the picture, but I promise she wasn’t there the whole time!)
The bush shed in context
The bush shed in context
Tim explaining a few things to the boys
Tim explaining a few things to the boys
This was taken at the end of the camp – it was amazing to see the way the boys listened to Tim. Absolute concentration. Either that, or absolute exhaustion!
This was taken at the end of the camp – it was amazing to see the way the boys listened to Tim. Absolute concentration. Either that, or absolute exhaustion!
Driving home from camp we came upon fields of flowers in the bush. Native irises perhaps? And some others. What was amazing was that they hadn’t been blooming the day before when some people had driven up to camp, and they weren’t blooming the day after we saw them, when some people returned to camp to get some forgotten items. It seems we were there at JUST the right time! It was so beautiful……
Driving home from camp we came upon fields of flowers in the bush. Native irises perhaps? And some others. What was amazing was that they hadn’t been blooming the day before when some people had driven up to camp, and they weren’t blooming the day after we saw them, when some people returned to camp to get some forgotten items. It seems we were there at JUST the right time! It was so beautiful……
The photos don’t even come close to capturing the beauty of what we experienced. We knew we were part of a special, transient moment.
The photos don’t even come close to capturing the beauty of what we experienced. We knew we were part of a special, transient moment.
Beauty in the Bush
Beauty in the Bush
Joy on the journey
Joy on the journey
At the bottom of the mountain on our way home, we had to do a creek crossing in the 12 seater bus. Part of the rocky platform that is normally driven across easily had been washed away in heavy rain, and the water level had risen, so we were stuck there for awhile, putting rocks into the gaps so we could safely drive across.
At the bottom of the mountain on our way home, we had to do a creek crossing in the 12 seater bus. Part of the rocky platform that is normally driven across easily had been washed away in heavy rain, and the water level had risen, so we were stuck there for awhile, putting rocks into the gaps so we could safely drive across.
It was such a beautiful, picturesque place to be “stuck”
It was such a beautiful, picturesque place to be “stuck”
Plenty of time for a game of footy (how on earth they had any energy left at all was beyond me!)
Plenty of time for a game of footy (how on earth they had any energy left at all was beyond me!)
Some had less energy than others, having expended so much to create such an amazing adventure for the boys
Some had less energy than others, having expended so much to create such an amazing adventure for the boys
Time for reflection
Time for reflection
Time to play
Time to play
Time to take off those not-so-white socks!
Time to take off those not-so-white socks!
Oh dear ;)
Oh dear 😉
Time to attempt the crossing of the creek
Time to attempt the crossing of the creek
Faster and “funner” in a 4WD!
Faster and “funner” in a 4WD!
Time to bid farewell to the mountain
Time to bid farewell to the mountain

Purple Pear Organic Farm Tour

Last year (catching up on blogging!) we had the opportunity to do a tour with a bunch of home ed families to an awesome place called Purple Pear Organic  Farm. It’s an amazing place that provides food to about 40 families every week, as well as feeding themselves of course. The provide work for WOOFers, and also run permaculture courses. The vibe was so amazingly friendly and informative, and I was amazed at the attentiveness of the kids. They soaked it up, mud puddles and all. 🙂

It was especially exciting for Molly, who dreams of living on a farm one day!
It was especially exciting for Molly, who dreams of living on a farm one day!
The owner of the farm doing "the talk" and pointing out their motto.
The owner of the farm doing “the talk” and pointing out their motto.
He provided such helpful information and was able to answer everyone's queries, and his passion for what he does was obvious. He also seemed to accept that the children would sometimes listen... and sometimes not. And that was ok.
He provided such helpful information and was able to answer everyone’s queries, and his passion for what he does was obvious. He also seemed to accept that the children would sometimes listen… and sometimes not. And that was ok.
Sometimes we all just wanted to explore the beautiful environment
Sometimes we all just wanted to explore the beautiful environment
The kids enjoyed learning about the farm animals the most
The kids enjoyed learning about the farm animals the most
Especially ones as cute and cuddly as this!!! I think he had a VERY full tummy once the kids had finished with him. It was fascinating to see the way they used the guinea pigs on the farm. They had constructed cages/runs that were the width of the pathways in the areas where there were straight garden beds. They would move the cage along, so that the guinea pigs would keep the grass short. They obviously still had room left over for the consumption of flowers!
Especially ones as cute and cuddly as this!!! I think he had a VERY full tummy once the kids had finished with him. It was fascinating to see the way they used the guinea pigs on the farm. They had constructed cages/runs that were the width of the pathways in the areas where there were straight garden beds. They would move the cage along, so that the guinea pigs would keep the grass short. They obviously still had room left over for the consumption of flowers!
I don't think the dog was quite so interested in eating the flowers!
I don’t think the dog was quite so interested in eating the flowers!
.... but Declan certainly was!
…. but Declan certainly was!
YUMMO!
YUMMO!
One of the main features of the Purple Pear farm is the use of chook domes in the mandala garden. I imagine they would only be suitable for a temperate climate, though!
One of the main features of the Purple Pear farm is the use of chook domes in the mandala garden. I imagine they would only be suitable for a temperate climate, though!
Here is one of the circle gardens in the mandala system. It's been harvested, and is about to have a chook dome placed over it, so the chooks can eat up whatever is left plus any bugs & other insects that might cause a problem for the next crop (and turn it all into lovely eggs and fertiliser of course)
Here is one of the circle gardens in the mandala system. It’s been harvested, and is about to have a chook dome placed over it, so the chooks can eat up whatever is left plus any bugs & other insects that might cause a problem for the next crop (and turn it all into lovely eggs and fertiliser of course)
This chook dome (they have many) is being used to turn a patch of grass into a brand new veggie bed. It's such an awesome interaction of the elements, and a system that seems to work brilliantly. I love how the chooks in particular are such an essential part of the system, and seem to bring it all together somehow. They seem to have an intrinsic role in many of the elements of the farm.
This chook dome (they have many) is being used to turn a patch of grass into a brand new veggie bed. It’s such an awesome interaction of the elements, and a system that seems to work brilliantly. I love how the chooks in particular are such an essential part of the system, and seem to bring it all together somehow. They seem to have an intrinsic role in many of the elements of the farm.
I feel so incredibly blessed that we get to go to such interesting places with such great friends - both kids AND parents. Just another example of that "non-socialising" that home ed families are accused of. :)
I feel so incredibly blessed that we get to go to such interesting places with such great friends – both kids AND parents. Just another example of that “non-socialising” that home ed families are accused of. 🙂