There was no getting away from the weather today. We arrived to a yard soaked with water and some minor damage to our outdoor kitchen area from the strong winds over night. It was raining so heavily that it was a struggle to get the fire started. Fire lighters and newspaper were soaked within seconds, and the tiny flame from the match was quickly extinguished by the rain. It took some perserverance, a new matchbox that wasn’t soaked, and a few brief breaks in the downpours, to finally get the fire going enough to withstand all that was being thrown at it, but we did it, and by the time the children began to arrive there was the smell of smoke hanging in the air and the warmth of a fire to sit near.
We were lucky to have Stuart (one of the childrens Dads) join us yesteerday and today. He offered to share his cooking skills with us today and made a huge pot of delicious soup. We watched as he cooked off bones (and had many a discussion about what sort of bones they might be) , onions and garlic on the campfire to start off the stock. Then there were many willing and able helpers to wash and chop all the vegies to add to the soup which then simmered away all day until we ate it up in the afternoon.
We also made fruit toast, and enjoyed watching as the butter melt as we spread it over the sweet smelling warm toast.
We washed, wrapped and baked a bag of potatoes in the coals that one of our families had grown and bought in for us.
Everyones favourite, sausages, sizzled on the hot plate and their delicious smell wafted through the air as rest time ended. They were wrapped in bread and sauce and warmed our tummies ready fro an afternoon of play in the rain.
Unfortunately a big thunder storm hit just as we were getting ready to leave and we needed to move under the shelter of the verandah. We were unable to come together one last time around the campfire and toast marshmallows.
Lee thought we could just cook a few and bring them down to her …… *Note to selves – trying to pre cook marshmallows in torrential rain is going to end in a pile of wet dissolving marshmallows, that not even excited kindy children would want to eat!!! We still got to enjoy a marshmallow, but straight out of the packet.
Todays conditions did provide lots of opportunity for water and mud play. Digging, jumping in puddles, playing in mud, and creating huge PVC water pipes that connected to our mosaic gutter and made their way right across the yard. Lots of thought and trial and error went into trying to get the fall right on those pipes to successfully get water running out into the sandpit.
Katie helped the children create a rope spider web on one of the huge easles to climb in, through, over and around.
There was even a swing made from a stick and piece of rope to explore.
Plans were developed and tested to make a sling shot with rope.
The hay bales were a great place to climb, hide around and jump on.
There was some amazing perseverence, problem solving and team work shown as a group of children transfered their knowledge and skills from the act of one of them building a bridge across a small puddle they had dug and filled with water, to devising ways for them all to make a bridge from one side of the watercourse pond to the other.
It was a process that took about 20 minutes and took some huge negoatiating skills, planning, experimenting, thinking, hypothosising, testing of theories, taking of risks, re-thinking, and perseverance to get the huge stump they decided they needed to where it was required. They were so proud of their efforts when all their hard work finally paid off and it landed with a splash in the middle of the pond, and the rest of the construction work could be completed.
A group of children helped Nic yarn bomb one of the planks that we are using as a seat around the fire. It took lots of patience and concentration to wind the balls of wool around and around and around the plank. In the end we all decided it looked awesome and would make a great comfy place to sit by the fire and chat.
Those wanting a break from the rain spent time exploring a tub of coloured sand and lots of small loose parts to create in it.
Or told stories and chatted in the shelter they made from easles and tarps.
Rest time today was spent protected from the strong winds and heavy rain, snuggled under the verandah.
One of the Dads took the time to bring in his tractor and the children were very excited to have the chance to sit up behind the wheel.
As always there was lots of real work to be done. A host of willing volunteers helped wash the dishes in the warm soapy water.
Tomorrow our other group of children will begin their outdoor kindy experience so we all pitched in and reset the yard for them. Pulled pipes apart, stacked the hay away, picked up all the loose parts and took down much of what we had build over the past two days.
Hopefully todays weather will pass and it will be a little kinder to us tomorrow. We all love the challenge of having rain during our week, but the downpours of today coupled with the very strong winds and then thunder storm really took this to a new level. It was awesome to see over 3/4 of our children in waterproof pants today though…being prepared with waterproof pants, coats and boots mean that the staff and children can enjoy the whole experience so much more. To be able to play and explore freely with out the discomfort of being cold or wet is the aim for us all.