Monday, November 16, 2009

Our Recipe for Beeswax Salve

Makes 24 (2 oz.) tins and 24 (1/2 oz. ) tins -

7 cups oil (organic olive oil or almond oil)
1-7 cups dried flowers – chamomile, calendula, clover, lavender
14 oz. pure beeswax

Steep oil and flowers in warm place for two weeks
or bring to almost simmer, cover and keep warm over night,
or warm in double boiler over simmering water 30 to 60 minutes

Strain through cheesecloth.

Add 2 oz. pure beeswax to each cup of oil. Melt.

Pour into tins and watch the magic as it cools.

Makes a soothing salve for chapped hands, cheeks and lips all winter.

Tins are available from Specialty Bottles – 2 oz. or ½ oz. (for lip balm)

Kinder Faire December 12

Just as a reminder, Spindlewood's Kinder Faire is December 12, Saturday, open to the public from 9-12noon. We will be following the rhythm of our kindergarten morning in this outreach event. Please invite your friends and family to have a taste of the magic of Waldorf early childhood!

Beginning at 9:00 am there will be several activities for young children, primarily gift-making and wrapping. These include beeswax candle rolling, bead stringing, sewing balsam sachets, paper angel folding, tiny book-binding and beeswax modeling. There is a sign-up board in the mudroom for workers needed. The shifts are 8:45 - 10:15 and also 10:30 - 12:00noon. Can you help? Perhaps one parent or a grandparent may accompany your child or children if you sign up for a shift of helping with an activity or assisting in the cafe/dining room.

The Kinder Faire has its own currency of golden chestnuts, that parents may purchase at 50cents each, and which the children may use to participate in all of the activities, as well as purchase apple cider, cookies, honey straws, modeling beeswax and marbles.

There will be a pause in activities at 10:15 when Mr. John and I will present the puppet play The Shoemaker and the Elves, followed be a special visitor and his elves.

Following the puppet play and visitors, the Mr. John's Downstairs Cafe will open, offering homemade soup, gingerbread, coffee and teas.

For adults, there will also be a table of "Elves Treasures", including handcrafted toys and decorations, some Waldorf song books/CDs by Mary Schunneman, children's kitchen utensils and aprons, biodynamic planting calendars and more. Sarah Baldwin will have a selection of Bella Luna Toys, and Susan Junge will be offering a selection of fine children's books.

So that you may fully participate in the Kinder Faire morning with the children, we will be offering an Pre-Sale for all KinderFaire volunteers the night before the Faire, Friday evening from 6:30 - 9:00 pm. Teas and Coffee will be available.

Oh, yes! There will also be a display of rare and wonderful items on display that are being offered for Silent Auction....all bidding will be done by email, thanks to Amy Robbins-Wilson and Tim Wilson!

Take Joy!
The Spindlewood Kinder Faire Carrying Circle
Susan Junge, Pat Shannon, Sarah Baldwin, Heather Wyman and Susan Silverio


Dear Spindlewood Parents,

Throughout the autumn, the children have been harvesting and drying calendula flowers from the garden. Perhaps you noticed the basket on the picnic table of golden blossoms. When they were completely dried, we added them to organic olive oil and the large jar has been sitting on the window sill absorbing sunlight. When the last of the harvest was done, and the weeds pulled and the sheep manure spread (no. Mr. Jack did that part!) the children and I trooped around the garden thanking it for all that it gave us this year! I was surprised at how enthusiastic the children were in shouting "Thank You!" This week we will strain the flowers from the oil and add some pure beeswax. Then we heat the oil very gently to melt the wax and pour it into tins. Such magic to see the dark oil turn into a golden solid! Each child will be bringing home a tin of their own Calendula Beeswax Salve to share with their family. It's so soothing for chapped hands, cheeks and lips when King Winter makes his appearance.

The children will also be bringing home their watercolor paintings. We begin the school year painting with only one or two colors so that the children can truly experience the individual colors before they begin to mix them. Please bear in mind that like all things Waldorf it is the process that is as important as the product. The colors fade as they dry, and some paintings have been rubbed rather vigorously with the brush, but the children have experienced glowing color, and they are learning gradually to have a lighter touch with the brush!

