Saturday, 16 February 2008

Castle Eden Dene

Yesterday Nana and Hermione visited Castle Eden Dene for a guided tour with a number of other home educating families. They had a good time. The guide had been a jolly chap who had made the visit interesting and fun.

They saw a badger set, squirrel’s dray and lots of other wildlife. He told them about the sticky substance inside bluebells leaves which was once used as a kind of glue, and how a certain plant with sticky balls (name escapes me – if anyone knows what I’m talking about please shout up) provided the inspiration for someone to go on and invent Velcro.

Hermione brought some spruce cones home. They are really long! The guide told her to let them dry and then examine the seeds. She had hoped they would have dried by today but I think it’s going to take a bit longer than that.

While they were at the dene Miles and I busied ourselves in the garden. We have an area under some trees where the grass won’t grow. Combination of shade from the trees and hens rooting about there too I think. Since we can’t have a pond and attract pond life I thought we would try to increase biodiversity by planting wild flowers there. The packet said they like shade. We planted corn flowers, corn poppies, corn chamomiles and corn marigolds. Miles was very enthusiastic so we rummaged around the garage and found some grass seed to fill in some bald patches in the lawn too. I’m only hoping the seeds survive the hens. They were very interested.

Talking of those pesky hens, despite having the height of the fence surrounding the vegetable patch doubled in size, Henrietta can still get up. I couldn’t bare to heighten it further, I’m not particularly happy with it as it is already, so I’ve decided to use the willow left from the dome which is now only any good for ‘dead’ weaving, having been cut for months, to make some sort of twirling design along the top of the fence. Perhaps they won’t jump up if the top of the fence is uneven? I hope not.

I finished reading the second book in the Anastasia series this week. I’m not sure what to say really. When I’m reading it I don’t feel particularly impressed but at the same time I’m compelled to read more. Strange huh? After two books the jury is still out. I hope to have made my mind up as to whether or not I like them when I have read the next one in the series. I’ve dropped hints for Mothers Day and only hope they’ve not fallen on deaf ears.

There are a couple of things in particular that have made me stop and think. The first book talks at length about growing your own food. That’s good, I agree that it is good to grow what you can. However, it goes a step further than that and talks about interacting with your plants so that they get to know you and therefore grow produce which best suits your nutritional needs. She suggests walking bare foot on your patch, holding seeds in your mouth before planting and pouring water in which you have washed your feet onto your patch as ways in which to convey yourself to your plant so as they get to know you and your needs. I find all this very strange. You certainly won’t find me sucking any gardening seeds – they are covered in antifungal agents! Made me think all the same though about how we limit our conscious interactions.

The second book talks about the dolmens. These were new to me. I’d like to learn more about them and find out where the closest ones are. A field trip coming on there perhaps?

The second book also talks about creating a ‘Motherland’ for your child.

In anticipation of your child’s appearance in this world, parents ought to create a Space for him. An environment of kindness and love. And to give him a piece of the Motherland, which, like a mother’s womb, both preserves the body and caresses the soul. It imparts the wisdom of creation and assists in obtaining the truth.

And what can a woman give her child who is born amidst stone walls? What kind of world has she made ready for him? Or has she given any thought at all to the world in which her child is to live? In that case the world will do with him as it likes. It will strive to subject this little human being unto itself, making him a mere cog, or a slave. And the mother will simply become an observer, as she has not made ready for her child any Space of Love.

What Space of Love have I created for my children? There’s one for me to ponder.


H said...

Was the plant goose grass, Claire?

Claire said...

Yes, that's it. Thankyou. Apparently it's edible too. I'm going to check it out. I saw it on a Raw Shazzie Youtube sometime.