Monday, 21 September 2009

The Autumnal Equinox

I am not sure if this is a crafty enough post for this site, but hope some families will enjoy the Nut & root children : )


The Autumn Equinox by Ric Kemp

Tomorrow is the Autumnal Equinox.
We are planning a fun autumn picnic, with the idea of talking about the Nut & Root Children. This is a lovely idea taken from Marsha's group. (See below)
Our cookies are made (thank you Mel!) Tomorrow we will be dipping half of each cookie in chocolate, to represent the equal hours of darkness & light of the equinox.
We will be taking them along on our picnic, along with home-made bread & butter, chunks of cheese & a thermos of hot chocolate : )

I am hoping this Equinox book will have arrived for us to read - if not, we will have it for next year ; )

The Autumn equinox and the spring equinox are the two days in the year when the hours of daylight and darkness are exactly equal.
In September as the Sun is moving southwards we refer to it as the autumnal equinox
The Sun is at its lowest path in the sky on the Winter Solstice. After that day the Sun follows a higher and higher path through the sky each day until it is in the sky for exactly 12 hours. On the Spring Equinox the Sun rises exactly in the east travels through the sky for 12 hours and sets exactly in the west. On the Equinox this is the motion of the Sun through the sky for everyone on earth. Every place on earth experiences a 12 hours day twice a year on the Spring and Autumn Equinox.
Harvest festivals are traditionally held on or near the Sunday of the Harvest Moon. This is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox (about Sept. 23). In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October.

James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.


Father, we thank you
For all that you have made.
You chose to create us in Your own image.
You made us stewards of Your creation,
For all that You are,
For all that You have done,
For all that You have given.
We offer our humble thanks & praise. Amen

The Nut and Root Children!

Go nutting! Yup, not go nuts, but gather your favorite children, several sturdy baskets (one packed with nut breads spread with cream cheese, tiny tomatoes and mini carrot sticks, and honey sweetened steeped peppermint tea, and head for the woods.............be sure to take along the essentials for survival (matches, first aid kit, compass or GPS unit, a metal whistle, water for drinking, and a pocket knife)....in your backpack....it is also nice to tuck in a small towel for drying feet or hands, your favorite reading aloud book for a rest time, and sunscreen).

(There is such a strong need to help children connect to nature in our current culture.........in nature, we can help the children feel the living quality of the minerals and stones, as they rest on the earth, silently, the living beings who do not wander (roots fixed to the earth) and the living beings with fur or feather or scales (animals and birds) who do move about and follow the rule of Mother Earth...and really see all the complicated forms in nature, elements of the water, earth, fire and air, breathe deep in the mountains or valleys or deserts, air that is so rich with promise of new vistas and ideas.....if we can experience this feeling of being in an unplanted woods, an untended garden, a wild area, this is very very good for the health and development of the child and the of course, the adult, too. Even within most large cities, a drive of 30 minutes or less can take us into an area such as this, do find them, cultivate a knowledge of these special places, and devote your energy to bringing your children and little friends there.....)

Spend the day collecting nuts and cones. At this time of year, you can find chestnuts, walnuts, acorns, hazelnuts, hickory, and many other types, depending on where you live. Small pine or fir cones or other cones are also looked for in your search..........show the children any poisonous plants and teach them to avoid these dangerous beauties!

Keep an attitude of respect for the plants and animals, do not allow your children to tear off branches or kick away moss..........but do help them to see into the miniature world of ferns, mosses, stream beds, under roots, and behind logs.....hike around for several hours, then stop and enjoy your snack, then ask the children to rest a while and you can read aloud from your book (Wind Boy is always a favorite or the Brambly Hedge family)....what a wonderful way to spend a fall
day, outside, in the cool of the wildnerness.

NEXT DAY:

Spread out your finds on a work-tarp on your table. Examine and sort all the items, identify them if you can, look at their attributes and add to them from your store of nature items.........begin to assemble some small figures, acorn heads, sunflower seed features, pine cone scales, cone bodies, small twig arms r legs, moss hair, some small dyed wool for hair, tiny noses, wings of maple 'helicopters', perhaps, and glue together. Use a clear or yellow thick wood glue if possible, and assemble a whole family. Let dry overnight........

Next Day:

Add some touchs to the little Nut and Root Children: this can be plant dyed wool felt capes or cloaks, scarf round neck, use old
felted sweaters to cut and glue on vests, slippers, berets, and more.........the personalities may begin to emerge and some children may wish to go further and glue together furniture, beds, tables, small dishes of half nutshells, and more.....a chestnut shell makes a lovely baby's bed!

Place these nature people and animals on your nature table, to enjoy and play with! What fun!

Marsha Johnson
Shining Star School
Portland, Oregon

PS, Adults like to do this, too! Invite another family along and have a grand time........roast ears of corn or sweet potatoes and
make it a regular Fall Event. I also think this event works so well for days when the working parent (often Daddy) can come, too, and can help to put together some little figures, add a root house of bark and moss, gather stones for a water garden part, and take part in the fun, too.

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