Saturday, September 18, 2010

Good Earth

We began a new adventure yesterday.  In truth, I started on the adventure over a month ago, with late-night meetings and huge farm lunches and lots of thinking and negotiating. But yesterday we enjoyed the first fruits of all that work.
Regular readers of this blog might recognize the train cars in the distance of this photo, but from the other side, where we come upon them from the bike path.  The farm that lies next to the cars is becoming a part of our weekly life - we started what we call "farm school" yesterday!  This "school" is made up of homeschoolers and waldorf-ers who are spending Fridays at the farm, hiking, cooking, harvesting alongside a few of the farmers here.  Good Earth is a community of people whose faith leads them to the mission of "sharing the joy of food with all who hunger"; produce grown here is donated to the local food pantries and shelters.  Education is the second part of their mission, and having 12 children and a few parents take over their home and farm once a week is one of the ways they are choosing to pursue that mission, lucky for us!
Our morning began with a hike to explore the woods and visit the animals - the farm has 2 cows, several sheep and goats, 4 pigs and lots of chickens.  One of the tasks on a Friday morning is gathering eggs.
The farm offers lunch to anyone who comes by each day, including Saturdays when they host volunteers who come to work on the farm.  On Fridays the children are a big part of making the lunch; this week was homemade pizza.
For those not involved in the cooking for the day, there are other activities - harvesting vegetables, or helping make some of the toys that will become a part of the free-time options for the day.  Friday they sanded blocks of maple.
After lunch we had a little story and quiet time, out under the trees.  We read Peaceful Piggies and learned a bit about meditation with the "clearing mind" activity, watching soil swirl around in a jar filled with water, the particles like your thoughts, and then letting your mind and breathing slow as the water clears.
Since it was the first day, there was another hike, down across the bike path and down to the river.
It was a relief to get to this day.  I've had second thoughts about being involved in this project; neither school nor coop were in our plans for the fall. Last year was successful for us as a family largely because we kept close to home and kept our outside obligations to a bare minimum.  While I think that in the longterm the community this is creating will be good for my parenting and my sanity, it has also produced large amounts of anxiety and a few headaches.  It is the connection to this special place that kept me invested this far.  We have visited their animals for the last two years, meeting farmers here and there.  The Farm is our destination on our trips to the bike path.  We love watching the plants grow and the cows calve - this feels like a compromise between our decision to live in town where we only need one car and Dan can walk to work, and our dream to live on a farm. Food is so important to our family, and I want my kids to see how just a couple of people can make such a big difference to their community when they choose to make that their purpose.

The day ended with a circle on the ground around a few bowls of watermelon.  We passed a singing bowl around the circle to share our good thing from the day...
the haybales!  grating cheese! visiting the pigs! hiking with my friends!  grinding nuts! playing dress-up by the garden!   There were so many moments of watching them be engaged, confident, humming, happy...

It felt worth the time and energy to get to this day.


se7en said...

Oh wow, everyone is so busy!!! I love it!!!

Kerry said...

A lot of things that are worthwhile also create headaches and anxiety, don't they? This looks like a wonderful destination for you every week, giving you a bit of structure and a chance to be close to a farm. I hope you have a ton of fun with it that makes up for the headachey part.

Anonymous said...

This is such an amazing experience. We too choose to only have one car and so that means living very central. But it is certainly my dream to live on a farm and this looks like an amazing way to live both sides.

And what amazing lessons for the children (an I'm sure, the parents) involved. This is going to enrich your lives like you couldn't imagine, I bet. How fantastic.

I also wanted to say that it is good to read of other mamas and kids who keep close to home...and extra curriculars to a bare minimum. We too are like that and seeing it elsewhere is very validating (even though I know it's best for us.) So thank you for that. :)

kimmy said...

Good going. Being a founder comes with a lot of stress sometimes. Fortunately, in your case, you were able to experience the joy of it as well!

I LOVE the entire concept of Farm School!

merry said...

Yipee!Looks and sounds like everything came together beautifully! You must be feeling very good about all the time and effort that went into the planning.Sounds like the kids had a good time, too! Congratulations!

Tan Family said...

What a fantastic experience! All children should get a chance to do something like this. I look forward to more posts and pictures. :)