Permaculture in Action

Saturday, June 29, 2013

In All Kinds Of Weather

The rain has been falling for days. Last night we had 31 mls. We were expecting 10 little ones for a  for a 5year old birthday party. Cold and wet little ones is not an ideal situation but could we really cancel and disappoint so many? This is the first time that we have found ourselves in this dilemma. Sure we've had parties where it was a little wet underfoot but today there were showers forecast for most of the day. The party is supposed to be about visiting with the animals out there in the paddocks. So we decided that as long as they all had wet weather gear it could be fun to be out in the rain and jump in puddles. I think sometimes we can protect our children from the weather a little too much when really it's good for them to see that it's OK to be out in the rain and not really necessary to hide away inside just because it's raining. So we made sure that there was a little bit of both. Inside activities and outside, don your wet weather gear, kind of things to do as well.
So we started with some bread making.
We put on our rain coats and gum boots and went for a walk to see what we could find.

We found ducks and geese to feed.

We saw chickens in their domes.
And we found eggs to collect.

And there were guinea pigs to hold.
 That's exhausting work for such little ones. They needed some time to refuel. We had pizza to warm us, apple and pear slices to dip into honey yoghurt. And of course there's always popcorn.
- doesn't everyone love popcorn!

A new food for this party was jelly boats. As usual I try to keep the party food as seasonal as possible, using produce from the farm. We have an abundance of citrus at the moment so I decided on the little boats.

The jelly boats are easily made by cutting the oranges in half and scooping out the orange segments. Be careful not to cut through the skin. Squeeze the orange segments through a sieve to catch the juice. I used agar agar for the jelly. I used only half the water required for the agar agar and then added the juice from the oranges. add a little sugar to taste and pour into orange halves. Wait until set and then cut them in half again to form the boats. add a mast with a rectangle of paper and a toothpick. They were delicious and a huge success.

After the refuel those little bodies could not keep still. So back on with the wet weather gear and we were off to visit the cow and the pony. Our little pony just loves carrot and he ever so gently takes the carrot from those timid little hands. Even the most frightened child eventually holds out their hands to give Bowie a treat.

Back inside, Vicki, our beautiful story teller is waiting for the children. Today she has a story to tell about Farmer Brown and his cow Marigold. Marigold gives the creamiest of milk from which the farmer can make his butter. But as the days shorten the grass is not so abundant and Marigold's milk not so creamy, and so the farmer is unable to make butter. He tries various things but to no avail, and then he remembers his paddock of golden marigolds. Surely those flowers that glow like the sun will bring back Marigold's cream. Of course that does the trick and once again there is cream for the farmer's butter. The children are each given a small jar of cream. Inside there are three marbles . The children are shown how to shake the jar with the cream and marbles inside. They shake and shake and shake. They were very persistent these little ones and eventually they felt something change. they could no longer hear the marbles rattle. The cream had begun to change. imagine the delight on their faces (and the faces of the parents too, I might add ) when they saw that that cream had changed to butter.

And as they prepared to leave us and make their way home they carried with them a little jar of butter and a bag holding a beautiful warm bun.


  1. Oh I love hearing about your birthday parties!! Kate if you did a little brochure, I would love to leave them out for farm stay families to take home or an email brochure I can attach if a child is having a birthday.
    We had a wet weather farm stay visit like this where it actually flooded, we just got in and did it anyway and the kids loved it. We had a resident guinea pig on the farm stay verandah and we did bread baking too. You are right we protect kids too much from the elements these days!!

    1. Thanks Kim. I do have some lovely party brochures. I would be very grateful if you would put some in your farm stay, and I could have some of yours here also. we think alike I think, doing the same activities.

  2. Oh, how wonderful. I was an outdoor child and didn't care about the weather so would have really enjoyed that party. I still like sloshing around in my boots and wet weather gear and was actually out in this bleary weather until dark tonight, moving chooks!

    And making butter - fantastic! What a great experience for all involved.

    1. I quite like being out in the rain also, sloshing around in my gumboots.

  3. Beautiful Kate, just lovely. I love hearing how excited the little ones were with such a simple thing like making butter :-) It might be the babe on board, but this post brought a little tear to my eye!