Thursday, April 28, 2011

Firsties: Rondout Valley HS comes to SPSCF

We had our first youth visit yesterday in the form of five kids and a teacher from Rondout Valley High School. Not knowing quite what to expect in terms of everything - weather, demeanor, interest, knowledge, gum-chewing, eww-saying and whatnot, I set up all the components, from cut potatoes for planting to a picnic blanket for resting, way in advance and tried to mentally prepare myself for incoming young energy.

I always get a little nervous before working with youth groups. When adults come to the farm, they have made the conscious choice to be there. If there is too much mud or too many bugs, I can say to them as well as myself, "Well, what did you expect? Get over it and get your hands in the dirt!" But when kids come to the farm, even with a teacher or parent in tow, I feel like I have to straddle the thin line between giving them a good learning experience (get your hands in the dirt) and scaring them away (ewww, dirt). Usually the worrying is moot. I've found that people, even teenagers, like getting dirty even if they don't admit it. As long as they feel like they are doing something meaningful and purposeful, the dirt becomes an accessory to happiness and fulfillment and anyways, at the end of the day, they can always wash it off.

So without too much analyzing, I'll just say we all had fun. They: Wayne, Donny, Jordan, Hannah and Christine (aren't you impressed I remembered names?) did so many good things like plant all the potatoes and onions I had room for, seed the summer squash and zucchinis, put in herbs of all kinds and seed the next succession of spinach, that I was able to go home early and rest up after a super long day the day before. The really great thing is that they enjoyed themselves. Awesome questions like, "Where are the spinach seeds located on the spinach plant?" and, "How can you tell when onions are ready to harvest?" were asked. They are looking forward to coming back again, which I hope will be soon. I imagine the spinach and squash will be up and we'll get to plant the Three Sisters Garden, on special request. Thanks Guys! I'll see you soon!

planting parsley in the herb bed

Donny practicing the "squishy squishy, pull" technique of removing seedlings from the cell pack

I stole this idea from Liberty View Farm. Doesn't it just make you happy?

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