Just recently the girls have started exploring the world outside our own backyard — by themselves. David showed Aisha how to unlatch the gate, and they have moved into the back laneway and even into the horse paddock.

David and I are pleased that our girls are taking more of an interest in their outside environment. (They play inside so much, sometimes we have to almost force them to move outside!) We’re really happy that, although we are stuck in suburbia, we have these 50 acres at our back gate. It’s a safe place for the girls to roam — and not too far for me to go when I need to check on them.

Today, Aisha and Brioni had been away for about half an hour when I decided to check on them, and I didn’t need to be concerned. They were busy petting a small horse, picking the burrs from its coat and talking softly to it. David had explained how to read the horses’ moods so they would know when it was safe to approach or not. And the girls had been confident enough to approach this horse that was standing off to one side, grazing quietly.

In the horse paddock, July 2010
Aisha later explained: The horse just wanted to be quiet, so we were quiet when we were around it.

Another joy of sending the girls for adventures further afield is that they sometimes bring back natural treasures — rocks, seeds, interesting leaves. Brioni brought a curled leaf to me the other day and I explained that it was actually a home for a creature — “Look, you can see the silk that is holding the side of the leaf shut!”

No sooner had I explained that, then a little spider jumped out, giving me such a fright that I involuntarily shrieked! (That’s not presenting such a good role model for the girls if I don’t want them to shriek at creepy-crawlies!)

I laid the leaf down carefully, and the spider crawled back into its home. Then Brioni took the leaf back to where she found it, so the spider would be returned safely to its familiary territory.

Flowers, July 2010
One of the pleasures of the girls' roaming is bouquets of lovely-looking weeds. I show them proudly in my vase (hoping that, one day, the bouquets will turn into something more desirable).