waldorf


We used candle lanterns and also homemade lanterns out of tin cans, that were lit with glow sticks for the kids.


I’m looking forward to celebrating Martinmas next month with another campout and soup and bread potluck.

According to French lore, St. Martin was a soldier passing into the city of Amiens, when he passed a shivering beggar. He stopped, took off his own warm woolen cape and slashed it half with his sword and gave one half to the beggar. I love this image – one, it’s more practical to share what you have rather than give it ALL away and I love the complete surrender of material possession to human generosity with the slash – and I love the magnificent gesture of a sweeping sword to give rather than to kill.

From Diana Carey and Judy Large’s book, Festivals, Family, and Food: “Martin went on to become patron saint of beggars, drunkards, and outcasts. He was known for his gentleness, his unassuming nature and his ability to bring warmth and light to those who were previously in darkness.
On the evening of Martinmas [Nov 11] he is remembered in many French households with a festival of lanterns, carrying light throughout the darkened home, singing songs, and sharing a simple cake, perhaps decorated with the symbol of the sun.”

Inspired by my dear friend Darlene’s 20+ year tradition of celebrating Martinmas with a homemade soup and bread potluck, I’ve decided to do the same here in Orange County with my friends.

We’ll start the potluck around 5 pm with a short blessing and explanation of Martinmas. The bread and soup directs our mind to the meals of the poor – but really, we’re taking a moment to be intentionally simple to reflect on our own lives of plenty. And one of my greatest riches lie in the community I’ve found here, who will camp with me in November!

The puppet show props.


Shortly after dinner is done, we’ll gather to watch a puppet show about the shortening of days, and the idea of making a lantern to carry light through the dark days of winter. This is the puppet show Darlene wrote years ago. I posted it in full last year here.

Then we’ll practice a few songs together from Sing Through the Seasons: “Down with Darkness” and “With a Lantern in the Hand.” When we’ve got the melody worked out, we’ll light our lanterns (we’re making balloon and tissue lanterns) with glowsticks and have a lantern procession through the woods. The kids love this part and so do I.
This celebration has become one of my favorite holidays.

Christian will be thrilled to be camping, and doubly thrilled to be singing and with his favorite friends.


*All photos by Jaimie and Alex.

The fall songs for our sixth cycle of Waldorf in the Woods.
All songs and handplays, except for FIVE LITTLE LEAVES and OATS AND BEANS AND BARLEY GROW will be sung twice.

FOLLOW, FOLLOW ME
NOW LOOK AROUND

SOMETHING TOLD THE WILD GEESE By Rachel Field
(from Mrs. M’s fall circle)

Something told the wild geese
It was time to go.
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered, “snow.”

Leaves were green and stirring,
Berries, luster-glossed.
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned, “frost.”

All the sagging orchards
Steamed with amber spice.
But each wild breast stiffened
At remembered ice.

Something told the wild geese
It was time to fly,
Summer sun was on their wings,
Winter in their cry

OH, WELCOME, WELCOME
(from Betty Jones’s A Child’s Seasonal Treasury)
this is the second verse of the Birthday Song
Oh welcome welcome lovely day.
With sunshine bright and flowers gay.
With painted birds that sing their song
And make me kind and good and strong.

GOOD MORNING SONG
(from Betty Jones’s A Child’s Seasonal Treasury)
Morning Song
Good morning dear earth. (Crouch, touch ground)
Good morning dear sun. (Rise and extend arms to sky)
Good morning dear rocks and the flowers every one. (Crouch and knock fists on ground, then wave fingers and sway hands for flowers)
Good morning dear beasts. (Remain crouching, put hands on head for horns)
And the birds in the trees. (Flap arms while rising to stand)
Good morning to you and good morning to me. (Bow to others twice, then stand upright and cross arms over chest.)

FIVE LITTLE LEAVES
(from Betty Jones’s A Child’s Seasonal Treasury)
Five little leaves so bright and gay
(Hold out hand; flutter fingers)
Were dancing about a tree one day
(Sway hand in rhythm overhead)
The wind came blowing through the town,
o-o-o-o
(Put other hand to mouth and blow)
One little leaf came tumbling down!
(Sway hand from side-to-side while folding appropriate finger to palm. Repeat entire verse and actions for 4-3-2-1.)

