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Friday, October 26, 2012

Today was a slow and quiet day at Sanderlin. It was cloudy above and the air gentle and warm as I walked up to our sitting-stumps, where Derek was reviewing the last class's progress and considering where to most effectively direct our energy. We decided to prepare the peripheral beds for planting, and thus headed out to water, weed, and fertilize.

At this point, I consider myself a bit on an expert on weeding, because I initially found it so frustrating that I decided to study my technique until I could remove all inefficiencies. And quite honestly, as bizarre as this sounds, there are few things in my life right now that I find as satisfying as successfully extracting an battalion of interlinked grass seeds. (Grass seeds are these impossibly hard little nuts [resembling hazelnuts, in my eye] that link up with each other through roots that spread throughout the beds.)

The technique I was using is as such: I grab two hand shovels, thrust them down on either side of a weed, and gently cup the earth like I'm starting to toss salad. This has, I presume, a two out of three success rate of keeping the seed and root intact .... which still isn't good enough. I am experimenting with holding the convex metal back of a narrow hand shovel in my palm and guiding it with jabs of my hand, which has been somewhat successful; it's also important to moderately wet the beds. Maybe I should invent little gardening claws that you can attach to your fingers like classical guitarists do ... but I'll plan that elsewhere.

(Image: an battalion of the aformentioned variety; or, VICTORY.)

When I was done weeding, Noah came by and scattered fertilizer on the bed while Derek continued weeding and watering, and I moved on to other beds.

Finally a class of third graders came out, and we gathered at the stumps to review the previous week's lesson on bugs. The kids definitely impressed us with their memory, reciting and describing the various categories of bugs - the pollinators, predators, and decomposers. We then proceeded to teach on the water cycle, and the kids, at the end of the lesson, sang us a little hip hop song, and a few of them danced, really, really well. The kids all rounded up to see the celery game, in which we fill a cup with water, stick some celery in it, drop in some food coloring drops of their choice, and explain to them that the plant's transpiration will turn it (in this case) blue.

These kids inspire me. They are curious, articulate, energetic, and full of love for the world. When they were about to leave, one boy ran up and embraced me to say goodbye.

With love,

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