Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Story of The Little Leaf

I wanted to help Miles learn about why the leaves fall.  I looked for stories online and found a few but none were quite as I wanted.  Below is one I found but then mashed up, added bits , deleted bits and completely changed in parts.  

Once upon a time a little leaf was heard to sigh and cry, as leaves often do when a gentle wind is about. A nearby twig said, "What’s the matter, little leaf?" And the leaf said, "The wind just told me that one day it would just pull me off and throw me down to the ground!"

The twig told this to the branch on which it grew, and the branch told it to the tree. And when the tree heard it, it rustled all over, and sent back word to the leaf, "Do not be afraid. Hold on tightly, and you shall not go till your job is done."

And so the leaf stopped sighing, and began to wonder. It didn’t know it had a job.  It thought it was just there to look pretty. 

Later, when the wind had passed and all was still, the little leaf asked the twig, ‘what is my job big twig?’  The twig smiled warmly at the leaf and said, ‘oh little leaf, you and every other leaf are hugely important.  Without leaves like you I wouldn’t be here.  Our tree wouldn’t be here.  You have one of the most important jobs of all!  You are our food factory.  The special green colouring in your leaves mixes with sunshine and makes food for our tree.  Food that can be used for growth and to be stored up for the cold grey days of winter’  
Upon hearing this news the little leaf felt very important.  It was proud of having such an important job to do.  It danced up and down merrily, as if nothing could ever pull it off. And so it grew all summer long, green and bright, capturing sunlight and making food for the tree.

When the bright days of autumn came the little leaf noticed that he was no longer growing.  The sun didn’t shine so brightly and the days grew shorter.  He looked around and saw all the leaves around him becoming very beautiful. Some were yellow and some red, and some striped with both colors.

He asked the tree what this meant. And the tree said, "Summer is over and the days are getting shorter.  There soon won’t be enough sunlight for you to trap, so it’s time for the leaf food factories to close down for the winter.  You are loosing your green glow of the food factory and must now put on your beautiful colours ready to fly’

Then the little leaf began to want to go too, and grew very beautiful in thinking about it.  The day came when the little leaf was as beautiful as could be, golden and red.

Just then a little puff of wind came, and, knowing that his very important job as a food factory for the tree was done, the leaf let go.   The wind took him up and turned him over and over, and whirled him like a spark of fire in the air, and then dropped him gently down under the edge of the fence, among hundreds of leaves, where he fell into a dream, and he never woke up to tell what he dreamed about.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Walking by woods on an autumn day

 Fueled by hot chocolate and a cinnamon latte, we headed off into the woods.

The colours seem so delicate this year; or perhaps I've just forgotten how delicate they truly are!

A deep carpet of beech leaves, ripe for kicking and piling.

Boggy marsh areas - which thankfully Miles managed to steer clear of today.

A cosy den for story telling.  I love to sit in little cubby holes like this, but always regret it later when my legs feel itchy scritchy!  I told a story of a little leaf and I'll share it with you too one day soon.

When I bent over to look at this acorn cap the smell of the woodland floor was amazing.  I wished I could have bottled it and taken it home.

Jewel like dew drops - what a tongue twister!

Right, got to dash.  Pizza dough is rising in the hearth and rosy faced children have just trudged in from the garden to start chopping toppings.

Ta ta for now  x

Monday, 29 October 2012

Bells and pumpkins

I have some new bells!  I don't quite know where they're headed, but I do like them a lot. The bottom of crochet bunting perhaps? I bought them at this Facebook store. 

One of my favourite seasonal decors is harvest home.  I love the pumpkins, scarecrows and wee woodland animals.  So warm, cosy and sort of spicy.

It perhaps goes without saying that there are many additions by now and the place is groaning under the weight of spiders, witches, webs and ghouls!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Spiders, tarts, webs and cats

Yay!  It's time for all things Halloween.

Mouse tarts.

Halloween cat eyeing up my latest birdie addition.

Spiders and webs.


Sunday, 21 October 2012


We have had a truly amazing day today at Gibside.  We'd not been for a couple of years or more and were very pleasantly surprised at how they have really transformed the place since our last visit.  It's changed from somewhere to go for an hour or two, to a full family day out!

We liked the new play area but I didn't get round to taking any pictures there.  I had a horrid grumbly lower back ache and spent much of the time there bent at the waist with my torso on a picnic table, much to Craig's embarrassment.  By the time you've had a couple of kids and they've done all kind of things in all kinds of places, standing with your upper body on a picnic table seemed entirely acceptable to me.

Eased by a soothing stretch we headed on to the rope challenge.  This was good fun, save for the part where I decided to copy a grandma who was making rope walking look ever so easy and I almost fell off.  Well, I didn't fall off but Craig did have to leave the children to their own devices and come to my rescue!

I really like it when Craig takes charge and shows the children the way in physical situation like this.  That probably sounds very stereotypical and self depreciating, but that's not how I intend it.  We all have our strengths.

Miles wasn't entirely sure about the 'squirming along on your belly technique' and I can't say I blame him.  Some of the challenges were rather tricky and could test the agility of large as well as small peeps.

Moving on we walked round the woodland.  The colours were so bright and full of sunlight; not yet the deep reds and russets of autumn, much more the stored up summer warmth.  I think Miles may well have been making some sort of salute to the sun here.  I'm not sure that was his intention, but it's how it's looking from here.

I paused to pick a few seed pods as I have plans to do a story session on seeds with Miles and children from another home schooling family later this week.  I photographed them instead as they looked way too 'at home' to pick.