OATS AND BEANS AND BARLEY GROW
(a classic, but we’ll be using Raffi’s version – because we repeat the refrain 3x, no need to sing the song a second time)
Oats and beans and barley grow
Oats and beans and barley grow
You or I or anyone know how
Oats and beans and barley grow

First the farmer plants the seed
Stands up tall and takes his ease
Clap his hands
And stamps his feet
And turns around to view the land

Oats and beans and barley grow
Oats and beans and barley grow
You or I or anyone know how
Oats and beans and barley grow

Then the farmer waters the ground
Watches the sun shine all around
Claps his hands
And stamps his feet
And turns around to view the land

Oats and beans and barley grow
Oats and beans and barley grow
You or I or anyone know how
Oats and beans and barley grow

MICHAELMAS
(from Elisabeth Lebret’s Pentatonic Songs)
(We’ll hold hands and walk around the circle, changing direction between verses)
A knight and a lady went riding one day,
Far into the forest,
Away! Away!

“Fair knight, “ said the lady,
“I pray have a care!
This forest is evil!
Beware! Beware!”

A fiery red dragon
they spied on the grass,
The lady wept sorely,
Alas, Alas!

The knight slew the dragon,
The lady was gay!
They rode on together
Away! Away!

DOT, DOT, DOT

SPINNING ‘ROUND
(from Patina)

TIME TO WASH OUR HANDS
WHO WILL COME TO MY WEE RING?
STORY SONG
THE EARTH STANDS FIRM BENEATH MY FEET
GOODBYE

BLESSINGS ON YOUR WAY

DRAGON FLIGHT
(jump rope rhyme from Mrs. M’s fall circle)
Michael on your bright white horse
Silver sword from red-hot forge
Take me with you in your flight
How many dragons will you fight?
1 2 3 4 5 6 etc

Oh dear, my new fall cycle of Waldorf in the Woods starts in a week and I haven’t even posted songs or a story yet.
Good thing I have such enthusiastic group members who come up with story ideas of their own.

Jaimie put this story together from a poem from Juniper Tree.
THANK YOU JAIMIE. (You can see her blog, M Family Tales, here – and hopefully she’ll be posting about her Waldorf teacher training soon. Incidentally, I’m knitting the same wallaby sweater and loving every moment of it.)

Song recording is pending the assembly of the borrowed piano in the living room. Another thank you to Jaimie for the loan!

Once upon a time, not so long ago and not so far away, there was a boy who lived in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Autumn had come to the forest, and the trees were shedding their gold and copper leaves. A chilly wind made the boy shiver as he watched the leaves dancing by.

Just then, squirrel appeared from under the rustling leaves.
The boy called, “Little squirrel, little squirrel, Won’t you stop and play with me?”
Squirrel cried, “No, no, no, I’m busy you see!
I’m gathering nuts to nibble and crunch,
saving them for winter’s lunch!”

So the squirrel went along his way, but then the boy saw Raccoon scratching around the root of a tree.
The boy called “Raccoon, Raccoon! Won’t you stop and play with me?”
Raccoon cried, “No, no, no, I’m busy you see!
I’m gathering nuts to nibble and crunch,
saving them for winter’s lunch!”

So raccoon went along his way, but then the boy saw little Bear sniffing under a bush.
The boy called “Little bear, little bear! Won’t you stop and play with me?”
Bear cried, “No, no, no, I’m busy you see!
I’m gathering nuts to nibble and crunch,
saving them for winter’s lunch!”

As the bear went along his way, the boy’s mother came out from the cottage.
The boy cried, “Oh mother, everyone is too busy to play with me!”
Mother replied “Never mind dear, come along with me,
For there is plenty to do in the orchard you see!
Gathering apples to nibble and crunch,
saving them for winter’s lunch!”

