Today marked our first official Saturday on the Farm at Fishkill Farms and we spent it celebrating the summer solstice on this cloudy June morning.
There were several families who arrived to join us and the kids spent some time checking out the cherry trees and visiting the chickens while parents registered for the program and got situated. Our first activity was to make wildflower jewelry, namely daisy crowns and clover necklaces.The table was strewn with daisies and while the mommies spent a bit more time on this craft than did the children–splitting the daisy stems was a bit challenging for little fingers to negotiate–the results were lovely.In fact, some of the mommies set out on the trail with their own floral adornments! The children enjoyed collecting clover from the surrounding hillside to tie into necklaces and bracelets as well.
We then gathered together to listen to some midsummer folklore and history before heading out for our hike. We talked about the importance of the sun to farmers and folks depending on a successful harvest for their own livelihoods. We talked about buying vegetables in the grocery store versus growing them ourselves. We talked of bonfires and dancing in honor of the upcoming harvest. And we talked about the mystical energy of the solstice, the most magical night of the year, when Puck and his fellow fairy folk come out to frolic in the lingering midsummer sun.
With the kids’ fairy pumps well-primed (with help from a fantastic flower fairy book by Cicely Mary Barker) and armed with baskets to collect items with which we would decorate our soon-to-be-built fairy houses, we set out for the magical fairy woodland. The kids were completely into the magic at this point and everything along the trail became a piece of something that a fairies or elves would be happy to have in their homes. They were wary of pixies, the tricky fairies who try to lead unsuspecting folks awry into the woods as they filled the baskets with wildflowers, leaves, berries, interesting sticks and a variety of stones.
A hush fell over the group as we got to the entrance to the magic woodland. They stepped gingerly along the trail, over the ankle-deep, fluffy ground cover that filled the little clearing. They quickly found their own special spots to build their own fairy houses, darting here and there to collect other items or retrieve things from the baskets to use in their construction. A bit hesitant at first, most of the kids quickly engaged themselves in the project while the parents were a bit giddy in their joining in.I sometimes wonder who enjoys building fairy houses more, myself or my girls, and these parents were no different. Abodes from the tiny to the more elaborate quickly emerged from the forest floor replete with thatched roofs and daisy entryways.
It was a special morning for all.
Many thanks to Jamie Gehman, Kids Unplugged star graphic artist (see our great logos) for the great shot of our magical woodland.