Monday, October 27, 2008

Window Tree Feels Like Autumn

"Just before the death of flowers,

And before they are buried in snow,

There comes a festival season

When nature is all aglow."

- Author Unknown

“But I remember more dearly autumn afternoons in bottoms that lay intensely silent under old great trees”- C. S. Lewis

Even though autumn is here, it is difficult to describe what it means to Rigel and Izzy without any visual aides. For this reason alone, I miss the mountains. I love San Diego and its year-round mild weather, but I miss how in Mariposa County only one glance outside the window described the season... Dry, brown fields and brush in the summer, bare trees and chimney smoke in the winter, green meadows and wildflowers everywhere in the spring, and autumn leaves in the fall.

In San Diego this time of year, any large old maple, ash or oak tree is eye-catching, just as I bet we were a sight the other day when we pulled over to collect fallen red maple leaves while visiting the Navy submarine base. The kids helped search for the prettiest red leaves, then we took them home and made "stained glass" paper. After they had fallen asleep, I trimmed their stained glass paper into pieces for a "window tree" to decorate our front room. Now it feels like autumn!

Rigel loves collecting sticks whenever he is outside, though I'm not sure what has triggered his fascination with fallen twigs. I took his stick collection and made it into a simple wall hanging (complete with a store-bought owl). Now, whenever he has a handful of sticks, he says, "We have a bunch of sticks--let's make them into something pretty!"

Stained Glass Paper:
wax paper
leaves (flat, stems trimmed off)
cheese grater

Use the grater to make crayon shavings. Place the leaves on waxed side of the wax paper, then sprinkle with crayon shavings. Place another sheet of wax paper (waxed side down) on top of the leaves and shavings, and then iron. The kids can help with grating the crayons and decorating the wax paper, but of course leave the ironing to the grown-ups. The crayon wax wipes off the grater easily with a scrub brush and hot water.
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