So the boy went to the orchard with his mother and they cheerfully sang as they gathered as many apples as they could carry.

And if things have not changed, they are still the same today.

The puppet show sometimes takes a lot of energy to pull together, but the kids love it.


Our Waldorf in the Woods summer session begins tomorrow. Our puppet show story will be The Turnip.
The Turnip
retold by David Sidwell
One fine day at the end of summer, an old grandfather went to his garden and saw that he has grown a large turnip. A very LARGE turnip. He wanted to pull it out of the ground so he could eat it for supper, so he pulled and pulled, but he couldn’t pull out the turnip.
He called out to his wife, “Wife! Come help me pull out this turnip!” She came over and grabbed him by the waist, and they both pulled and pulled, but the turnip wouldn’t budge.
So the wife called for her son: “Son! Come help us pull out this turnip!” He came right over, grabbed her by the waist and the son and the grandmother and the grandfather pulled and pulled but the turnip wouldn’t budge.
The son called out to his daughter, “Daughter! Come help us pull out this turnip!” She came on over, grabbed her father by the waist, and the daughter and the father and the grandmother and the grandfather pulled and pulled but the turnip wouldn’t budge.
The daughter called out to her dog, “Dog! Come help us pull out this turnip!” He came over, put his paws around the daughter, and the dog and the daughter and the father and the grandmother and the grandfather pulled and pulled, but the turnip wouldn’t budge.
The dog called out to the cat, “Cat! Come help us pull out this turnip!” She came over and put her paws around the dog, and the cat and the dog and the daughter and the father and the grandmother and the grandfather pulled and pulled, but the turnip wouldn’t budge.
The cat called out to the mouse, “Mouse, Come help us pull out this turnip!” He came over and put his tiny paws around the cat, and the mouse and the cat and the dog and the daughter and the father and the grandmother and the grandfather pulled and pulled, but the turnip wouldn’t budge.
The mouse called out to the cricket, “Cricket! Come help us pull out this turnip!” She came over and put her tiny, tiny claws around the mouse, and the cricket and the mouse and the cat and the dog and the daughter and the father and the grandmother and the grandfather pulled and pulled . . . and the turnip finally came out!
It came out so fast that grandfather fell on grandmother who fell on her son who fell on her daughter who fell on the dog who fell on the cat who fell on the mouse who fell on the cricket. Then they all got up, dusted themselves off and went to the kitchen—where they cooked and ate the turnip!

It was delicious!

Learn a song, or two. Kids will love you for it. I find myself singing with kids everywhere – even ones I don’t know, and I find that a little singing always, always brightens my day.

We’re beginning the summer cycle of our Waldorf in the Woods playgroup next week. We’re going strong – the group is still full of great, committed moms, and more families being added to the waiting list all the time!
Our craft this time will be wet-on-wet watercolor painting (every time) and our story will be the classic tale of The Turnip, which I will post shortly.
Here are our new songs and handplays. The other songs, the ones we use every time have been posted previously and can be found on womantalk.org by searching “waldorf songs.” If there is not a video with music above the words, then the words are simply spoken.
This cycle all songs and handplays are from Betty Jones’s A Child’s Seasonal Treasury, an excellent resource.

Birthday Song
Oh welcome welcome lovely day.
With sunshine bright and flowers gay.
With painted birds that sing their song
And make me kind and good and strong.

[We will not be singing the first birthday stanza, but these are the words for your reference:
In heaven shines a golden star.
An angel led me from afar.
From heaven high unto the earth
And brought me to my house of birth.]


Morning Song
Good morning dear earth. (Crouch, touch ground)
Good morning dear sun. (Rise and extend arms to sky)
Good morning dear rocks and the flowers every one. (Crouch and knock fists on ground, then wave fingers and sway hands for flowers)
Good morning dear beasts. (Remain crouching, put hands on head for horns)
And the birds in the trees. (Flap arms while rising to stand)
Good morning to you and good morning to me. (Bow to others twice, then stand upright and cross arms over chest.)

