Welcoming Fall Equinox with our Nature Table Inspired by Monica Ashley Designs
“Fall is here!” sing the leaves dancing down the street in the breezy evening wind. The world stands gilded and glowing as the six o’clock hour rolls around, and marks the end of summer’s longer lasting days. Now, how will we slow down and begin to savor this new season? Monica Ashley has taught us well – there is no activity more grounding than setting our Fall Nature Table!
“Let’s find something that looks like leaves – maybe something reddish or orangish,” cries my five-year-old boy. ”Or how about something that looks like Earth…” We open up our linen closet to review my ever-growing fabric collection and find a rusty corduroy and adobe-colored cotton. Then Bryles races off to find some animals to bring to the table. ”Here’s my Spring Bunny, but he’ll come out later. Oh! What about Squirrel Nutkin?”
I smile as we look through his soft toy basket and realize that we have amassed quite a lovely little collection of homespun, seasonal toys over the past five years of his life. Grandma Mary helped a small group of moms turn an old burnt senna sweater into wool-stuffed squirrels while our children played in the sandbox with Teacher Marcia through the Children’s Playgarden’s parent toddler program… Miss Catherine and miss Karen helped the Rosebud Preschool children finger knit fall necklaces bejewled with Hazel nuts last fall…. They also sent our children home with tiny “Autumn Folk”, such as Bryles’ purple haired friend below.
Later, we switch to gathering bits of nature’s glory to add to our table. ”Can I use the scissors to cut these flowers, mommy?” asks my hopeful child. I force myself to look past the mess he is sure to create and to forgo worries over snipped fingers. At five year’s old he has now had many years of using his hands to do “real work” through his days in Waldorf school. He adores using tools and completing tasks. It is also second nature to him to connect with the season’s in his everyday observations. On a recent walk to the Farmer’s Market he happily gathered magnolia pods and stomped in crunchy leaf piles, while declaring his love for fall’s treasures.
My favorite part of fall is the incredible bounty of summer’s harvest. This is the season of feasting! We have spent many afternoons peeling apples and turning tomatoes into rich sauces, and soon the occasions of Michaelmas, el Dia de Los Muertos, and Thanksgiving will have us back in the kitchen for more large scale cooking productions. We’ll turn the pages of our favorite festival books and draw from recipes we’ve come to look forward to as part of the official traditions of fall.
One of our favorites is a handmade publications printed by our school, Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm. Visit our school’s office today to discover a teeny-tiny shop filled with resources to help you cement your own family traditions. You’ll find Puppenstube gnomes, Sarah’s Silks (essential for Nature Tables), and more. Venture up to the school’s farm stand and purchase hand milled corn meal and other biodynamic feasting ingredients.
Another terrific family resource for embracing the seasons is this book titled “Festivals, Family and Food”:
Fall Crafting Class
Ready to jump into the season with your own nature table and celebrations? Take a Needle Felted Animal class with Monica Ashley at Cast Away Yarn Shop. In this adult class, you’ll learn to felt a 4 legged animal for yourself or for a holiday gift. Monica will teach you how to sculpt an animal of your choice.
SKILL LEVEL: Anyone