A Dance With Nature on the Farm



What a wonderful week we’ve had at the farm. We invite  school kids  for field trips to the farm to experience nature. Yep, you heard me right “experience nature.” It never ceases to amaze me the excitement I witness through kids’ eyes that I hope as adults you have not lost your luster for.  And I revisit my youth in doing so.

For example, in the garden station that I teach, kids would most likely be content to stand at the chicken pen and watch them most all day. Even if they have chickens of their own, they love it.  They ask all kinds of questions and marvel at my birds and tell me about their birds at home or at Grandma’s house. “What color eggs do they lay,” one student asked. “Brown ones. The best kind.” He nodded.

Planting a flower seed. 

Nice Boots Teacher

A little drink for the seed. 

At my station, they like to march right up close and personal to the raspberry bushes I describe in detail and look deep into the small white flower that will become the red, plump raspberry we’ll plop in our mouth in July and they are excited and wish for some now.  Then when they detect the bloom has already turned into a green berry, they are even more excited to point it out to me.  And of recent, the bees are appearing doing the work of the bee on the raspberry plant and they see first hand what they do. “Look, lady, there’s a bee.”  They have read about it, seen a picture, but now they see.  I marvel at the parent or chaperone that walk up closely and see through their child’s eyes and be a  kid again and marvel at the well-orchestrated plan in place in the garden. 

We make our way around the garden, letting nature be our guide. No one knows who ate my cabbage plants or who Beatrix Potter or Mr. McGregor is until I mention Peter Rabbit. Then they remember and see first hand why Mr. McGregor was miffed of Peter’s visit to the garden.


Boots of all colors.


We move on to do a math problem using tomato plants. “ We have three rows with four tomato plants in each row, how many tomato plants in all?” Quickly my little mathematician shouts out before all others, “Twelve.”  And the smile on his face reaches from ear to ear.

 Next we feed from the marshmallow plant.  They are totally excited to see marshmallows hanging from the plants velvety branches.  “ Hey, I see your bag of marshmallows,” a student is quick to point out the bag I have stashed amongst the plants.  I’ve stuck marshmallows on with clothespins. They learn marshmallows are not picked but made from the plant’s pulverized root and added sugar then formed.   Of course we now provide marshmallow samples for the kids to eat and they like it better than the asparagus they’ve tried in the past.

A wonderful surprise to find. Kids loved it. 
And best of all, like I remember as a kid on the farm, we love it when Nature plants its wonderment in the garden unexpectedly.   A Robin flies from her nest amongst the blackberry bushes. A parent notices.  A child is held up high to peer inside to marvel at the find. It’s just a bird's nest you might be thinking. Yes, indeed it is, but not just any nest. Who taught her how and when?   Inside are four baby-blue eggs in the most perfectly formed comfy nest attached to the vine you could imagine. Of course I veer off course of my standard garden tour to incorporate our find in their learning and wonderment. The kids are so excited over bird eggs because they know  tucked inside is a life.    Aren’t we all fascinated with Nature as kids?  Do we get old because we stop playing or do we stop playing and get old?  
Oh, no. His mom's battery died. No worries. We got a good shot for her. 

 We’ve had some great finds this week.  You can bet, we’ll be keeping an eye on the Robin’s nest and share on Cherry Ridge Farm’s Facebook page when they hatch out. We’ve been posting pictures all week that you probably can relate the days of your youth to.    But for now, like Mr. McGregor I’ve got to find a way to put a stop to that darn Peter Rabbit  before he eats all my vegetable plants. By day’s end we have all done a dance with Nature amongst the great outdoors.  
The baby Robins hatched out the next week. 

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Take Joy! A Farmhouse Journal

Sherry Phillips Mitchell







  

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