It was wonderful to welcome Marymount's EC2 classes to the Hazelhut yesterday.
They came to learn about how pumpkins grow and some of the spooky ways they can be used at Halloween!
The sun shone as the children took a tractor ride through the woods, explored the 'Magic Pumpkin Patch' and looked at the vegetable garden.
After a picnic lunch they got creative with paints and pens and
This was the day we woke up to for our Chestnut Harvest Day and the day that followed was just as lovely!
We warmly welcomed 21 keen gatherers and kitted them out with sweet treats, coffee, baskets, gloves and instructions.
Then without further delay, it was off to the woods!
Each team worked hard through the spikes and leaves to gather as many chestnuts as possible.
Lunch was much anticipated and much appreciated - each course contained chestnuts in some form or other, giving our chestnut hunters some ideas for their own share of the harvest.
After lunch there was a suggestion of a storm on the horizon, so we quickly weighed up the harvest to find out which team had won. But the weather gods were on our side and the storm never came.
Our congratulations to the 'Dolphins' who swam to success and took the prize home! Many thanks to all who came, for giving up a Sunday to help us with the harvest - we hope to see you all again soon!
It was such a pleasure to welcome another grade 2 class from the New School. They came to the Hazelhut to learn all about autumn. We played a game to alert all the senses to some of autumn's treasures and then headed out into the sunshine to see it in all its glory. We saw mushrooms and chestnuts, hazelnuts and olives. We fed the pigs and gathered eggs from the chickens. Then enjoyed lunch on the terrace.
In the afternoon, the children went to the art room with some of their findings and let their imaginations run wild!
We loved welcoming so many family members to the Hazelhut on Saturday for our 'Gleaning Day'. This has become a special moment in our calendar when friends of all ages can come to the Hazelhut and help us 'glean' the hazelnuts left after the real harvest. As always we started with some home-made hazelnut treats to give everyone the strength required for a good gathering.
James explained some of the rules for gathering and described the hamper which would be presented to the top gathering family!
Then everyone headed into the woods to search for leftover nuts while Ottavia prepared a nutty lunch.
By one o'clock the children were ready for a plate of spaghetti alla gricia dell' Hazelhut...
Then the adults tucked in to their spaghetti, followed by hazelnut stuffed rabbit and...
a nutty pear and apple crumble with James' delicious hazelnut ice cream!
While the adults relaxed after a big lunch, the children took part in a competition to see who could collect the most hazelnuts in one minute using a special ball collecting device. Can you believe that the winner managed to collect 160g of hazelnuts in just a minute?!
Then came the time for the grand weigh-in. Despite it being something of a foregone conclusion which family would win, we were still impressed to discover that over 40kgs had been collected in less than an hour and a half. Each family member was given a kilo of hazelnuts to take home, the others will be sold and the money used for Hazelhut projects.
We would like to thank everyone who came for their contribution to a wonderful day full of sunshine, smiles, hard work and hundreds of hazelnuts!!!!
We certainly couldn't have ended the year with a happier bunch of children than these!
Having tidied up their rooms and packed their bags in record time, we headed into Ronciglione.
The children spent their money on souvenirs and we treated them to an ice cream for snack as well as lunch at 'La Corte dei Prefetti di Vico'!
It was a bit of a struggle to get back up the hill but we all made it.
At the Hazelhut there was time for 'The Hat Game' before all of the parents arrived.
The boys were victorious!
Our ceremony began with the Sports Day awards.... in ascending order....
In the bedroom tidiness contest, the girls were victorious!
Since it was our final summer camp for the year, the children performed 2 songs - 'Amore Capoera' (which has been something of an anthem all week) and.... 'The Hazelhut Song' of course!!!
Not all of the children wanted to ride, but those who did had a great time.
We all enjoyed meeting up again for lunch, especially since Scottex the kitten was there to play with...
These 7 children have meant so much to us this week that we decided to take some special photos of them in a special place overlooking Lago di Vico.
Back at the Hazelhut some of the children took a last dip and others had a cuddle with Pip!
Some of us went for yet another mushroom hunt....
Later we had an impromptu talent show, which included making a cake...
We put all thoughts of this being our last night together and enjoyed the pizza party well beyond the daylight!
Our arty day began with a rather complicated badge making activity.
The needles were hard to thread...
....and concentration and determination were obligatory...
....but our Hazelhutters had some smashing results.
A few continued with art-based fun in the kitchen, moving on to watercolours and clearly inspired by some Hazelhut images.....
Others moved on to music...
And all the children practiced the Hazelhut song before lunch.
After lunch the children enjoyed some free time and Pip enjoyed some attention.
Our Karaoke afternoon began at about 3pm with some lively numbers sung by these angelic kids!
Finally we had a day which was warm enough for some children to brave the pool again!
The girls were in charge of the chores today and Boris and Stiva were very appreciative of their care!
Later in the day we got creative with food as the boys made chocolate ice cream and we all picked fruit for jelly making!
For dinner we lit up the barbecue and campfire and James cooked some pretty fine bangers - quite a day!
After so much activity yesterday, we decided to take the children to the ancient Roman baths at 'Le Masse'.
It was a very hot morning, so the children didn't spend much time in the hot pool, preferring to wallow in the cold one.
Then this active little bunch took to sports again - football and badminton this time.
We whiled away some more time with pens and paper and games like Yahzee and then we headed to Capranica for lunch 'Da Ciucci'.
On arrival, Ciucci made it pretty clear that non Roma fans were not as welcome as Roma fans..... luckily for us we had 4 to keep him happy!
And he rewarded us with a delicious 3 course meal!
We rolled back to the Hazelhut and the boys did their chores. The next activity was 'Blind Taste!' - a game to identify the flavours of 8 different yogurts blindfolded.....
It was a bit messy at times, but a lot of fun.
The girls were much better at the game than the boys and in the end 2 of them won - correctly guessing 7 out of 8 flavours!
We had done so much feeding during the day that the last Hazelhut garden potatoes which we had for dinner 'dauphinoise', almost went by unnoticed....
Monday is our day for sports and games and this group took on each challenge with gusto.... no matter how unusual...
At snack time they helped to pick the grapes from our new vines to enjoy with organic biscuits.
Suddenly the sky looked threatening, so we decided to include an indoor game - the much loved 'Guess what!'
At lunch it was full sunshine again and the children were able to eat their personally made sandwiches outdoors.
After some free time to digest, the day of weird and wonderful activities continued....
Due to the early nut harvest, we were even able to premier our new event - '30 second nut ball dash!'
Once all the sports and games were done, we headed into the woodlands again, with hopeful baskets and containers in hand....
Some of us found very unusual fungi and some found the real thing!
After a very thorough handwash, we started our cookery projects - girls on strawberry ice-cream and boys on freshly picked fruit crumble.
Look at these faces and decide for yourself how good it tasted!
Look at this beautiful group of Hazelhutters who have appeared in the rain and the wind to have a final fling before camp closes!
Despite the cold, they were happy to head into the grounds and find out all about the Hazelhut and what's going on at this quasi autumnal time of year.
They learned all about composting, where they can explore and any potential dangers.... as well as what is growing in the veg patch!
We picked cucumbers and tomatoes for dinner and the salad was delicious - not a scrap was left!!
Then we went to visit Boris and Stiva, who were enjoying the mud! After that we worked our way through the hazelnuts towards the chestnut forest, via the bramble patch....
In the forest the children were introduced to our seasonal obsession - porcini and ovuli - and one pair even found their own!
The evening passed with games on the pitch and then we had the delicious and now famous Monday night lasagne, lovingly prepared by Marilena. Do we really have to wait a whole year for the next one...?