This week we will be doing potatoes on Thursday.
I will need help both in preparation and in serving these little ones. Either Wednesday night, or better (for freshness) Thursday morning, we will need to wrap 200+ potatoes in silver foil. I will be at school early to get the fire going in the campfire circle in order to create an abundance of hot coals. We will have two Weber grills going: one as main, hot cooker, and one as a warming area for finished potatoes.
We will also be heating up hot cider (probably electrically), in big pots, in the shed.
There will be a serving table where the kids will start out, where they will receive the potato and a volunteer will offer help with butter and salt (as desired). The potatoes will be purple pink and yellow depending on variety, and the kids are often bedazzled or confused by the prospect of eating purple potatoes. Some are fret about scorched potato skins and carbon. We don't use forks. We just split the potatoes open inside the foil, which acts as a little plate.
Once the children are seated we bring them cider, and I tell them a story.
This is repeated for all six classes, with a break in the middle.
This time of year is often marketed with horror, blood, and gore. For me the season is not that, but mysterious, spooky even, and plays on our heartstrings as we see "life ending", the end of the growing season, the fleeing of geese and ducks, the gentle dropping of color-splashed leaves, the deep sleep of winter approaching. In the past at Waters, we have managed, during Spirit Week, to serve some of our recently harvested potatoes, and hot spiced cider in the gardens. We invite invite the Kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms out to hear a story. Attached are three stories I have written and told to the kids in the past. I like them because they are essentially true, and raise ecological issues of inter-relatedness and cycling. The world is truly mysterious, no matter how smart we get. I make them available to our teachers and community as a possible alternative narrative to the bloody chainsaw version of Halloween / Day of the Dead.
Wednesday, October 28, Room 204, 3rd grade will make its maiden voyage to Sauganash, the first of 9 trips over the next three years. It is wonderful to see their excitement building, and to know that they are going to have a magical experience.
Volunteers meet by the fish tank at 9:00 for a briefing. We board the bus at 9:30, take a picnic lunch at 12:15, and are back at school by about 1:00.
This trip completes our Fall Field Ecology schedule. But there are many tasks awaiting:
- the pasting up of the 1st grade leaf collections;
- responding to 240 Mighty Acorn journals (and mounting pictures therein);
- responding to the 6th grade river journals,
- the 7th grade Lake journals;
- the Recycling and Compost Captain luncheon;
- the Water Cycle necklace activity for the 2nd grade,
- and the settling of the garden for its winter rest.
I hope you enjoy the stories, Pete