We ventured for the first time to Spring Valley Orchard near Charlottesville to check out their cherry trees. Getting to the orchard involves a good half hour or more of driving on little back roads, but it was so worth it, and the roads seem to keep away the crowds. Caitlin (my sister) and Curious George (the first grade's stuffed monkey) joined us. The cherries were delicious.
While we were in the back yard, one of the boys kept telling me that there was a chickadee inside the bird feeder. This didn't strike me as odd until I realized that they meant it was IN the bird feeder. Somehow this little guy managed to fit himself through one of the holes and got trapped inside the seed tube. Fortunately, I didn't have to launch a rescue mission - when I came closer to the tube, he freaked out and managed to find an exit.
Scenes from a truffle party (and item from the Sabot auction) led by Holly Timberline and hosted by Kathryn Gammino in her beautiful home. We worked in teams of two, creating a flavored ganache, using different combinations of chocolates and various liquors and concentrates like espresso, raspberry liqueur, and hazelnut liqueur. After the chocolate cooled, we rolled our ganache in various toppings like chopped pistachio or cocoa powder. Each woman brought home a dozen assorted truffles. YUM.
Holly instructs us on proper technique for preparing the ganache emulsion.
Kathryn and kids heating cream; Christy and Erin inspecting their emulsion.
Shannon and Kathryn's mother-in-law (whose name I have forgotten, shamefully) look on while Zoe spreads flavored ganache in a pan to cool; Sarah hams it up while stirring our perfect emulsion (go team!).
Christy and Erin consider whether their flavoring is quite potent enough; every one enjoys wine and a spring evening while waiting for the ganache to cool.
Truffle-making gets messy...
Chopping candied orange peel and feeling elated as we finish the job.
Sabot has a lovely tradition called "Pencil Night," when parents come and decorate a pencil for their child(ren) - a gold pencil for each child who will be moving on to another school the following year, and a silver pencil for each child who will be returning to the school next year. When Griff was a Garden Room child (his first year), parents actually decorated the pencils themselves, creating ornate tags connected to the pencils or incorporating the pencils into a piece of paper sculpture. One parent created a pencil ballerina and another surrounded her son's pencil with a folded-paper fire truck. Apparently the creativity had become a little competitive/stressful, so the following year, the teachers introduced a new tradition: the parents would work together to create a display for the children on one of the play tables, then each would write a note to his or her child on a card provided by the teachers, to which a photo of the parents' collaborative creation would be attached. The pencils would be attached to the card later.
One common theme that has emerged in the parents' displays is creating representations of the school grounds using the materials provided by the teachers. This year, Reese's class in the Rainbow Room has been going out into the forest every day and each child has chosen one part of the forest as "their spot". They have been drawing, photographing, painting, and embroidering representations of their spots. We parents created a diorama of the school and forest, making sure to incorporate our children's favorite spots.
The morning after pencil night, the children discover the work their parents have done. Here is Reese showing Xander a tiny stop sign on a popsicle-stick playground fence.
Trees along the creek, represented with a blue playsilk. The picnic shelter featured tiny tables and a ceiling fan. Black rubber stood in for the parking lot. Not seen here: tiny liriope plants made from grass and clay, arranged in the spiral of the labyrinth.
Fairies inside the culvert; a stick wound with twine, used by the children to measure distances in the forest.
Something sweet left on my pillow by Reese. (Time to retire the owls, they're the winter bedding.)
New sign in the foyer, which reads "Be Nice or Leave". Part of my I don't have to invite yucky people with their yucky energy into my home campaign. Which, by the way, needs a different name because that one has one hell of an unmanageable acronym.