I love this picture below.  I want to step in, sit down and pause for a long while.

The nature scape play area was rather wet and slippery but that didn't stop our little explorers.

A rustic fireplace in a woodcutters lodge.

Chinks of pottery finds on the mantle.

Ferns in gorgeous green bottles on the window ledge.

Back to the main walkway Miles ran and ran.  He was like a puppy running off ahead at top speed then running back just to do the same again in a different direction!  I'm quite sure that he must have covered at least twice the distance we did today.  Not surprising that he paused for rests here and there, chilled and cheery in the fallen leaves.

By this point we had been there going on five hours and Hermione and I were ready for a cold drink and a browse in the gift shop.  To Craig's mild frustration Miles wanted to go back to the first play area we visited for an extra turn on the big net swing.  We regrouped having both done our thing and headed back to the car with Miles saying how sad it was to have to leave.  So, it's been a while since we've been there but I doubt it will be long till we're back again!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Compote and Chocolate

We went wandering at the weekend and found ourselves caught in a downpour.  Thankfully we managed to take shelter till the rains eased off.  The view was beautifully golden, but sadly I only got to take one picture before the battery on my camera died.

My life has been revolutionised by the recent acquisition of a slow cooker.  After almost a week of dinner from the slow cooker every night, I decided to make quiche and salad tonight, followed by Autumn Fruit Compote from the slow cooker.

I popped half a dozen pears, a generous handful of dried dates, one orange (including grated rind), a spoonful of brown sugar, a few drops of vanilla essence, a teaspoon of mixed spice and three cloves into the pot.  I left it on low while I popped out.  The house smelled wonderfully spicy when I came home!

We enjoyed it with soya cream with lemon curd whisked through it.  I say 'we' enjoyed it but it wasn't to everyone's taste.  Ho hum, I liked it!

This afternoon we watched a programme on IPlayer about children working in the cocoa plantations in Ghana.  We all enjoyed it and afterwards the children tried to figure out the production chain on the fridge blackboard.  Hermione was already aware of the situation, but Miles was quite appalled to learn that the families who harvest the pods, risking machete wounds and poisonous snake bites, often have in the region of 75p per day to feed and clothe a family of ten; yet we pay upwards of 50p for a small bar.  Where's it all going to?  Not the children of Ghana that's for certain!

Oh, that's another angle to add to the Africa project I still feel rattling round my bones!

I'm getting quite into IPlayer education.  I can 'do it' while having a cuppa and I'm onto my second crochet recycled cotton dish/face cloth of the week!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

What we're reading

 I'm currently reading this book which is the second in a fantasy type trilogy. I can't believe how I've not really come to discover this genre till now.  I'm really enjoying it.

This is the book I read before Trinity Rising.  I've wanted to read it for ages and actually have had it in paperback for ages but never quite managed it till it came out on kindle.  I have a dodgy right arm and holding up thick books for long periods is literally a pain!  Worth the wait though.  I plan to read his next one once I've finished Trinity Rising.

This book is on my 'I really would like to own but cannot justify buying' list.  I have the winter one in the series and it's beautiful, full of wonderful poetry.

I read this aloud to both of the children and Hermione has worked on a review of it with her English tutor.  It's very descriptive and in my view offers lots of opportunities for exploring the pros and cons of releasing caged animals into the wild.

Miles enjoyed the Journey to Freedom so much that we are now romping through the second book in the series.  Hermione isn't particularly enthusiastic about this one, complaining that it's dry in parts (I don't agree), but Miles loves it.  This book describes how they manage once released into the African grasslands.  I feel a bit of an Africa project coming on for me and Miles.

This book should be en route to me as I speak.  It came under the category of 'overwhelming urge to share all of my childhood favorite ladybird books with my own children'.  I'm very excited about it's arrival; I can already see the snow drifting down outside, the fire roaring up the chimney, mince pies and hot chocolates all round with the tale of The Wise Robin.  Oh, I do hope the children don't spoil it for me!

This is the first book in the series I'm currently reading.  Took me a wee while to get my head around it at first, but once I did I was smitten.

We've looked at this book and plan on looking at it again real soon, perhaps with roast turkey and pumpkin pie!  Oh, there's a pattern emerging here.  I must learn to not associate all things with food.

Happy reading  xx

Saturday, 13 October 2012

De-stressing Door Knob Covers

 Do you like my knob cover?  I do.  I envisage various covers coming to knobs near me!

Yesterday Hermione was on a trip to Whitby with friends for an audience with Jacqueline Wilson.  She wasn't due back till late evening and I was beginning to get a little uptight, thinking of the twisting turning roads back across the moors.

It was then I noticed this fun and cheery post.  As I've said before, I struggle with patterns, but this one is easy peasy!

A few knob covers later I was feeling positively chilled.  It was then I thought that I had never mentioned here about a book I read a while ago; well actually I still am reading it as it's a 'dipping into' book as opposed to reading cover to cover sort.  It's called Crochet Saved My Life and I recommend it to you.  I suspect that much of the sentiment in the book could be applied equally to other handicrafts, but I think there is something so quick and 'put downable' with crochet that it does lend itself ever so well to short bursts of therapy crafting.

Pleased to say Hermione returned home safe and well, having thoroughly enjoyed her trip to Whitby and meeting Jacqueline Wilson in person.  She had a book signed with a personally dedicated message and it seems that rounded off what had already been a very nice day!