A good rain has marked the fall equinox, and some telltale signs of the season are here. Yellow goldenrod and purple ironweed decorate the edges of pastures, and we harvested the first of many persimmons last week.
As to be expected, a lot has happened in the last couple of months. Most students waste no time making this farm their own. We begin each day doing yoga with John before moving to the field to harvest.
Many of you have supported the market on Thursdays (thank you!) and have seen what has come from the garden.
One less visible product of all this work is the completed circle that some students have drawn, beginning last year.
Farming is more than planting and harvesting. It’s awareness and response. Dependence and trust. Commitment and follow-through. When a child decides to eat a new vegetable (maybe that she has said previously she does not like), she does so because she feels a connection. She understands something about how it came to be and that she had a part in it.
This is the core of everything we do at the farm. We are seeking connection with the plants, animals, insects, and all the rest in this farm habitat in hopes to find our place in this world of nature. We aim not to create the most successful farmers, but to support the students in an environment in which they can fully thrive, making connections and contributions to their community.
In Maria Montessori’s essay on “Nature in Education” she writes, “The most pleasant work for children is not sowing but reaping, a work, we all know, that is no less exacting than the former. It may even be said that it is the harvest which intensified an interest in sowing. The more one has reaped, the more he experiences the secret fascination of sowing...To have a field of activity and occasions for new experiences and difficult enterprises bring satisfaction to the animating spirit which prompts a child to make its way in the world.”
In addition to daily farm chores and harvesting, most days we have a fresh dish that everyone can share family style created by student farmers inspired by the harvest of the morning. Staples have been tomato sauce, salsa, green beans with garlic, popcorn that we grew, and hibiscus tea.
Other projects include shelling dry corn and grinding it into cornmeal (by bike!), making brooms with broom corn from our field, processing wool, spinning and weaving, making hot sauce, and of course some engage in building a myriad of things with found materials. There is even a student written, directed, and acted play in the works.
Lastly, (big news!) we entered fleece from our sheep into 3 competitive categories in the State Fair and received 3rd place in one and a first place blue ribbon in another. I think the sheep are feeling the love!
Thank you to those who have helped out with the animals on the weekends!
Margo, Jonell, David, and Garrett