Bush Kids

Children and Nature

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The 52 Project: a portrait of my children once a week, every week, in 2015.

Dash: hands full of ferns and feathers

Cass: has an eye for detail and loved the pattern created by this burnt out patch of gum tree

Scarlett: the neighbour’s herd of goats arrived in our garden and the playful kid goats brought hours of delight

Jem: he loved hanging out at this old hut and installing his treasures within

Five

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For the 52 Project this week a portrait of the twins on their birthday morning, plus a few earlier cherished moments. Five years ago these two arrived much too early in the world. Today their strong bodies and their equally strong but oh-so-distinctive spirits give no indication of that turbulent beginning – or maybe it is a result of it. Happy birthday darling Scarlett and Jem.

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The 52 Project: a portrait of my children once a week, every week, in 2015. 

Scarlett: picking armfuls of wildflowers in the light evening rain

Jem: sending leaf boats down the creek

Dash: He has been tired and at times not very compliant lately, but in the bush he is relaxed and completely at peace

Cass: Leaping off the slope. He is pretty much always leaping off something.

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The 52 Project: a portrait of my children once a week, every week, in 2015. Scarlett: little girl wandering in the bush

Cass: bmx bandit

Dash: collecting fern fronds in the forest

Jem: beloved bike gloves adorn every outfit

Sunday night walk

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Now that the days are longer and warmer, we all find it hard to come indoors in the evening. Often this urge plays havoc with getting kids to bed and we all linger outside longer than we should. In a bid to find a way of winding down we include a Sunday evening ramble as a seasonal tradition at this time of year: a walk together as a family after dinner but before bed, signalling the end of one week and the start of another. Our weekends are often busy, so this small portion of time with just our family is an opportunity to just be together.

This little evening ritual at the end of the week during the warmer months has now become one of our cherished family traditions. When the children were all small, we used to bundle them into prams after the typically hectic kids dinner to walk them along our quiet road – and more often than not we would return with several kids asleep, granting us a welcome reprieve from the usual crazy bedtime routine. Now that they are all more than capable of walking on their own steam, the Sunday night walk is less a peaceful bush walk with sleepy babies, than a chance to explore together.

One of the things I love about living where we do is that the land around us is full of the connections we have made; places rendered intimate by our interactions, discoveries, and memories. Features of the landscape are known to us as familiarly as the rooms in our home, only they are constantly changing with the seasons and the weather and there is always something new to find. There are favourite haunts, such as ‘wombat hill’, ‘shark-fin rock’, the ‘house boulders’, or ‘troll bridge’, but there is always a new discovery awaiting us: new bracken fern fronds ready to uncurl, a patch of native violets, a sapling just strong enough to shimmy up and hang off.

The Sunday night walk has become a time to connect with each other and with the land around us. We are fortunate to have bush on our very doorstep, but no matter where you live there are always special places around the corner; changes to observe in gardens and parks, scope for discovery and exploration.

52

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The 52 Project: a portrait of my children once a week, every week (most weeks) in 2015.

Scarlett: picking flowers from the spring garden is her chief occupation

Jem: catching butterflies (for hours) and letting them go

Cass: think its his hair that needs mowing

Dash: a makeshift cubby by the water tank

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Scarlett: tree climbing season is back and this year she is going higher and higher

Jem: playing in the foam at the water’s edge

Cass: making sculptures from driftwood and a black dog always somewhere closeby

Dash: spring flowers to decorate a fairy nest