There will be no school next week, Thanksgiving week, except for the Parent-Child class on Monday. (Jack and I will be taking Thanksgiving dinner out to prepare at my parents' house in Ohio.) I realize many families will be traveling and gathering. May all travels be safe and may all stay healthy! The children have been practicing coughing into their elbows, and washing their hands well. I am so thankful that if any of the Spindlewood children is feeling "under the weather" that they have families who can allow them to remain at home until they are well.

When school resumes it will be December! and we will be preparing for our Advent Spiral on Decmber 6th at 4:30pm. It is a simple
ceremony (you can read about it in the parent handbook on our website I will write again before then!

The December 12, Saturday morning Kinder Faire sign-up poster is in the mudroom. We still need someone to help Mr. John in the cafe/dining room, as well as some helping hands with the children's activities.

When snow begins to fly, our class parent Nicole and I will be keeping an eye on the school cancellations. If you hear that School Union 69 is cancelled you will know that Spindlewood is also. If Spindlewood is cancelled or delayed, Nicole and I will phone all kindergarten families, probably around 7:00 am, if that time works for all of you. If you do not wish to be phoned, and would prefer an email message, just let me know!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and yours!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Last Week

It is a golden autumn day in Maine. The honeybees are exulting in one of their last flights. Last week at Spindlewood we had our Michaelmas Hike through the woods and fields to a neighbor's ancient Chestnut Tree. The six-year olds led the way, eager for this annual pilgrimage, and pulled a cart a great deal of the way to carry several of the three-year olds who were delighted to accompany them. Their parents could scarcely believe that they had traveled two miles as they returned triumphantly at the end of the morning, laden with bags of shining horse chestnuts they had gathered. For those who stay for the afternoon, Mr. John quickly prepared a hot soup and lit a blazing fire in the woodstove. After lunch the children sank their feet into tubs of warm lavender water, and nestled into their beds with hot water bottles. When they arose he led the older ones out to work on their tree house construction.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lantern Walk 4:30 Wednesday November 11

Each child in the kindergarten has begun to make his or her lantern. This year we are painting a glass jar with egg white and covering it with colored rice paper. They will be ready when you arrive for the Lantern Walk. Other candle lanterns carried by parents, grandparents and older siblings are also welcome.

The Lantern Walk, or 'Martinmas', is a festival with European roots. St. Martin was a Roman soldier of the fourth century who gave his cloak to a beggar and later in a dream saw Christ clothed in his cloak. He subsequently devoted the rest of his life to helping the poor. He was a man who carried an inner light in a time of darkness.This festival provides us with an opportunity to consciously mark the point in the cycle of the year when the light and warmth of the sun is retreating. The Lantern Walk allows us to experience the change of season in a sensory way.

A small bonfire and warm apple cider that we pressed at our Harvest Celebration will await families upon their arrival at the kindergarten. When all are gathered we will celebrate the circle time that the children are doing in the kindergarten. After the circle, parents or grandparents may light the children’s lanterns and we proceed along the path. The walk is not long but the experience is memorable. Stepping into the darkness we are guided only by the light of our lanterns and the luminaries placed along the pathway. We may hear an owl, a crackling stick, or the wind. If we are lucky, the stars will be shining overhead. We return to find the bonfire extinguished, but the sparks of light in our lanterns creating a large circle of warmth and community. We sing a final song, receive a ginger cookie and then proceed with the same quiet intention to our cars and then on to our homes.

To strengthen the mood of the Lantern Walk, some possibilities are:

* Please be here by 4:30 so that car headlights don’t interrupt our walk. Dress warmly and wear good walking shoes. Please, no flashlights on the walk.

* Although the event is short, you might expand it into an opportunity to have a more mindful day to in order to be more receptive to the mood of the evening. You might try to notice some of the signs that mark the retreat of autumn, or to work a little more slowly and deliberately than normal throughout the day, or to have a pot of warm soup ready upon return home to eat as a family by candlelight.

* End the evening by getting ready for bed early and then telling your young childrena story rather than reading them a book. (Children love any story you tell, no matter how simple you think it is. If you have never done this, here is a suggestion: Tell a story about a family - with the same makeup as your own - that walks by a lantern one night in order to help an elderly neighbor who is sick.)