Bubbles
Bubbles are a lovely thing to blow (Make a bubble with forefingers and thumbs)
On a hot, dry summer day,
Big and small, they rise and fall
And POP! Along the way (Clap for the pop)
Sparkling crystal rainbows (Sweep arms overhead from one side to another)
In the sunshine bright, (Make sun with circled arms above)
How I’d love to be a bubble (Make bubble with forefingers and thumbs)
And sail into the night.

Ten Fingers
I have ten little fingers (Stretch hands out front)
And they all belong to me, (Point to self with both thumbs)
I can make them do things, (Rub hands together)
Would you like to see? (Open hands, palms up.)
I can shut them up tight, (Make fists)
Or I can make them wide, (Extend fingers)
I can put them together, (Clasp hands, fingers intertwined)
Or make them all hide, (Put hands behind back)
I can make them jump high, (Hold hands high)
I can make them jump low (Place hands on floor)
I can fold them quietly, (Fold hands together)
And hold them just so.

Flower Elves
Pretty flower elves are we,
Dancing to and fro,
Peeping out from ‘neath our buds
As round and round we go (Children skip or gallop in circle waving colored veils)

Sleepy, sleepy snails are we
Our steps are long and slow.
We drag our feet along the ground
As round and round we go. (Children take big slow steps around a circle.)

Butterflies from the air are we
Our wings are fairy light
We dance before the king and queen
Upon the flowers bright (Children skip around a circle while flapping their arms)

Funny little gnomes are we,
Our beards are long and white,
Towards the rocks our footsteps turn
To tap from morn ‘til night. (Children trudge, bent over, around in circle, while hammering fist on fist)

A long green snake in the grass are we
Our tail is far away.
We wriggle and wriggle and twist and turn
As in and out we sway. (Children put together outstretched arms and hands and act out described movements, while walking around in circle.)

Fish Alive
One, two, three, four, five, (Make fist, unfurl one finger at a time)
Once I caught a fish alive! (Wiggle all fingers)
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten, (Bow a finger for each number spoken)
Then I let it go again! (Wiggle fingers, then hide hand behind back)
Why did I let it go? (Shrug shoulders)
Because it bit my fingers so! (Point right index finger and pretend to nip it)
Which finger did it bite? (Close fist)
This finger on the right. (Hold on right index finger and wiggle it.)

My basket after one week.

Once you’ve grown your own grass, you’ll never go back to the plastic stuff. Or even the paper stuff – you’ll quickly discover that they are poor substitutes for the vibrancy of real living wheatgrass sprouting before your eyes. And real grass makes such a beautiful backdrop for frolicking spring animals like handsewn bunnies and felted chicks.

If you start your basket today, you’ll have an inch or so of growth by the weekend.

You’ll need:

plastic to line your basket

soil (I used an organic garden soil from Home Depot)

wheatberries (This had me stumped for a few days as I searched high and low for “wheat grass seeds” – that nobody had. Then I was informed that plain old wheatberries from the bulk bins at Henry’s works well – and of course it does!)

crumpled newspapers if your basket is deep

1. Add crumpled newspapers to your basket so you will only need to add a couple inches of soil.

2. Line your basket with plastic.

3. Add soil and press down.

4. Add seeds.

5. Add another inch of soil.

6. Water and keep damp for a couple days until you see sprouts!

SO EASY – I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS THE FIRST GRASS I’VE EVER SPROUTED!

I hosted a meetup and a dozen moms made their spring baskets with me.

One of my favorite events of last year was the May Faire that was hosted by the Waldorf School of Orange County and it’s almost that time again. This year’s May Faire will be May 1, 2010. I am definitely going again. It is everything you could want in a family-oriented holiday celebration.

Imagine hundreds of children (and parents!) dressed in white and wearing flower crowns. There were flowers EVERYWHERE! Honestly, you’ve never seen so many flowers in one place in your life.

Every grade performed a May Pole dance of increasing difficulty, until the sixth grade did some kind of spider dance that wound the entire pole in an intricate pastel pattern – and they UNdanced the pole. It was fascinating and impressive to watch.

