Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Nature program + Kunju's first design + Talks on geo engineering and much more

Today was one of those Hsing days which justify the reason behind it. One of those days you want to remember for a long time to come.
It started off with us rushing out of the door with some protests initially for attending the 9.00 am Nature program hosted by the Santa Clara Open Space Authority at Morgan Hill. It was a bit of a drive but totally worth it.
The 3 hr session on mammals was very well planned and executed. It included making face masks of a deer and a mountain lion, identifying , examining , guessing while blind folded the jaw bones and other bone parts of the mammals commonly found in the ranch , identifying the foot marks of animals, doing a nature hike and then finally wrapping up with games to understand how a food chain works and its importance, making your own scat from chocolate and making your animal from print outs and making your own habitat and food for the animal and presenting it.
The hike especially was awesome. The guides were very knowledgeable and child friendly. They made the kids laugh and presented everything with a tinge of silliness to it. We examined all sorts of scat to understand the diet, examined squirrel and gopher holes and learnt about them, examined ant hills and learned how a colony works , the role of grazing in preventing forest fires, Native American presence in the ranch, about walnut trees and grafting , about owls , cows and its four stomachs, inter species teaming between coyote and raccoon for hunting, structure of a squirrel borrow ....we also spotted a deer !
The program was just really so well executed . Not too informative but not just play either. The girls really enjoyed every bit of it . After the program , the 3 of us then went for a hike for 20 mins or so uphill. While hiking we examined peeled barks of trees, listened to insect sounds, did a 3 minute mediation , examined spider webs, talked about the legend behind why a bee buzzes in one's ear, why makes soil red sometimes? ...we talked quite a bit about grafting and Chellu was especially very curious about grafting. We have
to do more research on it for sure.
We all came back home quite happy and satisfied. Of course while driving to and fro the location, the icing on the cake is really the audio stories that we get to listen in the car. It makes the whole traveling aspect of it so easy and educational .
After we came back the girls watch TV for a while and then elder went back to reading while younger was quietly working on something for herself. When I went to investigate it, I realized she was with all her focus designing something! This in itself makes today, the June 15th, 2015 a very special day- it's the first day Shreedhari designed something by herself from her own imagination. It was a house for her new pet, the Little Guy. I have to do a separate post on Little Guy but just so that you know , Little Guy is her balloon hamster that Chellu made. So Kunju had taken this small plastic box in which someone had gifted me a candle and was converting it into a house. She had selected fabric for the same and was trying to paste all the sides of the box with the fabric. She asked for my help and I taught her how to make measurements using a scale . We did a bit and then proceeded to swim.
In the pool the girls decided to play dive and catch with each other and what fun it was for me to watch them dive together ! Also Kunju came with underwater hugging and kissing with me! She seems to get bolder and more innovative by the day when it comes to swimming for sure.

After we came home, Shreedhari started to talk about how she made found Little Guy in the first place. It was a detailed story that exemplified her imagination and her ability to put words to it. She has been so taken by this balloon hamster. For her it's reality in every sense. Her story, her words, her emotions while she narrated it made me realize how there is learning in every stage. If asked to narrate anything else, she would never agree, but here she was going on and on with extreme attention to detail about how she found the hamster, it's characteristics as though it was an actual hamster! I was thanking myself for the choice I made of having a slow life and not being a career woman. Cause otherwise I would have never had the energy, patience , time or attitude to listen to an imaginary story about a balloon master from my six yr old at 8.00 pm!

Dinner with the girls led to more talks. We talked quite a bit about our nature program and Qs on four stomachs of a cow, rumination, grafting were raised. And for some reason Shreedhari mentioned about geo - engineering ( she had overheard me talk about it) which led to talks on Monsanto, farmer suicides, GMOs, organic farming, presence of Monsanto in India , vaccinations, the SB 277 bill etc...it was really something to watch the confusion, shock and utter disbelief on the girls faces that greed can lead leaders to act wrongly! Younger's eyes welled up when talking about farmer suicides. They kept asking again and again if all of this happened in India to? They seem to have some kind of inner belief that India cannot go so wrong! A part of me  felt guilty in a sense about revealing the truth to them and taking away their innocence and faith w.r.t the human race.
All this  further lead to talks on usage of bone ash in sugar and elder was really upset about not being able to use white sugar anymore in her baking projects. They were also really curious about why bone ash usage and immediately we googled about it and also looked up a list of brands that sell vegan sugar. This then led to  talks of injustice done on the cows since the bone ash used in sugar is from cow bones from countries like India and Pakistan! Again both their eyes welled up when hearing about slaughter houses, injustice done during milking in an industrial production, the reason behind the vegan movement and finally detailed discussions on  the Vedic culture viewpoint and practices @ the cow.

Wow! What a day! So much learning..so much talking and so much listening. This is the real beauty of HSing and the slow life it entails. I can never remember ever talking so much about real life issues in my childhood to anyone. The girls show SO MUCH curiosity about everything and want to discuss so much ..they want to know more all the time . Its like lack of school has freed up so much of space in their brains to wonder , to ponder, to discuss. No topic is off bounds when it comes to their curiosity.

Some days I wonder if they would remember all of this? But I guess that really doesn't matter. They may or may not remember but whats truly significant is that, they were curious about their surroundings and wanted to know more. They were emotional and human about what happened around them instead of a " it doesn't apply to us" attitude! That's the true significance of all this.

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