The audience, on picnic blankets, was rapt. None of the vendor or food booths were opened until after the performances were over.

Folks entering the Faire. The flowers smelled wonderful and set a festive, gay tone.

After the grade school performances there was a small bluegrass band called Dogwood performing for the rest of the day – with a CALLER! She called square dances, Virginia reels, line dances, and other simple fun dances for the whole family, all day long. That alone was more than worth the cost of admission (which I don’t remember precisely – but it seemed small – under ten dollars.)

There were also some craft booths (making a flower garland was free – making a small bumblebee from wool roving cost a dollar), game booths, vendors of artisan wooden crafts, and other natural products, and the food? Well, you might expect some hippy vegetarian grub, and while that was an option, there were lovely grilled turkey panini sandwiches and heaps and heaps of buttery baked treats for sale. You could also choose grilled eggplant panini – yummmm. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food, considering that it was a school fundraiser picnic – but I shouldn’t have been – everything detail of this event was deliberately and consciously planned. I even caught myself wanting to meet the organizer and offering to be her apprentice!

It was all very very sweet and I look forward to attending this year. Christian will enjoy it even more this time around. Maybe we’ll see you there?

Here are the new songs we’ll be using for our Waldorf in the Woods playgroup in April and May. Aren’t we lucky to have Jaimie’s lovely voice accompanying my piano plinking?

A Little Garden Flower

A little garden flower is lying in its bed.

The sun shines bright, overhead.

Down came the rain, dancing to and fro.

The little garden flower awakens, and now begins to grow.

Spring is Coming by Elisabeth Lebret

Spring is coming, spring is coming, birdies build your nest!

Weave together straw and feathers, doing each your best. Doing each your best.

Spring is coming, spring is coming

Flowers are coming too.

Daisies, lilies, daffodillies

All are coming through! All are coming through.

Spring is coming, spring is coming, birdies build your nest!

Weave together straw and feathers, doing each your best. Doing each your best.

Mother Earth by Eileen Hutchins

Mother Earth, Mother Earth! Take our seed and give it birth.

Father Sun! Gleam and glow! Until the roots begin to grow.

Sister Rain, Sister Rain! Shed thy tears to swell the grain.

Brother Wind! Breathe and blow – Then the blade green will grow.

Earth and Sun, Wind and Rain! Turn to gold the living Grain.

Two Little Hands (Do all the actions in the verse)

Two little hands go clap, clap, clap.

Two little feet go tap, tap, tap.

Two little hands go thump, thump, thump.

Two little feet go jump, jump, jump.

One little body turns round and round.

One little body sits quietly down.

My Garden by Betty Jones

This is my wee garden plot

Extend palm, point to it with index finger of other hand.

I’ll rake it with care and it will grow a lot!

Make rake with spread fingers and stroke it over palm.

Peas and carrots and salad from seeds,

Poke index finger around palm to plant seeds.

I’ll plant and water and pull out the weeds.

Extend thumb from fist to pour; pinch palm to weed.

The sun will shine and bathe my garden in light,

Flex and contract fingers as sun

All the plants will be happy and taste just right!

Face palms up and wiggle fingers.

Here, try some, have a bite!

Extend garden palm outward, pick plant, pop into mouth, and chew.


Bunny and the Garden by Betty Jones

Begin by sitting in a circle; all children act like the bunny.

A bunny sits with pricked ears,

Listens well before he dares

To hop, hop, hop from his bunny hole

To the farmer’s garden where the carrots grow

To pick and nibble those crunchy delights

From the cabbage too, he takes a few bites.

With his tummy full, he washes his face

‘Til the farmer yells and begins the chase!

With a hippity-hop-hop and a leaping bound,

Bunny hides safely in his hole in the ground.

The Goodbye Song (REVISED to reflect lyrics and tune from A Child’s Seasonal Treasury)

Goodbye now, good-bye now, we leave you now and home we go.

Good bye now, good bye now. Good bye to all of you.

It’s time to go or we’ll be late.

Let the children lead us to the gate.

Good bye now, good bye now, we’ll see you soon again.

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